North Valley’s Catechism: Questions 22-26
Question 22: In what ways is all mankind sinful due to Adam’s first sin?
Answer: All mankind shares the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the lack of original righteousness, and the corruption of our whole nature (which is commonly called original sin), together with all actual transgressions (individual sins committed by each person) which come from this nature.
Comment: The Bible says that "in Adam all die" (1 Cor. 15:22), that "one transgression yields condemnation for all men" (Rom. 5:18), and that "one man’s disobedience made many sinners" (Rom. 5:19). These statements lead us to conclude that God, in a way beyond our comprehension, established a unity between Adam and his descendants which makes it right for us to receive the imputation of his guilt and corruption. He was in some sense our representative. We sinned in him and fell with him.
Question 23: In what ways is all mankind miserable due to Adam’s first sin?
Answer: All mankind, by its fall, lost communion with God and is under His wrath and curse. Thus all are subject to the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.
Comment: These miseries will indeed befall all people unless a special work of God’s grace intervenes.
Question 24: Did God leave all mankind to perish in the condition of sin and misery?
Answer: God, out of His mere good pleasure, having chosen before time began a people to have everlasting life, also chose to extend to them a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the condition of sin and misery, and to bring them into a condition of salvation by a Redeemer.
Comment: The term "covenant of grace" is filled with sweet and precious hope. It refers to the free decision, commitment, and oath of God to employ all His omnipotence, wisdom, and love to rescue and glorify his people from sin and misery. It is wholly initiated and carried through by God. It cannot fail.
It is valid for all who believe. ANYONE WHO WILL MAY COME AND ENJOY THIS GRACE! And, since this "believing" and this "willing" is a work of God’s sovereign grace, those who believe and come are the elect, "chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4). Thus the covenant was sealed in the heart of God before the world was. This "covenant of grace" is the cry of victory over all difficulty in spreading the gospel to every nation and people. THE GRACE OF GOD WILL TRIUMPH! He is covenant-bound and oath-bound to save all those who are foreordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48)! "Jesus died for the nation (of Jews), and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (John 11:52). The battle cry of missions is, "The Lord has other sheep that are not of this fold: He MUST bring them also. They WILL heed His voice!" (John 10:16).
Question 25: Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
Answer: The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so He was and continues to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person, forever.
Question 26: How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
Answer: Christ, the Son of God, became man by taking to Himself a true body and a reasonable soul. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary and was born of her, yet without sin.
Comment: The incarnation [God becoming a physical man] is difficult to fully grasp. The "how" is (as the old theologians used to say) "ineffable," unable to be fully described in words. We believe it because the Scriptures teach it and because it "works" to make sense out of God’s whole redemptive plan.
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