Explanation of Doctor Martin Luther’s Small Catechism
(Taken from Catechism and Bible History, Published in 1902 by
the Board of Directors of Augustana College and Theological Seminary, Rock Island, IL.)
1. Why are you called a Christian?
I am called a Christian, because through baptism I was received into communion with Christ and his church, and together with the church I believe and confess Jesus Christ to be my Savior.
2. Whence do we derive our knowledge of salvation?
From the Bible or the Holy Scriptures.
3. What are the Holy Scriptures?
The Holy Scriptures are the Word of God, written by the Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
[The books of the Old Testament are divided as follows:
a) Historical: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.
b) Doctrinal: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.
c) Prophetic: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
The books of the New Testament are divided as follows:
a) Historical: Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, the epistle to the Hebrews, James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John, III John, Jude.
b) Doctrinal: Letters of Paul to Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, the epistle to the Hebrews, James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John, III John, Jude.
c) One Prophetic book: Revelation.]
2 Peter 1:21. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
4. How is the Word of God divided with regard to its contents?
Into the law and the gospel.
John 1:17. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
5. What does God declare through the law?
Through the law God declares his holy will that we should be holy in heart and in life.
Micah 6:8. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord doth require of thee.”
6. What does God declare through the gospel?
Through the gospel God declares, that in his great love he has given us his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in order that we may be saved and made holy and blessed through him.
1 Tim. 1:15. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
Part I. The Ten Commandments
Exodus 20. Deuteronomy 5.
7.What are the Ten Commandments ?
The Ten Commandments are a short summary of the law.
8. How did God give man his law before it was revealed in the Word ?
In the conscience of man, which commands and sanctions the good, but forbids and condemns the evil.
Romans 2:14,15. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.”
9.Why must the law of God be revealed in the Word ?
The law of God must be revealed in theWord, because the law, written in the hearts of men, had become obscured through sin.
Romans 5:13 “For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
10. What is the substance of the law?
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
The First Table of the Law: Love to God
The First Commandment
I am the Lord thy God. Thou Shalt have no other gods before Me.
11. What does God forbid in the first commandment?
God forbids idolatry.
Exodus 20:2-5 “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 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.”
12. How is idolatry practiced?
Idolatry is practiced when man worships images and created things, or when his heart becomes so attached to any earthly object as to be drawn away from God.
Romans 1:25 “Men changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”
13. What does God command in the First Commandment?
God commands that we should have him only as our God, so that we fear, love and trust in him above all things.
Exodus 20:20 “God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”
1 John 5:3 “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
Psalm 57:2 “My soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge.”
The Second Commandment
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.
14. What does God forbid in the Second Commandment?
God forbids us to mention his name irreverently or to use his Word and other holy things in a thoughtless, hypocritical, or blasphemous manner.
Psalm 111:9 “Holy and reverend is his name.”
Ecclesiastes 5:2. “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God.”
Matthew 15:8 “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”
Psalm 74:18. “Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O Lord, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.”
15. For what purpose is the name of God generally taken in vain?
For the purpose of cursing, swearing, conjuring, lying, and deceiving.
16. What is it to curse by the name of God?
To curse by the name of God is to wish that God would permit some evil to befall oneself or others.
James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”
17. What is it to swear by the name of God?
To swear by the name of God is to appeal to God as witness and judge, in order thereby to confirm one’s speech.
2 Corinthians 1:23 “Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul”
18. Which are sinful oaths?
Sinful oaths are all manner of perjury, all other than civil and church oaths, the calling upon God’s name in common conversation, and all swearing by that which is not God, whether it be the devil or any other object.
Leviticus 19:12 “Ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.”
Matthew 5:37 “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”
Jeremiah 5:7. “How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods.”
19. What is perjury?
Perjury consists in asserting under oath what is false or uncertain, in breaking what has been promised under legal oath, or in using ambiguous language in the taking of an oath.
Ezekiel 17:19 “Therefore thus saith the Lord God; As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head.”
20. When may a Christian swear by the name of God?
When the honor of God and the welfare of man demand it, a Christian may take an oath; such oaths being oaths of allegiance, of office, of testimony, or of purgation.
Jeremiah 4:2 “Thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness.”
Hebrews 6:16 “Men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.”
21. What is it to conjure by the name of God?
To conjure is to seek to accomplish by the name of God what is not promised in the Word of God, or where, in accordance with his will, natural means should be used.
Leviticus 19:31. “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards.”
22. How is the name of God used for lying and deceiving in other ways?
When false doctrine is declared as the Word of God, and when worldly and impure motives are concealed beneath hypocritical zeal for the honor of God.
Matthew 7:15. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5. “In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
23. What does God command in the Second Commandment?
God commands us to confess him in word and deed, call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.
Psalm 50:15. “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
Philippians 4:6. “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Psalm 103:1. “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”
The Third Commandment.
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
24. Which is the Sabbath day?
In the Old Testament the seventh day, which is Saturday, was ordained as the day of rest; In the New Testament, Sunday is thus set apart, since the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead on that day.
Exodus 20:8-11. “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. 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.”
25. What does God command in the Third Commandment?
God commands us to deem his Word holy and to use the Lord’s day for holy purposes.
Luke 11:28. “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”
James 1:22. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
26. What does God forbid in the Third Commandment?
God forbids us to despise his Word and the preaching of the gospel.
27. How does a person show that he despises the Word of God and the preaching of the gospel?
He shows it when he fails to use the Word of God for private devotion, when he forsakes or neglects the public services, or when he employs the Lord’s day for worldly labor and pleasure.
Proverbs 13:13. “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed.”
Hebrews 10:24, 25. “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.”
28. May then no work be performed on the Lord’s day?
Such work as is required by Christian love, and which cannot without danger be postponed, may be done on the Lord’s day.
Mark 2:27. “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.”
Matthew 12:12. “It is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.”
The Second Table of the Law: Love to our neighbor
29. Who is our neighbor?
Every man is our neighbor.
30. How should we love our neighbor?
We should love our neighbor as ourselves.
Matt.5:44. “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
Matt.7:12. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even unto them.”
The Fourth Commandment
Honor thy Father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
31. What is meant by father and mother in the Fourth Commandment?
By father and mother are meant for parents, foster-parents, parents-in-law, and all others, who in accordance with God’s ordinance, have duties toward us and power over us, such as the government, teachers and masters.
Mal.1:6. “A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master.”
Eph. 6:4. “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Col. 4:1. “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”
32. What does God command in the Fourth Commandment?
God commands us to honor, serve, obey, love, and esteem our parents and superiors.
Col. 3:20. “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is wellpleasing unto the Lord.”
1 Peter 2:13,14. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
Heb.13:17. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
Col. 3:22. “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.”
33. Is it our duty to obey father and mother in all things ?
It is our duty to obey father and mother in all things that are not contrary to the Word of God.
Matt.10:37. “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”
Acts 5:29. “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
34. What promise has God connected with the Fourth Commandment?
God promises that obedience to the Fourth Commandment shall bring lasting blessings in this life to individual persons, and to nations as well.
35. What does God forbid in the Fourth Commandment?
God forbids us in heart to despise, or in word and deed to displease our parents and superiors.
Prov. 23:22. “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”
Deut. 27:16. “Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother.”
Rom.13:2. “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”
The Fifth Commandment
Thou Shalt not kill.
36.Which is the greatest temporal gift that God has given us?
The greatest temporal gift is our life; since we are created in the image of God, and our lifetime is an important and irredeemable period of grace.
Job 2:4. “All that a man hath will he give for his life.”
Rom.14:8. “Whether we live, we live unto the Lord.”
37. What does God forbid in the Fifth Commandment?
God forbids us to shorten or injure our neighbor’s life or to offend him though anger and hatred, revenge and implacability.
Gen.9:6. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
1 John 3:15. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
Eph.4:31. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you.”
38. Has not God given any one power over another’s life?
God has given the government power to punish wrongdoers and to use the sword in defending the community against its enemies.
Rom.13:4. “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”
39. What does God command in the Fifth Commandment?
God commands us to live peaceably with our neighbor and to assist and comfort him in danger and want.
Col. 3:12, 13. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another.”
Isa. 58:7. “Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor that are cast out to thy house: when thou seest the naked, cover him; and hide not thyself from thine own flesh.”
40.What duties do we have toward our own life according to the Fifth Commandment?
It is our duty not to shorten or injure our own life, but to care for it as a gift of God, and to employ it to the honor of God and for the true welfare of ourselves and others.
Acts 16:28. “Do thyself no harm.”
2 Cor. 5:15. “Christ died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
41.What vices are especially injurious to a person’s life?
Gluttony, drunkeness, unchastity.
Rom. 13:13. “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness.”
The Sixth Commandment.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
42. What does God forbid in the Sixth Commandment?
God forbids all unchastity, whether in desires, thoughts, words, gestures, or deeds, as well within as without the married state.
Matt. 5:28. “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Eph. 5:3, 4. “Fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”
Heb. 13:4. “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
43. Who has instituted marriage?
God himself, who at the creation of man ordained that one man and one woman should live together as husband and wife for their mutual help and for the increase and education of the race.
Gen. 2:18. “The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.”
Gen. 1:28. “God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”
Matt. 19:5, 6. “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not men put asunder.”
44. What does God command in the Sixth Commandment?
God commands us to be chaste in heart and to live a pure life in word and deed, and that husband and wife should with all fidelity, love and honor each other.
1 Cor. 6:19,20. “What! Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost? Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Eph. 5:24, 25. “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
The Seventh Commandment.
Thou shalt not steal.
45. How should we consider earthly possessions?
We should consider earthly possessions as good gifts, which we have received in order to supply our own necessity, and that we may therewith serve one another in love.
Psalm 24 1. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”
1 Tim. 6:17. “God giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”
Prov. 22: 2. “The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.”
46. What does God forbid in the Seventh Commandment?
God forbids us to rob our neighbor of his money or property, or to bring it into our possession by unfair dealing or fraudulent means.
I Thess. 4:3, 6. “This is the will of God, that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such.”
Jer. 22:13. “Woe unto him that useth his neighbor’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work.”
47.What does God command in the Seventh Commandment?
God commands us to be industrious, to be honest toward all men, and to assist our neighbor to improve and protect his property and living.
Rom. 12:11, 17. “Be not slothful in business; provide things honest in the sight of all men.”
Rom. 13:7. “Render therefore to all their dues.”
1 Peter 4:10. “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
The Eighth Commandment.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
48. How should we consider a good name and reputation?
We should consider a good name and reputation as precious gifts of God, since the joy and success of our calling may depend on them.
49. What does God forbid in the Eighth Commandment?
God forbids us to bear false witness against our neighbor.
Prov. 19:5. “A false witness shall not be unpunished; and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.”
50. What is it to bear false witness against our neighbor?
To bear false witness against our neighbor is deceitfully to belie, betray, slander, and raise injurious reports against him. And to deceive him by untruthful speaking.
Col. 3:9. “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.”
1 Peter 2:1. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings.”
Prov. 11:13. “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”
51. How can a person bear false witness concerning himself?
Through boasting and hypocrisy.
1 Sam. 2:3. “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth.”
Matt. 23:13. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men.”
52. What does God command in the Eighth Commandment?
God commands us to apologize for our neighbor, speak well of him, put the more charitable construction on all his actions, and always speak the truth.
1 Peter 4:8. “Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”
Eph. 4:25. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor.”
The Ninth Commandment.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house.
53. What does God forbid in the Ninth Commandment?
God forbids the evil desire which may lead us to seek by craftiness to gain possession of our neighbor’s inheritance or home or to obtain it under the pretext of a legal right.
Luke 12:15. “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
Prov. 21:10. “The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbor findeth no favor in his eyes.”
Prov. 24:15. “Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous.”
54. What does God command in the Ninth Commandment?
God commands us to be content with our portion and not to begrudge our neighbor has, but to help and serve him in keeping his own.
1 Tim. 6:6. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Phil. 2: 4. “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
The Tenth Commandment.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.
55. What does God forbid in the Tenth Commandment?
God forbids such desires that may lead us to estrange, force, or entice away from our neighbor his wife, servants, or cattle.
1 Peter 2: 11. “I beseech you, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
56. What does God command in the Tenth Commandment?
God commands us to urge our neighbor’s wife and servants to stay and do their duty.
Rom. 15:2. “Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.”
57. What is the ultimate demand of the law?
The law forbids the inherited sinful depravity of our nature and demands that we should be holy as God is holy.
Lev. 19:2. “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.”
58. What is sin?
Sin is everything that is contrary to the commandments of God.
1 John 3:4. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
59. Of how many kinds is sin?
Sin is of two kinds, original and actual sin.
60. What is original sin?
Original sin is the loss of God’s image together with the evil desire, which is inherited from Adam and Eve, and which renders us unable to do good and inclines us to evil, and makes us subject to eternal condemnation.
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. 7:7. “I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
Rom. 7:18. “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Eph. 2:3. “We were by nature the children of wrath.”
Rom. 5:16. “The judgment was by one to condemnation.”
61. What is actual sin?
Actual sin is every desire, thought, word or deed by which we transgress God's Law, whether we do anything which God has forbidden or neglect to do what He has commanded.
James 1:15. “When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Matt. 15:19. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”
James 4:17. “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
62. Of how many kinds are actual sins?
Actual sins are either intentional, such as are committed with full knowledge and consent, or unintentional, committed through ignorance or rashness.
Luke 12: 47. “The servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”
Psalm 19:12. “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”
63. How does God threaten to punish those who sin?
God threatens to punish those who sin with many sufferings here in life and at last with eternal condemnation.
Rom. 1:18. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.”
Gal. 3:10. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”
Rom. 6:23. “The wages of sin is death.”
64. How does God visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children?
God permits many dire consequences of the fathers’ iniquity to come upon the children, in order to punish them if they remain in sin, and to chasten them when they turn to the Lord.
Deut. 5:9. “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.”
65. What does God promise those that love him and keep his commandments?
To all who love him and keep his commandments, God promises His grace, which is richly bestowed upon them from generation to generation.
Deut. 5:10. “I the Lord they God shew mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”
66. Are we able so to live in accordance with God’s commandments that we thereby become righteous before him?
We cannot so live in accordance with God’s law as thereby to become righteous before him, because our original depravity can never in this life be outrooted, and therefore we sin in many ways.
Rom. 3:20, 23. “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
1 John 1:8. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
67. To what end is the law useful?
The law teaches us to know and grieve over our sins, drives us to Christ, and after we have received the forgiveness of our sins and strength for holy living, it explains God’s will so that we may live in accordance with his commandments.
Rom. 3:20. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Gal. 3:24. “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ.”
Rom. 10:4. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Part II. The Creed or Articles of Faith
68. What is the creed?
The creed is a summary of the gospel, and constitutes the common confession of the Christian church concerning the Triune God and his work.
69. What is God?
God is a spirit with all the highest perfections: Eternal and immutable, omnipresent, almighty, omniscient and all-wise, holy and just, true, good, and merciful.
John 4:24. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Psalm 90:2. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
Psalm 139:7. “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”
Psalm 115:3. “Our God is in the heavens; he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”
Heb. 4:13. “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
Isa. 28:29. “The Lord of hosts is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.”
Psalm 45: 7. “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness.”
Rom. 2:6. “God will render to every man according to his deeds.”
Psalm 33:4. “The word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.”
Psalm 118:1. “The Lord is good; his mercy endureth forever.”
Psalm 103: 8, 10. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”
1 John 4:16. “God is love.”
70. How is God triune?
God is one, but in the divine being there is an eternal trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Deut. 6:4. “The Lord our God is one Lord.”
Matt. 28:19. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
2 Cor. 13:14. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.”
71. What distinction is there between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in the divine being?
The Father has from eternity begotten the Son, the Son is begotten of the Father from eternity, and the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son from eternity.
John 5:26. “As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.”
John 15:26. “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”
72. How has the triune God revealed himself in relation to us?
In relation to us the triune God has revealed himself as our loving Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.
THE FIRST ARTICLE.
Of God the Father and Creation.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
73. What do you confess by the words, “I believe in God the Father?”
I confess that with all my heart I will trust in God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who through Christ is also my Father.
Eph. 3:14, 15. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”
74. Why is God called the maker of heaven and earth?
Because, in the beginning, God brought forth all things by his word.
Gen. 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Rev. 4:11. “Thou, O Lord, hast created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
John 1:3. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Heb. 11:3. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
75. Which are the chief of God’s creatures?
The rational creatures: angels and men.
76. What are the angels?
The angels are spirits created by God in the beginning and endowed with wisdom and holiness, power and blessedness.
77. Did all the angels remain in their original glory?
No, the devil and his angels fell away from God and became evil.
John 8:44. “The devil abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.”
2 Peter 2:4. “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”
78. What is the employment of the good angels?
The good angels praise God and execute his commands, and serve and protect those who shall be heirs of salvation.
Ps. 103:20. “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.”
Heb. 1:14. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
Luke 15:10. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
79. What is the employment of the evil angels?
The evil angels withstand God’s will, and seek to lead men into sin and unbelief, thereby plunging them into ruin and destruction.
Matt. 12:24-26. “They said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devil. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?”
1 Peter 5:8. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
80. How did God create the first man?
God created man in his image, so that he was like unto God.
Gen. 1: 26, 27. “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. So God created man in his own image.”
81. In what did the image of God consist?
The image of God consisted in man’s original wisdom, holiness and blessedness, as also in freedom from suffering and death and in dominion over the earth.
Gen. 1:31. “And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
Gen. 1:28. “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
82. Did man remain as God created him?
No, through the fall into sin the image of God in man was lost so that he became darkened in understanding, perverted in will and wretched in feeling, while he brought the wrath of God upon himself and upon the earth.
1 Cor. 2:14. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.”
Rom. 5:19. “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.”
Prov. 28:1. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.”
Gen. 3:17, 19. “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
83. What is the result of the fall into sin?
All the consequences of the fall into sin are contained in death, bodily, spiritual, and eternal.
Gen. 2:17. “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. 5:12. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.”
Eph. 2:1. “You were dead in trespasses and sins.”
Rev. 21:8. “They shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
REMARK: In bodily death the body and soul are separated from each other; in spiritual death the soul is separated from God through sin; and in eternal death the body and soul are separated from God and cast into eternal darkness.
84. Has God rejected the fallen human race?
No, in eternity God determined upon, and after the fall he promised the salvation of men, which he carried out in the fulness of time by sending his Son to be the Saviour of men.
Eph. 1:4. “God hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.”
Gen. 3:14, 15. “The Lord God said unto the serpent, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
John 3:16. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
85. In consequence hereof, how does God act toward His creation?
God cares for all that he has created, but especially for man, and most especially for those that trust in him.
John 5:17. “My Father worketh hitherto.”
Matt. 6:26. “Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”
1 Peter 5:7. “Cast all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
86. What is this care of God called?
87. How is God’s providence manifested?
God’s providence is manifested in this, that God sustains all that he has created, and directs all in accordance with his wisdom.
Heb. 1:3. “He upholds all things by the word of his power.”
Rom. 11:33. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”
88. How should we consider the misfortunes that happen to men in this life?
The misfortunes that happen to men in this life we are to consider as sent by God on account of sin, for the punishment, warning and awakening of the wicked, but for the chastening, trial and confirmation of the faithful.
Jer. 2:19. “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee.”
Job 5:17. “Despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.”
Rom. 8:28. “All things work together for good to them that love God.”
89. What is God’s relation to the evil which men do?
God forbids and punishes the evil, but since he sometimes permits it, he sets bounds thereto, and so directs it as to result in good. The Lord turneth the way of the wicked upside down.
Gen. 50:20. Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.”
90. What should be our treatment of the animals?
We should care for and protect them, use them in accordance with God’s will, but never force them above their strength, nor in any other way torment or ill-treat them.
Prov. 12:10. “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”
91. What do you owe God for all his benefits?
I am in duty bound to thank and praise, serve and obey him.
Ps. 103:2. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
THE SECOND ARTICLE.
Of God the Son and Redemption.
I believe in Jesus Christ his only 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 hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
92. What do you confess by the words: “I believe in Jesus Christ?”
I confess, that with all my heart I will trust in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, who according to God’s promise has come into the world, and become my Saviour.
Gal. 4:4, 5. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
93. What does the name Jesus signify?
The name Jesus signifies Saviour.
Matt. 1:21. “Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Acts 4:12. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
94. Why is Jesus also called Christ?
Jesus is called Christ because he is the Messiah, promised in the Old Testament; that is, he is the Prince of salvation anointed and filled with the Spirit of God
Luke 2:11. “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Acts 10:38. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.”
95. What do you believe and confess concerning the person of Jesus Christ?
I believe and confess that Jesus Christ is true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man born of the Virgin Mary.
John 1:1, 14. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
John 14:9. “Jesus said: he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
1 Tim. 3:16. “God was manifest in the flesh.”
Col. 2:9. “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
96. Why must Christ be both God and man?
Christ must be both God and man in order to be a true mediator between God and men.
1 Tim. 2:5. “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
2 Cor. 5:19. “God was in Christ; reconciling the world unto himself.”
1) Our Saviour must be true man
a) because it was men that were to be redeemed;
b) in order that he should be able to suffer and die;
c) in order to impart to and set before us the most complete teaching and the holiest example.
2) Our Saviour must be true God
a) because no mere man could reconcile us unto God nor fulfill the law completely in our stead and take away its damnation;
b) in order that his work should have infinite and eternal worth;
c) in order that he might be omnipresent and impart help and salvation.
97. Was Christ as man like unto us in all things?
Christ was like unto us in all things, except that he was without sin.
Heb. 4:15. “He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
98. What do you believe and confess concerning Christ’s work of redemption?
I believe and confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, secured and delivered me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood, and with his innocent sufferings and death.
Gal. 3:13. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”
John 1:29. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!”
2 Cor. 5:14. “If one died for all, then were all dead.”
1 John 3:8. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
1 Peter 1:18, 19. “Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
99. What are the offices of Christ?
The offices of Christ are the prophetic, the high priestly, and the kingly.
100. What is meant by Christ’s prophetic office?
By Christ’s prophetic office is meant his office as teacher, in which he declared and declares to us God’s will and counsel concerning our salvation.
Deut. 18:18. “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”
John 1:18. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
101. What is meant by Christ’s high-priestly office?
By Christ’s high-priestly office is meant his office of atonement, or that Christ through suffering and death, in perfect obedience to his heavenly Father, willingly offered himself for the propitiation of our sins, and on this account now makes continual intercession for us.
Heb. 7:26, 27. “For such a high priest became us, who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s; for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”
John 10:17. “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.”
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.”
1 John 2:2. “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Heb. 7:24, 25. “This man hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
102. What is meant by Christ’s kingly office?
By Christ’s kingly office is meant that he rules over and judges all creatures, and especially his church unto the maintenance, development, and final completion thereof.
Matt. 28:18. “Jesus spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
1 Cor. 15:25. “He must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”
John 5:22, 27. “The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son, because he is the Son of man.”
103. In what states do we consider our Saviour?
In his humiliation and exaltation.
Phil. 2:6-11. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
104. How did Christ’s humiliation especially reveal itself?
Christ’s humiliation revealed itself especially in this that he, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, was born of the Virgin Mary and that he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.
105. Of what parts does Christ’s exaltation consist?
Christ’s exaltation consists of the following parts: his descent into hell, his resurrection and ascension, his sitting on the right hand of the Father, and his return to judgment.
106. Why did Christ descent into hell?
Christ descended into hell to declare his victory over death and all the power of the devil.
1 Peter 3:19. “He went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”
107. What significance has Christ’s resurrection for our faith?
In his resurrection Christ proved himself a perfect Saviour and the cause of our justification and life.
Rom. 1:4. “Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead.”
1 Cor. 15:17. “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
Rom. 4:25. “Our Lord Jesus was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.”
108. What is meant by Christ’s sitting on the right hand of the Father?
By Christ’s sitting on the right hand of the Father is meant that Christ, also according to his human nature, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost in glory rules over all created things in heaven and earth.
Eph. 1:20, 21. “God raised Christ from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.”
109. Is Christ not now present on the earth?
In an invisible manner Christ is with us always even unto the end of the world.
Matt. 28:20. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
110. How will Christ’s return to judgment take place?
Christ’s return to judgment will take place in a visible manner when he comes to judge all men, both those then living and the dead from the beginning of the world.
Matt. 25:31, 32. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.”
2 Cor. 5:10. “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
111. How shall Christ then judge men?
Christ shall say to the faithful: come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. But to the unbelievers he shall say: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
112. When will this take place?
On the last day when the world shall come to an end, which time is wholly hidden from us.
Matt. 24:36. “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
THE THIRD ARTICLE.
Of God the Holy Ghost and Sanctifcation.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Christian Church, the communion of Saints; the Forgiveness of sins; the Resurrection of the body; and the Life everlasting. Amen.
113. What do you confess by the words: “I believe in the Holy Ghost?”
I confess that with all my heart I will trust in the Holy Ghost, true God, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, who for Christ’s sake is sent to perform the work of sanctification in my heart.
John 14:26. “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
114. What is sanctification?
Sanctification is the work of the Holy Ghost in our heart, through which he makes us partakers of the grace of salvation, and by which he transforms us in heart and life, so that we become holy.* ( *Sanctification in its broad sense makes you partaker of salvation.)
2 Thess. 2:13. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”
115. Why must the Holy Ghost make you partaker of salvation?
Because by my own reason or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him.
1 Cor. 12:3. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”
116. By what means does the Holy Ghost work sanctification?
By the means of grace: the Word of God and the holy sacraments.
117. In what order does the Holy Ghost work sanctification?
The Holy Ghost calls me through the gospel, enlightens me with his gifts, sanctifies and preserves me in the true faith.
118. How did the Holy Ghost first make you partaker of the grace of salvation?
The Holy Ghost made me a partaker of the grace of salvation in baptism, when I was born anew to the life in Christ.
John 3:5. “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Gal. 3:27. “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
119. How does the Holy Ghost continue his work in the heart of the baptized?
The Holy Ghost preserves and nurtures them in the grace of baptism, and in case they fall away into unbelief he seeks to bring them again to the Lord through conversion.
Phil. 1:6. “I am confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Ezek. 34:16. “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.”
120. How does the Holy Ghost call through the gospel?
Through the gospel the Holy Ghost declares to and offers us the grace that is in Christ.
2 Thess. 2:14. “God has called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Luke 14:17. “Come; for all things are now ready.”
121. Upon what does the success of the work of grace in the heart of the called depend?
The success of the work of grace depends upon whether or not man will permit himself to be moved by the call of the Holy Ghost to a right use of the work of God and to submit to its precepts in humility and obedience.
Luke 11:28. “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”
Heb. 3:7, 8. “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
John 3:21. “He that doeth truth cometh to the light.”
122. How does the Holy Ghost enlighten with his gifts?
Through the law he instructs us concerning our sins, and through the gospel concerning salvation in Christ.
123. What does the Holy Ghost work through illumination?
Through illumination by the law the Holy Ghost works contrition, and through illumination by the gospel a right faith in Christ.
Rom. 5:20. “The law entered, that the offense might abound.”
Rom. 10:17. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
124. When are we truly repentant?
We are truly repentant when we from our heart confess our sins, grieve over them and long to be delivered from them.
Ps. 51:1, 3. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”
Prov. 28:13. “Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy.”
2 Cor. 7:10. “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”
125. In what does true faith in Christ consist?
True faith in Christ consists in this, that with our heart’s desire we accept Christ as our Saviour and in him only ground the confident assurance of the forgiveness of our sins, life and salvation.
Heb. 11:1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Phil. 3:7-9. “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
REMARK: Contrition and faith together constitute repentance or conversion.
126. What does God do when man accepts Christ in true faith?
God justifies and regenerates him.
Rom. 4:5. “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
1 Peter 1:23. “Ye were born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
127. What is justification?
Justification is the act of God in which he imputes to us the meritorious righteousness of Jesus Christ and forgives all our sins.
Rom. 4:6, 7. “David describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”
128. What is regeneration?
Regeneration is that work of grace in which the believer, at the time of justification, by reason of the grace of baptism, receives the new life in Christ and becomes a child of God.
Luke 15:24. “This my son was dead, and is alive again.”
John 3:3. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Gal. 3:26. “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
129. How does the life in Christ reveal itself?
The life in Christ reveals itself when the believer follows in the footsteps of the Saviour, willingly keeps God’s commandments and does no intentional sin.
Gal. 5:6. “In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
1 John 2:6. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
130. What is a dead faith?
A dead faith consists in appropriating to oneself the comfort of God’s gracious promises without repentance.
James 2:20. “Faith without works is dead.”
131. How does the Holy Ghost preserve a believer in the true faith?
The Holy Ghost continues to call and enlighten the believer, and thereby helps him through daily repentance to seek and accept from his Saviour the forgiveness of his sins and renewed strength for continued growth in sanctification.
1 Peter 1:5. “Ye are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”
Col. 3:9, 10. “Ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”
132. What must a believer do to be preserved in the true faith?
In accordance with the Saviour’s direction he is to abide in God’s Word, watch, pray, and fight, and frequently commune at the Lord’s table.
John 8:31. “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”
Matt. 26:41. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.”
Matt. 16.24. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
1 Tim. 6:12. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called.”
133. What is the communion in which the Holy Ghost performs the work of sanctification?
This communion is the church of Christ on earth.
Eph. 4:4-6 “One body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.”
Eph. 2:20-22. “Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.”
REMARK: Of the church in its entirety, we confess that it is one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, which also includes the church triumphant in heaven.
134. In what way does the church on earth originate and develop?
The church of Christ originates and develops when the Holy Ghost calls and gathers, enlightens and sanctifies it, and in Jesus Christ preserves it in the true faith.
Mark 16:15. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Acts 2:41, 47. “They that gladly received his word were baptized, and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Matt. 16:18. “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
135. Why is the church called the Communion of Saints?
The church is called the Communion of Saints because only such are true members who are sanctified in the true faith.
Rom. 8:9. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
2 Tim. 2:19. “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
136. Where is the church of Christ found?
The church of Christ is found wherever the Word of God is preached in its purity and the sacraments are administered according to the word and institution of Christ.
Rom. 10:14. “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
1 Cor. 12:13. “By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
Matt. 18:20. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
137. By whom is the word to be preached and the sacraments administered in the church?
By the ministry, instituted by Christ, which is also called the ministration of the Spirit.
2 Cor. 3:6. “God also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit.”
138. What is the duty of the church toward nominal Christians and the heathen?
To attend to pure doctrine and necessary discipline and to manifest active zeal in Christian missions and works of charity.
Rom. 16:17. “I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”
Matt. 5:16. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
2 Tim. 1:7. “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
139. Why are there many church denominations when the church is the only one?
In its true being the church of Christ is only one, but since all Christians have not faithfully abided by God’s Word, it has externally become divided into many denominations.
1 Cor. 11:19. “There must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”
140. Which denomination has remained faithful to the Word of God?
The Evangelical Lutheran Church.
REMARK. That the Lutheran Church wholly rests upon and holds to the pure Word of God is shown in her confessional writings, which are: The three oldest symbols - The Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian; The Augsburg Confession; Apology; Smalcald Articles; Luther’s two Catechisms; and the Formula of Concord.
141. What should be our relation to our own church?
We are to love our church, be faithful to her confessions, and willingly sacrifice, labor, and suffer for her continuance and development.
Jude ver. 3. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
Phil. 1:27. “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
2 Tim. 2:3. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
142. What commission has Christ given his church relative to church discipline?
Christ has commissioned his church in love to warn and admonish such members as fall into sin and error, and if this be in vain, to exclude them from church membership, but if they repent, to declare unto them forgiveness, and reinstate them as members.
Matt. 18:18. “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
143. How will the Holy Ghost complete his work with regard to you and the whole church of Christ?
The Holy Ghost together with the Father and the Son shall on the last day raise up me and all the dead and grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ.
Rom. 8:11. “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
144. What is the condition of the souls of the dead before the last day?
The souls of believers after their separation from the body enjoy blessedness with God; but the unbelievers remain in suffering and pain, awaiting judgment.
Luke 23:43. “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
John 3:36. “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
145.What is meant by the resurrection of the dead?
By the resurrection of the dead is meant that on the last day the bodies of the dead shall be raised and reunited with their souls. The bodies of believers shall become like unto the glorified body of Christ.
John 5:28, 29. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Phil. 3:20, 21. “Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.”
1 Cor. 15:51. “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”
146.What is eternal life?
Eternal life is the inexpressible peace, joy, and glory of the children of God in heaven, where they may behold, serve, and praise God in all eternity.
1 John 3:2. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
2 Peter 3:13. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
147. What do you finally declare with regard to all that is contained in the articles of the creed?
I declare, that all that is contained in the articles of the creed is most certainly true, and that I will live and die in such faith.
Part III. The Lord's Prayer.
Matt. 6. Luke 11.
150. What is prayer?
Prayer is the communion of our heart with God, our dear heavenly Father, whether we ask him for spiritual or temporal good, or thank and praise his holy name.
Ps. 62:8. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.”
Ps. 50:15. “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
Ps. 103:1. “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”
151. Why should we pray?
We should pray because God has exhorted us to pray, and promised to hear us, and also because we continually need to flee to him and open our hearts to receive his grace and help.
John 16:24. “Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
Ps. 71:3. “Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.”
152. How should we pray?
We should pray with a humble and penitent heart, in childlike submission, in the name of Jesus.
Dan. 9:18. “We do not present out supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.”
Matt. 26:39. “Father, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
John 16:23. “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.”
153. What is it to pray in the name of Jesus?
To pray in the name of Jesus is to pray in communion with Jesus, in accordance with his will, and trusting in him.
John 15:7. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
1 John 5:14. “This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”
Matt. 21:22. “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
154. Who gives us the power to pray aright?
The Holy Ghost who is the Spirit of grace and prayer.
Rom. 8:15. “Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
155. How does God fulfill his promise to hear prayer?
God fulfills his promise to hear prayer by giving us in his own time that for which we pray, or else that which is better and more useful.
Isa. 55:8. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”
156. How does the Lord’s prayer begin?
Our Father who art in heaven.
157. Why has Christ taught us in prayer to say: Our Father?
In order thereby to remind us that in love we are to pray with each other and for each other.
1 Tim. 2:1. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.”
158. Why has Christ taught us in prayer to say: Our Father who are in heaven?
Christ would thereby remind us of God’s infinite glory and power, through which he can do far above that which we pray or think.
Eph. 3:14, 15. “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”
THE FIRST PETITION.
Hallowed by thy name.
159. For what do we pray in the first petition?
We pray in this petition that the name of God, which is holy in itself, may also be hallowed by us.
Ps. 115:1. “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”
160. When is the name of God hallowed by us?
The name of God is hallowed by us when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we as the children of God lead holy lives in accordance with it.
Jer. 23:28. “He that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully.”
Matt. 5:16. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
161. Who profanes the name of God?
Whoever teaches and lives otherwise than as God’s Word prescribes, profanes the name of God among us
Matt. 15:9. “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Rom. 2:23. “Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God.”
THE SECOND PETITION.
Thy kingdom come.
162. What is meant by the kingdom of God?
By the kingdom of God is meant, firstly, the kingdom of grace upon the earth, in which, through the word and the sacraments, God offers to and confers upon men his grace, and, secondly, the kingdom of glory in heaven, where God grants life and salvation unto the faithful.
Matt. 10:7. “Go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Rom. 14:17. “The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
2 Tim. 4:18. “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom.”
163. For what do we pray in the second petition?
We pray that the kingdom of God may come into our hearts and continually develop until it is completed in glory.
Matt. 6:33. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.”
2 Thess. 3:1. “Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified.”
Dan. 7:18. “The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever.”
THE THIRD PETITION.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
164. What is the will of God?
It is the good and gracious will of God that we should hallow his name and that his kingdom may come to us.
165. What are the powers that hinder God’s will?
Our spiritual enemies, the devil, the world, and our own flesh, which would hinder us from hallowing the name of God and prevent his kingdom from coming to us.
2 Cor. 11:3. “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.”
Matt. 18:7. “Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!”
Gal. 5:17. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.”
166. When is the will of God accomplished?
The will of God is accomplished when God frustrates and brings to naught every evil counsel and purpose; and when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his word and in the faith even unto our end.
Luke 12:32. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
1 Peter 1:5. “Ye are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”
Ps. 143:10. “Teach me to do thy will; for thou are my God: thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.”
THE FOURTH PETITION.
Give us this day our daily bread.
167. What is here meant by daily bread?
All things that pertain to the wants and the support of this present life; such as food, raiment, money, goods, house and land, and so forth.
Prov. 30:8. “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.”
168. Why is it necessary to pray for daily bread?
If we do not in faith ask for daily bread and accept it as a gift of God, we can not enjoy the true blessing thereof.
Matt. 4:4. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
1 Tim. 4:4, 5. “Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
169. Why are the words “this day” added?
Because we are not to be anxiously concerned about the morrow but rely firmly upon the goodness of God which is new every morning.
Matt. 6:34. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Lam. 3:22, 23. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning.”
THE FIFTH PETITION.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
170. For what do we pray in this petition?
We confess our sin and guilt and pray that our heavenly Father would not regard our sins, nor deny us our requests on account of them, but that he would grant us all things through grace for Christ’s sake.
Ps. 51:9. “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.”
Ps. 25:7. “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.”
171. Do we need to pray this petition even after we have been pardoned?
Yes, we need always to pray for the forgiveness of sins, for we daily commit much sin and deserve punishment alone.
Ps. 130:3. “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?”
172. What is expressed by the words “as we forgive those who trespass against us?”
We promise on our part, both heartily to forgive and also readily to do good to those who may injure or offend us.
Eph. 4:32. “Forgive ye one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Matt. 6:15. “If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
THE SIXTH PETITION.
And lead us not into temptation.
173. For what do we pray in the sixth petition?
We pray in this petition that God through his grace would ward off all temptation, but if we are tempted, we pray that he would give us strength finally to prevail and gain the victory.
1 Cor. 10:13. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
174. Do temptations come from God?
No, God indeed tries man’s faith, hope, and patience, but he tempts no one.
James 1:13. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”
Deut. 13:3. “The Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
175. Who then tempt us to sin?
Our spiritual enemies, the devil, the world, and our own flesh, which seek to deceive us and lead us into error and unbelief, despair, and other great and shameful sins.
1 Peter 5:8. “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Prov. 16:29. “A violent man enticeth his neighbor, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.”
James 1:14. “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
176. In accordance with the promise of God, when may we expect his help in temptations?
When we do not expose ourselves to them and when we do not neglect to seek strength from God, through watching and prayer.
Matt. 4:7. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
Eph. 6:13. “Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
THE SEVENTH PETITION.
But deliver us from evil.
177. For what do we pray in the seventh petition?
We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us from all manner of evil whether it affect body or soul.
178. How does God deliver us from all evil in this life?
He turns aside the evil, or else he gives grace patiently to bear the burden which he imposes.
Ps. 91:4. “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.”
Ps. 91:15. “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.”
2 Cor. 12:9. “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
179. When shall we be completely delivered from evil?
When we have persevered in faith in Christ unto the end and God grants unto us a blessed end and graciously takes us from this world of sorrow to himself in heaven.
Rev. 21:4. “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
180. What does the word “Amen” signify?
It teaches me that I should be assured that these petitions are acceptable to our heavenly Father, and are heard by him; for he has commanded us to pray in this manner and has promised that he will hear us.
Luke 11:9. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
181. How do you close the Lord’s Prayer?
In true faith I say Amen, Amen, that is, Yea, Yea; it shall be so.
Part IV. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism.
182. What is a sacrament?
A sacrament is a holy ordinance which the Lord himself has instituted, and in which by earthly means he imparts heavenly gifts of grace.
183. Which are the sacraments?
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which were typified in the Old Testament by Circumcision and the Passover.
184. What is baptism?
Baptism is not simply water, but it is the water comprehended in God’s command, and connected with God’s Word.
185. What is the earthly element used in baptism?
The earthly element is water.
186. What is the heavenly element in baptism?
The heavenly element in baptism is the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38. “Every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
187. With what words did Christ institute holy baptism?
Christ said to his disciples: ‘All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’
188. What words has Christ connected with the water in baptism?
With the water in baptism Christ has connected the words: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
189. According to the commandment of Christ, how are men to be made disciples?
They are to be baptized with water into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost and taught to observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded.
190. Are children also to be made disciples of Christ through baptism?
Children also are to be made disciples through baptism, for Christ says: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God,” and “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Acts 2:39. “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
191. What does it signify that we are baptized into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost?
It signifies that we are taken up into communion with the Triune God, and that we receive all the good that Christ has secured for us.
1 Cor. 12:13. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.”
Gal. 3:26, 27. “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
192. What are the gifts of grace conferred in baptism?
Forgiveness of sins, deliverance from death and the devil, together with everlasting salvation.
Acts 2:38. “Every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”
Col. 2:13. “You, being dead in your sins, hath God quickened together with Christ.”
Col. 1:12, 13. “Give thanks unto the Father, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”
1 Peter 3:21. “Baptism doth also now save us.”
Mark 16:16. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
193. What is it that produces such effects in baptism?
It is not water indeed that produces these effects, but the Word of God which accompanies and is connected with the water, and our faith which relies on the Word of God connected with the water.
194. How are these effects dependent upon God’s Word?
The Word of God connected with the water makes it a baptism, for without the Word of God, the water is simply water and no baptism, but when connected with the Word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost.
Eph. 5:25, 26. Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”
195. How is baptism dependent upon faith?
Our faith indeed does not make the water a baptism, but the salvation which is conferred in baptism we appropriate and retain only through faith.
Rom. 3:3, 4. “Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid.”
Eph. 2:8. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
196. Why is baptism called “a washing of regeneration?”
Because we, who by nature are born in sin, in baptism receive new life in Christ.
John 3:6. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Titus 3:5-8. “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.”
197. What significance has baptism in water in relation to the right use of the grace of baptism?
It signifies that the old Adam in us is to be drowned and destroyed, and that a new man should daily come forth and rise.
Rom. 6:3-5. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”
198. What is meant by the Old and the New man?
The Old man is the inherited sinful depravity of our nature, and the New man is the spiritual life born in baptism.
Eph. 4:22-24. “Put ye off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
199. How are the baptized children to be taught rightly to use the grace of baptism?
The baptized children are to be educated by their parents and the church, so that the grace of baptism may not be lost.
Eph. 6:4. “Ye fathers, bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Matt. 18:10. “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
200. How may the grace of baptism be lost?
When one does not permit the Holy Ghost to work daily repentance, but forsakes the Word of God and prayer, becomes worldly minded, and consents to sin.
Eph. 4:30. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
Heb. 3:12. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
1 John 2:15. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
201. Of what use is baptism to those who have fallen from the grace of baptism?
The grace imparted by God in baptism stands firm on God’s side, so that he seeks the fallen, in order that they may turn to him in true repentance.
Ezek. 34:16. “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.”
Jer. 3:22. “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.”
202. What is confirmation?
Confirmation is a churchly rite at which the catechumens, after having given proof of their Christian knowledge, make public confession of their faith, promise faithfully to keep and employ the grace of baptism, and to fulfill their duties as church members; whereupon they are blessed by the congregation and admitted to the Lord’s Supper.
Part V. The Sacrament of the Altar,
or the Lord's Supper, to which preparatory service belongs.
203. What principal parts belong to the preparatory service?
Two things: confession of sins and absolution.
204. In what does confession of sins consist?
Confession of sins consists in confessing our sins with a penitent heart, and asking for forgiveness for Christ’s sake.
Ps. 32:5. “I said, I will confess by transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”
205. In what does absolution consist?
After we have confessed our sins, the minister declares the forgiveness of our sins on Christ’s behalf.
John 20:23. “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.”
Luke 10:16. “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.”
206. What must we consider in absolution?
That it is God alone who forgives sins, and that the forgiveness of sins cannot be received without contrition and faith.
2 Sam. 12:13. “David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”
207. How may confession and absolution take place?
Publicly as well as privately, and even without the sacrament.
James 5:16. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another.”
208.What is the sacrament of the altar?
It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, given unto us Christians to eat and to drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.
209. What are the words of the institution?
The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, together with St. Paul, write thus:
‘Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the night in which he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat: this is my body, which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner, also, when he had supped, he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins; this do, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.’
210. What heavenly gifts are conferred with the bread and wine in this sacrament?
In, with, and under the consecrated bread and wine, Christ gives his true body and blood.
Matt. 26:26. “Take, eat; this is my body.”
Matt. 26:27, 28. “Drink ye all of it; this is my blood of the new testament.”
1 Cor. 10:16. “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?”
211. What do the words imply: “Do this in remembrance of me?”
They imply that the Christian church in celebrating the Lord’s Supper, should remember and confess her crucified Saviour.
1 Cor. 11:26. As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.”
212. What do these words teach: “Given and shed for you for the remission of sins?”
These words teach us that the remission of sins, life, and salvation are granted unto us in this sacrament; for where there is remission of sins there life and salvation are also.
213. What is meant by the words: “remission of sins, life, and salvation are given in this sacrament?”
In the Lord’s Supper the remission of sins is renewed and confirmed, and the believers are strengthened in their communion with Christ and with each other, and are assured of a blessed resurrection.
1 Cor. 10:17. “For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
John 6:54. “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
214. Upon what does the blessing of the Lord’s Supper depend?
The blessing of the Lord’s Supper depends upon the words of promise: “Given and shed for you for the remission of sins;” but it cannot be received without bodily eating and drinking in true faith, although all communicants receive the body and the blood of Christ.
215. Who then receives this sacrament worthily?
Fasting and bodily preparation are indeed a good external discipline; but only he is truly worthy and well prepared, who believes these words: “Given and shed for you, for the remission of sins.”
1 Cor. 14:40. “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
Heb. 10:22. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”
216. Who is unworthy and unfit to receive this sacrament?
He that does not examine himself, who does not feel and grieve over his sins nor believe in the promise of Jesus, he is unworthy and unfit, for the words: “For you,” require truly believing hearts.
217. What injury do persons suffer by partaking unworthily of the Lord’s Supper?
Their spiritual condition becomes worse and their responsibility increases.
1 Cor. 11:29. “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
1 Cor. 11:27. “Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”
218. How should we consider the condition of those who neglect the Lord’s Supper?
As dangerous indeed, because it shows that they do not feel their spiritual need, and that in unbelief they despise the covenant of Christ’s blood.
Heb. 12:15. “Look diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God.”
219. When have we examined ourselves aright?
When through examination we come to a deeper knowledge of our need, and become more desirous of the grace of God in Christ, and cherish a conciliatory spirit toward our neighbor.
1 Cor. 11:28. “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”
1 Cor. 11:31. “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”
Matt. 5:23. “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
220.What is wrought by worthily partaking of the Lord’s Supper?
That we keep our Lord in faithful remembrance, and with our heart, mouth, and life confess and praise him.
Col. 3:17. “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
2 Tim. 2:8. “Remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.”
1 John 2:6. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
Ps. 103:2. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
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