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Westminster Larger Catechism

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Man and Sin

Question 21: Did man continue in that estate wherein God at first created him?

Answer:  Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will, through the temptation of Satan, transgressed the commandment of God in eating the forbidden fruit; and thereby fell from the estate of innocency wherein they were created.

Gen. 3:6-8, 13; Eccl. 7:29; 2Cor. 11:3

Question 22: Did all mankind fall in that first transgression?

Answer:  The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation1, sinned in him, and fell with him in that first transgression2.

1.  Acts 17:26
2.  Gen. 2:16-17; Rom. 5:12-20; 1Cor. 15:21-22

Question 23: Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?

Answer:  The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.

Rom. 3:23; 5:12

Question 24: What is sin?

Answer:  Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.
1John 3:4; Gal. 3:10, 12

Question 25: Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate where into man fell?

Answer:  The sinfulness of that estate where into man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin1, the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually2; which is commonly called original sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions3.

1.  Rom. 5:12, 19
2.  Rom. 3:10-19; 5:6; 8:7-8; Eph. 2:1-3; Gen. 6:5
3.  James 1:14-15; Matt. 15:19

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Question 26: How is original sin conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity?

Answer:  Original sin is conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity by natural generation, so as all that proceed from them in that way are conceived and born in sin.

Ps. 51:5; Job 14:4; 15:14; John 3:6

Question 27: What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?

Answer:  The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God1, his displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath2, bond slaves to Satan3, and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come4.

1.  Gen. 3:8, 10, 24
2.  Eph. 2:2-3
3.  2Tim. 2:26
4.  Gen. 2:17; Lam. 3:39; Rom. 6:23; Matt. 25:41, 46, Jude 1:7

Question 28: What are the punishments of sin in this world?

Answer:  The punishments of sin in this world are either inward, as blindness of mind1, a reprobate sense2, strong delusions3, hardness of heart4, horror of conscience5, and vile affections6; or outward, as the curse of God upon the creatures for our sakes7, and all other evils that befall us in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments8; together with death itself9.

1.  Eph. 4:18
2.  Rom. 1:28
3.  2Thess. 2:11
4.  Rom. 2:5
5.  Isa. 33:14; Gen. 4:13; Matt. 27:4
6.  Rom. 1:26
7.  Gen. 3:17
8.  Deut. 28:15-18
9.  Rom. 6:21, 23

Question 29: What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?

Answer:  The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell fire forever.
2Thess. 1:9; Mark 9:43-44, 46, 48; Luke 16:24

Question 30: Does God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?

Answer:  God does not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery1, into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the covenant of works2; but of his mere love and mercy delivers his elect out of it, and brings them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the covenant of grace3.

1.  1Thess. 5:9
2.  Gal. 3:10, 12
3.  Titus 3:4-7; Gal. 3:21; Rom. 3:20-22

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Question 31: With whom was the covenant of grace made?

Answer:  The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

Gal. 3:16; Rom. 5:15-21; Isa. 53:10-11

Question 32: How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?

Answer:  The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provides and offers to sinners a Mediator1, and life and salvation by him2; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him3, promises and gives his Holy Spirit4 to all his elect, to work in them that faith5, with all other saving graces6; and to enable them unto all holy obedience7, as the evidence of the truth of their faith8 and thankfulness to God9, and as the way which he has appointed them to salvation10.

1.  Gen. 3:15; Isa. 42:6; John 6:27
2.  1John 5:11-12
3.  John 1:12; 3:16
4.  Prov. 1:23
5.  2Cor. 4:13
6.  Gal. 5:22-23
7.  Ezek. 36:27
8.  James 2:18, 22
9.  2Cor. 5:14-15
10.  Eph. 2:18

Question 33: Was the covenant of grace always administered after one and the same manner?

Answer:  The covenant of grace was not always administered after the same manner, but the administrations of it under the Old Testament were different from those under the New.

2Cor. 3:6-9

Question 34: How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament?

Answer:  The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament, by promises1, prophecies2, sacrifices3, circumcision4, the passover5, and other types and ordinances, which did all foresignify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah6, by whom they then had full remission of sin, and eternal salvation7.

1.  Rom. 15:8
2.  Acts 3:20, 24
3.  Heb. 10:1
4.  Rom. 4:11
5.  1Cor. 5:7
6.  Heb. ch. 8-10; 11:13
7.  Gal. 3:7-9, 14

Question 35: How is the covenant of grace administered under the New Testament?

Answer:  Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the preaching of the Word1, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism2 and the Lord’s Supper3; in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fullness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations4.

1.  Mark 16:15
2.  Matt. 28:19-20
3.  1Cor. 11:23-25
4.  2Cor. 3:6-9; Heb. 8:6, 10-11; Matt. 28:19

Question 36: Who is the Mediator of the covenant of grace?

Answer:  The only Mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ1, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father2, in the fullness of time became man3, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever4.

1.  1Tim. 2:5
2.  John 1:1, 14; 10:30; Phil. 2:6
3.  Gal. 4:4
4.  Luke 1:35; Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9; Heb. 7:24-25

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