Heidelberg Catechism Devotional Q3

Q.3. How do you come to know your misery?

A. The Law of God tells me.


Read Romans 3:20.  While the Law cannot save us, the law can show us where we are sinning.  The Laws of God show us in how many ways we do not measure up to God’s expectations. 


Read Romans 5:13. God’s law makes us aware of sin.  For example the driver of a car who is speeding down the country road at 50 m.p.h. may not realize that the speed limit on country roads is 35 m.p.h.  Is he sinning?  Yes, but is he aware of it?  No, not until he passes the sign that communicates the information, does he realize his error.  This is how the Law of God functions.  We are made aware of our sin, when we read about it in the Scriptures.


Read 2 Samuel 12:1-9, 13.  How does David become aware of his sin in this story?  We don’t think of God’s law being communicated in stories very often, but here Nathan uses a story to make David’s sin obvious.  The Law of God convicts us of sin.


Read Nehemiah 5:1-12 and Exodus 22:25.  In this story, the rulers of God have been taking extra money from their poor countrymen. They have been using them to get richer, while the needy get poorer. But it wasn’t until Nehemiah confronts them with this that their sin is made plain and they change their ways.  Again, the hidden sin is made obvious by the Law of God.


When Josiah became King of Judah, the Israelites had been living without obeying God.  In fact, they had lost the Law of God.  You can read about it in 2 Kings 22:8-13.  Prior to the reading of the Law, Josiah wasn’t aware of how bad the situation was, but after hearing it, he tears his clothes.  This was a sign of sadness and an understanding of the gravity of the nation’s sin.  The Law of God brings sin to the foreground.


Read 1 Samuel 2:22-3:18.  Today we will learn about Eli, the priest of God.  He was a man who knew the law of God, he was aware of his sons sin and even approached them about it, but he never allowed the Law of God to shape his understanding of wickedness, and so he failed to repent like the other stories we have read.  Even when God brought a prophet to him to reiterate his sin and make it clear, Eli and his sons failed to recognize their sin.  Again, the Law of God made it clear, but human hearts blinded by pride, failed to recognize God or his Law.  Truly our misery is great.

About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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