The Heidelberg Catechism Part I: Misery Lord’s Day 2
Question 3. How do you come to know your misery?
Answer 3. The law of God tells me. (1)
(1) Romans 3:20 NKJV Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 7:7-25 NKJV What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." (8) But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. (9) I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. (10) And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. (11) For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. (12) Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. (13) Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. (14) For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. (15) For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. (16) If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. (17) But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. (19) For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. (20) Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. (21) I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. (22) For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (25) I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Q4. What does God’s law require of us?
A4. Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22:37-40: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (1) This is the greatest and first commandment. “And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (2) “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
(1) Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (2) Leviticus 19:18 NKJV You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
Q5. Can you live up to all this perfectly?
A5.No. (1) I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor. (2)
(1) Romans 3:9-23 NKJV What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. (10) As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; (11) There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. (12) They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who do good, no, not one." (13) "Their throat is an empty tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; (14) "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." (15) "Their feet are swift to shed blood; (16) Destruction and misery are in their ways; (17) And the way of peace they have not known." (18) "There is no fear of God before their eyes." (19) Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (20) Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin… (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 1 John 1:8-10 NKJV If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us… (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (2) Genesis 6:5 NKJV Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Romans 7:23-24 NKJV But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Romans 8:7 NKJV Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
Ephesians 2:1-3 NKJV And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, (2) in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, (3) among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Titus 3:3 NKJV For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.