Every Sunday, we will be going through one of the fifty-two Lord’s Days of the Heidelberg Catechism. Written in the year 1563, the Heidelberg still remains a popular confession of faith in many churches to this day. You can find the full text here.
Lord’s Day Three
Question 6: Did God, then, create man
so wicked and perverse?
Answer: No, on the contrary,
God created man good 1
and in his image, 2
that is, in true righteousness and holiness, 3
so that he might rightly know God his Creator, 4
heartily love him,
and live with him in eternal blessedness
to praise and glorify him. 5
2.Gen 1:26, 27.
5. Ps 8.
Question 7: From where, then, did man’s depraved nature come?
Answer: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents,
Adam and Eve, in Paradise, 1
for there our nature became so corrupt 2
that we are all conceived and born in sin. 3
1. Gen 3.
2.Rom 5:12, 18, 19.
Question 8: But are we so corrupt
that we are totally unable to do any good
and inclined to all evil?
Answer: Yes, 1
unless we are regenerated
by the Spirit of God. 2
1.Gen 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; Is 53:6.
This questions and answers here are difficult, but necessary. We will have no understanding of our need of God without first understanding that we are sinful and are unable to save ourselves. Adam and Eve chose sin over God, and this sinful human nature that has been passed down to all their descendants, like some awful inheritance, still makes the same choice today. While unbelievers can do good deeds, like giving to charity or helping a neighbor, these acts in no way earn you any right standing with God. They are of no spiritual good because we are spiritually dead. Ephesians 2:1 says “you were dead in your transgressions and sins”. This is the state of all unbelievers. Lord’s Day Three tells us that, left to ourselves, we will always choose spiritual evil over spiritual good unless the Spirit first does a work in us by regenerating or resurrecting our spirit. This is where the beauty in the word “unless” lies in question 8. We need the Holy Spirit to regenerate our spirit if we are to have any hope in seeing and believing the gospel. We would be lost and hopeless if it weren’t for “unless”. We must be born again, a spiritual rebirth brought about by the Holy Spirit, before we are able to truly place our faith in Jesus Christ.
“We can no more assist the Holy Spirit in the quickening of our souls to spiritual life than Lazarus could help Jesus raise him from the dead.” R.C. Sproul