Friday, July 15, 2022

The Problem and the Solution

Q. 84: What doth every sin deserve?
Answer: Every sin deserveth God's wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.

Q. 85: What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin?
Answer: To escape the wrath and curse of God, due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption. (WSC)
While some sins are more heinous in the sight of God than others, every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse. As the catechism has already explained, the moral law of God requires perfect conformity and, falling short of that, mankind has fallen into an estate of sin and misery. All mankind has lost communion with God and has been condemned to temporary and eternal judgment for Adam’s first sin, for the depravity of our hearts, and for the sins which proceed from it. Every sin we commit deserves death, temporal and eternal (Jam. 2:9-11, Gal. 3:10). Those who continue in this way are storing up wrath for themselves on the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5). “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6).

So then, how may we escape from God’s wrath and curse? As the people asked the apostles on the day of Pentecost, “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Or as the Philippian jailer asked Paul, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

The gospel proclaims the saving work of God in Christ (see questions 20-38 of the catechism). It also calls sinners to respond to the message and receive this salvation. The gospel does not merely state the facts. It also urges people to respond. “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God ... Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 5:20, 6:2). In particular, God calls us to respond to the gospel with faith in Jesus, repentance unto life, and a diligent use of the means of grace. In other words, if you want to escape God's wrath and curse, you should receive and rest upon Jesus alone for salvation and turn from sin unto the service of God, diligently making use of the preaching and reading of Scripture, the sacraments, and prayer.
“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…’ So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:38, 41–42)

“And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.” (Acts 16:31–33)

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