Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q3

Question: What do the Scriptures principally teach?

Answer: The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

Scripture memory: ESV 2 Timothy 1:13

“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

An explanation: The primary reason God has given us the Holy Scriptures is so that we can know Him and live obediently before Him. Who is God? How do we know Him? God has been kind to reveal Himself clearly and sufficiently as the only God, the True and Living, Triune God who has not left Himself without a witness (Acts 14:17; Exodus 3:14; Deut. 6:4-6; 1 Cor. 8:6). Although man has been created in God’s image, because of the contamination of sin on our minds and hearts, we do not by nature worship the truth and living God as we should. We are idolaters by nature who worship false gods; we exchange the truth of God with a lie (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 1:22-25). Yet God has taught us about Himself through the Scriptures, and through the Scriptures we can know God and have eternal life (John 17:3).

How do we know how to live before God and others? God has clearly and perfectly revealed this in His Word, particularly in the Ten Commandments. Our Lord Jesus summarized the teaching of the Law as loving God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30). The Law of God is a summary of the Bible’s teaching about what love looks like, and how our lives should be lived. We are to love God alone and first before all other things, to honor God with our worship without images, being careful to glorify His name, and to keep His Sabbath Holy. Toward our fellow men (our neighbors), we are to see to it that we properly honor them, preserving and blessing their lives, being committed to our spouses if married, taking care of others’ property, loving and telling the truth, and being content in all circumstances.

Yet we fall short of this perfect will of God (Rom. 8:3-4). God in His great mercy has sent Christ to redeem us from the Law as a way of works, so that we could live it, and be righteous by His grace alone, through faith alone. Christ is our hope. God has revealed Himself ultimately to sinners in Christ. God has called all men to repentance, and given all authority to Jesus Christ to be the Judge of all mankind (Acts 17:30-31). Let us repent in light of God’s goodness and mercy in Christ Jesus. Let us live obediently before Him as the true fruit of saving faith in Him (Rom. 1:5; 6:17; James 2:14).

A prayer: Father, make me a fruitful and joyful Christian in Christ as you have promised (John 15:1-11). Let me be obedient to you by faith and so fulfill the law (Rom. 8:3-4; 13:8-10). Help me to live my life loving you and my neighbor as myself, and so live a life that is pleasing to you (2 Cor. 5:9).

In Christ’s Love,

Pastors Biggs and Halley