STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn
A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.
Scripture References: Gal. 3:10. Matt.25:41. Ezrp. 9:6 2 Cor. 5:21.
1. What is meant by the wratn and curse of God?
The wrath and curse of God is the punishment that God has threatened to inflict upon all sinners for the sins they commit.
2. What is this punishment that God will inflict upon sinners?
The punishment is all the miseries of this life, death itself, and the pains of hell forever (see Question 19, Shorter Catechism).
3. Does every sin we commit deserve this wrath and curSe of God?
Yes. every sin we commit deserves it. Every sin that is committed is against the Holy, Righteous God who hates all sin. He is the just God and He desires and requires satisfaction for the sins committed.
4. Why is sin so hateful to God?
Sin is hateful to God becanse it is the very opposite of God’s holy nature and God’s holy law. Therefore, sin is exposed to the wrath and curse of God.
5. Do the sins of believers deserve this same punishment?
The sins of believers deserve it but their persons can never be exposed to, or liable to, God’s wrath, either in this life or in the life to come.
6. What is it that we can learn from this Question of the Catechism?
We may learn once again to look up to God and thank Him and praise Him for saving us, even when we were not worthy of it. We should look up to Him and thank Him for His mercy, His pardoning mercy, knowing we are such great sinners. We should repeat daily the words from Ezra 9:6: ” … O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.”
DELIVERED FROM THE WRATH TO COME
It Is my prayer that the reader has a well-grounded hope In Jesus Christ, that he is truly saved, for then he will be delivered from the wrath of God. The Bible says, ” … even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (l Thess. 1:10). If a person is born again he will be proving it day by day. He will live in such a way that there is proof lhat his whole life Is governed and controlled by the Book. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones says this person, this saved person, has been taken up by Christianity; he has not simply taken up Christianity. This is the person that has been delivered.
If there is that well-grounded hope, if there is present that God-given ability to know what he is, where he stands, and where he is going, then the believer should be very thankful to God for the deliverance. He will know that Jesus suffered, bled and died for him. He will know that Jesus shed His blood and took the curse that the believer will not have to suffer the wrath of God. There should never a day pass without the believer looking upward and thanking Him once again.
Now the believer must understand that though he is delivered from the wrath to come it does not mean that God will not inflict things upon him in this life. Afflictions will come and the believer must be willing to submit to them with good grace. I once knew a dear brother in the Lord who lived with affliction. It seemed that his every day was filled with it. He hnd physical afflictions, he had material afflictions. One night in his study I asked him how he kept such a wonderful attitude in the midst of such trouble. His answer went something like this: “Certain!y my affliction is heavy but it is nothing compared to what I deserve to suffer eternally in hell.” He had found the right perspective, he knew that his present state was far better than he deserved. And for this he praised God by living day by day knowing he was surrounded by the amazing grace of God.
The deliverance He purchased for us is from God’s wrath. It was a perfect redemption. No affliction, no trial, no sorrow, no trouble on this earth can take it away frem us. Praise God for making “him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Published by The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Dedicated to Instrnctlon In the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.
Vol. 6, No.1 (January 1967)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor.