Heidelberg Catechism



Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?

Answer: That I am not my own,[1] but belong body and soul, in life and in death[2] – to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.[3] He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,[4] and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.[5] He also watches over me in such a way[6] that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven:[7] in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.[8]  Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life[9] and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.[10]

[1]1 Cor. 6:19-20 [2] Rom. 14:7-9  [3] 1 Cor. 3:23; Titus 2:14  [4] 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:2 [5] John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11 [6] John 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5 [7] Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18 [8] Rom. 8:28 [9] Rom. 8:15-16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14 [10] Rom. 8:1-17

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; [1] second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery;[2] third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.[3]

[1] Rom. 3:9-10; 1 John 1:10 [2] John 17:3; Acts 4:12; 10:43 [3] Matt. 5:16; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 5:8-10; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:9-10

The First Part: Guilt


Question 3: How do you come to know your misery?

Answer: The law of God tells me.[1]

[1] Rom. 3:20; 7:7-25

Question 4: What does God’s law require of us?

Answer: Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22 – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.[1] This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.[2] On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

[1] Deut. 6:5 [2] Lev. 19:18

Question 5: Can you live up to all this perfectly?

Answer: No.[1] I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.[2]

[1] Rom. 3:9-20,23; 1 John 1:8,10 [2] Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7:23-24; 8:7; Eph. 2:1-3; Titus 3:3


Question 6: Did God create man so wicked and perverse?

Answer: No. God created man good[1] and in his own image,[2] that is, in true righteousness and holiness,[3] so that he might truly know God his creator,[4] love him with all his heart, and live with him in eternal happiness for his praise and glory.[5]

[1] Gen. 1:31 [2] Gen. 1:26-27 [3] Eph. 4:24 [4] Col. 3:10 [5] Ps. 8

Question 7: Then where does man’s corrupt nature come from?

Answer: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise.[1] This fall has so poisoned our nature[2] that we are born sinners-corrupt from conception on.[3]

[1] Gen. 3 [2] Rom. 5:12, 18-19 [3] Ps. 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,[1] unless we are born again, by the Spirit of God.[2]

[1] Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; Isa. 53:6 [2] John 3:3-5


Question 9: But doesn’t God do man an injustice by requiring in his law what man is unable to do?

Answer: No, God created man with the ability to keep the law.[1] Man, however, tempted by the devil,[2] in reckless disobedience,[3] robbed himself and all his descendants of these gifts.[4]

[1] Gen. 1:31; Eph. 4:24 [2] Gen. 3:13; John 8:44 [3] Gen. 3:6 [4] 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.[1] He has declared: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.[2]

[1] Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27 [2] Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26

Question 11: But isn’t God also merciful?

Answer: God is certainly merciful,[1] but he is also just.[2] His justice demands that sin, committed against his supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty-eternal punishment of body and soul.[3]

[1] Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-9 [2] Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30-31 [3] Matt. 25:35-46

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