The First Part - Of The Misery Of Man
Lord’s Day 4
Question 9. Doth not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in his low, that which he cannot perform?
Answer. Not at all; [a] for God made man capable [b] of performing it; but man, by the instigation [c] of the devil, and his own willful disobedience, [d] deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.
Question 10. Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?
Answer. By no means; [e] but is terribly displeased [f] with our original was well as actual sins; and will punish them in his just judgment temporally and eternally, and he hath declared, [g] "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them."
Question 11. Is not God then also merciful?
Answer. God is indeed merciful, [h] but also just; [i] therefore his justice requires, [j] that sin which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be also punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting [k] punishment of body and soul.
[a]: Eccl. 7:29
[b]: John 8:44; 2Cor. 11:3
[c]: Gen. 3:4,7
[d]: Rom. 5:12
[e]: Psa. 5:5
[f]: Rom. 1:18; Deut. 28:15; Heb. 9:27
[g]: Deut 27:27; Gal. 3:10
[h]: Ex. 24:6
[i]: Ex 20:5; Job 34:10,11
[j]: Psa. 5:5,6
[k]: Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23
Read: Romans 2:1-16
The teacher in whose classroom we are learning about our only comfort is eager to get to those lessons that speak of belonging to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. But he is not quite ready to take us to those lessons, for there is one more truth about our misery we have to know: the truth concerning the justice of God in relation to our sin.
The question is an important one, for many answer the question with a loud, Yes. It would be unjust of God, they say, if God would demands of us something we cannot do, and then punish us if we do not do it. A father would be terribly unjust if he asked his son of five years old to carry a fifty kg bag of cement; and then gave him a hard licking when the son failed to do it.
There are people in the world who do say, Yes; God is unjust in asking us to keep his law, even though we are totally depraved and cannot do it; and then in sending us to hell when we do not do it. The Arminians say, Yes to this question; and so they say, Man can keep God’s law if he chooses to do so by the choice of his free will. Or, some Arminians say, God no longer demands of us that we keep his law perfectly, but he is satisfied with the best we can do.
But there are also people called Antinomians. That name comes from “anti, which means “against,” and “:nomos,” which means law. They are “against law.” And so they say that God does not require of us that we keep the law, because Christ kept the law for us, and we do not have to keep it.
Both views are wrong. We cannot keep the law. We cannot even try to keep it. We cannot even wish we could keep it. Yet, says our teacher: We must keep the law, and God is not unjust when he continues to demand that we keep it, even though we cannot even begin to do this.
This is the lesson we have to learn. It is hard to learn and we rather not pay too much attention to it; but, says our teacher, we have to learn this lesson if we truly desire to have our only comfort.