Author: Zacharius Ursinus et. al.
Commissioned by elector Frederick III, The Heidelburg Catechism was written in 1563 by the theological faculty at the University of Heidelburg in Germany, especially Zacharius Ursinus and (probably) Caspar Olevianus. The catechism takes the form of question and answer, and is divided into 52 sections, designed to be taught on 52 Sundays throughout the year. Along with The Belgic Confession and The Canons of Dort, it is one of the Three Forms of Unity, which are the doctrinal standards to which many Reformed churches around the world subscribe.
THE FIRST PART: OF MAN’S MISERY
THE SECOND PART: OF MAN’S REDEMPTION
OF GOD THE FATHER
OF GOD THE SON
OF GOD THE HOLY GHOST
OF THE HOLY SACRAMENTS
OF HOLY BAPTISM
OF THE HOLY SUPPER OF THE LORD
THE THIRD PART: OF THANKFULNESS
Lord’s Day 1
Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer. That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death (Rom 14:7-9; 1 Thess 5:9-10), am not my own (1 Cor 6:19-20), but belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:22-23; Tit 2:14†), who with his precious blood (1 Pet 1:18-19) has fully satisfied for all my sins (1 John 1:7; 2:1-2), and redeemed me from all the power of the devil (John 8:34-36†; 1 John 3:8; Heb 2:14-15); and so preserves me (John 6:38-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess 3:3†; 1 Pet 1:5†) that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head (Matt 10:29-31; Luke 21:18-19); yea, that all things must work together for my salvation (Rom 8:28). Wherefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life (Rom 8:15-16; 2 Cor 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph 1:13-14), and makes me heartily willing and ready, henceforth to live unto him (Rom 7:22†; 8:14; Phil 2:13†; Heb 13:20-21†; 1 John 3:3†; 4:13†; Ezek 36:27†).
Q. 2. How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou in this comfort mayest live and die happily?
A. Three things (Luke 24:46-47; 1 Cor 6:11; Tit 3:3-7; Matt 11:28-30†): First, the greatness of my sin and misery (John 9:41; 15:22†; Rom 3:10†; 7:24†; Matt 9:12†; 1 John 1:9-10†; Rom 1:18-3:21†). Second, how I am redeemed from all my sins and misery (John 17:3; Acts 4:12†; 10:43†; Rom 7:25†; Col 1:13-14†; 1 Pet 1:18-19†; 1 John 1:7†; Rev 1:5†; Rom 3:21-11:36†; Phil 2:5-11†). Third, how I am to be thankful to God for such redemption (Eph 5:8-11; Rom 6:1-2†; 6:11–14; 2 Tim 2:15-16; 1 Pet 2:9-12; Matt 5:16; Ps 50:14-15; 116:12-13; Rom 12:1-16:27†).
THE FIRST PART: OF MAN’S MISERY
Lord’s Day 2
Q. 3. Whence knowest thou thy misery?
A. Out of the Law of God (Rom 3:20; 7:7†; John 5:45†).
Q. 4. What does the Law of God require of us?
A. This Christ teaches us in sum, Matt. 22: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment; and the second is like unto it: Thous shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.—On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt 22:37-40; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27-28; Deut 6:4-5†; Lev 19:18†; Luke 5:27†; Rom 13:10†).
Q. 5. Canst thou keep all this perfectly?
A. No (Rom 3:10-12, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10; Rom 7:18†; Jas 2:10†; 3:2†); for I am by nature prone to hate God and my neighbor (Rom 8:7; Eph 2:3, 5; Tit 3:3; Gen 6:5†; 8:21†; Jer 13:23†; 17:9†; Rom 7:23-25†; Matt 6:24‡).
Lord’s Day 3
Q. 6. Did God create man thus wicked and perverse?
A. No (Gen 1:31); but God created man good, and after his own image (Gen 1:26-27; Gen 2:7†)—that is, in righteousness and true holiness; that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him, and live with him in eternal blessedness, to praise and glorify him (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10; 2 Cor 3:18; Eph 1:6†; 1 Cor 6:20†; Ps 8†; Rev 21:3†).
Q. 7. Whence, then, comes this depraved nature of man?
A. From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise (Gen 3; Rom 5:18-19), whereby our nature became so corrupt that we are all conceived and born in sin (Ps 51:5; Gen 5:3; 8:21†; John 3:6†; Eph 2:3†).
Q. 8. But are we so far depraved that we are wholly unapt to any good, and prone to all evil?
A. Yes (John 3:6; Gen 6:5-6; 8:21†; Job 14:4; 15:14, 16, 35; Isa 53:6); unless we are born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:3, 5; 1 Cor 12:3†; 2 Cor 3:5†; Phil 2:13†).
Lord’s Day 4
Q. 9. Does not God, then, wrong man by requiring of him in his law that which he can not perform?
A. No; for God so made man that he could perform it (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10†; Luke 10:30; Gen 1:31†; Eccl 7:29†); but man, through the instigation of the devil (Gen 3:13†; John 8:44†; 1 Tim 2:14†; 2 Cor 11:3†), by willful disobedience (Gen 3:6-7†), deprived himself and all his posterity of this power (Rom 5:12; Ps 51:5†).
Q. 10. Will God suffer such disobedience and apostasy to go unpunished?
A. By no means (Rom 5:12; Heb 9:27); but he is terribly displeased with our inborn as well as actual sins, and will punish them in just judgment in time and eternity (Heb 10:31†; Gen 2:17†; Ps 5:4-6†; 7:11†; 50:21†; 90:11†; Nah 1:2†; Exod 20:5†; 34:7†; Deut 28:15†; Rom 1:18†; 2:5, 9†; Eph 5:6†), as he has declared: Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them (Deut 27:26; Gal 3:10).
Q. 11. Is, then, God not also merciful?
A. God is indeed merciful (Exod 34:6-7; 20:6; Ps 103:8-9†), but he is likewise just (Exod 20:5†; 23:7†; 34:7†; Deut 7:9-11†; Ps 5:5-7; 7:9†; Job 34:10-11†; Nah 1:2-3†; Rom 1:18†; 2:5–6†; 2 Cor 6:14-17†; Heb 10:31†); wherefore his justice requires that sin, which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be also punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting punishment (Gen 2:17†; Rom 6:23†) of body and soul (Matt 25:35-46†).
THE SECOND PART: OF MAN’S REDEMPTION
Lord’s Day 5
Q. 12. Since, then, by the righteous judgment of God we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, what is required that we may escape this punishment and be again received into favor?
A. God wills that his justice be satisfied (Exod 20:5; 23:7; 34:7†; Deut 7:9-11†; Gen 2:17†; 3:17†; Rom 2:1-11†): therefore must we make full satisfaction to the same, either by ourselves or by another (Rom 8:3-4; Deut 24:16†; Isa 53:11†; Ezek 18:4†; Matt 5:26; 18:34†; 2 Cor 5:14-15†; 2 Thess 1:6†; Luke 16:2†).
Q. 13. Can we ourselves make this satisfaction?
A. By no means; but on the contrary, we daily increase our debt (Job 9:2-3; 15:15-16; Matt 6:12; Job 4:18-19†; Ps 130:3†; Isa 64:6†; Matt 18:25†; 16:26†; Rom 2:5†).
Q. 14. Can any mere creature make satisfaction for us?
A. None; for, first, God will not punish, in any other creature, that of which man has made himself guilty (Heb 2:14-18; Gen 3:17†; Ezek 18:4†); and, further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin, and redeem others therefrom (Ps 130:3; Job 4:18; 15:15-16; 25:5-6; Ps 49:7-9; Nah 1:6†; Heb 9:12†; Rev 5:3†).
Q. 15. What manner of a mediator and redeemer, then, must we seek?
A. One who is a true (Rom 1:3†; 1 Cor 15:21-26; Heb 2:17†) and sinless man (Jer 23:6; 33:16; Isa 53:11; 2 Cor 5:14-16; 5:21†; Heb 7:26†), and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is at the same time God (Isa 7:14; Heb 7:15-17; Luke 11:22†; Rom 8:3-4; Isa 9:6†; Rom 9:5†; Col 2:9†; John 1:1†; 10:30†; 20:28†; Heb 1:3, 6†).
Lord’s Day 6
Q. 16. Why must he be a true and sinless man?
A. Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should make satisfaction for sin (Rom 5:12-15; 1 Pet 3:18; Isa 53:3-5; Ezek 18:20†; 1 Cor 15:21†; Heb 2:14-16†); but no man, being himself a sinner, could satisfy for others (Jer 33:15; Heb 7:26-27†; Ps 49:7-8†; 1 Pet 3:18).
Q. 17. Why must he be at the same time true God?
A. That by the power of his Godhead (Isa 9:6†; 63:3† [?]) he might bear, in his manhood, the burden of God’s wrath (Deut 4:24†; Nah 1:6†; Ps 130:3†; Isa 53:4-5, 11; Acts 2:24; 1 Pet 3:18), and so obtain for and restore to us righteousness and life (John 3:16; Acts 20:28; 2 Cor 5:21† [cf. HC 15]; Jer 23:5-6† [cf. HC 15]; John 1:4†; 6:51†; 2 Tim 1:9-10†; 1 John 1:2; 4:9-10; Rev 19:15-16†).
Q. 18. But who, now, is that mediator, who is at the same time true God (1 John 5:20†; Rom 8:3†; Gal 4:4†; Isa 9:6†; Jer 23:5-6†; Mal 3:1†) and a true, sinless man (Rom 9:5†; Luke 1:42†; 2:6–7†; Rom 1:3†; Phil 2:7†; Heb 2:14, 16-17†; 4:15†; Isa 53:9, 11†; Luke 1:35†; John 8:46†; Heb 7:26†; 1 Pet 1:19†; 2:22†; 3:18†)?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 1:21, 23; Isa 7:14; 1 Tim 3:16; Luke 2:11; John 14:6; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 2:9†), who is freely given unto us for complete redemption and righteousness (1 Cor 1:30).
Q. 19. Whence knowest thou this?
A. From the Holy Gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise (Gen 3:15), afterwards proclaimed by the holy Patriarchs (Gen 22:18; 12:3†; 26:4; 28:14†; 49:10–11) and Prophets (Rom 1:1-4; Heb 1:1-2; Isa 53†; 42:1–4†; 43:25†; 49:5–6, 22–23†; Jer 23:6†; 31:32–33†; 32:39–41†; Mic 7:18-20†; Acts 3:22-24; Acts 10:43), and foreshadowed by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law (Lev 1-7†; John 5:46; Heb 9:13-15†; Heb 10:1, 7), and finally fulfilled by his well-beloved Son (Rom 10:4; Gal 4:4-5; Gal 3:24-25; Col 2:17†; Heb 13:8).
Lord’s Day 7
Q. 20. Are all men, then, saved by Christ, as they have perished in Adam?
A. No; only such as by true faith are ingrafted into him, and receive all his benefits (Matt 1:21†; 7:13–14, 21†; 7:24†; 22:14; Mark 16:16†; John 1:12-13; 3:36; 17:9†; Isa 53:11; Ps 2:12; Rom 11:19-20; 3:22†; Heb 4:2-3; 5:9†; 10:39; 11:6†).
Q. 21. What is true faith?
A. It is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his Word (John 6:68-69†; 17:3, 17†; Jas 1:18†; 2:19–20; Heb 11:1-4; Rom 2:18-20†), but also a hearty trust (Rom 4:16-21; 5:1; 10:9-10; Eph 3:12†; Jas 1:6†; Luke 1:68; 2:14, 29-30; Heb 4:14-16†) which the Holy Ghost works in me (Matt 16:17; 2 Cor 1:21-22†; 4:13†; John 3:5; 3:13† [?]; 6:29†; Gal 5:22; Phil 1:19, 29) by the Gospel (Eph 1:13†; Rom 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor 1:21; Mark 16:15-16 [TR]; Acts 10:44†; 16:14),that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation, are freely given by God (Heb 11:7-10†; Matt 9:2†; Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11†; Heb 10:10†; Gal 5:11), merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits (Eph 2:7-9; Heb 10:38-39 [quotation of Hab 2:4]; Gal 2:16; 2:20†; Rom 3:24-26; 5:19; Eph 2:8; Luke 1:77-78; John 20:31).
Q. 22. What is it, then, necessary for a Christian to believe?
A. All that is promised us in the Gospel (John 20:31; Matt 28:20; Mark 1:15; Acts 10:34-43†; 24:14†), which the articles of our catholic, undoubted Christian faith teach us in sum.
Q. 23. What are these Articles?
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into Hades; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Lord’s Day 8
Q. 24. How are these Articles divided?
A. Into three parts: The first is of God the Father and our creation (Gen 1:26-27†); the second, of God the Son and our redemption (1 Pet 1:18-20†); the third, of God the Holy Ghost and our sanctification (1 Pet 1:2†; 1 Pet 1:21-23†).
Q. 25. Since there is but one Divine Being (Deut 6:4; Isa 42:6; 44:6†; 45:5; Isa 6:3†; 1 Cor 8:4, 6; Eph 4:5-6), why speakest thou of three, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
A. Because God has so revealed himself in his Word (Gen 1:1-3†; 1:26†; Num 6:24-26†; Ps 33:6†; Matt 3:16-17; 28:19; Luke 4:18†; Isa 48:16†; 61:1†; 63:8–10†; Ps 110:1†; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 John 5:7 [TR]; John 1:18†; Rom 11:36; Gal 4:6†; Eph 2:18†; Tit 3:5-6; John 10:30; 14:16-17, 26; 15:26†) that these three distinct Persons are the one, true, eternal God.
OF GOD THE FATHER
Lord’s Day 9
Q. 26. What dost thou believe when thou sayest: I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth?
A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that in them is (Gen 1-2; Exod 20:11†; Ps 33:6; 90:1-2†; Job 33:4; 38-39; Isa 44:24†; 45:7†; John 1:3; Rom 4:17‡; Heb 11:3; Acts 4:24; 14:15†), who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence (Ps 104:2-5; 115:3; Matt 6:30†; 10:29–30; Rom 11:36; Heb 1:3; John 5:17†; Eph 1:11†), is for the sake of Christ his Son my God and my Father (John 1:12; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:5-7; Eph 1:5; 1 John 3:1†), in whom I so trust as to have no doubt that he will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul (Ps 55:22; Matt 6:25-26; Luke 12:22-24); and further, that whatever evil he sends upon me in this vale of tears, he will turn to my good (Ps 23:1-2†; Rom 4:21†; 8:28; Heb 12:10-11); for he is able to do it, being Almighty God (Isa 46:4; Ps 115:3; Gen 18:14†; Luke 12:22†; Rom 8:38-39), and willing also, being a faithful Father (Rom 10:12; Matt 6:26; 7:9-11; Isa 49:15-16†).
Lord’s Day 10
Q. 27. What dost thou understand by the Providence of God?
A. The almighty and every where present power of God (Acts 17:25-27; Matt 17:27; Ps 94:9-10; Isa 29:15-16; Jer 23:23-24†; Ezek 8:12), whereby, as it were by his hand, he still upholds heaven and earth, with all creatures (Heb 1:2-3), and so governs them that herbs and grass (Ps 104:14†), rain and drought (Jer 14:22†), fruitful and barren years (Lev 26:4-5†; Ps 145:15-16†), meat and drink (Jer 5:23-24; Acts 14:17), health and sickness (John 9:2-3; Ps 71:20†; Job 5:18†), riches and poverty (Prov 22:2; 1 Sam 2:7†; Job 1:21†), yea, all things, come not by chance (Prov 16:33), but be his fatherly hand (Ps 139:16; Matt 10:29†; Eph 1:11†).
Q. 28. What does it profit us to know that God has created, and by his providence still upholds all things?
A. That we may be patient in adversity (Rom 5:3; Job 1:21; Ps 39:9; Jas 1:2-3), thankful in prosperity (Deut 8:10; 1 Thess 5:18), and for what is future have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that no creature shall separate us from his love (Rom 5:4-6; 8:38-39; Ps 55:22†; 71:7†; 1 Pet 5:7†), since all creatures are so in his hand that without his will they can not so much as move (Job 1:12; 2:6; 12:9-10; Matt 8:31†; Acts 17:26-28; Prov 21:1).
OF GOD THE SON
Lord’s Day 11
Q. 29. Why is the Son of God called Jesus, that is, Saviour?
A. Because he saves us from our sins (Matt 1:21; Heb 7:24-25; 1 Tim 1:15†); and no salvation is to be either sought or found in any other (Acts 4:12; Isa 43:11†; John 6:68†; 15:4–5†; 1 Cor 3:11†; 1 Tim 2:5†; 1 John 5:11†).
Q. 30. Do such, then, believe in the only Saviour Jesus who seek their salvation and welfare of saints, of themselves, or any where else?
A. No; although they may make their boast of him, yet in act they deny the only and Saviour Jesus (1 Cor 1:13, 30-31; 1 Cor 1:21-25†; Gal 5:4). For either Jesus is not a complete Saviour, or they who by true faith receive this Saviour must have in him all that is necessary to their salvation (Ps 9:5† [?]; Heb 12:2; Isa 9:6; Col 1:19-20; 2:10†; 2:20†; John 1:16; Isa 43:11, 25; 1 John 1:7†).
Lord’s Day 12
Q. 31. Why is he called Christ, that is, Anointed?
A. Because he is ordained of God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Ghost (Heb 1:9; Ps 45:7; Isa 61:1; Luke 4:18; 3:21-22†; Acts 10:38†), to be our chief Prophet and Teacher (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37; John 1:18; Matt 11:27; Luke 7:16†; Acts 3:22; Isa 55:4†), who fully reveals to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption (John 1:18; 15:15; Matt 11:27); and our only High Priest (Ps 110:4; Heb 7:21), who by the one sacrifice of his body has redeemed us (Heb 9:12†; Heb 10:12, 14), and ever liveth to make intercession for us with the Father (Rom 8:34; 5:9-10; Heb 9:24†; 1 John 2:1†); and our eternal King (Mark 11:1-10†; Matt 21:5†; Zech 9:9†; Ps 2:6; Luke 1:33), who governs us by his Word and Spirit, and defends and preserves us in the redemption obtained for us (Matt 28:18; John 10:28; Rev 12:10-11†).
Q. 32. But why art thou called a Christian?
A. Because by faith I am a member of Christ (Acts 11:26; 1 Cor 6:15; 1 Cor 12:12-27†), and thus a partaker of his anointing (1 John 2:20, 27; Isa 59:21; Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28; 3:1-5 [?]; 2 Cor 1:21-22†); in order that I also may confess his name (Matt 10:32-33; Mark 8:38; Rom 10:9-10†; Heb 13:15†), may present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him (Rom 12:1; Rev 5:8-10; 1 Pet 2:5, 9; Exod 19:6; Rev 1:6), and may with free conscience fight against sin and the devil in this life (1 Pet 2:11†; Rom 6:12-13†; Gal 5:16-17†; Eph 6:11†; 1 Tim 1:18-19), and hereafter, in eternity, reign with him over all creatures (Matt 25:34†; 2 Tim 2:12; 1 Cor 16:10† [?]).
Lord’s Day 13
Q. 33. Why is he called God’s only-begotten Son, since we also are the children of God?
A. Because Christ alone is the eternal natural Son of God (John 1:14, 18; 3:16; Rom 8:32†; 1 John 4:9; Heb 1:2); but we are children of God by adoption through grace for his sake (Rom 8:15-17; Rom 9:4‡; Gal 3:26; Gal 4:5-6; Eph 1:5-6; John 1:12; 1 John 1:3; John 8:58†).
Q. 34. Why callest thou him our Lord (Acts 2:36†; John 20:28†)?
A. Because, not with silver or gold, but with his precious blood (1 Pet 1:18-19), he has redeemed and purchased us (1 Pet 2:9), body and soul, from sin and from all the power of the devil, to be his own (Col 1:13-14†; Heb 2:14-15†; 1 Cor 6:20; 1 Cor 7:23; Eph 1:7; 1 Tim 2:5-6; Tit 2:14).
Lord’s Day 14
Q. 35. What is the meaning of Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary?
A. That the eternal Son of God, who is (John 1:1; 10:30-36†; 17:3–5; Acts 13:33†; Ps 2:7†; Rom 1:4; 1 John 5:20†; Col 1:15†) and continues true and eternal God (Rom 9:5; Col 2:9; John 20:28; 1 John 5:20), took upon him the very nature of man, of the flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary (John 1:14; Gal 4:4; Heb 2:14†; Luke 1:27†; Matt 1:18, 20), by the operation of the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:35), so that he also might be the true seed of David (Ps 132:11; 2 Sam 7:12; Matt 1:1†; Luke 1:32; Acts 2:30†; Rom 1:3), like unto his brethren in all things (Phil 2:7; Heb 2:14, 17†), sin excepted (Heb 4:15; 7:26-27; 1 John 3:5†).
Q. 36. What benefit dost thou receive from the holy conception and birth of Christ?
A. That he is our Mediator (Heb 2:16-17; 7:26-27†; 9:13–15†; Jer 23:5-6†; 1 Tim 2:5†); and with his innocence and perfect holiness covers, in the sight of God, my sin wherein I was conceived (Ps 32:1; Rom 4:7†; 1 Cor 1:30; Rom 8:3-4; Gal 4:4-5; 2 Cor 5:21†; 1 Pet 1:18-19†; 3:18†; Isa 53:11†).
Lord’s Day 15
Q. 37. What dost thou understand by the word Suffered?
A. That all the time he lived on earth, but especially at the end of his life, he bore, in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race (1 Pet 2:24; 3:18; Isa 53:4, 12; 1 Tim 2:6), in order that by his passion (Heb 5:7-8†; Ps 22:14-16†), as the only sacrifice (1 John 2:2; 4:10; Rom 3:25-26; 1 Cor 5:7†; Eph 5:2†; Heb 9:28†; Heb 10:14†), he might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation (Rom 8:1-4†; Gal 3:13†; Col 1:13†; Heb 9:12-13†; 1 Pet 1:18-19†), and obtain for us the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life (John 3:16†; 6:51†; Rom 3:25†; 5:9†; 6:23†; 2 Cor 5:21†; 1 John 1:7†; 2:2†; Heb 9:15†; 10:19†).
Q. 38. Why did he suffer under Pontius Pilate, as judge?
A. That he, being innocent, might be condemned by the temporal judge (Acts 3:14; 4:27-28†; Matt 27:24; Luke 23:13-15; John 18:38; 19:4), and thereby deliver us from the severe judgment of God to which we were exposed (Ps 69:4; Isa 53:4-5; Rom 5:6†; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13-14).
Q. 39. Is there any thing more in his having been crucified that if he had died some other death?
A. Yes; for thereby I am assured that he took on himself the curse which lay upon me (Gal 3:13), because the death of the cross was accursed of God (Deut 21:23; Gal 3:13).
Lord’s Day 16
Q. 40. Why was it necessary for Christ to suffer death?
A. Because, by reason of the justice and truth of God (Gen 2:17), satisfaction for our sins could be made no otherwise than by the death of the Son of God (Heb 2:9, 14-15; Phil 2:8; Rom 1:32†; 8:3–4).
Q. 41. Why was he buried?
A. To show thereby that he was really dead (Isa 53:9†; Matt 27:60; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:52; John 19:38-42; Acts 13:29; 1 Cor 15:3-4†).
Q. 42. Since, then, Christ died for us, why must we also die?
A. Our death is not a satisfaction for our sin (Ps 49:7†; Mark 8:37†), but only a dying to sins and entering into eternal life (John 5:24; Phil 1:21, 23; Rom 7:24-25; 1 Thess 5:9-10†).
Q. 43. What further benefit do we receive from the sacrifice and death of Christ on the cross?
A. That by his power our old man is with him crucified, slain, and buried (Rom 6:6-8, 10; Col 2:12-13); that so the evil lusts of the flesh may no more reign in us (Rom 6:12), but that we may offer ourselves unto him a sacrifice of thanksgiving (Rom 12:1 [or Rom 12:1-2; 6:13†; 1 Cor 6:20†; 2 Cor 5:15†; Eph 5:1-2†; 1 John 4:19†).
Q. 44. Why is it added: He descended into Hades?
A. That in my greatest temptation I may be assured that Christ, my Lord, by his inexpressible anguish, pains, and terrors which he suffered in his soul on the cross and before, has redeemed me from the anguish and torment of hell (Isa 53:8; Matt 27:46; Ps 18:4-5†; 116:3†; Matt 26:38†; Heb 5:7†; Luke 22:44†; 23:43†; Acts 2:27, 31†; 1 Pet 3:18-20†; 4:6†).
Lord’s Day 17
Q. 45. What benefit do we receive from the resurrection of Christ?
A. First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of the righteousness which by his death he has obtained for us (1 Cor 15:16-18, 54-55; Rom 4:25; Heb 2:14-15†; 1 Pet 1:3-5, 21). Secondly, we are also now by his power raised up to a new life (Rom 6:4; Col 3:3-4; Eph 2:5-6). Thirdly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection (1 Cor 15:12-14; Rom 8:11; Phil 3:20-21†).
Q. 46. How dost thou understand the words, He ascended into heaven?
A. That Christ, in sight of his disciples, was taken up from the earth into heaven (Acts 1:9; Matt 26:64†; Mark 16:19 [TR]; Luke 24:51), and in our behalf there continues (Heb 4:14; 7:24; 9:12; Rom 8:34; Eph 4:10; Col 3:1-2), (b) until he shall come again to judge the living and the dead (Acts 1:11; 10:42†; Matt 24:30; 25:31-46†).
Q. 47. Is not, then, Christ with us even unto the end of the world, as he has promised ()? (a)
A. Christ is true man and true God: according to his human nature, he is now not upon earth (Matt 26:11; John 3:13†; 16:28; 17:11; Acts 1:9-11†; Acts 3:21; Heb 8:4†); but according to his Godhead, majesty, grace and Spirit, he is at no time absent from us (Matt 18:20†; 28:20†; John 14:17-18; 16:13; Eph 4:8; Augustine, Tract. Ev. Jo. 50†).
Q. 48. But are not, in this way, the two natures in Christ separated from one another, if the Manhood be not wherever the Godhead is?
A. By no means; for since the Godhead is incomprehensible and every where present (Acts 7:49; 17:27-28; Isa 66:1; 1 Kgs 8:27†; Ps 139:7-10†; Jer 23:23-24; Matt 24:30†), it must follow that it is indeed beyond the bounds of the Manhood which it has assumed, (b) but is yet none the less in the same also, and remains personally united to it (Eph 4:9-10†; Col 2:9; John 1:14†; 1:48; 3:13; 11:15; 16:28†; 17:11–12†; Matt 28:6; 28:20†).
Lord’s Day 18
Q. 49. What benefit do we receive from Christ’s ascension into heaven?
A. First, that he is our Advocate in the presence of his Father in heaven (Heb 9:24†; 1 John 2:1-2; Rom 8:34). Secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven, as a sure pledge that he, as the Head, will also take us, his members, up to himself (John 14:2-3; 17:24†; 20:17; Eph 2:6). Thirdly, that he sends us his Spirit, as an earnest (John 14:16; 16:7; Acts 2:33; 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5), by whose power we seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth (Col 3:1; Phil 3:14, 20-21).
Q. 50. Why is it added, And sitteth at the right hand of God?
A. Because Christ ascended into heaven for this end, that he might there appear as Head of his Church (Eph 1:20-23; 5:23; Col 1:18), by whom the Father governs all things (Ps 110:1†; Matt 26:64†; Matt 28:18; John 5:22-23; 1 Pet 3:22†).
Q. 51. What benefit do we receive from this glory of our Head, Christ?
A. First, that by his Holy Spirit he sheds forth heavenly gifts in us, his members (Eph 4:10-12; Acts 2:33); then, that by his power he defends and preserves us against all enemies (Ps 2:9; 110:1-2; 1 Cor 15:25-26†; John 10:28-29; Eph 4:8; Rev 19:11-16†).
Q. 52. What comfort is it to thee that Christ shall come again to judge the quick and the dead?
A. That in all my sorrows and persecutions, with uplifted head, I look for the self-same One who has before offered himself for me to judgment of God, and removed from me all curse, to come again as Judge from heaven (Luke 21:28; Rom 8:23-24; Phil 3:20-21; Tit 2:13); who shall cast all his and my enemies into everlasting condemnation (2 Thess 1:8-9; Matt 25:41; Rev 20:10†), but shall take me, with all his chosen ones, to himself, into heavenly joy and glory (Matt 25:34; 1 Thess 4:16-17; [2 Thess 1:7]; Rev 21:1-7†).
OF GOD THE HOLY GHOST
Lord’s Day 20
Q. 53. What dost thou believe concerning the Holy Ghost?
A. First, that he is co-eternal God with the Father and the Son (1 John 5:7† [TR]; Gen 1:2; Isa 48:16; John 4:24†; 14:7–17†; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; Acts 5:3-4). Secondly, that he is also given unto me (Matt 28:19-20; 2 Cor 1:21-22), makes me by a true faith partaker of Christ and all his benefits (Gal 3:14; 4:6†; Eph 1:13†; 1 John 4:13†; 1 Pet 1:2; 1 Cor 6:17; Rom 8:9†), comforts me (Acts 9:31; John 15:26), and shall abide with me forever (John 14:16; 1 Pet 4:14; 1 John 2:27†).
Lord’s Day 21
Q. 54. What doth thou believe concerning the Holy Catholic Church?
A. That out of the whole human race (Gen 26:4; Deut 10:14-15†; Rev 5:9†), from the beginning to the end of the world (Ps 71:18; Isa 59:21; 1 Cor 11:26†), the Son of God (John 10:11; Acts 20:28†; Eph 4:11-13†; 5:23, 25†; Col 1:18†), by his Spirit and Word (Isa 59:21; Rom 1:16; 10:14-17; Eph 5:26), gathers, defends, and preserves (Ps 129:1-5†; Matt 16:18; John 10:28-29; Isa 49:6†; Acts 13:48†; Eph 4:3-5) for himself unto everlasting life, a chosen communion (Rom 8:29; 9:24†; Eph 1:10-13; 1 Pet 1:20-21; 2:9†) in the unity of the true faith (John 10:14-16†; Acts 2:42; Eph 4:3-6); and that I am, and forever shall remain, a living member of the same (Ps 23:6†; 71:9, 18; John 10:28†; Rom 8:10†; 8:16†; 8:35–37; 1 Cor 1:8-9; 2 Cor 13:5; 1 Pet 1:5†; 1 John 1; 2:19†; 3:14, 21).
Q. 55. What dost thou understand by the communion of saints?
A. First, that believers, all and every one, as members of Christ, have part in him and in all his treasures and gifts (1 John 1:3; 1 Cor 1:9; Rom 8:32-39; 1 Cor 6:17; 12:4-7, 12-13†). Secondly, that each one must feel himself bound to use his gifts, readily and cheerfully, for the advantage and welfare of other members (Acts 2:44-47†; Rom 12:4-8†; 1 Cor 6:17; 12:13, 21; 13:5; 12-13†; Phil 2:4-6; 1 Pet 2:5†; 4:10†; Eph 4:15-16†).
Q. 56. What dost thou believe concerning the forgiveness of sins?
A. That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction (1 John 1:7†; 2:2; 2 Cor 5:19, 21), will no more remember my sins (Eph 1:7†; Rom 4:7-8†; Ps 32†), neither the sinful nature with which I have to struggle all my life long (Jer 31:34; Ps 103:3-4, 10, 12; Mic 7:18-19†; Rom 7:24-25; Rom 8:1-4); but graciously imparts to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may nevermore come into condemnation (John 3:18; John 5:24†).
Lord’s Day 22
Q. 57. What comfort does the resurrection of the body afford thee?
A. That not only my soul, after this life, shall be immediately taken up to Christ its Head (Luke 16:22†; 23:43; Phil 1:21-23; 2 Cor 5:8†), but also that this my body, raised by the power of Christ, shall again be united with my soul, and made like unto the glorious body of Christ (1 Cor 15:52-54; Job 19:25-27; 1 John 3:2; Phil 3:21; John 5:28-29†).
Q. 58. What comfort hast thou from the article of the life everlasting?
A. That, inasmuch as I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy (2 Cor 5:1-4; Rom 8:23†; 14:17†; 1 Pet 1:8†; Ps 16:11†), I shall after this life possess complete bliss, such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man (1 Cor 2:9 [quoting Isa 64:4]), therein to praise God forever (John 17:3; 17:24†; 1 Cor 13:12†; Rev 4:9-11†; 5:9–14†; 7:15†).
Lord’s Day 23
Q. 59. But what does it help thee now that thou believest all this?
A. That I am righteous in Christ before God, and an heir of eternal life (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; 5:1-2†; John 3:36; Tit 3:7†).
Q. 60. How art thou righteous before God?
A. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 3:21-28; 5:1-2; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9†; Phil 3:9); that is, although my conscience accuse me that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them (Rom 3:9), and that I am still prone always to all evil (Rom 7:23), yet God, without any merit of mine (Tit 3:5; Deut 9:6; Ezek 36:22), of mere grace (Rom 3:24; Eph 2:8-9), grants and imputes to me (Rom 4:4-5; Gen 15:6†; Ps 32:1-2†; 2 Cor 5:19) the perfect satisfaction (Rom 3:24-25†; 1 John 2:2), righteousness, and holiness of Christ (1 John 2:1), as if I had never committed nor had any sin, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me (Isa 1:18†; Rom 4:24-25†; 2 Cor 5:21), if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart (John 3:18; Rom 3:22, 28; 10:10†; Gal 3:22†; Acts 16:30-31†).
Q. 61. Why sayest thou that thou art righteous only by faith (Rom 3:28‡)?
A. Not that I am acceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith (Ps 16:2†; 1 Cor 4:7†; Eph 2:8-9†); but because only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, is my righteousness before God (1 Cor 1:30-31; 2:2), and I can receive the same and make it my own in no other way than by faith only (Rom 10:10†; 1 John 5:10-11; Heb 11:6†; Phil 3:9†).
Lord’s Day 24
Q. 62. But why can not our good works be the whole or part of our righteousness before God?
A. Because the righteousness which can stand before the judgment-seat of God must be perfect throughout, and wholly conformable to the divine law (Rom 3:20†; Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26; Jas 2:10†); whereas even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin (Isa 64:6; Ps 143:2†).
Q. 63. How is it that our good works merit nothing, while yet it is God’s will to reward them in this life and in that which is to come (Matt 5:12†; 1 Tim 4:8‡; Heb 11:6†)?
A. The reward comes not of merit, but of grace (Luke 17:10; 2 Tim 4:7-8†; Rom 11:16†).
Q. 64. But does not this doctrine make me careless and profane?
A. No; for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by true faith should not bring forth fruits of righteousness (Rom 6:1-2†; Matt 7:18; Luke 6:43-45†; John 15:5).
OF THE HOLY SACRAMENTS
Lord’s Day 25
Q. 65. Since, then, we are made partakers of Christ and all his benefits by faith only, whence comes this faith?
A. The Holy Ghost works it in our hearts (Eph 2:8-9; 6:23†; John 3:5; Phil 1:29; 1 Cor 2:10-14) by the preaching of the holy Gospel (Rom 10:17†; 1 Pet 1:23-25†; Jas 1:18†; Heb 6:18†), and confirms it by the use of the holy Sacraments (Matt 28:19-20; Rom 4:11†; Acts 8:36, 38†; 10:47–48†; 1 Cor 10:16†).
Q. 66. What are the sacraments?
A. The sacraments are visible, holy signs and seals, appointed of God for this end, that by the use thereof he may the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the Gospel; namely, that he grants us out of free grace the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life, for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ accomplished on the cross (Gen 17:11; Rom 4:11; Lev 6:25; Deut 30:6; Ezek 20:12; 1 Sam 17:36; Isa 6:6-7; 54:9; Exod 12:13-14, 27; 13:9; Matt 26:27-28†; Acts 22:16†; Acts 2:38†; Heb 9:8-9, 24; 10:10†).
Q. 67. Are both these, then, the Word and the Sacraments, designed to direct our faith to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation?
A. Yes, truly; for the Holy Ghost teaches us in the Gospel, and by the holy Sacraments assures us, that our whole salvation stands in one sacrifice of Christ made for us on the cross (Rom 6:3; 1 Cor 2:2†; 11:26†; Gal 3:26-27).
Q. 68. How many Sacraments has Christ appointed in the New Testament?
A. Two: holy Baptism (Matt 28:19†; Mark 16:16† [TR]; 1 John 5:6†) and the holy Supper (Matt 26:26†; Mark 14:22†; Luke 22:19†; 1 Cor 11:23†; Acts 2:41-42†; 1 Cor 10:2-4†).
OF HOLY BAPTISM
Lord’s Day 26
Q. 69. How is it signified and sealed unto thee in holy Baptism that thou hast part in the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross?
A. Thus: that Christ has appointed this outward washing with water (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 2:38), and has joined therewith this promise (Matt 3:11; Mark 16:16 [TR]; John 1:33†; Rom 6:3-4), that I am washed his blood and Spirit from the pollution of my soul, that is, from all my sins, as certainly as I am washed outwardly with water whereby commonly the filthiness of the body is taken away (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; 1 Pet 3:20-21†; 1 John 1:7†; Eph 5:26†).
Q. 70. What is it to be washed with the blood and Spirit of Christ?
A. It is to have the forgiveness of sins from God, through grace, for the sake of Christ’s blood, which he shed for us by his sacrifice on the cross (Heb 12:24; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Rev 1:5; 7:14; 22:14; Zach 13:1; Ezek 36:25-27; Eph 1:7-8†); and also to be renewed by the Holy Ghost, and sanctified to be members of Christ, that so we may more and more die unto sin, and lead holy and unblamable lives (John 1:33; 3:5; 1 Cor 6:11; 12:13; Rom 6:4; Col 2:11-12; Heb 9:14†).
Q. 71. Where has Christ promised that we are as certainly washed with his blood and Spirit as with the water of baptism?
A. In the institution of Baptism, which runs thus: Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt 28:19). He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned (Mark 16:16 [TR]).This promise is also repeated, where the Scripture calls Baptism the washing of regeneration (Tit 3:5) and the washing away of sins (Acts 22:16).
Lord’s Day 27
Q. 72. Is, then, the outward washing with water itself the washing away of sins?
A. No (Matt 3:11; 1 Pet 3:21; Eph 5:26-27); for only the blood of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7; 1 Cor 6:11).
Q. 73. Why, then, doth the Holy Ghost call baptism the washing of regeneration (Tit 3:5†) and the washing away of sins (Acts 22:16†)?
A. God speaks thus not without great cause: namely, not only to teach us thereby, that like as the filthiness of the body is taken away by water, so our sins are taken away by the blood and Spirit of Christ (Rev 1:5; 7:14; 1 Cor 6:11); but much more, that by this divine pledge and token he may assure us that we are as really washed from our sins spiritually as our bodies are washed with water (Mark 16:16 [TR]; Acts 2:38†; Rom 6:3-4†; Gal 3:27; John 3:5†).
Q. 74. Are infants also to be baptized?
A. Yes; for since they, as well as their parents, belong to the covenant and people of God (Gen 17:7; 1 Cor 7:14†; Joel 2:16†; Matt 19:14), and both redemption from sin and the Holy Ghost, who works faith, are through the blood of Christ promised to them no less than to their parents (Luke 1:14-15; Ps 22:10; Isa 44:1-3; Acts 2:39; 16:31†), they are also by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be ingrafted into the Christian Church, and distinguished from the children of unbelievers (Acts 10:47; 1 Cor 12:13†; 2 Cor 6:15), as was done in the Old Testament by Circumcision (Gen 17:12-14), in place of which in the New Testament Baptism is appointed (Col 2:11-13).
OF THE HOLY SUPPER OF THE LORD
Lord’s Day 28
Q. 75. How is it signified and sealed unto thee, in the Holy Supper that thou dost partake of the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross and all his benefits?
A. Thus, that Christ has commanded me and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, and has joined therewith these promises (Matt 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor 10:16-17; 11:23-26; 12:13): First, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes, the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and, further, that with his crucified body and shed blood he himself feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, as certainly as I receive from the hand of the minister, and taste with my mouth, the bread and cup of the Lord, which are given me as certain tokens of the body and blood of Christ.
Q. 76. What is it to eat the crucified body and drink the shed blood of Christ?
A. It is not only to embrace with a believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ, and thereby to obtain the forgiveness of sins and life eternal (1 Cor 10:16†; John 6:35, 40, 48, 50-51, 53-54), but moreover, also, to be so united more and more to his sacred body by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us (John 6:55-56; 1 Cor 12:13†), that although he is in heaven (Acts 3:21; 1:9-11; 1 Cor 11:26; Col 3:1†), and we on earth, we are nevertheless flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones (Eph 3:16-17; 5:30 [TR; quoting Gen 2:23]; 1 Cor 6:15-19; 1 John 3:24; 4:13), and live and are governed forever by one Spirit, as members of the same body are by one soul (John 14:23; 6:47, 57-58; 15:1-6; Eph 4:15-16).
Q. 77. Where has Christ promised that he will thus feed and nourish believers with his body and blood, as certainly as they eat of this broken bread and drink of this cup?
A. In the institution of the Supper, which runs thus: The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said: ‘Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me.’ After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying: ‘This cup is the New Testament in my blood; this do ye as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.’ (1 Cor 11:23-26; Matt 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; Exod 24:8†; Heb 9:20†; Exod 13:9†). And this promise is repeated also by St. Paul, where he says: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread (1 Cor 10:16-17).
Lord’s Day 29
Q. 78. Do, then, the bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ?
A. No; but as the water in Baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, nor becomes the washing away of sins itself, being only the divine token and assurance thereof (Matt 26:29; Mark 14:24; John 6:35-63†; Eph 5:26†; Acts 22:16†), so also in the Lord’s Supper the sacred bread does not become the body of Christ itself (1 Cor 10:16-17; 11:26-28), though agreeably to the nature and usage of sacraments (Gen 17:10-11; Exod 12:26-27, 43, 48; 13:9; Acts 7:8; Exod 24:8; Lev 16:10; 17:11; Isa 6:6-7; Tit 3:5; Acts 22:16; 1 Pet 3:21; 1 Cor 10:1-4) it is called the body of Christ.
Q. 79. Why, then, doth Christ call the bread his body, and the cup his blood, or the New Testament in his blood; and St. Paul, the communion of body and blood of Christ?
A. Christ speaks thus not without great cause: namely, not only thereby that like as bread and wine sustain this temporal life, so also his crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink of our souls unto eternal life (John 6:51, 55-56); but much more, by this visible sign and pledge to assure us that we are as really partakers of his true body and blood, through the working of the Holy Ghost, as we receive by the mouth of the body these holy tokens in remembrance of him (1 Cor 10:16-17; 11:26†; Eph 5:30, 32†); and that all his sufferings and obedience are as certainly our own as if we had ourselves suffered and done all in our own persons (Rom 5:9-19†; 6:5–11†; 8:4†).
Lord’s Day 30
Q. 80. What difference is there between the Lord’s Supper and the Popish Mass?
A. The Lord’s Supper testifies to us, that we have a full forgiveness of all our sins by the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself has once accomplished on the cross (Heb 7:26; Heb 9:12, 25-28; Heb 10:10, 12-14; John 19:30; Matt 26:28; Luke 22:19-20; 2 Cor 5:21†); [and that by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted into Christ (1 Cor 6:17; 10:16-17; 12:13), who with his true body is now in heaven at the right hand of God his Father (Heb 1:3; 8:1-2; Matt 6:20-21†), and is to be worshiped (John 4:21-24; 20:17; Luke 24:52-53; Acts 7:55-56; Col 3:1; Phil 3:20-21; 1 Thess 1:9-10)]. But the Mass teaches that the living and dead have not forgiveness of sins through the sufferings of Christ unless Christ is still daily offered for them by the priests; [and that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine, and is therefore to be worshiped in them]. And thus the Mass at bottom is nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice and passion of Jesus Christ (cf. Council of Trent, Thirteenth Session, chap. 5; Isa 1:11-14†; Matt 4:10† [cited from Deut 6:13]; Matt 15:9†; Col 2:22-23†; Jer 2:13†; Heb 9:12, 26; 10:12, 14) [and an accursed idolatry].
Q. 81. Who are to come unto the table of the Lord?
A. Those who are displeased with themselves for their sins, yet trust that these are forgiven them (Matt 5:3, 6†; Luke 7:37-38†; 15:18–19†), and that their remaining infirmity is covered by the passion and death of Christ (Ps 103:3†; Eph 1:7†; Matt 11:28†); who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and amend their life (Matt 5:5†; Ps 24:3-4†; 116:12–14†). But the impenitent and hypocrites eat and drink judgment to themselves (1 Pet 2:11-12†; 1 Cor 10:19-22; 11:28-29; 2 Cor 13:5†; Tit 1:16†; Ps 50:15-16†).
Q. 82. Are they, then, also to be admitted to this Supper who show themselves to be, by their confession and life, unbelieving and ungodly?
A. No; for by this the covenant of God is profaned, and his wrath provoked against the whole congregation (1 Cor 10:21†; 11:27–34; Isa 1:11-15; 66:3†; Jer 7:21-23; Ps 50:6, 16, 21); wherefore the Christian Church is bound, according to the order of Christ and his Apostles, by the office of the keys to exclude such persons until they amend their life (Matt 7:6†; 18:17–18†; Tit 3:10-11†; 2 Thess 3:6†).
Lord’s Day 31
Q. 83. What is the Office of the Keys?
A. The preaching of the holy Gospel and Church discipline; by which two things the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers and shut against unbelievers (Matt 16:18-19; 18:18; John 20:22-23†).
Q. 84. How is the kingdom of heaven opened and shut by the preaching of the holy Gospel?
A. In this way: that, according to the command of Christ, it is proclaimed and openly witnessed to believers, one and all (Matt 28:19†; Mark 16:15-16† [TR]; Rom 10:17†; 2 Tim 4:2†), that as often as they accept with true faith the promise of the Gospel, all their sins are really forgiven them of God for the sake of Christ’s merits (Luke 24:47†; Acts 10:43†); and on the contrary, to all unbelievers and hypocrites, that the wrath of God and eternal condemnation abide on them so long as they are not converted (John 3:31-36†; 2 Thess 1:7-9†; John 20:21-23; Matt 16:19; Matt 18:15-19†; 2 Sam 12†; Rom 2:2-17†; 2 Cor 2:15-16†; 1 Tim 5:20†): according to which witness of the Gospel will be the judgment of God, both in this life and in that which is to come.
Q. 85. How is the kingdom of heaven shut and opened by Church discipline?
A. In this way: that, according to the command of Christ, if any under the Christian name show themselves unsound either in doctrine or life, and after repeated brotherly admonition refuse to turn from their errors or evil ways, they are complained of to the Church or to its proper officers (Rom 12:7-9; 1 Cor 12:28†; 1 Tim 5:17), and, if they neglect to hear them also, are by them excluded from the holy Sacraments and the Christian communion, and by God himself from the kingdom of Christ (Matt 18:15-18; 1 Cor 5:3-5; 2 Thess 3:14-15; 2 John 10-11); and if they promise and show real amendment, they are again received as members of Christ and his Church (Luke 15:20-24†; 2 Cor 2:5-8, 10).
THE THIRD PART: OF THANKFULNESS
Lord’s Day 32
Q. 86. Since, then, we are redeemed from our misery by grace through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we do good works?
A. Because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood (cf. 1 Pet 1:18-19‡), renews us also by his holy Spirit (cf. 1 Pet 1:23‡) after his own image, that with our whole life we may show ourselves thankful to God for his blessing (Rom 6:13; 12:1-2; 1 Pet 2:5, 9-10; 1 Cor 6:20), and that he may be glorified through us (Matt 5:16; 1 Pet 2:12); then, also, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by the fruits thereof (1 Pet 1:6-7†; Matt 7:17-18; Luke 13:6-9†; John 15:5†; Gal 5:6, 22-25; 2 Pet 1:10-11), and by our godly walk may win our neighbors also to Christ (1 Pet 3:1-2; Rom 14:19; Matt 5:16).
Q. 87. Can they, then, not be saved who do not turn to God from their unthankful, impenitent life?
A. By no means; for, as the Scripture saith, no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or any such like, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21†; Eph 5:5-6; 1 John 3:14-15; 2 Cor 7:10†; Rev 21:8†; 22:15†).
Lord’s Day 33
Q. 88. In how many things does true repentance or conversion consist?
A. In two things: the dying of the old man, and the quickening of the new (Rom 6:4-6; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-10; 1 Cor 5:7; 2 Cor 5:17†; 7:10–11).
Q. 89. What is the dying of the old man?
A. Heartfelt sorrow for sin; causing us to hate and turn from it always more and more (Rom 8:13; Ps 51:8, 12; Joel 2:13; Hos 5:15-6:1; Luke 15:18†; 2 Cor 7:10†).
Q. 90. What is the quickening of the new man?
A. Heartfelt joy in God (Ps 51:8, 12†; Rom 5:1; 14:17; Isa 57:15); causing us to take delight in living according to the will of God in all good works (Rom 6:10-14; 7:22; 1 Pet 4:2†; Gal 2:19-20; Ps 1:2).
Q. 91. But what are good works?
A. Those only which are done from true faith (John 15:5†; Rom 14:23; Heb 11:6†), according to the law of God (Lev 18:4†; 1 Sam 15:22; Eph 2:10), for his glory (1 Cor 10:31); and not such as rest on our own opinion or the commandments of men (Num 15:39†; Deut 12:32; Ezek 20:18-19; Isa 29:13-14; Matt 15:7-9).
Q. 92. What is the law of God?
A. God spake all these words, saying (Exod 20:1-17; Deut 5:5-21):
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exod 20:2-3; Deut 5:6-7).
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them. For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments (Exod 20:4-6; Deut 5:8-10).
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain (Exod 20:7; Deut 5:11).
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it (Exod 20:8-11; Deut 5:12-15).
Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee (Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16).
Thou shalt not kill (Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17).
Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18).
Thou shalt not steal (Exod 20:15; Deut 5:19).
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor (Exod 20:16; Deut 5:20).
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s (Exod 20:17; Deut 5:21).
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Q. 93. How are these Commandments divided?
A. Into two tables (Exod 32:15‡; 34:1, 28; Deut 4:13; 10:3-4): the first of which teaches us, in four commandments, what duties we owe to God; the second, in six, what duties we owe to our neighbor (Matt 22:37-40).
Q. 94. What does God require in the first commandment?
A. That, on peril of my soul’s salvation, I avoid and flee all idolatry (1 Cor 6:9-10; 10:7, 14; 1 John 5:21†), sorcery, enchantments (Lev 18:21†; 19:31; Deut 18:10-12), invocation of saints or of other creatures (Matt 4:10 [citing Deut 6:13]; Rev 19:10; 22:8-9); and that I rightly acknowledge the only true God (John 17:3), trust in him alone (Jer 17:5-7), with all humility (1 Pet 5:5-6) and patience (Heb 10:36; Col 1:11; Rom 5:3-5; 1 Cor 10:10; Phil 2:14) expect all good from him only (Ps 104:27-30; Isa 45:7; Mic 7:7†; Jas 1:17), love (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37-38), fear (Deut 6:2; Ps 111:10; Prov 1:7; 9:10; Matt 10:28†; 1 Pet 1:17†), and honor him (Deut 6:13†; Matt 4:10; Deut 10:20; Rev 5:13†) with my whole heart; so as rather to renounce all creatures than do the least thing against his will (Matt 5:29-30; 10:37-39; Acts 5:29; Eph 2:12; Rom 1:23; Matt 5:19†).
Q. 95. What is idolatry?
A. It is, instead of the one true God who has revealed himself in his Word, or along with the same, to conceive or have something else on which to place our trust (Gal 4:8; Eph 1:12-13†; 2:12; 5:5; 1 Pet 4:3; Phil 3:19; 1 Chr 16:26; 2 Chron 16:12†; 1 John 2:23; 5:21; 2 John 9; Matt 6:24†; John 5:23†).
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Q. 96. What does God require in the second commandment?
A. That we in nowise make any image of God (Deut 4:15-19; Isa 40:18, 19-25; Rom 1:23-25; Acts 17:29), nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his Word (Lev 10:1-7†; 1 Sam 15:23; Deut 12:30-32; Matt 15:9 [quoting Isa 29:13]; John 4:23-24†).
Q. 97. Must we, then, not make any image at all?
A. God may not and can not be imaged in any way; as for creatures, though they may indeed be imaged, yet God forbids the making or keeping any likeness of them either to worship them, or by them to serve himself (Exod 23:24-25; 34:14, 17; Num 33:51-52; Deut 4:12, 15-18; 7:5; 12:3; 16:22; 2 Kgs 18:4; Exod 35:30-33; Lev 26:1†; Ps 97:7†; Isa 40:18, 25†; 46:5†; Rom 1:23†).
Q. 98. But may not pictures be tolerated in churches as books for the laity (cf. Pope Gregory I)?
A. No; for we should not be wiser than God, who will not have his people taught by dumb idols (Jer 10:8-10; Hab 2:18-19; Deut 27:15†), but by the lively preaching of his Word (Rom 10:14-15, 17†; 2 Pet 1:19; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Heb 4:12†).
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Q. 99. What is required in the third commandment?
A. That we must not by cursing (Lev 24:10-17), or by false swearing (Lev 19:12), nor yet by unnecessary oaths (Matt 5:34-37; Jas 5:12), profane or abuse the name of God; nor even by our silence and connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in others (Lev 5:1, 4†; Prov 29:24†); and in sum, that we use the holy name of God no otherwise than with fear and reverence (Deut 28:58†; Ps 99:1-5†; Isa 45:23; Jer 4:2†; Mal 4:2†), so that he may be rightly confessed (Matt 10:32-33; Rom 10:9-10†) and worshiped by us (Ps 50:14-15†; 1 Tim 2:8), and be glorified in all our words and works (Rom 2:24; [quoting Isa 52:5]; 1 Tim 6:1; Col 3:16).
Q. 100. Is, then, the profaning of God’s name, by swearing and cursing, so grievous a sin that his wrath is kindled against those also who do seek not, as much as in them lies, to hinder and forbid the same?
A. Yes, truly (Lev 5:1; Prov 29:24-25†); for no sin is greater or more provoking to God than the profaning of his name. Wherefore he even commanded it to be punished with death (Lev 24:15-16).
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Q. 101. But may we not swear by the name of God in a religious manner?
A. Yes; when the magistrate requires it, or it may be needful otherwise (Matt 5:33ff.‡; 26:63‡) to maintain and promote fidelity and truth (Exod 22:11†; Neh 13:25†), to the glory of God and our neighbor’s good. For such swearing is grounded in God’s Word (Deut 6:13; 10:20; Isa 48:1; Jer 4:1-2†; Heb 6:16), and therefore was rightly used by the saints in the Old and New Testament (Gen 21:23-24; 31:53-54; Josh 9:15, 19; 1 Sam 24:21-22; 2 Sam 3:35; 1 Kgs 1:29-30; Rom 1:9; 9:1†; 2 Cor 1:23).
Q. 102. May we swear by the saints or any other creatures?
A. No; for a lawful oath is a calling upon God, as the only searcher of hearts, to bear witness to the truth, and to punish me if I swear falsely (2 Cor 1:23; Rom 9:1; Isa 65:16†; 1 Kgs 8:31-32†); which honor is due to no creature (Matt 5:34-36; 23:16-22†; Jas 5:12; Jer 5:7†).
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Q. 103. What does God require in the fourth commandment?
A. In the first place, that the ministry of the Gospel and schools be maintained (Deut 6:4-9†; 6:20–25†; Tit 1:5; 1 Tim 3:14-15; 4:13-16; 5:17; 1 Cor 9:11-14; 2 Tim 2:2; 3:15); and that I, especially on the day of rest, diligently attend [the] church [of God] (Lev 23:3†; Deut 12:5-12†; Ps 40:9-10; 68:26; Acts 2:42, 46; Heb 10:23-25†), to learn the Word of God (Rom 10:14-17†; 1 Cor 14:19, 29, 31; 1 Tim 4:13, 19 [?]†), to use the holy Sacraments (Acts 20:7†; 1 Cor 11:33-34), to call publicly upon the Lord (Col 3:16†; 1 Tim 2:1-3, 8-9; 1 Cor 14:16), and to give Christian alms (Ps 50:14†; 1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 8-9†). In the second place, that all the days of my life I rest from my evil works, allow the Lord to work in me by his Spirit, and thus begin in this life the everlasting Sabbath (Isa 66:23; Heb 4:9-11†).
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Q. 104. What does God require in the fifth commandment?
A. That I show all honor, love, and faithfulness to my father and mother, and to all in authority over me; submit myself with due obedience to all their good instruction and correction (Eph 6:1-2, 5; Col 3:18-24; Eph 5:22; Rom 1:31†; Prov 1:8; 4:1†; 15:20; 20:20; Exod 21:17; Rom 13:1; Deut 6:6-9†; 1 Tim 5:17†), and also bear patiently with their infirmities (Prov 23:22; Gen 9:24-26; 1 Pet 2:18), since it is God’s will to govern us by their hand (Eph 6:4-9; Col 3:19-21; Rom 13:2, 7; Matt 22:21).
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Q. 105. What does God require in the sixth commandment?
A. That I neither in thought, nor in word or look [German: GebÄrden], much less in deeds, revile, hate, insult, or kill my neighbor, whether by myself or by another (Matt 5:21-22; Prov 12:18†; 24:8†; Matt 26:52; Gen 9:6; Lev 19:17-18†); but lay aside all desire of revenge (Prov 25:21-22†; Eph 4:26-32; Rom 12:19; Matt 5:25; 5:39-40†; 18:35): moreover, that I harm not myself, nor willfully run into any danger (Rom 13:14; Col 2:23; Sir 3:26†; Matt 4:7). Wherefore, also, to restrain murder the magistrate is armed with the sword (Gen 9:6; Exod 21:14; Matt 26:52; Rom 13:4).
Q. 106. But this commandment speaks only of killing?
A. In forbidding this, however, God means to teach us that he abhors the root of murder—namely, envy (Prov 14:30†; Rom 1:29-32; Jas 3:16†), hatred (1 John 2:9-11), anger (Jas 1:20; 2:13†; Gal 5:19-21), and desire of revenge; and that all these are in his sight hidden murder (Rom 12:19†; 1 John 3:15).
Q. 107. Is it, then, enough that we do not kill our neighbor in any such way?
A. No; for in condemning envy, hatred, and anger, God requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt 7:12; 22:39; Rom 12:10), to show patience, peace, meekness (Eph 4:1-3; Gal 6:1-2; Matt 5:5; Rom 12:18; 1 Pet 3:8†), mercy (Matt 5:7; Luke 6:36), and kindness towards him (Col 3:12†; Rom 12:20-21), and so far as we have power, to prevent his hurt (Exod 23:5); also, to do good even unto our enemies (Matt 5:44-45; Prov 25:21-22†; Rom 12:20-21).
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Q. 108. What does the seventh commandment teach us?
A. That all unchastity is accursed of God (Lev 18:27-29; Gal 5:19-21†; Eph 5:3-5†); and that we should therefore loathe it from the heart (Deut 29:20-23†; Jude 23), and live chastely and modesty (1 Thess 4:3-5), whether in holy wedlock or single life (Heb 13:4; 1 Cor 7:7).
Q. 109. Does God in this commandment forbid nothing more than adultery, and such like gross sins?
A. Since our body and soul are both temples of the Holy Ghost, it is his will that we keep both pure and holy; for which reason he forbids all unchaste actions, gestures [German: GebÄrden], words (Eph 5:3-4; 1 Cor 6:18-20), thoughts, desires (Matt 5:27-28), and whatever may entice men thereto (Eph 4:29; 5:18-19; 1 Cor 15:33).
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Q. 110. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?
A. Not only such theft (Exod 22:1†; 1 Cor 6:10) and robbery (1 Cor 5:10; Isa 33:1†) as are punished by the magistrate, but God views as theft also all wicked tricks and devices whereby we seek to draw to ourselves our neighbor’s goods, (c) whether by force or with show of right (Luke 3:14; 1 Thess 4:6; Jas 5:1-6†), such as unjust weights (Prov 11:1; Prov 12:22†; 16:11; Mic 6:9-11†), ells, measures (Ezek 45:9-10; Deut 25:13-15), wares, coins, usury (Ps 15:5; Luke 6:35), (e) or any means forbidden of God (Jer 22:13; Amos 8:4-7†); so, moreover, all covetousness (Luke 12:15†; 1 Cor 6:10†; Eph 5:5†; 1 Tim 6:9-10), and useless waste of his gifts (Prov 5:16; 21:20†; 23:20–21; Luke 16:10-13†; John 6:12).
Q. 111. But what does God require of thee in this commandment?
A. That I further my neighbor’s good where I can and may, deal with him as I would have others deal with me (Matt 7:12; Phil 2:4†), and labor faithfully that I may be able to help the poor in their need (Prov 5:16†; Isa 58:5-10†; Gal 6:9-10†; Eph 4:28; 1 Thess 4:11†; Heb 13:16†).
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Q. 112. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. That I bear false witness against no one (Prov 19:5, 9; 21:28); wrest no one’s words (Ps 15:3; 50:19-20†); be no backbiter or slanderer (Rom 1:28-32); join in condemning no one unheard and rashly (Matt 7:1-2; Luke 6:37; Jas 4:11†; John 7:24, 51†): but that I avoid, on pain of God’s heavy wrath, all lying and deceit (Lev 19:11-12†; Prov 12:22; 13:5; Rev 21:8†), as being the proper works of the devil (John 8:44); in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other affairs, love, honestly speak and confess the truth (1 Cor 13:6; Eph 4:25, 29); and, so far as I can, defend and promote my neighbor’s good name (1 Pet 3:8-9†; 4:8).
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Q. 113. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A. That not even the least inclination or thought against any of God’s commandments ever enter into our hearts; but that, with our whole heart, we continually hate all sin, and take pleasure in all righteousness (Ps 19:7-14†; 139:23–24†; Prov 4:23†; Rom 7:7-8; Matt 15:19†; Jas 1:14-15†; Gal 5:24†; Col 3:5†).
Q. 114. Can those who are converted to God keep these commandments perfectly?
A. No; but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience (1 Kgs 8:46†; Ps 130:3†; 1 John 1:8-10; Rom 7:14-15; Eccl 7:21 [?]; 1 Cor 13:9†), yet so that with earnest purpose they begin to live, not only according to some, but according to all the commandments of God (Ps 1:1-2†; 19:13†; Rom 7:22-23; Jas 2:10-11; 3:2†; Phil 3:14†).
Q. 115. Why, then, doth God so strictly enjoin upon us the ten commandments, since in this life no one can keep them?
A. First, that all our life long we may learn more and more to know (a) our sinful nature (1 John 1:9; Ps 3:2-5† [?]; 32:5; 1 John 1:9; Rom 3:20†; 5:13†; 7:7†), and so the more earnestly seek forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ (Rom 7:24-25; Matt 5:6†; 11:28†); secondly, that we may continually strive and beg from God the grace of the Holy Ghost (Ps 51:12†), so as to become more and more changed into the image of God, till we attain finally to full perfection after this life (1 Cor 9:24; Phil 3:12-14; 1 John 3:1-3†).
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Q. 116. Why is prayer necessary for Christians?
A. Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us (Ps 50:14-15; 116:12-19†; 1 Thess 5:16-18†), and because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit only to such as earnestly and without ceasing beg them from him and render thanks for them (Matt 7:7; 13:12; Luke 11:9-13; Ps 50:14-15).
Q. 117. What belongs to such prayer as God is pleased with and will hear?
A. First, that from the heart (John 4:23-24; Ps 145:18-20) we call pray only upon the one true God (Matt 4:10†; John 4:22-24; Rev 19:10†; 22:9), who has revealed himself to us in his Word, for all that he has commanded us to ask of him (Rom 8:26-27; Jas 1:5†; 1 John 5:14-15); secondly, that we thoroughly know our need and misery (2 Chr 20:12; Luke 18:13†), so as to humble ourselves before the face of his divine majesty (2 Chr 7:14†; Ps 2:11; 34:18; 62:8†; Isa 66:2; Rev 4†); thirdly, that we be firmly assured (Rom 10:14 [?]; 8:15–16; Jas 1:6-8) that, notwithstanding our unworthiness, he will, for the sake of Christ our Lord (John 14:13-16; 15:7, 16; 16:23†; Dan 9:17-18), certainly hear our prayer, as he has promised us in his Word (Matt 7:8; Ps 143:1; 27:8).
Q. 118. What has God commanded us to ask of him?
A. All things necessary for soul and body, which Christ our Lord has comprised in the prayer taught us by himself (Jas 1:17; Matt 6:33; Matt 6:9-10†; Luke 11:2†).
Q. 119. What is the Lord’s Prayer?
A. Our Father who art in heaven: Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen (Matt 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4).
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Q. 120. Why has Christ commanded us to address God thus: Our Father (Matt 6:9†)?
A. To awaken in us, at the very beginning of our prayer, that filial reverence (1 Pet 1:17†) and trust toward God which are to be the ground of our prayer (Isa 63:16†; Gal 4:6†; Eph 3:14-15†); namely, that God has become our Father through Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of him in faith than our parents refuse earthly things (Matt 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13; Isa 49:15†).
Q. 121. Why is it added: Who art in heaven?
A. That we may have no earthly thought of the heavenly majesty of God (Jer 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-27), and may expect from his almighty power all things necessary for body and soul (Matt 6:25-34†; Rom 8:31-32†; Rom 10:12).
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Q. 122. What is the first petition?
A. Hallowed be thy name (Matt 6:9†). That is: Enable us rightly to know thee (John 17:3; Jer 9:23-24; 31:33-34; Matt 16:17; Jas 1:5; Ps 119:105), and to hallow, magnify, and praise thee in all thy works (Ps 100:3-4†), in which shine forth thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy, and truth (Ps 119:137-38; Luke 1:46-55; 1:68-75†; Ps 145:8-9, 17; Exod 34:6-7; Jer 31:3; 32:18-19, 40-41; 33:11, 20-21; Rom 3:4; 2 Tim 2:19; Matt 19:17; Rom 11:22-23); and likewise so to order our whole life, in thought, word, and work, that thy name may never be blasphemed, but honored and praised on our account (Ps 71:8; 115:1; Matt 5:16†; Rom 11:33; 1 Cor 10:31†).
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Q. 123. What is the second petition?
A. Thy kingdom come (Matt 6:10†). That is: So govern us by thy Word and Spirit that we may submit ourselves unto thee always more and more (Matt 6:33; Ps 86:11†; 119:5; 119:105†; 143:10); preserve and increase thy Church (Ps 51:18; 102:14-15†; 122:6–7; Matt 16:18†; Acts 2:42-47†); destroy the works of the devil, every power that exalteth itself against thee, and all wicked devices formed against thy holy Word (1 John 3:8; Rom 16:20), until the full coming of thy kingdom (Rev 22:17, 20; Rom 8:22-23), (d) wherein thou shalt be all in all (1 Cor 15:28).
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Q. 124. What is the third petition?
A. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10†). That is: Grant that we and all men may renounce our own will (Matt 7:21†; 16:24; Tit 2:11-12), and yield ourselves, without gainsaying, to thy will, which alone is good (1 Sam 3:18†; Luke 22:42; Eph 5:10†; Rom 12:1-2†); that so every one may fulfill his office and calling (Luke 12:42†; 1 Cor 7:24; Eph 4:1†; Eph 6:5-9) as willingly and truly as the angels do in heaven (Ps 103:20-21).
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Q. 125. What is the fourth petition?
A. Give us this day our daily bread (Matt 6:11†). That is: Be pleased to provide for all our bodily need (Ps 104:27-28; 145:15-16; Matt 6:25-26), that we may thereby know that thou art the only fountain of all good (Acts 14:17; 17:25-28; Jas 1:17†), and that without thy blessing neither our care and labor nor thy gifts can profit us (Matt 16:8†; 1 Cor 15:38 [?]; 1 Cor 15:58†; Deut 8:3; Ps 37:16-17, 32; 127:1-2†), and may therefore withdraw our trust from all creatures, and place it alone in thee (Ps 55:22; 62:8, 10; 146:3†; Jer 17:5, 7†; Heb 13:5-6†).
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Q. 126. What is the fifth petition?
A. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. That is: Be pleased, for the sake of Christ’s blood, not to impute to us, miserable sinners, our manifold transgressions, nor the evil which still always cleaves to us (Matt 6:12†; Ps 32:1-5†; 51:1–5; 143:2; Rom 8:1†; 1 John 1:9†; 2:1); as we also find this witness of thy grace in us, that it is our full purpose heartily to forgive our neighbor (Matt 6:14-15; 18:21-35†).
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Q. 127. What is the sixth petition?
A. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matt 6:13†). That is: Since we are so weak in ourselves that we can not stand a moment (John 15:5; Gal 6:1†; Rom 8:26†; Ps 103:14-16), while our deadly enemies—the devil (2 Cor 11:14†; 1 Pet 5:8; Eph 6:11-12), the world (John 15:19), and our own flesh (Rom 7:23; Gal 5:17; Jas 1:14†)—assail us without ceasing, be pleased to preserve and strengthen us by the power of thy Holy Spirit, that we may make firm stand against them, and not sink in this spiritual war (Matt 10:19-20†; 26:41; Mark 13:33; Rom 5:3-5†), until we come off at last with complete victory (1 Cor 10:13†; 1 Thess 3:13; 5:23; Rom 16:20†).
Q. 128. How do you close this prayer?
A. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. That is: All this we ask of thee, because as our King, having power over all things, thou art both willing and able to give us all good (Matt 6:13†; Rom 10:11-12; 2 Pet 2:9; 2 Chr 20:6†), and thereby not we but thy holy name may be glorified forever (1 Chr 29:10-12†; John 14:13; Ps 115:1; Jer 33:8-9; Phil 4:20).
Q. 129. What is the meaning of the word Amen?
A. Amen means: So shall it truly and surely be. For my prayer is much more certainly heard of God than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of him (2 Cor 1:20; 2 Tim 2:13; Isa 65:24†; Eph 3:20-21†; Jer 28:6†).
The text of the catechism is reproduced from, “The Heidelberg Catechism. A.D. 1563,” in Philip Schaff and David S. Schaff, eds., The Creeds of Christendom (1931; repr., Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 3:307–55. This translation is in the public domain. We have added the divisions in Lord’s Days.
† This symbol indicates references added in later editions of a confession or catechism
‡ This symbol indicates references added by editors of the RSB project
The Heidelberg Catechism