The First Part - Of The Misery Of Man

 2. Lord's Day

Question  3
Whence knowest thou thy misery?

A. Out of the law of God.(1)

(1) Rom 3:20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Additional Questions:

1. Of what misery is it here speaking?
Of the misery of fallen man.

2. What is the meaning of the word misery and what does it involve?
It means total wretchedness, that is, without God in the world.

3. From where does the sinner learn his misery?  
From the law of God.

4. Of which law is here spoken? 
Of the moral law or the law of the Ten Commandments.

5. How does the sinner learn to know his misery from the law of God? 
By the operation of God's Spirit he learns to know himself as a transgressor of all God's commandments.

Question 4
What does the law of God require of us?

A. Christ teaches us that briefly, Matt 22:37-40  "Thou shalt love  the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all  thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the  law and the prophets."(1)

(1) Luke 10:27  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord  thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength,and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

Additional Questions:

1. What is the chief requirement of God's law?  
It is to love God above all and our neighbor as our self.

2. What does it mean to love God above all?  
To acknowledge Him as the greatest good, and to cleave unto Him and serve Him.

3. Who is our neighbor? 
It is every human being, without distinction.

4. How are we to love our neighbor?
We are to love him as ourselves, that means, to prevent everything which might be harmful for him and to seek everything which could serve to his salvation.

5. Why does Christ mention the love to God as the first and the great commandment? 
It is because love to God needs to be first and foremost above all things (Matthew 10:37).

6. Why is the love to the neighbor like unto it?  
It is because the same Lawgiver has commanded it, and therefore this commandment also has divine authority.

Question 5  
Canst thou keep all these things perfectly?

A. In no wise;(1) for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbour.(2)

(1) Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.
1 John 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,  and the truth is not in us.

(2) Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Tit 3:3  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

Additional Questions:

1. Who is it that is speaking in this answer and in the entire catechism? 
It is a child of God, who by grace has received the only comfort.

2. Why is it asked: Canst thou keep all these things perfectly?  It is because the Lord requires not a half, but a complete obedience, both inwardly and outwardly.

3. What does "by nature" signify?  
It is as we are fallen in Adam.

4. What does this answer say of every person?  
That he by nature is prone to hate God and his neighbor.

5. Does every person give equal evidence of this is his life? No, for because of God's common goodness, man is restrained, so that it is still possible for people to live together.

6. What does this answer then indicate?  
It is that in the heart of man by nature there dwells nothing good.

 3. Lord's Day

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

A. By no means; but God created man good,(1) and after His own image, in true righteousness and holiness,(2) that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love Him and live with Him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise Him.(3)

(1) Gen 1:31  And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were  the sixth day.

(2) Gen 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen 1:27  So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
Col 3:10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.
Eph 4:24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

(3) Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He  hath made us accepted in the beloved.
1 Cor 6:20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Additional Questions:

1. What is asked here? 
Whether God has created man so wicked and perverse?

2. Did God create man so wicked and perverse?  
 No, for God created man good and after His own image.

3. What is meant when it says that man was created good?  That he was without any flaw, capable to live to God's honor.

4. What is included in being created in God's image?  
That he displayed the image of his Creator.

5. In what does that image consist? 
In knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.

6. What was the purpose of man's being created in this way?  In order that:
a. He might rightly know God his Creator;
b. He might heartily love Him;
c. He might live with Him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise Him.

7. Which offices did man have in the state of rectitude? 
He was prophet, priest, and king.

Question  7
Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?

A. From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise;(1) hence our nature is become so corrupt, that we are all conceived and born in sin.(2)

(1) Gen 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
Rom 5:18  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Rom 5:19  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

(2) Psa 51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Gen  5:3  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.

Additional Questions:

1. What is the cause of the depravity of human nature?
The fall and the breaking of the covenant in Paradise.

2. What is the fall? 
The disobedience of Adam, by which the covenant of works was broken.

3. In what did this disobedience consist?  
In the transgression of the trial commandment.

4. What was included in the trial commandment?  
Not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

5. For what purpose did God give this trial commandment?  To try man whether he would willingly obey God.

6. Did man keep this commandment?
No, he transgressed the commandment of God and received the threatened punishment.

7. What was that punishment? 
In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

8. What was the consequence of this fall into sin?  
By it our nature has become so corrupt, that we are all conceived and born in sin.

9. What is the evidence of this? 
The internal depravity which extends over the entire man.

Question  8
Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?

A. Indeed we are;(1) except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.(2)

(1) Gen 6:5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Job 14:4  Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
Job 15:14  What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
Job 15:16  How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

(2) John 3:5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee,  Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, ( by grace ye are saved ).

Additional Questions:

1. What is considered in this question?  
The extent to which the innate corruption of man extends.

2. What does the answer say regarding this?  
That we are wholly incapable of doing any good and inclined to all wickedness.

3. What did man lose by his deep fall?  
He lost the image of God in the narrow sense, that is, the true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.

4. What has man still been able to keep?  
The image of God in the broader sense, that is, he remained a rational, moral creature.

5. What does our Belgic Confession of Faith say of this? 
That it is sufficient to leave man without excuse.

6. What is spiritual goodness?  
Everything which takes place out of perfect love to God.

7. Does man still have a free will to do the good?  
No, by the fall he is become a slave of sin.

8. What is therefore necessary for each person?  
That he be regenerated by the Spirit of God (John 3:3).

9. In what does this regeneration consist?  
In a deliverance from the greatest evil and a bringing unto the greatest good.

  4. Lord's Day

Question  9
Does not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in  His law, that which he cannot perform?

A. Not at all;(1) for God made man capable of performing it;(2) but man, by the instigation of the devil,(3) and his own wilful disobedience, deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.(4)

(1) Eccl 7:29  Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

(2) John 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth,because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
2 Cor 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

(3) Gen 3:4  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.
Gen 3:7  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

(4) Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

Additional Questions:

1. What was not changed by the disobedience of man?  
The requirement of God to keep His law perfectly.

2. Is that then not unjust that the Lord continues to require what man can no longer do? 
No, for God created man in a way that could do it.

3. What is then the cause that the righteous requirement of God can no longer fulfilled? 
Man has deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts through the instigation of the devil and his own wilful disobedience.

4. Who is meant by man? 
Adam, the first man, and we in him.

5. What relationship do we have with Adam?
a. A natural relationship, for he is the father of us all.
b. A covenant relationship, for he is the head of the covenant of works.

6. What does it mean that Adam is the head of the covenant for all of us? 
It means that he represented all his posterity and they were all included in him.

7. What was therefore the consequence of Adam's disobedience?
That we have all sinned in him (Romans 5:12).

Question  10
Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?

A. By no means; but is terribly displeased(1) with our original as well as actual sins; and will punish them in His just judgment temporally and eternally,(2) 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."(3)

(1) Ps  5:5  The foolish shall not stand in Thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

(2) Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
Deut 28:15  But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

(3) Deut 27:26  Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Gal 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Additional Questions:

1. Can the Lord permit this disobedience to go unpunished?  No, for He is a holy and righteous God.

2. What does God do against this disobedience?  
 He is terribly displeased and will punish it in His just judgment temporally and eternally.

3. What does it mean that the Lord is terribly displeased about sins? 
That He has a holy aversion against all sins and can do nothing else than punish them.

4. What is original sin? 
They are the sin with which each person is born.

5. What are actual sins? 
They are the sins actually committed, that is, with thoughts, words, and deeds.

6. How does the Lord punish sins? 
By a just judgment temporally and eternally.

7. Is that according to God's Word?  
Yes; "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Galatians 3:10; see also Deuteronomy 27:26)

Question  11 
Is not God then also merciful?

A. God is indeed merciful,(1) but also just; therefore His justice requires,(2) that sin which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be also punished with extreme,(3) that is, with everlasting punishment of body and soul.(4)

(1) Exod 34:6  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

(2) Exod 20:5  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.
Job 34:10 Therefore hearken unto me ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that He should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that He should commit iniquity.
Job 34:11 For the work of a man shall He render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.

(3) Psa 5:5  The foolish shall not stand in Thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
Psa 5:6  Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

(4) Gen 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Questions:

1. Is God then not merciful? 
God is indeed merciful, but also just.

2. Cannot God relinquish His justice?  
No, for by doing so He would deny Himself.

3. What does God's justice require? 
It requires that sin be punished.

4. Why must sin be punished with extreme punishment?  
It is because sin is a transgression against the most high majesty of God.

5. What is then the punishment upon sin?  
The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

6. How many kinds of death are there, and in what does each consist? 
Death is threefold:
a. Corporal death, the separation of soul and body;

b. Spiritual death, being separated from God and an impotence against sin;
c. Eternal death, the eternal punishment in hell.

7. Why is it said, "everlasting punishment of body and soul"?  It is because both body and soul have sinned.