(a) 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. Rom.7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. Rom.7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. Eccl.7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. 1 Cor.13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. (b) Rom.7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: Ps.1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
Question 115. Why will God then have the ten commandments so strictly preached, since no man in this life can keep them?
Answer: First, that all our lifetime we may learn more and more to know (a) our sinful nature, and thus become the more earnest in seeking the remission of sin, and righteousness in Christ; (b) likewise, that we constantly endeavour and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us, in a life to come. (c)
(a) Rom.3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Ps.32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (b) Matt.5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Rom.7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Rom.7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (c) 1 Cor.9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. Philip.3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Philip.3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Philip.3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, Philip.3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
45. Lord's Day
Question 116. Why is prayer necessary for christians?
Answer: Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us: (a) and also, because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desires continually ask them of him, and are thankful for them. (b)
(a) Ps.50:14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: Ps.50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (b) Matt.7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Matt.7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Luke 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? 1 Thess.5:17 Pray without ceasing.
Question 117. What are the requisites of that prayer, which is acceptable to God, and which he will hear?
Answer: First, that we from the heart pray (a) to the one true God only, who has manifested himself in his word, (b) for all things, he has commanded us to ask of him; (c) secondly, that we rightly and thoroughly know our need and misery, (d) that so we may deeply humble ourselves in the presence of his divine majesty; (e) thirdly, that we be fully persuaded that he, notwithstanding that we are unworthy of it, will, for the sake of Christ our Lord, certainly hear our prayer, (f) as he has promised us in his word. (g)
(a) John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Ps.145:18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. (b) Rev.19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (c) Rom.8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (d) 2 Chron.20:12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. (e) Ps.2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Ps.34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. Isa.66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (f) Rom.10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (g) John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Dan.9:17 Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. Dan.9:18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. (h) Matt.7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Ps.27:8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
Question 118. What has God commanded us to ask of him?
Answer: All things necessary for soul and body; (a) which Christ our Lord has comprised in that prayer he himself has taught us. (a) James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Matt.6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Question 119. What are the words of that prayer? (a)
Answer: Our Father which art in heaven, 1 Hallowed be thy name. 2 Thy kingdom come. 3 Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 4 Give us this day our daily bread. 5 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 6 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
(a) Matt.6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Matt.6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matt.6:11 Give us this day our daily bread. Matt.6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Matt.6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Luke 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Luke 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread. Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
46. Lord's Day
Question 120. Why has Christ commanded us to address God thus: "Our Father"?
Answer: That immediately, in the very beginning of our prayer, he might excite in us a childlike reverence for, and confidence in God, which are the foundation of our prayer: namely, that God is become our Father in Christ, and will much less deny us what we ask of him in true faith, than our parents will refuse us earthly things. (a)
(a) Matt.7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Matt.7:10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? Matt.7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Luke 11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Luke 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Question 121. Why is it here added, "Which art in heaven"?
Answer: Lest we should form any earthly conceptions of God's heavenly majesty, (a) and that we may expect from his almighty power all things necessary for soul and body. (b)
(a) Jer.23:23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Jer.23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Acts 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: (b) Rom.10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
47. Lord's Day
Question 122. Which is the first petition?
Answer: "Hallowed be thy name"; that is, grant us, first, rightly to know thee, (a) and to sanctify, glorify and praise thee, (b) in all thy works, in which thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth, are clearly displayed; and further also, that we may so order and direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words and actions, that thy name may never be blasphemed, but rather honoured and praised on our account. (c)
(a) John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. Jer.9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. Jer.31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jer.31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Matt.16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Ps.119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (b) Ps.119:137 Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. Luke 1:46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, Luke 1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Luke 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, Luke 1:69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; Rom.11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Rom.11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Rom.11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? Rom.11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (c) Ps.71:8 Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day. Ps.115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
48. Lord's Day
Question 123. Which is the second petition?
Answer: "Thy kingdom come"; that is, rule us so by thy word and Spirit, that we may submit ourselves more and more to thee; (a) preserve and increase thy church; (b) destroy the works of the devil, and all violence which would exalt itself against thee; and also all wicked counsels devised against thy holy word; (c) till the full perfection of thy kingdom take place, (d) wherein thou shalt be all in all. (e)
(a) Matt.6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Ps.119:5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Ps.143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. (b) Ps.51:18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Ps.122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Ps.122:7 Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. Ps.122:8 For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Ps.122:9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good. (c) 1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Rom.16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (d) Rev.22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Rev.22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Rom.8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Rom.8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (e) 1 Cor.15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
49. Lord's Day
Question 124. Which is the third petition?
Answer: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"; that is, grant that we and all men may renounce our own will, (a) and without murmuring obey thy will, which is only good; (b) that every one may attend to, and perform the duties of his station and calling, (c) as willingly and faithfully as the angels do in heaven. (d)
(a) Matt.16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Tit.2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Tit.2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (b) Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. Eph.5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. Rom.12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (c) 1 Cor.7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God. (d) Ps.103:20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Ps.103:21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
50. Lord's Day
Question 125. Which is the fourth petition?
Answer: "Give us this day our daily bread"; that is, be pleased to provide us with all things necessary for the body, (a) that we may thereby acknowledge thee to be the only fountain of all good, (b) and that neither our care nor industry, nor even thy gifts, can profit us without thy blessing; (c) and therefore that we may withdraw our trust from all creatures, and place it alone in thee. (d)
(a) Ps.104:27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. Ps.104:28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Ps.145:15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Ps.145:16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. Matt.6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Matt.6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (b) James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Acts 14:17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (c) 1 Cor.15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Deut.8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Ps.37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Ps.37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Ps.37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Ps.37:16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. Ps.127:1 <<A Song of degrees for Solomon.>> Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Ps.127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. (d) Ps.55:23 But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee. Ps.62:11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Ps.146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. Jer.17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. Jer.17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
51. Lord's Day
Question 126. Which is the fifth petition?
Answer: "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"; that is, be pleased for the sake of Christ's blood, not to impute to us poor sinners, our transgressions, nor that depravity, which always cleaves to us; (a) even as we feel this evidence of thy grace in us, that it is our firm resolution from the heart to forgive our neighbour. (b)
(a) Ps.51:1 <<To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.>> Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Ps.51:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Ps.51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Ps.51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Ps.51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Ps.51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Ps.51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Ps.143:2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. Rom.8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (b) Matt.6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: Matt.6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
52. Lord's Day
Question 127. Which is the sixth petition?
Answer: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"; that is, since we are so weak in ourselves, that we cannot stand a moment; (a) and besides this, since our mortal enemies, the devil, (b) the world, (c) and our own flesh, (d) cease not to assault us, do thou therefore preserve and strengthen us by the power of thy Holy Spirit, that we may not be overcome in this spiritual warfare, (e) but constantly and strenuously may resist our foes, till at last we obtain a complete victory. (f)
(a) John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Ps.103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. (b) 1 Pet.5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Eph.6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (c) John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (d) Rom.7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Gal.5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (e) Matt.26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Mark 13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. (f) 1 Thess.3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 1 Thess.5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Question 128. How dost thou conclude thy prayer?
Answer: "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever"; that is, all these we ask of thee, because thou, being our King and almighty, art willing and able to give us all good; (a) and all this we pray for, that thereby not we, but thy holy name, may be glorified for ever. (b)
(a) Rom.10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Rom.10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 2 Pet.2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: (b) John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Jer.33:8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. Jer.33:9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it. Ps.115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
Question 129. What does the word "Amen" signify?
Answer: "Amen" signifies, it shall truly and certainly be: for my prayer is more assuredly heard of God, than I feel in my heart that I desire these things of him. (a) (a) 2 Cor.1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 2 Tim.2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.