This first edition of our catechism is intended to be short and focused. We aren't trying to replace the catechism's of history, but instead to give our church members what we think they need in the form of catechetical teaching. Our catechism will not be something that is divergent, but instead we want to ground our members in the historical doctrines contained in the great catechisms. Because of this, there will be many questions and themes that are similar or even identical to other catechisms. The theme of our catechism is going to be heavily focused on an exposition of the gospel.
Catechism Part I – Introduction
Who is the first and best of beings?
God is the first and best of beings
Isa 44:6; Psalm 8:1; 96:4; 97:9 1 Sam 2:2
What is the chief end of God?
God's chief end is to glorify himself and enjoy himself forever
Rom 11:36; Psalm 115:3; Psalm 104:31; Psalm 19:1
What is the chief end of man?
Man's chief end is to glorify God by enjoying him forever
1 Cor 10:31; Psalm 16:11; 37:4; 73:25-26; Isa 43:7
What is your only comfort in life and death?
That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, in life and death, to my faithful savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins and preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly father not a hair can fall from my head. In him, all things work together for my good and my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me very willing and ready from now on to live for him.
1 Cor 6:19-20; Rom 14:7-9; 1 Cor 3:23; Tit 2:14; 1 John 2:2; Matt 10:29-31; Rom 8:28; Rom 8:15-16; Eph 1:13-14; Rom 8:14
What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
Three things. First, how great my sins and misery are; second, how I am delivered from my sins and misery; third, how I am to be thankful to God for my deliverance
Rom. 3:9-10; I John 1:10; John 17:3; Acts 4:12; 10:43 Matt. 5:16; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 5:8-10; I Pet. 2:9-10
Catechism Part II – God, Creation and Man
How do we learn these things?
We learn all that God requires of us through His revelation to us in his word.
1 Tim 3:15-17; John 20:31; 1 Cor 10:11; Ecc 12:13
How do we know that there is a God?
The light of nature in man, and the works of God, plainly declare to us that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only, do effectually reveal him unto us for our salvation
Rom 1:18-20; Psalm 19:1-2; 2 Tim 3:15; Matt 11:27
What is God?
God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. He is the creator of everyone and everything, and nothing happens except through him and by his will.
John 4:24; Psalm 89:14; 90:2; 147:5; James 1:17; Rev 4:8; Ex 34:6; Numbers 23:19; Gen 1:1, 27; Rom 11:36; Eph 1:11
How many persons are there in the Godhead?
There are three persons in the one true and living God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, and equal in power and glory.
1 Cor 2:11; 8:6; John 1:1; 10:30; Acts 5:3-4; Matt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; Col 2:9; Heb 1:3
What is the work of creation?
The work of creation is God's making all things out of nothing, by the word of his power in 7 days, and all very good.
Gen 1:1, 31; Heb 11:3; Ex 20:11; Rom 4:17
How did God create man?
God created man upright and in communion with him. He created man both male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, having the law of God written on their hearts and the power to fulfill it, yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change.
Gen 1:27-28; Gen 2:7; Ecc 7:29; Rom 2:14; Gen 3:6
Did man continue in the glad joy and communion for which they were created?
No, but desiring to be like God, our first parents forsook the joyful estate in which they were created by sinning against God
Gen 3:6-13; Ecc 7:29
Catechism Part III – Sin, Law, and Judgement
What is sin?
Sin is any attitude, desire, or action that violates the law of God, or comes from a heart of unbelief, or is not joyfully done for the glory of God
1 John 3:4; Rom 5:13; 14:23; 1 Pet 1:16; Matt 5:48; 1 Cor 10:31; Phil 4:4; 1 Thess 5:16
What is the duty that God requires of man?
The duty that God requires from man is the obedience that comes from faith.
Gal 5:6; 1 Thess 1:3; 2 Thess 2:11 Rom 1:5; 16:26; 15:18
What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience was the moral law
Rom 2:14-15; 5:13-14; 10:5
What is God's moral law?
God's moral law is his perfect and perpetual law that is written on every person's heart and contained in scripture. It reflects his perfect, holy, and unchangeable moral and ethical character.
Rom 2:14-15; 10:5; 3:23
What does God's moral law require?
God's moral law requires that we love the Lord our God, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and also that we love our neighbor as ourselves
Matt 22:37-40; Rom 1:18-32
Can anyone perfectly keep God's moral law?
No, since the fall, no mere human has been able to keep God's law perfectly, but consistently breaks it in thought, word, and deed.
Ecc 7:20; 1 John 1:8; James 3:2,8; Rom 3:23; 7:15; Phil 3:12
Since no one can keep the law, what then is it's purpose?
The purpose of the law, since the fall, is to reveal the perfect righteousness of God so that his people may know his will for their lives and also so that the ungodly, being convicted of their sin, may be restrained from evil and brought to Christ for salvation.
Ps. 19:7-11; Rom. 3:20,31; 7:7; 12:2; Titus 2:12-14; Gal. 3:22,24; 1 Tim. 1:8
What does every sin deserve?
Every sin deserves God's wrath, punishment and curse, both in this life and in that which is to come
Eph 5:6; Gal 3:10; Prov 3:33; Psalm 11:6; Rev 21:8
Will God allow our sin to go unpunished?
No, every sin is against the sovereignty, holiness, and goodness of God, and against his righteous law, and God is righteously angry with our sins and will punish them in his just judgement, both in this life and in the life to come.
Ex 34:7; Psalm 5:4-6; 7:10; Nah 1:2; Rom 1:18; 5:12; Eph 5:6; Heb 9:27
But is God not merciful?
Yes, God is indeed wonderfully and infinitely merciful, but he is also just, and his justice requires that sins committed against his glorious standard must be punished with the most severe and everlasting punishment of body and soul
Ex 20:5-6; 34:6-7; Ps 103:8-9; Deut 7:9-11; Ps 5:4-6; Heb 10:30-31; Matt 25:45-46
Is there then any way to escape the eternal punishment that we justly deserve and to be brought into God's favor?
Yes! To satisfy his justice, God himself, out of mere mercy, reconciles us to himself and delivers us from sin and from the punishment for sin, by a Redeemer.
Is 53:11; Rom 8:3-4; 1 John 2:2
Catechism Part IV – Christ, Redemption and Grace
Who is our Redeemer?
The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom God became man and bore the penalty for sin himself, being made to be sin for us.
Gal 3:13; 1 Tim 2:5; 2 Cor 5:21
What offices does our Redeemer Christ perform?
Christ, as our Redeemer, performs the offices of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king, through his life, death and resurrection.
Acts 3:22; Hebrews 5:6; Psalm 2:6.
How does Christ perform the office of a prophet?
Christ performs the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.
John 1:18; 14:26; 15:15.
How does Christ perform the office of a priest?
Christ performs the office of a priest by once offering himself as a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and to reconcile us to God; and by making continual intercession for us before God.
1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 2: 17; 7:25; 9:28; Ephesians 5:2; Romans 8:34.
How does Christ perform the office of a king?
Christ performs the office of a king, in governing us by his word and Spirit, in defending us in our salvation, and in restraining and conquering all of both his and our enemies.
Psalm 110:1-2; Matthew 2:6; Luke 1:32-33; 1 Corinthians 15:25.
Does Christ’s death mean all our sins can be forgiven?
Yes, because Christ’s death on the cross fully paid the penalty for our sin, God graciously imputes Christ’s righteousness to us as if it were our own and will remember our sins no more
Yes, because Christ’s death on the cross fully paid the penalty for our sin, God graciously imputes Christ’s righteousness to us as if it were our own and will
What else does Christ’s death redeem?
Christ’s death is the beginning of the redemption and renewal of every part of
fallen creation, as he powerfully directs all things for his own glory and creation’s good.
Colossians 1:19-20; Ephesians 1:10; Romans 8:19-21
Are all people, just as they were lost through Adam, saved through Christ?
No, only those who are elected by God and united to Christ through faith.
Matt.7:14; Matt.22:14. Mark 16:16; John 1:12; John 3:16,18,36; Isa.53:11; Ps.2:12; Rom.11:17,19,20; Rom.3:22; Heb.4:2,3; Heb.5:9; Heb.10:39; Heb.11:6.
Is God then not merciful to those who are not elect?
God, though only giving salvation to the elect, is merciful to all men, demonstrating common grace to all by restraining the effects of sin and enabling works of culture for human well-being.
Psalm 145:9; Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:35; Acts 14:17; Nahum 1:3
What happens after death to those not united to Christ by faith?
At the day of judgment they will receive the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them. They will be cast out from the favorable presence of God, into hell, to be justly and grievously punished, forever.
Daniel 12:2; John 5:28, 29; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:14-15
What then must we do to be saved?
Only through repentance to God and faith in Christ's substitutionary atoning death on the cross can we be saved.
Acts 20:21; 16:30, 31; 17:30; Ephesians 2:8-9;
What is faith in Jesus Christ?
Faith in Jesus Christ is saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, trusting him to forgive our sins, and guide us to eternal joy, on the basis of his divine power and atoning death
Hebrews 10:39; John 1:12; 6:35; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 2:15-16, 20; Matthew 14:31; Hebrews 11:1
What is Godward repentance?
Repentance unto life is a saving grace, by which a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it to God, his newfound joy, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience to the goodness of the ways of God.
Acts 2:37; Joel 2:13; Jeremiah 31:18, 19; 2 Corinthians 7:10, 11; Romans 6:18
What benefits do the elect obtain through repentance and faith?
The benefits obtained through repentance and faith are justification, adoption, sanctification and future glorification
Romans 8:30-32; Galatians 3:26; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11; Ephesians 1:5
What is justification?
Justification is an act of God’s free grace, by which he pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone
Romans 3:24; 5:19; Ephesians 1:7; 2 Cor. 5:21; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 2:16
What is adoption?
Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, by which we are received into the company of God’s children and have a right to all the privileges of his sons
1 John 3:1; John 1:12; Romans 8:16, 17.
What is sanctification?
Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace by which we are renewed in the whole person after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness until finally being glorified in heaven
2 Thessalonians 2:13; Ephesians 4:23, 24; Romans 6:11; 8:28-30
Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?
Yes, because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, also renews us by his Spirit; so that our lives may show love and gratitude to God; so that we may be assured of our faith by the fruits; and so that by our godly behavior others may be won to Christ.
1 Peter 2:9-12; Eph 2:10; James 2:17
Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from?
Faith is a gift that we receive from Christ and is imparted to us through the Holy Spirit
Eph 2:8-9; Phil 1:29; Acts 11:18
Catechism Part V – The Holy Spirit and the Christian life
What do we believe concerning the Holy Spirit?
That he is God, coeternal with the Father and the Son, and that God grants him irrevocably to all who believe as a comforter and helper forever.
1 John 5:7; Gen.1:2; Isa.48:16; 1 Cor.3:16; 1 Cor.6:19; Acts 5:3,4; Gal.4:6; Matt.28:19,20; 2 Cor.1:21,22; Eph.1:13; Gal.3:14; 1 Pet.1:2; 1 Cor.6:17; John 15:26
How does the Holy Spirit help us?
The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, comforts us, guides us, gives us spiritual gifts and the desire to obey God; and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.
Gal.3:14; 1 Pet.1:2; 1 Cor.6:17. Acts 9:31; John 15:26. John 14:16; 1 Pet.4:14.
What are the outward and ordinary means by which the Word communicates to us the benefits of redemption?
The outward and ordinary means by which the Word communicates to us the benefits of redemption are prayer, the preaching of the Word, and the ordinances, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; all of which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.
How is the Word made effective for salvation?
How do Baptism and the Lord’s Supper become effective means of salvation?
What is Baptism?
Baptism is a holy ordinance, in which immersion in the water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, signifies our being joined to Christ and our sharing the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.
To whom is Baptism to be administered?
Are the infants of professing believers to be baptized?
What is the duty of those who are rightly baptized?
What is the visible church?
The visible church is the organized society of professing believers, in all ages and places, wherein the gospel is truly preached and the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper administered in true faith. This community prefigures Christ’s kingdom through their life together and love for one another
What is the invisible church?
What is the Lord’s Supper?
The Lord’s Supper is a holy ordinance of the church. By eating bread and drinking the cup according to Christ’s appointment we show forth his death. Those who eat and drink in a worthy manner partake of Christ’s body and blood, not physically, but spiritually in that by faith they are nourished with the benefits he purchased, and grow in grace
1 Corinthians 11:23-26; 10:16.
What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord’s Supper?
It is required of those who would worthily (that is, suitably) partake of the Lord’s Supper, that they examine themselves--of their knowledge, that they discern the Lord’s body; their faith, that they feed upon him; and their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves.
1 Corinthians 5:8; 11:27-31; 2 Corinthians 13:5.
What is Prayer?
Prayer is an offering up of our desires to God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.
1 John 5:14; 1:9; Philippians 4:6; Psalm 10:17; 145:19; John 14:13, 14.
Why is prayer necessary for Christians?
Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us, and also because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only who ask them of him and are thankful for them.
Psalm 50:14-15; Matt 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-10, 13; 1 Thess 5:17
How should we pray?
The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer, but the special rule of direction is that prayer, which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s Prayer.
Matthew 6:9-13; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
What is the Lord’s Prayer?
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on 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
What are the other duties of the Christian life?
The other duties of the Christian life are firstly, living daily by faith in the future grace and hope that await us, both in this life and in the resurrection, and secondly, making disciples of all nations.
1 Cor 15; Phil 4:9; Phil 1:21; Rom 8:32; Matt 28:19; Mark 16:15; Rom 1:5
How do we make disciples?
First, through the preaching of the gospel, which God powerfully works to convert and sanctify sinners, and then, through teaching them all things that God has commanded.
Romans 10:14-17; Romans 1:16; Matt 4:4; Matt 28:19
What does it mean to live daily by faith?
Living by faith means to believe the gospel, and to preach it to yourself daily, for it is the only power to save and sanctify sinners
Romans 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18, 24; 2 Tim 1:12; Romans 5:2-3
What is required before we can preach the gospel to ourselves?
We must first preach the law to ourselves, for by it comes both the knowledge of what God requires, and also the knowledge of sin and its due punishment
John 14:15; Matt 4:4; Romans 3:20: Romans 1:18-20
After we’ve acknowledged our sin and its due punishment, what then must we do?
We must preach the gospel to ourselves, because it 1) reminds us that we are free of condemnation, 2) frees us to obey God without fear of punishment, 3) causes us to delight in God’s law as the only alternative to sin and 4) brings lasting joy as we hope in our future resurrection
What then, is the gospel?
The gospel is the news that God, the creator of all things, in order to establish His everlasting kingdom, and in response to the sin of every human being in the world, sent His Son Jesus into the world to save and recreate a world of sinners. Jesus accomplished this through first living a perfect life, then dying a bloody, God-forsaken death, and then, after three days, rising again from the dead, forever defeating death and securing eternal life for all those will respond to this news by putting their faith in Jesus alone to save them.
Genesis 1:1; John 3:18; John 3:16; Romans 5:8; Mark 10:45; Romans 5:19; Romans 6:23;1 Cor 15:3-4; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:9-10
Then what hope does eternal life hold for us?
The hope of eternal life is that we will live with God in a renewed, restored creation, where we will glorify him and enjoy him forever in the new Heaven and new Earth, and we will be forever freed from all sin, death and sadness. There will be nothing but fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.
Revelation 21:1-4; Isa 25:8; Psalm 16:11