Being the Sum of Christian Religion, Contained in the Law and Gospel Published For Preventing the Canker and Poison of Heresy and Error

based on the Heidelberg Catechism, by Zacharias Ursinus, 1563
by Hercules Collins, 1680
updated by Brett A. Baggett, 2024

The Heidelberg Catechism was written in Heidelberg Germany and published in 1563. It still serves as a wonderful summary of the Christian religion today. But why was it written? The answer is this: the Heidelberg Catechism was written because of a godly magistrate. Elector Frederick III was ruler of the most influential part of Germany at the time, known as the Palatinate. He was the prince of that region from 1559 to 1576. Sometime before 1563, Frederick commissioned a man named Zacharias Ursinus to write a catechism that would help teach those who were younger, as well as help the pastors teach their congregations the basic truths of the Law of God and the Gospel of God. Ursinus was only 28 years old, and, though he had some help from other theologians in Heidelberg at the time, he is attributed as the primary author. The Heidelberg Catechism has 129 questions and answers, and is divided into three parts: I. The misery of man because of sin. II. The redemption of man through Jesus Christ. III. The gratitude due from man by living in happy obedience to God’s Law.

The foundational text of Scripture for the Heidelberg Catechism is Romans 14:8, which says, “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” Ursinus wanted to help Christians see the great comfort they have through Christ! The papists of the false church in Rome did not, and still do not, believe Christians can have real assurance of salvation in this life, and therefore little to no true security or peace. Ursinus knew that was false, so he set out to help the saints see the comfort they have both in life and in death through Jesus Christ their Lord. The very first answer of the Heidelberg Catechism says,

“My only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

Heidelberg 1

It is my opinion that this is one of the greatest paragraphs ever written, outside of the Bible. I hope you will learn it and even labor to memorize it. More than that, I pray that you will believe it and live like it for God’s glory.

Years after Ursinus’ Catechism was published, more than 100 later in fact, a Particular Baptist brother named Hercules Collins  (1646-1702) took the Heidelberg, immersed it into Particular Baptist distinctives, and put published it as An Orthodox Catechism (1680), for the glory of God and the good of Christ’s sheep. Collins edited some questions and answers of the Heidelberg and also added new ones, bringing the total to 149 (20 more than Ursinus).

This current publication of An Orthodox Catechism has been only slightly modified with updated spelling, as well as the replacement of a few antiquated words in order to help clarify its meaning for readers today. The Scripture quotations contained within the answers have also been updated to the English Standard Version.

It my desire and prayer that you will use An Orthodox Catechism in private, family, and public worship for the glory of God to the end of your days.

For the sake of Christ’s name among the nations,   
Brett A. Baggett
A Pastor of Ekklesia Muskogee


Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death? 
Answer: That I am not my own, (a) but belong body and soul, in life and in death (b) to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. (c)
    He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,(d) and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.(e) He also watches over me in such a way (f) that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven(g) in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.(h)
    Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life(i) and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.(j)
(a)  1 Corinthians 6:19-20
(b)  Romans 14:7-9
(c)  1 Corinthians 3:23 Titus 2:14
(d)  1 Peter 1:18-19 1 John 1:7-9 1 John 2:2
(e)  John 8:34-36 Hebrews 2:14-15 1 John 3:1-11
(f)  John 6:39-40 John 10:27-30 2 Thessalonians 3:3 1
Peter 1:5
(g)  Matthew 10:29 Luke 21:16-18
(h)  Romans 8:28
(i)  Romans 8:15-16 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 2 Corinthians
5:5 Ephesians 1:13-14
(j)  Romans8:1-17 

Question 2: What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort? 
Answer: Three things: first, how great my sin and misery are;(a) second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery; (b) third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance. (c)
(a) Romans 3:9-10 1 John 1:10
(b) John 17:3 Acts 4:12
(c) Matthew 5:16 Romans 6:13 Ephesians 5:8-10 2 Timothy 2:15 1 Peter 2:9-10 


Question 3: How do you come to know your misery? 
Answer: The law of God tells me. (a)
(a) Romans 3:20 Romans 7:7-25

Question 4: What does the Law of God require of us?
Answer: Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22:37-40: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (a) This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. (b) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(a) Deuteronomy 6:5 (b) Leviticus 19:18 

Question 5: Can you live up to all this perfectly?
Answer: No. I have a natural tendency to hate God (a) and my neighbor. (b)
(a)  Romans 3:9-20, 23 1 John 1:8, 10
(b)  Genesis 6:5 Jeremiah 17:9 Romans 7:23-24 Romans 8:7 Ephesians 2:1-3 Titus 3:3 

Question 6: Did God create man so wicked and perverse?
Answer: No. God created man good (a) and in his own image, (b) that is, in true righteousness and holiness, (c) so that they might truly know God their creator, (d) love him with all their heart, and live with him in eternal happiness for his praise and glory. (e)
(a) Genesis 1:31 (b) Genesis 1:26-27 (c) Ephesians 4:24 (d) Colossians 3:10 (e) Psalms 8:1-9

Question 7: Then where does this corrupt human nature come from? 
Answer: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise. (a) This fall has so poisoned our nature (b) that we are born sinners—corrupt from conception on. (c)
(a) Genesis 3:1-24
(b) Romans 5:12 Romans 5:18-19 (c) Psalms 51:5 

Question 8: But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil? 
Answer: Yes, (a) unless we are born again, by the Spirit of God. (b)
(a) Genesis 6:5 Genesis 8:21 Job 14:4 Isaiah 53:6 (b) John 3:3-5 

Question 9: But does God not do us an injustice by requiring in His law what we are unable to do?
Answer: No, God created humans with the ability to keep the law. (a) They, however, tempted by the devil, (b) in reckless disobedience, (c) robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts. (d) 
(a) Gen. 1:31; Eph. 4:24 (b) Gen. 3:13; John 8:44 (c) Gen. 3:6
(d) Rom. 5:12, 18, 19 

Question 10: Will God permit such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished? 
Answer: Certainly not. He is terribly angry about the sin we are born with as well as the sins we personally commit. As a just judge he punishes them now and in eternity. (a) He has declared: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. (b)
(a)  Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27
(b)  Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26 

Question 11: But is God not also merciful?
Answer: God is certainly merciful, (a) but he is also just. (b) His justice demands that sin, committed against his supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty—eternal punishment of body and soul. (c)
(a) Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-9
(b) Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30-31 (c) Matt. 25:35-46 


Question 12: According to the righteous judgement of God we deserve punishment both in this world and forever after: how then can we escape this punishment and return to the favor of God? 

Answer: God requires that his justice be satisfied. (a) Therefore the claims of his justice must be paid in full, either by ourselves
or another. (b)

(a) Ex. 23:7; Rom. 2:1-11 (b) Isa. 53:11; Rom. 8:3-4 

Question 13: Can we pay this debt ourselves? 

Answer: Certainly not. Actually, we increase our guilt every day. (a) 

(a) Matt. 6:12; Rom. 2:4-5 

Question 14: Can another creature—any at all—pay this debt for us? 

Answer: No. To begin with, God will not punish another creature for what a human is guilty of. (a) Besides, no mere creature can bear the weight of God’s eternal anger against sin and release
others from it. (b) 

(a) Ezek. 18:4, 20; Heb. 2:14-18 (b) Ps. 49:7-9; 130:3 

Question 15: What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then? 

Answer: One who is truly human (a) and truly righteous, (b) yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God. (c) 

(a) Rom. 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:17
(b) Isa. 53:9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26
(c) Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Jer. 23:6; John 1:1 

Question 16: Why must he be truly human and truly righteous? 

Answer: God’s justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for its sin; (a) but a sinner could never pay for others. (b) 

(a) Rom. 5:12, 15; 1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:14-16 (b) Heb. 7:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:18 

Question 17: Why must he also be true God? 

Answer: So that, by the power of his divinity, he might bear the weight of God’s anger in his humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life. (a)

(a) Isa. 53; John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:21 

Question 18: And who is this mediator—true God and at the same time truly human and truly righteous? 

Answer: Our Lord Jesus Christ, (a) who was given us to set us completely free and to make us right with God. (b)

(a) Matt. 1:21-23; Luke 2:11; 1 Tim. 2:5 (b) 1 Cor. 1:30 

Question 19: How do you come to know this? 

Answer: The holy gospel tells me. God himself began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise; (a) later, he proclaimed it by the holy patriarchs(b) and prophets, (c) and portrayed it by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; (d) finally, he fulfilled it through his own dear Son. (e) 

(a)  Gen. 3:15
(b)  Gen. 22:18; 49:10
(c)  Isa. 53; Jer. 23:5-6; Mic. 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Heb. 1:1-2
(d)  Lev. 1-7; John 5:46; Heb. 10:1-10
(e)  Rom. 10:4; Gal. 4:4-5; Col. 2:17 

Question 20: Are all saved through Christ just as all were lost through Adam? 

Answer: No. Only those are saved who by true faith are grafted into Christ and accept all his blessings. (a)

(a) Matt. 7:14; John 3:16, 18, 36; Rom. 11:16-21 

Question 21: What is true faith? 

Answer: True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in his Word is true; (a) it is also a deep-rooted assurance, (b) created in me by the Holy Spirit (c) through the gospel,(d) that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too, (f) have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation. (g) 

(a)  John 17:3, 17; Heb. 11:1-3; James 2:19
(b)  Rom. 4:18-21; 5:1; 10:10; Heb. 4:14-16
(c)  Matt. 16:15-17; John 3:5; Acts 16:14
(d)  Rom. 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:21
(e)  Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10
(f)  Gal. 2:20
(g)  Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:10 

Question 22: What then must a Christian believe? 

Answer: Everything God promises us in the gospel. (a) That gospel is summarized for us in the articles of our Christian faith—a creed beyond doubt, and confessed throughout the world.

(a) Matt. 28:18-20; John 20:30-31 

Question 23: What are these articles? 

Answer: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Question 24: How are these articles divided? 

Answer: Into three parts: God the Father and our creation; God the Son and our deliverance; God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification. 

Question 25: Since there is but one God, (a) why do you speak of three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? 

Answer: Because that is how God has revealed himself in his Word: (a) these three distinct persons are one, true, eternal God. (b) 

(a) Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6
(b) Matt. 3:16-17; 28:18-19; Luke 4:18 (Isa. 61:1); John 14:26; 15:26; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 4:6; Tit. 3:5-6 


Question 26: What do you believe when you say, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth”?

Answer: That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them, (a) who still upholds and rules them by his eternal counsel and providence, (b) is my God and Father because of Christ his Son. (c) I trust him so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul, (d) and he will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends me in this sad world. (e) He is able to do this because he is almighty God; (f) he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father. (g) 

(a)  Gen. 1 & 2; Ex. 20:11; Ps. 33:6; Isa. 44:24; Acts 4:24; 14:15
(b)  Ps. 104; Matt. 6:30; 10:29; Eph. 1:11
(c)  John 1:12-13; Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:4-7; Eph. 1:5
(d)  Ps. 55:22; Matt. 6:25-26; Luke 12:22-31
(e)  Rom. 8:28
(f)  Gen. 18:14; Rom. 8:31-39
(g)  Matt. 7:9-11 

Question 27: What do you understand by the providence of God? 

Answer: Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God (a) by which he upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures, (b) and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty— (c) all things, in fact, come to us not by chance(d) but from his fatherly hand. (e) 

(a) Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-28
(b) Heb. 1:3
(c) Jer. 5:24; Acts 14:15-17; John 9:3; Prov. 22:2 (d) Prov. 16:33
(e) Matt. 10:29 

Question 28: How does the knowledge of God’s creation and providence help us? 

Answer: We can be patient when things go against us, (a) thankful when things go well, (b) and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing will separate us from his love. (c) All creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they can neither move nor be moved. (d) 

(a) Job 1:21-22; James 1:3
(b) Deut. 8:10; 1 Thess. 5:18
(c) Ps. 55:22; Rom. 5:3-5; 8:38-39
(d) Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov. 21:1; Acts 17:24-28 


Question 29: Why is the Son of God called “Jesus,” meaning “savior”? 

Answer: Because he saves us from our sins. (a) Salvation cannot be found in anyone else; it is futile to look for any salvation elsewhere. (b) 

(a) Matt. 1:21; Heb. 7:25
(b) Isa. 43:11; John 15:5; Acts 4:11-12; 1 Tim. 2:5 

Question 30: Do those who look for their salvation and security in saints, in themselves, or elsewhere really believe in the only savior Jesus? 

Answer: No. Although they boast of being his, by their deeds they deny the only savior and deliverer, Jesus. (a) Either Jesus is not a perfect savior, or those who in true faith accept this savior have in him all they need for their salvation. (b) 

(a) 1 Cor. 1:12-13; Gal. 5:4
(b) Col. 1:19-20; 2:10; 1 John 1:7 

Question 31: Why is he called “Christ,” meaning “anointed”? 

Answer: Because he has been ordained by God the Father and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit (a) to be our chief prophet and teacher (b) who perfectly reveals to us the secret counsel and will of God for our deliverance; (c) our only high priest (d) who has set us free by the one sacrifice of his body, (e) and who continually pleads our cause with the Father; (f) and our eternal king (g) who governs us by his Word and Spirit, and who guards us and keeps us in the freedom he has won for us. (h)

(a)  Luke 3:21-22; 4:14-19; Isa. 61:1; Heb. 1:9; Ps. 45:7
(b)  Acts 3:22; Deut. 18:15
(c)  John 1:18; 15:15
(d)  Heb. 7:17; Ps. 110:4
(e)  Heb. 9:12; 10:11-14
(f)  Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24
(g)  Matt. 21:5; Zech. 9:9
(h)  Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:28; Rev. 12:10-11 

Question 32: But why are you called a Christian? 

Answer: Because by faith I am a member of Christ (a) and so I share in His anointing. (b) I am anointed to confess His name, (c) to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks, (d) to strive with a good conscience against sin and the devil in this life, (e) and afterward to reign with Christ over all creation for all eternity. (f) 

(a)  1 Cor. 12:12-27Acts 3:22 (Deut. 18:15)
(b)  Acts 2:17 (Joel 2:28); 1 John 2:27
(c)  Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10; Heb. 13:15
(d)  Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9
(e)  Gal. 5:16-17; Eph. 6:11; 1 Tim. 1:18-19
(f)  Matt. 25:34; 2 Tim. 2:12 

Question 33: Why is he called God’s “only Son” when we also are God’s children? 

Answer: Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God. (a) We, however, are adopted children of God—adopted by grace through Christ. (b) 

(a) John 1:1-3, 14, 18; Heb. 1
(b) John 1:12; Rom. 8:14-17; Eph. 1:5-6 

Question 34: Why do you call him “our Lord”? 

Answer: Because—not with gold or silver, but with His precious blood— (a) He has set us free from sin and from the tyranny of the devil, (b) and has bought us, body and soul, to be His very own. (c) 

(a) 1 Pet. 1:18-19
(b) Col. 1:13-14; Heb. 2:14-15 (c) 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Tim. 2:5-6 

Question 35: What does it mean that he “was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary”? 

Answer: That the eternal Son of God, who is and remains true and eternal God, (a) took to Himself, through the working of the Holy Spirit, (b) from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary, (c) a truly human nature so that He might become David’s true descendant, (d) like his brothers in every way except for sin. (e)

(a)  John 1:1; 10:30-36; Acts 13:33 (Ps. 2:7); Col. 1:15-17; 1 John 5:20
(b)  Luke 1:35
(c)  Matt. 1:18-23; John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 2:14
(d)  2 Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 132:11; Matt. 1:1; Rom. 1:3
(e) Phil. 2:7; Heb. 2:17 (f) Heb. 4:15; 7:26-27 

Question 36: How does the holy conception and birth of Christ benefit you?

Answer: He is our mediator, (a) and with His innocence and perfect holiness He removes from God’s sight my sin—mine since I was conceived. (b) 

(a) 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 9:13-15
(b) Rom. 8:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 4:4-5; 1 Pet. 1:18-19 

Question 37: What do you understand by the word “suffered”? 

Answer: That during His whole life on earth, but especially at the end, Christ sustained in body and soul the anger of God against the sin of the whole human race. (a) This He did in order that, by his suffering as the only atoning sacrifice, (b) He might set us free, body and soul, from eternal condemnation, (c) and gain for us God’s grace, righteousness, and eternal life. (d) 

(a) Isa. 53; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18
(b) Rom. 3:25; Heb. 10:14; 1 John 2:2; 4:10 (c) Rom. 8:1-4; Gal. 3:13
(d) John 3:16; Rom. 3:24-26 

Question 38: Why did he suffer “under Pontius Pilate” as judge? 

Answer: So that He, though innocent, might be condemned by a civil judge, (a) and so free us from the severe judgment of God that was to fall on us. (b) 

(a) Luke 23:13-24; John 19:4, 12-16 (b) Isa. 53:4-5; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13 

Question 39: Is it significant that he was “crucified” instead of dying some other way? 

Answer: Yes. This death convinces me that He shouldered the curse which lay on me, since death by crucifixion was accursed by God. (a) 

(a) Gal. 3:10-13; Deut. 21:23 

Question 40: Why did Christ have to go all the way to death? 

Answer: Because God’s justice and truth demand it: (a) only the death of God’s Son could pay for our sin. (b) 

(a) Gen. 2:17
(b) Rom. 8:3-4; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 2:9 

Question 41: Why was he “buried”? 

Answer: His burial testifies that He really died. (a)

(a) Isa. 53:9; John 19:38-42; Acts 13:29; 1 Cor. 15:3-4 

Question 42: Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die? 

Answer: Our death does not pay the debt of our sins. (a) Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life. (b) 

(a) Ps. 49:7
(b) John 5:24; Phil. 1:21-23; 1 Thess. 5:9-10 

Question 43: What further advantage do we receive from Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross? 

Answer: Through Christ’s death our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with Him, (a) so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer rule us, (b) but that instead we may dedicate ourselves as an offering of gratitude to him. (c) 

(a) Rom. 6:5-11; Col. 2:11-12 (b) Rom. 6:12-14
(c) Rom. 12:1; Eph. 5:1-2 

Question 44: Why does the creed add, “He descended to hell”? 

Answer: To assure me in times of personal crisis and temptation that Christ my Lord, by suffering unspeakable anguish, pain, and terror of soul, especially on the cross but also earlier, has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell. (a) 

(a) Isa. 53; Matt. 26:36-46; 27:45-46; Luke 22:44; Heb. 5:7-10 

Question 45: How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us? 

Answer: First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, so that he might make us share in the righteousness he won for us by his death. (a) Second, by his power we too are already now resurrected to a new life. (b) Third, Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection. (c)

(a) Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:16-20; 1 Pet. 1:3-5 (b) Rom. 6:5-11; Eph. 2:4-6; Col. 3:1-4
(c) Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:12-23; Phil. 3:20-21 

Question 46: What do you mean by saying, “He ascended to heaven”? 

Answer: That Christ, while his disciples watched, was lifted up from the earth to heaven (a) and will be there for our good (b) until he comes again to judge the living and the dead. (c) 

(a) Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11
(b) Rom. 8:34; Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 7:23-25; 9:24 (c) Acts 1:11 

Question 47: But is not Christ with us until the end of the world as He promised us? (a)

Answer: Christ is truly human and truly God. In His human nature Christ is not now on earth; (b) but in His divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit He is not absent from us for a moment. (c)

(a) Matt. 28:20
(b) Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21
(c) Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:16-19 

Question 48: If his humanity is not present wherever his divinity is, then aren’t the two natures of Christ separated from each other? 

Answer: Certainly not. Since divinity is not limited and is present everywhere, (a) it is evident that Christ’s divinity is surely beyond the bounds of the humanity He has taken on, but at the same time His divinity is in and remains personally united to His humanity. (b)

(a) Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 7:48-49 (Isa. 66:1) (b) John 1:14; 3:13; Col. 2:9 

Question 49: How does Christ’s ascension to heaven benefit us?

Answer: First, He pleads our cause in heaven in the presence of His Father. (a) Second, we have our own flesh in heaven—a guarantee that Christ our head will take us, His members, to Himself in heaven. (b) Third, He sends his Spirit to us on earth as a further guarantee. (c) By the Spirit’s power we make the goal of our lives, not earthly things, but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. (d) 

(a) Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 7:48-49; Isa. 66:1 (b) John 14:2; 17:24; Eph. 2:4-6
(c) John 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5
(d) Col. 3:1-4 

Question 50: Why the next words: “and is seated at the right hand of God”? 

Answer: Christ ascended to heaven, there to show that He is head of his church, (a) and that the Father rules all things through Him. (b) 

(a) Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 1:18 (b) Matt. 28:18; John 5:22-23 

Question 51: How does this glory of Christ our head benefit us? 

Answer: First, through his Holy Spirit He pours out his gifts from heaven upon us his members. (a) Second, by His power he defends us and keeps us safe from all enemies. (b) 

(a) Acts 2:33; Eph. 4:7-12
(b) Ps. 110:1-2; John 10:27-30; Rev. 19:11-16 

Question 52: How does Christ’s return “to judge the living and the dead” comfort you? 

Answer: In all my distress and persecution I turn my eyes to the heavens and confidently await as judge the very One who has already stood trial in my place before God and so has removed the whole curse from me. (a) All His enemies and mine He will condemn to everlasting punishment: but me and all His chosen ones he will take along with Him into the joy and the glory of heaven. (b) 

(a) Luke 21:28; Rom. 8:22-25; Phil. 3:20-21; Tit. 2:13-14 (b) Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 1:6-10 


Question 53: What do you believe concerning “the Holy Spirit”? 

Answer: First, He, as well as the Father and the Son, is eternal God. (a) Second, He has been given to me personally, (b) so that, by true faith, He makes me share in Christ and all His blessings, (c) comforts me, (d) and remains with me forever. (e)

(a) Gen. 1:1-2; Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4 (b) 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Gal. 4:6 (c) Gal. 3:14
(d) John 15:26; Acts 9:31
(e) John 14:16-17; 1 Pet. 4:14 

Question 54: What do you believe concerning “the holy catholic church”? 

Answer: I believe that the Son of God through his Spirit and Word, (a) out of the entire human race, (b) from the beginning of the world to its end, (c) gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal life (d) and united in true faith. (e) And of this community I am (f) and always will be (g) a living member. 

(a)  John 10:14-16; Acts 20:28; Rom. 10:14-17; Col. 1:18
(b)  Gen. 26:3b-4; Rev. 5:9
(c)  Isa. 59:21; 1 Cor. 11:26
(d)  Matt. 16:18; John 10:28-30; Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:3-14
(e)  Acts 2:42-47; Eph. 4:1-6
(f)  1 John 3:14, 19-21
(g)  John 10:27-28; 1 Cor. 1:4-9; 1 Pet. 1:3-5 

Question 55: What do you understand by “the communion of saints”? 

Answer: First, that believers one and all, as members of this community, share in Christ and in all his treasures and gifts.(a) Second, that each member should consider it a duty to use these gifts readily and cheerfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.(b) 

(a) Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 6:17; 12:4-7, 12-13; 1 John 1:3 (b) Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:20-27; 13:1-7; Phil. 2:4-8 

Question 56: What do you believe concerning “the forgiveness of sins”? 

Answer: I believe that God, because of Christ’s atonement, will never hold against me any of my sins(a) nor my sinful nature which I need to struggle against all my life.(b) Rather, in his grace God grants me the righteousness of Christ to free me forever from judgment.(c) 

(a)  Ps. 103:3-4, 10, 12; Mic. 7:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; 1 John 1:7; 2:2
(b)  Rom. 7:21-25
(c)  John 3:17-18; Rom. 8:1-2 

Question 57: How does “the resurrection of the body” comfort you? 

Answer: Not only my soul will be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head,(a) but even my very flesh, raised by the power of Christ, will be reunited with my soul and made like Christ’s glorious body.(b) 

(a)  Luke 23:43; Phil. 1:21-23hn 10:14-16; Acts 20:28; Rom. 10:14-17; Col. 1:18
(b)  1 Cor. 15:20, 42-46, 54; Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2

Question 58: How does the article concerning “life everlasting” comfort you? 

Answer: Even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, (a) so after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God eternally.(b) 

(a) Rom. 14:17
(b) John 17:3; 1 Cor. 2:9 

Question 59: What good does it do you, however, to believe all this? 

Answer: In Christ I am right with God and heir to life everlasting. (a) 

(a) John 3:36; Rom. 1:17 (Hab. 2:4); Rom. 5:1-2 

Question 60: How are you right with God? 

Answer: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.(a) Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them,(b) and even though I am still inclined toward all evil,(c) nevertheless, without my deserving it at all,(d) out of sheer grace,(e) God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,(f) as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.(g) All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.(h) 

(a)  Rom. 3:21-28; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil 3:8-11
(b)  Rom. 3:9-10
(c)  Rom. 7:23
(d)  Tit. 3:4-5
(e)  Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8
(f)  Rom. 4:3-5 (Gen. 15:6); 2 Cor. 5:17-19; 1 John 2:1-2
(g)  Rom. 4:24-25; 2 Cor. 5:21
(h)  John 3:18; Acts 16:30-31 

Question 61: Why do you say that by faith alone you are right with God? 

Answer: It is not because of any value my faith has that God is pleased with me. Only Christ’s satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness make me right with God.(a) And I can receive this righteousness and make it mine in no other way than by faith alone.(b) 

(a) 1 Cor. 1:30-31
(b) Rom. 10:10; 1 John 5:10-12 

Question 62: Why is the good that we do not able to make us right with God, or at least help make us right with him? 

Answer: Because the righteousness which can pass God’s scrutiny must be entirely perfect and must in every way measure up to the divine law. (a) Even the very best we do in this life is imperfect and stained with sin. (b) 

(a) Rom. 3:20; Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26 (b) Isa. 64:6 

Question 63: How can you say that the good we do does not earn anything when God promises to reward it in this life and the next? (a) 

Answer: This reward is not earned; it is a gift of grace. (b) 

(a) Matt. 5:12; Heb. 11:6
(b) Luke 17:10; 2 Tim. 4:7-8 

Question 64: But does this teaching not make people indifferent and wicked? 

Answer: No. It is impossible for those grafted into Christ by true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude. (a) 

(a) Luke 6:43-45; John 15:5 


Question 65: It is by faith alone that we share in Christ and all his blessings: where then does that faith come from? 

Answer: The Holy Spirit produces it in our hearts (a) by the preaching of the holy gospel, (b) and confirms it through our use of the holy sacraments.(c) 

(a) John 3:5; 1 Cor. 2:10-14; Eph. 2:8 (b) Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23-25
(c) Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 10:16 

Question 66: What are sacraments? 

Answer: Sacraments are holy signs and seals for us to see. They were instituted by God so that by our use of them he might make us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel, and might put his seal on that promise. (a) And this is God’s gospel promise: to forgive our sins and give us eternal life by grace alone because of Christ’s one sacrifice finished on the cross. (b) 

(a) Gen. 17:11; Deut. 30:6; Rom. 4:11 (b) Matt. 26:27-28; Acts 2:38; Heb. 10:10 

Question 67: Are both the word and the sacraments then intended to focus our faith on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation? 

Answer: Right! In the gospel the Holy Spirit teaches us and through the holy sacraments he assures us that our entire salvation rests on Christ’s one sacrifice for us on the cross. (a) 

(a) Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 11:26; Gal. 3:27 

Question 68: How many sacraments did Christ institute in the New Testament? 

Answer: Two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.(a) (a) Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26 


Question 69: What is Baptism? 

Answer: Immersion or dipping of the Person in Water in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by such who are duly qualified by Christ. (a) 

(a) Mat. 3.16. John 3.23. Acts 8.38, 39. Rom. 6.4 

Question 70: Who are the proper Subjects of this Ordinance? 

Answer: Those who do actually profess Repentance towards God, Faith in, and Obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. (a) 

(a) Acts 2.38. Acts 8.36, 37 

Question 71: Should infants also be baptized? 

Answer: No, for we have neither Precept nor Example for that Practice in all the Book of God. 

Question 72: Does the Scriptures forbid the Baptism of Infants? 

Answer: It is sufficient that the Divine Oracles commands the baptizing of Believers, unless we will make ourselves wiser than what is written. Nadab and Abihu were not forbidden to offer strange Fire, yet for doing so they incurred God’s Wrath, because they were commanded to take Fire from the Altar. (a) 

(a) Mat. 28.18, 19. Mark 16.16. Lev 9.24. 10.16 

Question 73: May not the infant children of believers under the Gospel be baptized since the infant descendants of Abraham were circumcised under the Law? 

Answer: No. Abraham had a command from God to circumcise his infant descendants, but believers have no command to baptize their infant children under the Gospel. (a) 

(a) Gen. 17.9-12 

Question 74: If the infant children of believers are in the Covenant of Grace with their parents, as some say, why may they not be baptized under the Gospel, as well as Abraham’s infant descendants were circumcised under the Law? 

Answer: By the infant children of Believers being in the Covenant of Grace, it must either be meant of the Covenant of Grace absolutely considered, and if so, then there can be no total and final falling away of any infant children of believers from the Covenant, but all must be saved. (a) 

(a) Jer. 32:38-40; John 10.28 

Or, they must mean conditionally, on consideration that when they come to an age of maturity, they by true faith, love, and holiness of life, taking hold of God’s Covenant of Grace, shall have the privileges of it. This being their sense, I then ask what real spiritual privilege the infant children of believers have more than the infant children of unbelievers, if they live also to years of maturity, and by true faith and love take hold God’s Covenant? I further demand, whether the Seal of the Covenant does not belong as much to the children of unbelievers as to the children of believers? and more too, since some infant children of unbelievers take hold of God’s Covenant, and some infant children of believers do not2; as this often occurs to the sorrow of many godly parents. (b) 

(b) Isa. 56.3-8; Acts 10.34-35. John 3.16 

Suppose all the infant children of believers are absolutely in the Covenant of Grace; believers under the Gospel should not baptize their infant children any more than Lot had warrant to circumcise himself or his infant children, although he was closely related to Abraham, a believer, and in the Covenant of Grace too: since circumcision was limited to Abraham and to his family. Also by the same rule we should bring infants to the Lord’s Table, since the same qualifications are required for the proper administration of Baptism as for the Lord’s Supper. (c) 

(c) Acts 2.41, 42

We must know the covenant made with Abraham had two parts: 

First, a spiritual, which consisted in God’s promising to be a God to4 Abraham, and all his spiritual descendants in a particular manner, (d) whether they were circumcised or uncircumcised, who believed as Abraham the Father of the faithful did.(e) This was signified by God’s accepting them as his people who were not descended6 from Abraham, but through Jesus Christ, the Gentiles, the uncircumcised who believed, (f) should have their faith counted for righteousness, as Abraham’s was before he was circumcised. (g) 

(d) Gen. 17.19, 21. Gen. 21.10. Gal. 4.30 (e) Acts 2:39. Rom. 9.7-8
(f) Gal. 3:16, 28-29
(g) Rom. 4:9-14 

Second, this promise consisted of temporal good: so God promised Abraham’s Seed should enjoy the land of Canaan, and have plenty of outward blessings, (h) and sealed this promise by circumcision. It was also a distinguishing character of the Jews being God’s people from all the Nations of the Gentiles, who were not yet the spiritual descendants of Abraham: but when the Gentiles came to believe, and by faith became the people of God as well as the Jews, (i) then Circumcision, that distinguishing mark, ceased. The character of being the children of God now is faith in Christ and circumcision of the Heart. Whatever reason may be given for the Infants of Believers to be Baptized first, as their being the children of believers; or secondly, their being in the Covenant; or thirdly, that the infant descendants of Abraham a believer, were circumcised; all this you see avails nothing: for circumcision was limited to the family of Abraham and all others, though believers, were excluded. It was also limited to a particular day, the eighth day, and what ever reason might be given, it was not to be done before or after. It was limited to male and did not include female; if Baptism came in the place of circumcision, and is the seal of the Covenant under the Gospel as circumcision was under the Law, none but the males must be baptized, because none but the Males were Circumcised. But as the Law regulated circumcision, now the Gospel regulates Baptism, and it depends purely upon the will of the Law-giver, at what periods of time, upon what Persons and terms Baptism is to be administered. We will do well, then, to heed what is declared in Scripture. (j) 

(h) Gen.12;6-7; 13.15-17; 15:16,18; 17:8-11
(i)  John 1:12; Rom. 2:28-29; Phil. 3:3; Gal. 3:26-28
(j)  Acts 3:22 

Question 75: How does baptism remind you and assure you that Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross is for you personally? 

Answer: In this way: Christ instituted this outward washing (a) and with it gave the promise that, as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul’s impurity, in other words, all my sins. (b) 

(a) Acts 2:38
(b) Matt. 3:11; Rom. 6:3-10; 1 Pet. 3:21 (a) Matt. 28:19 

Question 76: What does it mean to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit? 

Answer: To be washed with Christ’s blood means that God, by grace, has forgiven my sins because of Christ’s blood poured out for me in his sacrifice on the cross.(a) To be washed with Christ’s Spirit means that the Holy Spirit has renewed me and set me apart to be a member of Christ so that more and more I become dead to sin and increasingly live a holy and blameless life. (b) 

(a) Zech. 13:1; Eph. 1:7-8; Heb. 12:24; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:5 (b) Ezek. 36:25-27; John 3:5-8; Rom. 6:4; 1 Cor. 6:11; Col. 2:11-12 

Question 77: Where does Christ promise that we are washed with his blood and Spirit as surely as we are washed with the water of baptism? 

Answer: In the institution of baptism where he says: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (a) “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”(b) This promise is repeated when Scripture calls baptism the washing of rebirth (c) and the washing away of sins. (d) 

(b) Mark 16:16 (c) Titus 3:5 (d) Acts 22:16 

Question 78: Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins? 

Answer: No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins. (a) 

(a) Matt. 3:11; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 John 1:7 

Question 79: Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism the washing of rebirth and the washing away of sins? 

Answer: God has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that the blood and Spirit of Christ wash away our sins just as water washes away dirt from our bodies. (a) But more important, he wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign, that the washing away of our sins spiritually is as real as physical washing with water. (b) 

(a) Matt. 3:11; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 John 1:7 (b) Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27 


Question 80: How does the Lord’s Supper remind you and assure you that you share in Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and in all his gifts? 

Answer: In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup. With this command he gave this promise:1 First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup given to me, so surely his body was offered and broken for me and his blood poured out for me on the cross. Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the one who serves, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, given me as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life with his crucified body and poured-out blood. (a) 

(a) Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25 

Question 81: What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood? 

Answer: It means to accept with a believing heart the entire suffering and death of Christ and by believing to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. (a) But it means more. Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body. (b) And so, although he is in heaven (c) and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. (d) And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as members of our body are by one soul. (e) 

(a) John 6:35, 40, 50-54
(b) John 6:55-56; 1 Cor. 12:13
(c) Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 3:1
(d) 1 Cor. 6:15-17; Eph. 5:29-30; 1 John 4:13
(e) John 6:56-58; 15:1-6; Eph. 4:15-16; 1 John 3:24 

Question 82: Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup? 

Answer: In the institution of the Lord’s Supper: “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”(a)
    This promise is repeated by Paul in these words:
“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”(b) 

(a) 1 Cor. 11:23-26 (b) 1 Cor. 10:16-17 

Question 83: Are the bread and wine changed into the real body and blood of Christ? 

Answer: No. Just as the water of baptism is not changed into Christ’s blood and does not itself wash away sins but is simply God’s sign and assurance, (a) so too the bread of the Lord’s Supper is not changed into the actual body of Christ (b) even though it is called the body of Christ (c) in keeping with the nature and language of sacraments. (d) 

(a) Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5
(b) Matt. 26:26-29
(c) 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26-28
(d) Gen. 17:10-11; Ex. 12:11, 13; 1 Cor. 10:1-4 

Question 84: Why then does Christ call the bread his body and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood? And Paul uses the words, a participation in Christ’s body and blood. 

Answer: Christ has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that as bread and wine nourish our temporal life, so too his crucified body and poured-out blood truly nourish our souls for eternal life. (a) But more important, he wants to assure us, by this visible sign and pledge, that we, through the Holy Spirit’s work, share in his true body and blood as surely as our mouths receive these holy signs in his remembrance, (b) and that all of his suffering and obedience are as definitely ours as if we personally had suffered and paid for our sins. (c) 

(a) John 6:51, 55
(b) 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26 (c) Rom. 6:5-11 

Question 85: How does the Lord’s Supper differ from the Roman Catholic Mass? 

Answer: The Lord’s Supper declares to us that our sins have been completely forgiven through the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ which he himself finished on the cross once for all. (a) It also declares to us that the Holy Spirit grafts us into Christ, (b) who with his very body is now in heaven at the right hand of the Father (c) where he wants us to worship him. (d) But the Mass teaches that the living and the dead do not have their sins forgiven through the suffering of Christ unless Christ is still offered for them daily by the priests. It also teaches that Christ is bodily present in the form of bread and wine where Christ is therefore to be worshiped. Thus the Mass is basically nothing but a denial of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ and a condemnable idolatry. 

(a) John 19:30; Heb. 7:27; 9:12, 25-26; 10:10-18
(b) 1 Cor. 6:17; 10:16-17
(c) Acts 7:55-56; Heb. 1:3; 8:1
(d) Matt. 6:20-21; John 4:21-24; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1-3 

Question 86: Who are to come to the Lord’s table? 

Answer: Those who are displeased with themselves because of their sins, but who nevertheless trust that their sins are pardoned and that their continuing weakness is covered by the suffering and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and to lead a better life. Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however, eat and drink judgment on themselves. (a) 

(a) 1 Cor. 10:19-22; 11:26-32 

Question 87: Are those to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper who show by what they say and do that they are unbelieving and ungodly? 

Answer: No, that would dishonor God’s covenant and bring down God’s anger upon the entire congregation.1 Therefore, according to the instruction of Christ and his apostles, the Christian church is duty-bound to exclude such people, by the official use of the keys of the kingdom, until they reform their lives. (a) 

(a) 1 Cor. 11:17-32; Ps. 50:14-16; Isa. 1:11-17 

Question 88: How should this Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper be closed? 

Answer: In singing Praises to God vocally and audibly for his great Benefits and Blessings to his Church in the shedding of the most precious Blood of his Son to take away their Sin; which Blessings are pointed out in this Sacrament. Also we find our Lord and his Disciples did close this Ordinance in singing a Hymn or Psalm; and if Christ sang, who was going to die, what cause have we to sing for whom he died, that we might not eternally die, but live a spiritual and eternal life with Father, Son, and Spirit in inexpressible Glory. (a) 

(a) Mat. 26.30 

Question 89: What are the keys of the kingdom? 

Answer: The preaching of the holy gospel and Christian discipline toward repentance. Both preaching and discipline open the kingdom of heaven to believers and close it to unbelievers. (a) 

(a) Matt. 16:19; John 20:22-23 

Question 90: How does preaching the gospel open and close the kingdom of heaven? 

Answer: The kingdom of heaven is opened by proclaiming and publicly declaring to all believers, each and every one, that, as often as they accept the gospel promise in true faith, God, because of what Christ has done, truly forgives all their sins.
    The kingdom of heaven is closed, however, by proclaiming and publicly declaring to unbelievers and hypocrites that, as long as they do not repent, the anger of God and eternal condemnation rest on them. God’s judgment, both in this life and in the life to come, is based on this gospel testimony.(a) 

(a) Matt. 16:19; John 3:31-36; 20:21-23 

Question 91: How is the kingdom of heaven closed and opened by Christian discipline? 

Answer: Those who, though called Christians, profess unchristian teachings or live unchristian lives, and after repeated and loving counsel refuse to abandon their errors and wickedness, and after being reported to the church, that is, to its officers, fail to respond also to their admonition–such persons the officers exclude from the Christian fellowship by withholding the sacraments from them, and God himself excludes them from the kingdom of Christ. (a) Such persons, when promising and demonstrating genuine reform, are received again as members of Christ and of his church. (b) 

(a) Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5:3-5, 11-13; 2 Thess. 3:14-15 (b) Luke 15:20-24; 2 Cor. 2:6-11 

GRATITUDE (The Ten Commandments)

Question 92: We have been delivered from our misery by God’s grace alone through Christ and not because we have earned it: why then must we still do good? 

Answer: To be sure, Christ has redeemed us by his blood. But we do good because Christ by his Spirit is also renewing us to be like himself, so that in all our living we may show that we are thankful to God for all he has done for us,(a) and so that he may be praised through us.(b) And we do good so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits,(c) and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ. (d) 

(a) Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:5-10
(b) Matt. 5:16; 1 Cor. 6:19-20 63
(c) Matt. 7:17-18; Gal. 5:22-24; 2 Pet. 1:10-11
(d) Matt. 5:14-16; Rom. 14:17-19; 1 Pet. 2:12; 3:1-2 

Question 93: Can those be saved who do not turn to God from their ungrateful and impenitent ways? 

Answer: By no means. Scripture tells us that no unchaste person, no idolater, adulterer, thief, no covetous person, no drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like is going to inherit the kingdom of God. (a) 

(a) 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:1-20; 1 John 3:14 

Question 94: What is involved in genuine repentance or conversion? 

Answer: Two things: the dying-away of the old self, and the coming-to- life of the new. (a) 

(a) Rom. 6:1-11; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:5-10 

Question 95: What is the dying-away of the old self? 

Answer: It is to be genuinely sorry for sin, to hate it more and more, and to run away from it. (a) 

(a) Ps. 51:3-4, 17; Joel 2:12-13; Rom. 8:12-13; 2 Cor. 7:10 

Question 96: What is the coming-to-life of the new self? 

Answer: It is wholehearted joy in God through Christ(a) and a delight to do every kind of good as God wants us to. (b) 

(a) Ps. 51:8, 12; Isa.57:15; Rom. 5:1; 14:17 (b) Rom. 6:10-11; Gal. 2:20 

Question 97: What do we do that is good? 

Answer: Only that which arises out of true faith, (a) conforms to God’s law,(b) and is done for his glory;(c) and not that which is based on what we think is right or on established human tradition.(d) 

(a) John 15:5; Heb. 11:6
(b) Lev. 18:4; 1 Sam. 15:22; Eph. 2:10
(c) 1 Cor. 10:31
(d) Deut. 12:32; Isa. 29:13; Ezek. 20:18-19; Matt. 15:7-9 

Question 98: What is the Law of God? 

Answer: The Decalogue, or Ten Commandments. (a) 

(a) Exod. 20. Deut. 5 

Question 99: How are these commandments divided? 

Answer: Into two tables. The first has four commandments, teaching us what our relation to God should be. The second has six commandments, teaching us what we owe our neighbor. (a)

(a) Matt. 22:37-39 

Question 100: What is the Preface to the ten Commandments? 

Answer: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Question 101: What do we learn from the Preface? 

Answer: Three things: first he shows to whom the right of all Rule belongs, that is, to God himself for he says, “I am the LORD”. Secondly, he says he is the God of his people, that through the promise of his bountifulness he might encourage them to obey him. Thirdly, he says, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, as if he should say, I am the one who made myself known to you and bestowed all those Blessings upon you; therefore you art bound to show thankfulness and obedience unto me. (a) 

(a) Exod. 20:2 

Question 102: Do these things belong to us? 

Answer: Yes, because they figuratively include and imply all the deliverances of the Church; and further, also this was a type of our wonderful Deliverance achieved by Christ. 

Question 103: What is the first Commandment? 

Answer: “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Question 104: What does the Lord require in the first commandment? 

Answer: That I, not wanting to endanger my very salvation, avoid and shun all idolatry,(a) magic, superstitious rites,(b) and prayer to saints or to other creatures.(c) That I sincerely acknowledge the only true God,(d) trust him alone,(e) look to him for every good thing(f) humbly(g) and patiently,(h) love him,(i) fear him,(j) and honor him (k) with all my heart. In short, that I give up anything rather than go against his will in any way. (l) 

(a)  1 Cor. 6:9-10; 10:5-14; 1 John 5:21
(b)  Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:9-12
(c)  Matt. 4:10; Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9
(d)  John 17:3
(e)  Jer. 17:5, 7
(f)  Ps. 104:27-28; James 1:17
(g)  1 Pet. 5:5-6
(h)  Col. 1:11; Heb. 10:36
(i)  Matt. 22:37 (Deut. 6:5)
(j)  Prov. 9:10; 1 Pet. 1:17
(k)  Matt. 4:10 (Deut. 6:13)
(l)  Matt. 5:29-30; 10:37-39 

Question 105: What is idolatry? 

Answer: Idolatry is having or inventing something in which one trusts in place of or alongside of the only true God, who has revealed himself inexcusably in creation and sufficiently in his Word.(a)

(a) 1 Chron. 16:26; Gal. 4:8-9; Eph. 5:5; Phil. 3:19; Romans 1:18-32; Psalm 19:1

Question 106: What is the Second Commandment? 

Answer: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Question 107: What is God’s will for us in the second commandment? 

Answer: That we in no way make any image of God (a) nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his Word. (b) 

(a) Deut. 4:15-19; Isa. 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:22-23 (b) Lev. 10:1-7; 1 Sam. 15:22-23; John 4:23-24 

Question 108: May we then not make any image at all? 

Answer: God neither ought and may not be visibly portrayed in any way. Although creatures may be portrayed, yet God forbids making or having such images if one’s intention is to worship them or to serve God through them. (a) 

(a) Ex. 34:13-14, 17; 2 Kings 18:4-5 

Question 109: But may not images be permitted in the churches as teaching aids for the unlearned? 

Answer: No, we should not try to be wiser than God. He wants his people instructed by the living preaching of his Word—(a) not by idols that cannot even talk. (a) 

(a) Rom. 10:14-15, 17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:195 (b) Jer. 10:8; Hab. 2:18-20 

Question 110: What is the third Commandment? 

Answer: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”

Question 111: What is God’s will for us in the third commandment? 

Answer: That we neither blaspheme nor misuse the name of God by cursing, (a) perjury, (b) or unnecessary oaths, (c) nor share in such horrible sins by being silent bystanders. (d) In a word, it requires that we use the holy name of God only with reverence and awe, (e) so that we may properly confess him, (f) pray to him,(g) and praise him in everything we do and say. (h)

(a)  Lev. 24:10-17
(b)  Lev. 19:12
(c)  Matt. 5:37; James 5:12
(d)  Lev. 5:1; Prov. 29:24
(e)  Ps. 99:1-5; Jer. 4:2
(f)  Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10
(g)  Ps. 50:14-15; 1 Tim. 2:8
(h)  Col. 3:17 

Question 112: Is blasphemy of God’s name by swearing and cursing really such serious sin that God is angry also with those who do not do all they can to help prevent it and forbid it? 

Answer: Yes, indeed. (a) No sin is greater, no sin makes God more angry than blaspheming his name. That is why he commanded the death penalty for it. (b) 

Question 113: But may we swear an oath in God’s name if we do it reverently? 

Answer: Yes, when the government demands it, or when necessity requires it, in order to maintain and promote truth and trustworthiness for God’s glory and our neighbor’s good. Such oaths are approved in God’s Word (a) and were rightly used by Old and New Testament believers. (b) 

(a) Deut. 6:13; 10:20; Jer. 4:1-2; Heb. 6:16
(b) Gen. 21:24; Josh. 9:15; 1 Kings 1:29-30; Rom. 1:9; 2 Cor. 1:23 

Question 114: May we swear by saints or other creatures? 

Answer: No. A legitimate oath means calling upon God as the one who knows my heart to witness to my truthfulness and to punish me if I swear falsely. (a) No creature is worthy of such honor. (b) 

(a) Rom. 9:1; 2 Cor. 1:23
(b) Matt. 5:34-37; 23:16-22; James 5:12 

Question 115: What is the fourth Commandment? 

Answer: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Question 116: What is God’s will for you in the fourth commandment? 

Answer: First, that the gospel ministry and education for it be maintained, (a) and that, especially on the festive day of rest, I regularly attend the assembly of God’s people (b) to learn what God’s Word teaches, (c) to participate in the sacraments,(d) to pray to God publicly,(e) and to bring Christian offerings for the poor.(f) Second, that every day of my life I rest from my evil ways, let the Lord work in me through his Spirit, and so begin already in this life the eternal Sabbath.(g) 

(a) Deut. 6:4-9, 20-25; 1 Cor. 9:13-14; 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:13- 17; Tit. 1:5
(b)  Deut. 12:5-12; Ps. 40:9-10; 68:26; Acts 2:42-47; Heb. 10:23-25
(c)  Rom. 10:14-17; 1 Cor. 14:31-32; 1 Tim. 4:13
(d)  1 Cor. 11:23-25
(e)  Col. 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:1
(f)  Ps. 50:14; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8 & 9
(g)  Isa. 66:23; Heb. 4:9-11 

Question 117: What is the fifth Commandment? 

Answer: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” 

Question 118: What is God’s will for you in the fifth commandment? 

Answer: That I honor, love, and be loyal to my father and mother and all those in authority over me; that I obey and submit to them, as is proper, when they correct and punish me; (a) and also that I be patient with their failings—(b) for through them God chooses to rule us. (c) 

(a)  Ex. 21:17; Prov. 1:8; 4:1; Rom. 13:1-2; Eph. 5:21- 22; 6:1-9; Col. 3:18-4:1
(b)  Prov. 20:20; 23:22; 1 Pet. 2:18 (c) Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:1-8; Eph. 6:1-9; Col. 3:18-21 

Question 119: What is the sixth Commandment? 

Answer: “You shall not murder.”

Question 120: What is God’s will for you in the sixth commandment? 

Answer: I am not to belittle, insult, hate, or murder my neighbor—not by my thoughts, my words, my look or gesture, and certainly not by actual deeds—and I am not to be party to this in others; (a) rather, I am to put away all desire for revenge. (b) I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself either. (c) Prevention of murder is also why government is armed with the sword. (d) 

(a) Gen. 9:6; Lev. 19:17-18; Matt. 5:21-22; 26:52
(b) Prov. 25:21-22; Matt. 18:35; Rom. 12:19; Eph. 4:26 (c) Matt. 4:7; 26:52; Rom. 13:11-14
(d) Gen. 9:6; Ex. 21:14; Rom. 13:4 

Question 121: Does this commandment refer only to physical murder? 

Answer: By forbidding murder God teaches us that he hates the root of murder: envy, hatred, anger, vindictiveness. (a) In God’s sight all such are murder. (b) 

(a)  Prov. 14:30; Rom. 1:29; 12:19; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 John 2:9-11
(b)  1 John 3:15 

Question 122: Is it enough then that we do not murder our neighbor in any such way? 

Answer: No. By condemning envy, hatred, and anger God tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, (a) to be patient, peace-loving, gentle, merciful, and friendly to them, (b) to protect them from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies.(c) 

(a)  Matt. 7:12; 22:39; Rom. 12:10
(b)  Matt. 5:3-12; Luke 6:36; Rom. 12:10, 18; Gal. 6:1-2;
Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 3:8
(c)  Ex. 23:4-5; Matt. 5:44-45; Rom. 12:20-21
(Prov. 25:21-22) 

Question 123: What is the seventh Commandment? 

Answer: “You shall not commit adultery.”

Question 124: What is God’s will for us in the seventh commandment? 

Answer: God condemns all unchastity.(a) We should therefore thoroughly detest it (b) and, married or single, live decent and chaste lives. (c) 

(a) Lev. 18:30; Eph. 5:3-5
(b) Jude 22-23
(c) 1 Cor. 7:1-9; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; Heb. 13:4 

Question 125: Does God, in this commandment, forbid only such scandalous sins as adultery? 

Answer: We are temples of the Holy Spirit, body and soul, and God wants both to be kept clean and holy. That is why he forbids everything which incites unchastity, (a) whether it be actions, looks, talk, thoughts, or desires. (b) 

(a) 1 Cor. 15:33; Eph. 5:18
(b) Matt. 5:27-29; 1 Cor. 6:18-20; Eph. 5:3-4 

Question 126: What is the eighth Commandment? 

Answer: “You shall not steal.” 

Question 127: What does God forbid in the eighth commandment? 

Answer: He forbids not only outright theft and robbery, punishable by law.(a) But in God’s sight theft also includes cheating and swindling our neighbor by schemes made to appear legitimate, (b) such as: inaccurate measurements of weight, size, or volume; fraudulent merchandising; counterfeit money; excessive interest; or any other means forbidden by God.(c) In addition he forbids all greed and pointless squandering of his gifts.

Ex. 22:1; 1 Cor. 5:9-10; 6:9-10
Mic. 6:9-11; Luke 3:14; James 5:1-6
Deut. 25:13-16; Ps. 15:5; Prov. 11:1; 12:22; Ezek. 45:9-12; Luke 6:35
Luke 12:15; Eph. 5:5
Prov. 21:20; 23:20-21; Luke 16:10-13 

Question 128: What does God require of you in this commandment? 

Answer: That I do whatever I can for my neighbor’s good, that I treat others as I would like them to treat me, and that I work faithfully so that I may share with those in need. (a) 

(a) Isa. 58:5-10; Matt. 7:12; Gal. 6:9-10; Eph. 4:28 

Question 129: What is the ninth Commandment? 

Answer: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” 

Question 130: What is God’s will for you in the ninth commandment? 

Answer: God’s will is that I never give false testimony against anyone, twist no one’s words, not gossip or slander, nor join in condemning anyone without a hearing or without a just cause.(a) Rather, in court and everywhere else, I should avoid lying and deceit of every kind; these are devices the devil himself uses, and they would call down on me God’s intense anger.(b) I should love the truth, speak it candidly, and openly acknowledge it.(c) And I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name.(d) 

(a) Ps. 15; Prov. 19:5; Matt. 7:1; Luke 6:37; Rom. 1:28-32 (b) Lev. 19:11-12; Prov. 12:22; 13:5; John 8:44; Rev. 21:8 (c) 1 Cor. 13:6; Eph. 4:25
(d) 1 Pet. 3:8-9; 4:8 

Question 131: What is the tenth Commandment 

Answer: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

(a) Exodus 20.17. 

Question 132: What is God’s will for you in the tenth commandment? 

Answer: That not even the slightest thought or desire contrary to any one of God’s commandments should ever arise in my heart. Rather, with all my heart I should always hate sin and take pleasure in whatever is right. (a) 

(a) Ps. 19:7-14; 139:23-24; Rom. 7:7-8 

Question 133: But can those converted to God obey these commandments perfectly? 

Answer: No. In this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience.(a) Nevertheless, with all seriousness of purpose, they do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commandments. (b) 

(a)  Eccles. 7:20; Rom. 7:14-15; 1 Cor. 13:9; 1 John 1:8-10
(b)  Ps. 1:1-2; Rom. 7:22-25; Phil. 3:12-16 

Question 134: No one in this life can obey the Ten Commandments perfectly: why then does God want them preached so pointedly? 

Answer: First, so that the longer we live the more we may come to know our sinfulness and the more eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness. (a) Second, so that, while praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, we may never stop striving to be renewed more and more after God’s image, until after this life we reach our goal: perfection. (b) 

(a) Ps. 32:5; Rom. 3:19-26; 7:7, 24-25; 1 John 1:9 (b) 1 Cor. 9:24; Phil. 3:12-14; 1 John 3:1-3 


Question 135: Why must Christians pray? 

Answer: Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us. (a) And also because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking him for them.(b) 

(a) Ps. 50:14-15; 116:12-19; 1 Thess. 5:16-18 (b) Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-13 

Question 136: How does God want us to pray so that he will listen to us? 

Answer: First, we must pray from the heart to no other than the one true God, who has revealed himself in his Word, asking for everything he has commanded us to ask for.(a) Second, we must acknowledge our need and misery, hiding nothing, and humble ourselves in his majestic presence. (b) Third, we must rest on this unshakable foundation: even though we do not deserve it, God will surely listen to our prayer because of Christ our Lord. That is what he promised us in his Word. (c) 

(a)  Ps. 145:18-20; John 4:22-24; Rom. 8:26-27; James 1:5; 1 John 5:14-15
(b)  2 Chron. 7:14; Ps. 2:11; 34:18; 62:8; Isa. 66:2; Rev. 4 
(c)  Dan. 9:17-19; Matt. 7:8; John 14:13-14; 16:23; Rom. 10:13; James 1:6 

Question 137: What did God command us to pray for? 

Answer: Everything we need, spiritually and physically, (a) as embraced in the prayer Christ our Lord himself taught us. 

(a) James 1:17; Matt. 6:33 

Question 138: What is this prayer? 

Answer: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (a) 

(a) Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4 

Question 139: Are Christians tied to this very Form of Prayer? 

Answer: We are not. Our Lord here delivers to his Church a brief Summary of those things which we are to ask of God, but yet Christ also expects us to ask for particular benefits. This form a set of general topics, under which all benefits may be grouped. All particulars of Prayer must agree & correspond with this general form, although we are not tied to this from. This is apparent from Jam. 1:5. where the Apostle exhorts the Saints, if any of them lack wisdom, they should ask of God, who gives liberally to all, but these words are not found in the form of prayer particularly expressed. In addition, we have examples of prayer both in the Old and New Testament, which do not exactly follow this form although all they asked was included in this prayer. 

Question 140: Why did Christ command us to call God “our Father”? 

Answer: At the very beginning of our prayer Christ wants to kindle in us what is basic to our prayer–the childlike awe and trust that God through Christ has become our Father. Our fathers do not refuse us the things of this life; God our Father will even less refuse to give us what we ask in faith. (a) 

(a) Matt. 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13 

Question 141: Why the words “in heaven”? 

Answer: These words teach us not to think of God’s heavenly majesty as something earthly, (a) and to expect everything for body and soul from his almighty power.(b) 

(a) Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-25 (b) Matt. 6:25-34; Rom. 8:31-32 

Question 142: What does the first request mean? 

Answer: “Hallowed be your name” means, Help us to really know you, (a) to bless, worship, and praise you for all your works and for all that shines forth from them: your almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.(b) And it means, Help us to direct all our living–what we think, say, and do–so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised. (c) 

(a) Jer. 9:23-24; 31:33-34; Matt. 16:17; John 17:3 (b) Ex. 34:5-8; Ps. 145; Jer. 32:16-20; Luke 1:46-55, 68-75; Rom. 11:33-36 (c) Ps. 115:1; Matt. 5:16 

Question 143: What does the second request mean? 

Answer: “Your kingdom come” means, Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to you. (a) Keep your church strong, and add to it. (b) Destroy the devil’s work; destroy every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your Word. (c) Do this until your kingdom is so complete and perfect that in it you are all in all. (d)

(a) Ps. 119:5, 105; 143:10; Matt. 6:33
(b) Ps. 122:6-9; Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:42-47
(c) Rom. 16:20; 1 John 3:8
(d) Rom. 8:22-23; 1 Cor. 15:28; Rev. 22:17, 20 

Question 144: What does the third request mean? 

Answer: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” means, Help us and all people to reject our own wills and to obey your will without any back talk. Your will alone is good. (a) Help us one and all to carry out the work we are called to,(b) as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven. (c) 

(a)  Matt. 7:21; 16:24-26; Luke 22:42; Rom. 12:1-2; Tit. 2:11-12  (b)  1 Cor. 7:17-24; Eph. 6:5-9  (c)  Ps. 103:20-21

Question 145: What does the fourth request mean? 

Answer: “Give us this day our daily bread” means, Do take care of all our physical needs (a) so that we come to know that you are the only source of everything good, (b) and that neither our work and worry nor your gifts can do us any good without your blessing. (c) And so help us to give up our trust in creatures and to put trust in you alone. (d) 

(a) Ps. 104:27-30; 145:15-16; Matt. 6:25-34 (b) Acts 14:17; 17:25; James 1:17
(c) Deut. 8:3; Ps. 37:16; 127:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:58 (d) Ps. 55:22; 62; 146; Jer. 17:5-8; Heb. 13:5-6 

Question 146: What does the fifth request mean? 

Answer: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” means, Because of Christ’s blood, do not hold against us, poor sinners that we are, any of the sins we do or the evil that constantly clings to us. (a) Forgive us just as we are fully determined, as evidence of your grace in us, to forgive our neighbors. (b) 

(a) Ps. 51:1-7; 143:2; Rom. 8:1; 1 John 2:1-2 (b) Matt. 6:14-15; 18:21-35 

Question 147: What does the sixth request mean? 

Answer: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” means, By ourselves we are too weak to hold our own even for a moment.(a) And our sworn enemies–the devil, (b) the world, (c) and our own flesh—(d) never stop attacking us. And so, Lord, uphold us and make us strong with the strength of your Holy Spirit, so that we may not go down to defeat in this spiritual struggle,(e) but may firmly resist our enemies until we finally win the complete victory. (f)

Ps. 103:14-16; John 15:1-5
2 Cor. 11:14; Eph. 6:10-13; 1 Pet. 5:8
John 15:18-21
Rom. 7:23; Gal. 5:17
Matt. 10:19-20; 26:41; Mark 13:33; Rom. 5:3-5 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Thess. 3:13; 5:23 

Question 148: What does your conclusion to this prayer mean? 

Answer: “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, and ever” means, We have made all these requests of you because, as our all-powerful king, you not only want to, but are able to give us all that is good; (a) and because your holy name, and not we ourselves, should receive all the praise, forever. (b) 

(a) Rom. 10:11-13; 2 Pet. 2:9 (b) Ps. 115:1; John 14:13 

Question 149: What does that little word “Amen” express? 

Answer: “Amen” means, This is sure to be! It is even more sure that God listens to my prayer, than that I really desire what I pray for. (a) 

(a) Isa. 65:24; 2 Cor. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:13 

See also,
The Identity and Mission of Ekklesia Muskogee

The Leadership Structure of Ekklesia Muskogee

The 1689 Baptist Confession

The Baptist Catechism

The Statement on Church Discipline of Ekklesia Muskogee

The Membership Covenant of Ekklesia Muskogee

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Family Worship Resources


William Perkins (1558-1602)

The Directory for Family Worship (Edinburgh 1647) 

Richard Baxter (1615–1691)

George Hammond (1620-1705)

Oliver Heywood (1630-1702)

John Howe (1630-1705)

Thomas Doolittle (1632-1707)

Cotton Mather (1663-1728)

Samuel Davies (1723-1761)

Family Altar (Doddridge, Bickersteth, Watts, Hamilton, Barnes, sometime in the 1700’s).

The Godly Family (various authors, from the 1700’s) 

J.W. Alexander (1804-1859)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

A.W. Pink (1886-1952)

Joel Beeke (1952-)

Donald Whitney (1954-)


Thomas Watson (1620-1686) 

  • “Another sin which has brought us low, is neglect of family worship. Religion in men’s families is brought low. There is little reading of Scripture. They more often look at a deck of cards, than a Bible. There is little praying. It is the mark of a reprobate that “he does not call upon God,” Psalm 14:4. The atheist never prays at all. The Grecians asked counsel of their pretend gods—by their oracles; the Persians—by their Magi; the Galls—by their Druids; the Romans—by their Augures. Shall pagans pray—and not Christians? Creatures, by the instinct of nature, cry to God. Psalm 147:9, “The young ravens cry to Him for food.” Prayer has no enemies, unless they are infernal spirits—and such as are near of kin to them. Keys that are often used, are bright—but if they are laid aside and never used they grow rusty. So it is with men’s hearts. If they are not used to family prayer, they will be rusted over with sin! For this, God has brought us low. Why did He pull down many houses in this city—but because they were unholy houses. There was no prayer in them. How can we think to have a blessing from God—if we never ask for it? God would be doing more for us than He did for His own Son. Hebrews 5:7, “In the days of His flesh, He offered up prayers, with strong cries and tears.” (Watson, The Mischief of Sin)
  •     “How many ways may a man sin against illuminations and convictions? (1) When he lives in the total neglect of duty. He is not ignorant that it is a duty to read the Word—yet he lets the Bible lie by as rusty armor, seldom made us of. He is convinced that it is a duty to pray in his family—yet he can go days and months, and God never hears of him; he calls God Father—but never asks his blessing. Neglect of family-prayer, as it were, uncovers the roof of men’s houses, and makes way for a curse to be rained down upon their table!” (Watson, The Ten Commandments)
  •     “You say you hunger and are not satisfied? Perhaps God is not satisfied with your hunger. You have ‘opened your mouth wide’ (Psalm 81:10)—but have not ‘opened your ear’ (Psalm 49:4). When God has called you to family prayer and mortification of sin, you have, like the ‘deaf adder’, stopped your ear against God (Zechariah 7:11). No wonder then that you have not that comfortable filling as you desire. Though you have opened your mouth—you have stopped your ear. The child that will not hear his parent, is made to do penance by fasting.” (Watson, The Beatitudes)
  •     “We are a spiritual decline—when we are less troubled about sin. Time was, when the least sin grieved us, as the least hair makes the eye weep; but now we can commit sin without remorse. Time was, when we were troubled if we neglected closet prayer; now we can omit family-prayer. Time was, when vain thoughts troubled us; now we are not troubled for loose practices. Here is a sad declension in piety; and truly grace is so far from growing, that we can hardly perceive its pulse to beat!” (Watson, A Body of Divinity)

Thomas Boston (1676-1732)

  • Boston mentions Family Worship 23 times in his memoirs.
  • “The neglect of family worship, and prayers particularly, Jeremiah 10:25 [is a lamentable thing]. Christian families should be churches, wherein God should be worshipped. It is the sin of the whole family, especially of the heads thereof, when it is neglected. I say the whole, because it must needs be offensive to God, that while his worship lies neglected in a family, there is none there willing to take it up, and supply the defect. Besides, there is a neglect of it, where it is performed, viz. when any members of the family neglect to join therein, but unnecessarily absent themselves, or being present do not join in their hearts with the speaker.” (Boston, Volume 2 of his works)
  • “Hindering family-worship [is a breaking of the second commandment]; which may be done many ways; as by a too eager and unseasonable pursuit of worldly business, till neither time nor strength is left for it; shuffling it off by this and the other thing that is to be done, and not watching the season for it; strife and contention in families, especially betwixt husband and wife, 1 Peter 3:7, any member of the family drawing back, and creating disorder.” (Boston, Volume 2 of his works)
  • “True religion is not all exposed to the view of others. Attending on public ordinances in the church, and going the round of family-worship, is not that in which the whole of religion consists: for many may be diligent enough in these exercises, and yet strangers to vital heart-religion. But they that are truly religious in the eye of God, are such who not only perform outward duties, but worship God in spirit, and hold communion and intercourse with him in secret prayer, without which they can no more live, than without bread and water.” (Boston, Volume 2 of his works)
  • “[Christians spur one another on to love and good works by] Appointed private meetings of several Christians together, for prayer and Christian conference for their mutual edification, provided it mar not family-worship, nor be improved to the prejudice of public ordinances, as they are warranted by the word of God, so might be of good use (if rightly improved) to the advancement of religion, Acts 12:12; Malachi 3:16; Colossians 3:16. By this means Christians might improve both in gifts and grace, in knowledge and love, and they have been blessed of God to these holy ends unto many: and ordinarily, in parishes where the gospel begins to thrive, they are set up almost as naturally as the birds draw together in the spring; and, where the gospel work is going back, they decay, owing their fall, either to coldrifeness in God’s matters creeping in, or to the fiery heat of division.” (Boston, Volume 3 of his works)
  • “Of reproof to several sorts of persons. And, 1. To those who make no conscience of propagating religion to their families, among their children and servants. Every man is, by divine appointment, the prophet of his own family to teach them, the priest to worship God with them, and the king to rule them. Each will maintain his own authority to his power; but family worship, with many, is not so closely stuck to, but family teaching least of all, which is yet commanded of God: Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.” The want of this makes ministerial teaching in preaching and examination so unsuccessful. How will men answer this neglect of the special business of life?” (Boston, Volume 5 of his works)
  • “We must also follow the worship of the Lord—The secret worship of the Lord by ourselves alone: Matthew 6:6, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” Secret prayer is a duty which they who are exercised unto godliness cannot live without, a duty in which communion with God is as readily to be had as in any other: and though there may be prayers in your family, yet, if you know your duty, you will also pray in your closet—Family prayer: “Pour out,” says the prophet, “thy fury upon the heathen, and upon the families that call not upon thy name.” [Jeremiah 10:25] What do prayerless families but expose themselves to the wrath of God? Every house should be a church. We receive family mercies, and are chargeable with many family sins; why not then family worship? And do they follow the Lord fully that have their family worship? They will worship God at night, but not in the morning. Complain not of want of time, others in your circumstances get time when they have a heart to it—Next, internal worship, without which all your external worship will be to no purpose. There is no following of the Lord fully, if that be wanting: Philippians 3:3, “We are the circumcision, that worship God in the spirit;” that is, in the exercise of grace with external worship; fear, reverence, faith, hope, love, and other holy affections, which are the life and soul of worship.” (Boston, Volume 9 of his works)
  • “Particularly the communion with God is to be sought and kept up, . . . 2. In family prayer, Acts 10:2-3. Never one that gives Christ heart-room, but they will be willing to give him house-room too. And there are none that walk with God themselves, but they would fain all their family walked with God too, Joshua 24:15. And there are none who have gone about it seriously, but must say, that family worship is an ordinance in which God is to be found. Prayerless families are in a dangerous condition; they are as if the owners should uncover the roofs of them, that wrath may be showered down on them; Jeremiah 10:25, “Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name.” And I think if people were walking with God in family-duties, they would not lay by the morning-exercise, as many of you do. And what is it that hinders it? What but the weary world? Ye cannot get time for it, because of your business. But are ye not afraid of God’s curse on that business that shuts out his worship? And if it should thrive, ye take the way to get leanness to your souls. It looks not like walking with God to stand off from family worship, till they have no other thing ado, and it is a graceless-like thing to offer only that time to God that costs you nothing.” (Boston, Volume 10 of his works)
  • “Of reproof to those that, being come to years of discretion, . . . Those that pray now and then only, as it suits with their conveniency. Some will pray on the Sabbath-day, when they have no other thing to do. Sometimes they are in a good mood, and take a start of praying; at other times they will rise from bed, and go to it, without ever bowing a knee to God. They will pray at even, but not at morn. Some cannot be got to set up the worship of God in their families in the morning, others for several days in a week have no family worship, sometimes in the year in the throng of business. Let conscience say, if that be “praying without ceasing.” Is it not a contempt of God in his worship; and like the hypocrite; Job 27:10, of whom it is said, “Will he always call upon God?”” (Boston, Volume 11 of his works)
  • “Forasmuch as every Christian family ought to be a church, Romans 16:5, to receive all ordinances appointed of God, and competent to them in their family capacity; and that religious fasting is an ordinance of divine appointment, in the nature whereof there is nothing to hinder its being performed by a family in their family capacity, it is evident that family fasting and humiliation is a part of family worship; namely, an extraordinary part thereof, to be occasionally performed. Accordingly, it is promised, as an effect of the pouring out of the Spirit; Zechariah 12:12, “The land shall mourn, every family apart.” We have also a plain instance of it, in Esther’s family, on the occasion of the mischievous decree against the Jews, procured by Haman; Esther 4:16, “I also and my maidens will fast likewise.” And the fasting of the Jews, on the same occasion, in every province whithersoever that decree came, mentioned Esther 4:3, seems to have been mostly, if not altogether, of the same kind, to wit, family fasting; not only in respect of their circumstances in these provinces, where they were dispersed, Esther 3:8, but also, that the thanksgiving for their deliverance was appointed to be “kept throughout every family,” Esther 9:28.” (Boston, Volume 11 of his works)

Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575)

  • “Let the father at home examine his children, and know what they have learned from hearing the sermon. Let both the father and mother also at home privately do their endeavour to teach their children the ten commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s prayer; and let them teach them a brief and ready rule out fo the scriptures for the understanding of the sacraments. Let them often and many times cause them to repeat the catechism, and beat into their heads such sentences as are most necessary to put them in memory of their faith and duty of life.” — Heinrich Bullinger, Decades (2.5, p. 291)
  • “Let the father place his children with expert and cunning workmen, to teach them some handycraft whereby to get their living another day. But first, he must make trial of their wits, to see whereunto every one is best apt, and wherein he doth most delight . . . If thou hast any fit for learning, though shalt do a good and godly deed, to train them up to the ministery of the church, or some othe roffice that standeth by learning” — Heinrich Bullinger, Decades (2.5, p. 294)

John Knox (1577), ‘A most wholesome counsel how to behave ourselves in the midst of this wicked generation, touching on the daily exercise of God’s most holy and sacred word’, a letter, in Selected Writings of John Knox  1577

  • “[D]ear brethren, if you look for a life to come, of necessity it is that you exercise yourselves in the book of the Lord your God.  Let no day slip or want some comfort received from the mouth of God.  Open your ears, and He will speak even pleasant things to your heart.  Close not your eyes, but diligently let them behold what portion of substance is left to you within your Father’s testament.  Let your tongues learn to praise the gracious goodness of him, whose mere mercy has called you from darkness to life.  
        Neither yet may you do this so quietly that you admit no witness.  No, brethren, you are ordained of God to rule your own houses in his true fear, and according to his word.  Within your houses, I say, in some cases, you are bishops and kings; your wife, children, servants, and family are your bishopric and charge.  Of you it shall be required how carefully and diligently you have instructed them in God’s true knowledge, how you have studied to plant virtue in them, and [to] repress vice.  And therefore I say, you must make them partakers in reading, exhorting, and in making common prayers, which I would in every house were used once a day at least.  But above all things, dear brethren, study to practice in life that which the Lord commands, and then be you assured that you shall never hear nor read the same without fruit.  And this much for the exercises within your homes.”

William Perkins, Oeconomie: or, Household-Government, in Works 3:670,
“Those families wherein this service of God [family worship] is performed, are (as it were) little churches, yea, even a kind of Paradise upon earth.”

An Exposition of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, in The Works of William Perkins, volume 1, ed. Stephen Yuille, Reformation Heritage Books, 2014, p. 448-9,
“But masters of families especially must look to the practice of this duty, and labor to bring God’s kingdom into their families.  For this end they must see to these things:
    First, that there be no manifest or open sin permitted in their families.  Rid your house of such a person, if you cannot reform him (Ps. 101:7). 
    Secondly, instruct your family in the way of the Lord, that they may know to live righteously and uprightly both before God and man
    Thirdly, set up and maintain the private worship of God in your family, join you with them in holy duties, especially in daily calling upon the name of God.
    In regard of these and such like duties it is that the Scripture ascribes salvation to a family [Luke 19:9], where the master or the governor of the house is converted to the faith.  And for the practice hereof, the holy patriarchs are commended to all posterity [Gen. 18:19; 35:2; Josh. 24:15].”

Samuel Rutherford, Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland, 1642, London. Ch. 20, Whether or not the government of the Church of Scotland can be proved by God’s Word to be lawful? Article 13, Private Worship.

  • “The worship of God is commanded by our Assemblies to be in private families, as catechizing by the master of the family, or some other better gifted in every family, Deut. 6:6-8; Gen. 18:19; Eph. 6:1,2,3; 2 Tim. 3:15, praying, Zech. 12:10.
        Also singing of Psalms is commanded by our Church in families, as Ex. 29:39; Psal. 55:17; Eph. 5:18-20, and house-discipline, as Job 1:3; Deut. 21:18; Ps. 101:7, and private fasting in families, Neh. 1:4; Esth. 4:16; Zech. 12:11.”

Nathaniel Holmes  1599–1678, Gospel Music, or the Singing of David’s Psalms, 1644, p. 12

  • “Every well minded family by singing can make themselves a little church. And every church make themselves a little heaven.”

George Hamond, The Case for Family Worship, p. xiii

  • “When you thoroughly search into the Scripture grounds and reasons for family worship, you will find them to be as strong and prevalent to establish daily worship as the worship itself. For you may observe that our blessed Savior, giving directions about prayer, prescribed this petition: ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ Here it is evident that daily bread must be daily asked for. It is not then sufficient that we pray for bread once a month, once a week, or every three or two days, but this must be done every day. And I doubt not but every serious person believes daily grace to be as valuable and necessary as daily bread, and that our souls want supplies as well as our bodies. I am willing to hope that family worship (of which prayer is an essential part) will be sufficiently asserted in the discourse to follow, and, if so by our Savior’s determination, there must be daily family prayer.”

John Angier  1605–1677, Help to Better Hearts for Better Times

  • “The more we worship God in secret, the fitter shall we be for family worship, and the more we worship God in our families, the fitter shall we be for public worship.”

Philip Henry (father of famous puritan commentator Matthew Henry).

“Those do well that pray morning and evening in their families, those do better that pray and read the scriptures, but those do best that pray and read and sing the psalms.”

Richard Baxter, A Christian Directory, in The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, Vol. 1, p. 427

  • “Family reformation is the easiest and the likely way to a common reformation; at least to send many souls to heaven, and train up multitudes for God, if it reach not to national reformation.”

Wilhelmus A’Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Vol. 3, pp. 464-465

  • “First, the time of prayer, considered in a general sense, is every day, every opportunity — always. Specific times of prayer are when we engage in it corporately — be it in public gatherings, in private gatherings, or in our individual family worship which ought to be conducted in every Christian family. This ought to occur both morning and evening, and if the opportunity permits it, also at noon. At this time the father — or if he is absent or unable to do this, the mother — must read a chapter, speak about it, catechize children and servants, sing a psalm together, and bow and offer prayer — all in accordance with the ability the Lord grants each one. Joshua desired to serve the Lord with his house (Josh. 24:15), and Cornelius feared God with all his house (Acts 10:2).  One must make of his home a small church, for then the Lord will bless the home. Children and servants will learn to fear the Lord and thus will experience salvation. It will beget mutual love, there will be mutual respect, restraining everyone from sin, and one will exemplify godliness to each other and follow each other in this way. We must make use of all these opportunities, and take them into consideration, both when praying and when following the example of others.”

Francis Fontaine (1697-1749) and Peter Fontaine (1691-1759).
The Fontaines were two of the first ministers at the French Huguenot Church at Manakin-towne, Virginia, near Richmond.  This excerpt is from a letter cited in Ernest Trice Thompson, Presbyterians in the South, 1607-1861, Vol. 1, p. 16

  • In the year 1700 great numbers of Huguenots [French reformed Christians] landed in America; some on the James River, and some on the Rappahanock.  They selected for their place of residence the Manikin Town… There the Huguenots built a house for the worship of God in the center of the settlement.  Here they had worship twice a day on the Sabbath, conducting the service after the manner of the Germans.  Such sweet singing [of psalms] I have never heard since.  They kept up worship in their families three times a day.

Robert Burns, “The Cotter’s Saturday Night”

The cheerfu’ supper done, wi’ serious face, 

They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;

The sire turns o’er, with patriarchal grace,

The big ha’bible, ance his father’s pride:

His bonnet rev’rently is laid aside,

His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare;

Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,

He wales a portion with judicious care;

And “Let us worship God!” he says with solemn air.

They chant their artless notes in simple guise, 

They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim; 

Perhaps Dundee’s wild-warbling measures rise; 

Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name; 

Or noble Elgin beets the heaven-ward flame; 

The sweetest far of Scotia’s holy lays: 

Compar’d with these, Italian trills are tame; 

The tickl’d ears no heart-felt raptures raise; 

Nae unison hae they with our Creator’s praise.

The priest-like father reads the sacred page, 

How Abram was the friend of God on high; 

Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage 

With Amalek’s ungracious progeny; 

Or how the royal bard did groaning lie 

Beneath the stroke of Heaven’s avenging ire; 

Or Job’s pathetic plaint, and wailing cry; 

Or rapt Isaiah’s wild, seraphic fire; 

Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.

Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme, 

How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed; 

How He, who bore in Heaven the second name, 

Had not on earth whereon to lay His head: 

How His first followers and servants sped; 

The precepts sage they wrote to many a land: 

How he, who lone in Patmos banished, 

Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand, 

And heard great Bab’lon’s doom pronounc’d by Heaven’s command.

Then, kneeling down to Heaven’s Eternal King, 

The saint, the father, and the husband prays: 

Hope “springs exulting on triumphant wing,”^1 

That thus they all shall meet in future days, 

There, ever bask in uncreated rays, 

No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear, 

Together hymning their Creator’s praise, 

In such society, yet still more dear; 

While circling Time moves round in an eternal sphere

C.H. Spurgeon, “A Pastoral Visit”, p. 362-363

  •     “If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when are heads are under the clods of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship
        We deeply want a revival of domestic religion. The Christian family was the bulwark of godliness in the days of the puritans, but in these evil times hundreds of families of so-called Christians have no family worship, no restraint upon growing sons, and no wholesome instruction or discipline. How can we hope to see the kingdom of our Lord advance when His own disciples do not teach His gospel to their own children?
        Oh, Christian men and women, be thorough in what you do and know and teach! Let your families be trained in the fear of God and be yourselves ‘holiness unto the Lord’; so shall you stand like a rock amid the surging waves of error and ungodliness which rage around us.”

James Campbell, from Ernest Trice Thompson, Presbyterians in the South, 1607-1861, Vol. 1, p. 37, cited in Kerry Ptacek, Family Worship: Biblical Basis, Historical Reality, Current Need, p. 57 

  • “Their custom of family worship also kept the faith alive. Children learned the catechism from their elders and the church officers examined them frequently on it. Before each hearth where there was reverence for the forms of the Scottish church the whole family read the Bible aloud every day and repeated the Shorter Catechism.”

Abraham Van De Velde

The Wonders of the Most High: A 125 Year History of the United Netherlands 1550-1675

  • “All parents, fathers, mothers, must take care that they are a good example to their children and families, that they express God’s holy truth in their lives. Godly examples are like the soul of the doctrine to children. Are parents desirous for their children to be religious, love God’s Word, pray much to the Lord, be humble, sober, friendly, modest, righteous; let the parents be a good example, for therewith God’s truth will be pressed into their hearts. ‘For’, says Plutarchus, ‘the life of the parents is like a mirror, and by its light the children will refrain from evil.’ Plutarch. de liber. educat.
        A particular powerful method to gain this end is that family devotions are well taken care of in the home, as reading of God’s Word, fervent prayers, singing of psalms, necessary reprimands, teaching of the catechism, and summarizing sermons. We must take care that our families are little Churches, like those of Priscilla and Aquila, of Cornelius and others, Rom. 16: 5; Acts 10. For by continuous exercise the hearts of the members are influenced to love and obey the Word of the Lord.”









WE MUST SEEK THE HEALTH OF THE CHURCH: 2 Kings 22:3-7 & 1 Peter 2:5




Ekklesia Muskogee is a reformed baptist church that gathers for worship in Muskogee, Oklahoma. We confess the 1689 second London baptist confession of faith. We affirm the five solas of the Reformation as well as the doctrines of grace (otherwise known as the five points of Calvinism), and each of our pastors would not be ashamed to be called a Calvinist. We are a church led by elders, of which there is a plurality (also called pastors and overseers in the Scriptures). Our mission is to make disciples, love cities, and plant churches.