The Cause of Our Sin and Misery

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 3

6. Question: Did God, then, create man so wicked and perverse?

Answer: No, on the contrary, God created man good[1] and in His image,[2] that is, in true righteousness and holiness,[3] so that he might rightly know God His Creator,[4] heartily love Him, and live with Him in eternal blessedness to praise and glorify Him.[5]

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

7. Question: From where, then, did man’s depraved nature come?

Answer: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise,[1] for there our nature became so corrupt[2] that we are all conceived and born in sin.[3]

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

8. Question: But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined to all evil?

Answer: Yes,[1] unless we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.[2]

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

Praying for God’s Will

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 49

124. Question: What is the third petition?

Answer: Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. That is: Grant that we and all men may deny our own will, and without any murmuring obey Thy will, for it alone is good.[1] Grant also that everyone may carry out the duties of his office and calling[2] as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.[3]

[1] Matt. 7:21; 16:24-26; Luke 22:42; Rom. 12:1, 2; Tit. 2:11, 12. [2] I Cor. 7:17-24; Eph. 6:5-9. [3] Ps. 103:20, 21.

Praying for God’s Kingdom

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 48

123. Question: What is the second petition?

Answer: Thy kingdom come. That is: So rule us by Thy Word and Spirit that more and more we submit to Thee.[1] Preserve and increase Thy church.[2] Destroy the works of the devil, every power that raises itself against Thee, and every conspiracy against Thy holy Word.[3] Do all this until the fullness of Thy kingdom comes, wherein Thou shalt be all in all.[4]

[1] Ps. 119:5, 105; 143:10; Matt. 6:33. [2] Ps. 51:18; 122:6-9; Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:42-47. [3] Rom. 16:20; I John 3:8. [4] Rom. 8:22, 23; I Cor. 15:28; Rev. 22: 17, 20.

Knowing God as Holy

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 47

122. Question: What is the first petition?

 Answer: Hallowed be Thy Name. That is: Grant us first of all that we may rightly know Thee,[1] and sanctify, glorify, and praise Thee in all Thy works, in which shine forth Thy almighty power, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, mercy, and truth.[2] Grant us also that we may so direct our whole life– our thoughts, words, and actions– that Thy Name is not blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.[3]

 [1] Jer. 9:23, 24; 31: 33, 34; Matt. 16:17; John 17:3. [2] Ex. 34:5-8; Ps. 145; Jer. 32:16-20; Luke 1:46-55, 68-75; Rom. 11: 33-36. [3] Ps. 115:1; Matt. 5:16.

Dishonoring God’s Name

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The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 36

99. Question: What is required in the third commandment?

 Answer: We are not to blaspheme or to abuse the Name of God by cursing,[1] perjury,[2] or unnecessary oaths,[3] nor to share in such horrible sins by being silent bystanders.[4] In short, we must use the holy Name of God only with fear and reverence,[5] so that we may rightly confess Him,[6] call upon Him,[7] and praise Him in all our words and works.[8]

 [1] Lev. 24:10-17. [2] Lev. 19:12 [3] Matt. 5:37; James 5:12. [4] Lev. 5:1; Prov. 29:24. [5] Ps. 99:1-5; Is. 45:23; Jer. 4:2. [6] Matt. 10:32, 33; Rom. 10:9, 10. [7] Ps. 50:14, 15; I Tim. 2:8. [8] Rom. 2:24; Col. 3:17; I Tim. 6:1.

 100. Question: Is the blaspheming of God’s Name by swearing and cursing such a grievous sin that God is angry also with those who do not prevent and forbid it as much as they can?

 Answer: Certainly,[1] for no sin is greater or provokes God’s wrath more than the blaspheming of His Name. That is why He commanded it to be punished with death.[2]

 [1] Lev. 5:1. [2] Lev. 24:16.

The Ten Commandments and Idolatry

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 34

92. Question: What is the law of the LORD?

 Answer: God spoke all these words, saying: I am the LORD your God, who
brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

 1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

 2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My
commandments.

 3. You shall not take the Name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.

 4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

 5. Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

 6. You shall not kill.

 7. You shall not commit adultery.

 8. You shall not steal.

 9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

 10. you shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, 10. or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.[1]

 [1] Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21.

 93. Question: How are these commandments divided?

 Answer: Into two parts. The first teaches us how to live in relation to God; the second, what duties we owe our neighbor.[1]

 [1] Matt. 22:37-40.

 94. Question: What does the LORD require in the first commandment?

 Answer: That for the sake of my very salvation I avoid and flee all idolatry,[1] witchcraft, superstition,[2] and prayer to saints or to other creatures.[3] Further, that I rightly come to know the only true God.[4] trust in Him alone,[5] submit to Him with all humility[6] and patience,[7] expect all good from Him only,[8] and love,[9] fear,[10] and honour Him[11] with all my heart. In short, that I forsake all creatures rather than do the least thing against His will.[12]

 [1] I Cor. 6:9, 10; 10:5-14; I John 5:21. [2] Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:9-12. [3] Matt. 4:10; Rev. 19:10; 22:8, 9. [4] John 17:3. [5] Jer. 17:5, 7. [6] I Pet. 5:5, 6. [7] Rom. 5:3, 4; I Cor. 10:10; Phil. 2:14; Col. 1:11; Heb. 10:36. [8] Ps. 104:27, 28; Is. 45:7; James 1:17. [9] Deut. 6:5; (Matt. 22:37). [10] Deut. 6:2; Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Matt. 10:28; I Pet. 1:17. [11] Deut. 6:13; (Matt. 4:10); Deut. 10:20. [12] Matt. 5:29, 30; 10:37-39; Acts 5:29.

 95. Question: What is idolatry?

 Answer: Idolatry is having or inventing something in which to put our trust instead of, or in addition to, the only true God who has revealed Himself in His Word.[1]

 [1] I Chron. 16:26; Gal. 4:8, 9; Eph. 5:5; Phil. 3:19.

Repentance, Conversion, and Good Works

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 33

88. Question: What is the true repentance or conversion of man?

 Answer: It is the dying of the old nature and the coming to life of the new.[1]

 [1] Rom. 6:1-11; I Cor. 5:7; II Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:5-10.

 89. Question: What is the dying of the old nature?

 Answer: It is to grieve with heartfelt sorrow that we have offended God by our sin, and more and more to hate it and flee from it.[1]

 [1] Ps. 51:3, 4, 17; Joel 2:12, 13; Rom. 8:12, 13; II Cor. 7:10.

 90. Question: What is the coming to life of the new nature?

 Answer: It is a heartfelt joy in God through Christ,[1] and a love and delight to live according to the will of God in all good works.[2]

 [1] Ps. 51:8, 12; Is. 57:15; Rom. 5:1; 14:17. [2] Rom. 6:10, 11; Gal. 2:20.

 91. Question: But what are good works?

 Answer: Only those which are done out of true faith,[1] in accordance with the law of God,[2] and to His glory,[3] and not those based on our own opinion or on precepts of men.[4]

 [1] Joh. 15:5; Rom. 14:23; Heb. 11:6. [2] Lev. 18:4; I Sam. 15:22; Eph. 2:10. [3] I Cor. 10:31. [4] Deut. 12:32; Is. 29:13; Ezek. 20:18, 19; Matt. 15:7-9.