Answers to the BIG Questions

by SM

In years long past, Presbyterian Sunday Schools inculcated Christian knowledge by memory-learning from what was called the Shorter Catechism from the Church’s Confession of Faith. Curiously, no student suffered brain damage from such an exercise and, surprisingly, remembered much of what was learned into old age. Furthermore, it provided a sure foundation for members of the Church when fulfilling appointments as elders, managers and teachers. Some questions and answers based on the 107 of the Shorter Catechism follow – using modern language to come to grips with what’s in them.

What is the main and highest purpose for a human being?

The main and highest purpose that anyone can have is to glorify God and fully enjoy Him forever.

Where can we find an authoritative guide to do this?

The only source we can rely on is contained in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

What is God?

God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. St. Paul says we live and move and have our being in Him.

Are there more Gods than one?

There is but One only, the living and true God.

How many persons are there in the Godhead?        

Three. We know God as God the Father, as God in Jesus Christ his Son, and as God in the Holy Spirit or as Jesus called Him – the Comforter  – whom Jesus promised to send to all believers to lead and guide them.

What is sin?

God is a God of order and His laws promote orderliness and good living. Sin is committed and promotes disorder by disrupting right relationships with others and with God by the absence of love and courtesy we show towards others in our behaviour, actions and attitudes.

How are we brought into a right relationship with God?

By accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when crucified, offered His own life in expiation (wiping out) of our sins. In short we are pardoned when we so believe.

How was Christ exalted as a result?

In His rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending into heaven and in sitting on the right hand of God, the Father, and in His coming to judge the world at the last day. His resurrection confirmed His status and promises to us.

What is the result for us?

Because of God’s free grace and the righteousness of Christ when we place our faith in Him, in who He was and what He did, our sins are pardoned and we are adopted by God as His son or daughter.

What follows from this?

We gain an assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, an increase of God-given grace, and perseverance in all this to the end.           

What happens at death?

The souls of believers are perfected in holiness and pass to glory. Their bodies, united to Christ, rest in the grave till the resurrection when they are raised in glory, openly acknowledged, and acquitted in the day of judgment. They are perfectly blessed and fully enjoy God to all eternity.

If you wish to pursue this further talk with your minister, pastor or priest. [SM]