Lord's Day 37

Week 36 :: Week 37 :: Week 38

Devotion

Having completed our study of the Ten Commandments, we turn now to the rightful use and application of the law; which is to convict us of our sin and to cause us to seek a savior. An honest evaluation of our lives in the light of God’s law will lead us to see just how much we have missed the mark, how far we have fallen from God’s righteous expectation of His creation. The Apostle Paul writes that “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good,” “yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin” (Rom 7:12 & 7). 

Note that the catechism teaches that not all sins are equal. The varying forms of sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people evidence this. According to the book of Leviticus, some sins required only a time of purification and the sacrifice of a bird, while more grievous sins demanded the sacrifice of a ram or bull, or even that the offender be put to death. However, every sin leads to the same end: death. Every sin is an offense to God and faces His judgment and wrath. 

By the power of the Holy Spirit the righteous law of God exposes sin for what it is, and shows us who we truly are. We all have sinned and are guilty and accountable to God. Since the ultimate punishment for sin is death, we must either provide a sacrifice to make atonement with God, or the sacrifice must be made on our behalf. Because we are riddled with guilt, any sacrifice we make would be tainted. Our only hope then, in light of the law, is to find a holy, righteous, and good savior, namely, Jesus Christ. 

The law brings hopelessness without the gospel, and the gospel is meaningless without the judgment of the law. Seen properly, the law of God drives us to the Gospel of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. 

Prayer

Almighty God, your law leads us to seek your mercy and grace, which you have offered in Christ our Savior. May we, by the power of your Holy Spirit, cling to Christ, who alone is our hope, our righteousness, our salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Question 82

Q. 82. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?

A. No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.

Scripture Proofs

Ecc. 7:20;

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.

1 John 1:8;

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:10;

If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Gal. 5:17;

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Gen. 6:5;

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Gen. 8:21;

And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

Rom. 3:9-21;

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: 

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. 

All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 

“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” 

“The venom of asps is under their lips.” 

“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 

“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” 

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—

James 3:2-13.

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. 

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. 

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

Question 83

Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?

A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Scripture Proofs

Ezek. 8:6;

And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see still greater abominations.”

Ezek. 8:13;

He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they commit.”

Ezek. 8:15;

Then he said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? You will see still greater abominations than these.”

1 John 5:16;

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.

Ps. 78:17;

Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.

Ps. 78:32;

In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe.

Ps. 78:56.

Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep his testimonies,

Question 84

Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?

A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.

Scripture Proofs

Eph. 5:6;

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Gal. 3:10;

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

Lam. 3:39;

Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?

Matt. 25:41.

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.