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The Heidelberg Catechism

Part 1: Man's Misery: LORD'S DAY 2

Q & A 3: How do you come to know your misery?

The law of God tells me.1

1 Rom. 3:20; 7:7-25

Q & A 4: What does God's law require of us?

Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22--
You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind
and with all your strength.1*
This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.2

On these two commandments depend
all the Law and the Prophets.

1 Deut. 6:5
2 Lev. 19:18
* Earlier and better manuscripts of Matthew 22 omit the words "and with all your strength." They are found in Mark 12:30.

Q & A 5: Can you live up to all this perfectly?

I have a natural tendency
to hate God and my neighbor.2

1 Rom. 3:9-20, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10
2 Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7:23-24; 8:7; Eph. 2:1-3; Titus 3:3

Part I: Man's Misery: LORD'S DAY 3

Q & A 6: Did God create man so wicked and perverse?

God created man good1 and in his own image,2
that is, in true righteousness and holiness,3
so that he might
truly know God his creator,4
love him with all his heart,
and live with him in eternal happiness
for his praise and glory.5

1 Gen. 1:31
2 Gen. 1:26-27
3 Eph. 4:24
4 Col. 3:10
5 Ps. 8

Q & A 7: Then where does man's corrupt nature come from?

From the fall and disobedience of our first parents,
Adam and Eve, in Paradise.1
This fall has so poisoned our nature2
that we are born sinners--
corrupt from conception on.3

1 Gen. 3
2 Rom. 5:12, 18-19
3 Ps. 51:5

Q & A 8: But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil?

Yes,1 unless we are born again,
by the Spirit of God.2

1 Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; Isa. 53:6
2 John 3:3-5

Part I: Man's Misery: LORD'S DAY 4

Q & A 9: But doesn't God do man an injustice by requiring in his law what man is unable to do?

No, God created man with the ability to keep the law.1
Man, however, tempted by the devil,2
in reckless disobedience,3
robbed himselves and all his descendants of these gifts.4

1 Gen. 1:31; Eph. 4:24
2 Gen. 3:13; John 8:44
3 Gen. 3:6
4 Rom. 5:12, 18, 19

 Q & A 10: Will God permit such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?

Certainly not.
He is terribly angry
about the sin we are born with
as well as the sins we personally commit.
As a just judge
he punishes them now and in eternity.1

He has declared:
"Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do
everything written in the Book of the Law.2

1 Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27
2 Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26

Q & A 11: But isn't God also merciful?

God is certainly merciful,1
but he is also just.2
His justice demands
that sin, committed against his supreme majesty,
be punished with the supreme penalty--
eternal punishment of body and soul.3

1 Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-9
2 Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30-31
3 Matt. 25:35-46