Answers to Basic Questions

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RC Sproul – “Every Christian is a theologian.” You may not be in the professional trained sense, with a University degree, but if you profess to be a Christian, then a theologian you are. Otherwise you have no right to such a profession. A theologian is one who studies God. The catechism launces you into the fundamental framework of what every Christian ought to know, and know well. These questions are part of your learning process in reaching the goal that God has for you.

When it comes to learning, the Bible does not play with words, as we see here. “You ought to be teachers” – v.12. “You need someone to teach you again.” v.12. “We are confident of better things concerning you.” 6:9. Learning applies to every other walk of life – whether we want to be a baker, a butcher or a doctor. It is time to apply this to the Christian life.

1.    Why is the chief purpose of man to glorify God?

We were created for His pleasure.

We exist only by God’s will (Rev.4:11), or as the AV states, “for His pleasure”. Therefore, if we fail to glorify Him, we give God no pleasure and we exist only by His patience. Such people deny the purpose of their existence.

2.    What is the difference between the way the Heaven’s glorify God, and the way man ought to glorify God?

All creation glorifies God by its very existence by what it is, passively. Ps 19:3 “There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” It requires no effort.

Man can only glorify God by what he does, actively. Note the “I will’s” of the book of Psalms – “I will …not be afraid, …lie down in peace, …worship, …praise You with my whole heart, …be glad & rejoice, …sing to the Lord.”

What is the first act of glorifying God? Believe in Christ.

3.    Who glorifies God more – a person who preaches, or one who works in a factory?

It makes no difference. “Whatever” you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1Cor.10:31. “To them who are given much, much will be required.”

4.    What do we mean, when we say the Bible is infallible?

It has no errors or contradictions. It is totally trustworthy, for it is all given by inspiration of God. 2Tim.3:16.

5.    Explain these words from the Bible, “in Your light, we shall see light.” Ps.36:9.

It is only as God is pleased to enlighten our understanding, that we can behold wonderful things from His word. Ps.119:18. Acts 26:18. 2Cor.4:6.

6.    What are the two different types of attributes of God”? Give examples.

  1. Incommunicable – Infinite, eternal, unchangeable; 2. communicable – wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness & truth.

7.    Why does the person who prays “Father, God…!” betray their ignorance of basic Christian teaching?

It is an expression which undermines the equality within the Godhead. The same expression cannot be used of the Son, or the Holy Spirit. We are only safe when we do as Christ instructed us – “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father…’”.

8.    State the 3 essential truths of the teaching of the Trinity.

  1. There is one God. 2. There are 3 Persons in the Godhead. 3. The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God.

9.    Quote a Scripture, that proves Jesus Christ is God.

Rom.9:3-5 “…my countrymen …are Israelites, …of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” Compare also Christ’s own assertion, for which the Jews were ready to stone Him – Joh.8:58-59. Also 1Tim.3:16. Joh.1:1 with Joh.1:14.

10. What are the decrees of God?

The decrees of God are His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His own will, whereby for His own glory He has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

11. What are some differences between our plans (decrees) and God’s plans?

God’s plans are eternal, He always had them; there was a time when we did not have a plan. God’s plans involve everything, our plans are limited to our knowledge. We cannot include every detail & unforeseen circumstances.

12. Why is it right for God to do everything for His own glory, but wrong for man?

There is none greater than God, thus He does all things for His own sake, or His own Name’s sake. Ps.23:3, Ezek.36:22. Man has a Creator – a Lord & Master.

13. True or false – God planned sin, but He is not the author of sin. Explain.

By planning sin, it does not mean God is the cause of sin, but that He ordered His plans to include sin. God controls sin. At times He prevents it (Gen.20:6, 31:7, 1Sam.25:26). At other times, God gives men over to sin, as a judgment for sin (Rom.1:26:. 2Th.2:11). Ultimately, God has a plan to deal with sin. It never takes God by surprise, even though He is grieved at its presence.

14. How much time did God “need” to create the world?

As much time as He chose. He was not controlled by millions of years as theistic evolutionists believe, but He chose 6 days in order to use creation as an object lesson for man to order his time, to allow a day of rest.

15. In what way does man bear the image of God?

Not physically, but spiritually, in knowledge, righteousness and holiness.

16. Why can a believer sleep peacefully in the midst of a storm?

God overrules all things. Jesus rules in Heaven and on Earth, and His rule is most holy, wise and powerful, therefore nothing can occur which is not part of His will and purpose (Mat.28:18).

17. How many things does God control in the world?

God controls all things – everything from the falling of a sparrow (Mat.10:29) to the decisions of a king Pro.21:1

18. Does God exercise total control over men & women, even when they do wrong?

Yes. Take the greatest evil ever perpetrated – the crucifixion of the Son of God – the wicked men did whatever God purposed to happen – Acts 2:23, 4:28.

19. Why is it essential to believe Gen 1 – 3, to be factual history? (Rom.5:19)

To deny the authenticity of Creation is to deny the authority of Christ (Mat.19:4-8), and other inspired Scriptures (Rom.5:6-12).

20. In what sense has man lost his free will?

Man has never lost his ability to choose between one sin or another, but he has lost the ability to choose to be righteous (Rom.3:11-14). Therefore, without God’s intervention, no one can choose to come to Christ, even though they are freely invited to do so (Joh.6:44, Mat.11:28).

21. What is sin?

Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of the law of God.

Conclusion.

The purpose of this sheet is not to show how much you know, or to show how well you fit in with a Christian model; it is the exact opposite. It is to bring to our attention what we don’t know. In the 3½ years the disciples were with the Lord and this was constantly their experience. They were repeatedly embarrassed and brought up short; sometimes openly rebuked – even severely – “Get behind me Satan”. The person who only tried to fit in, would not have lasted five minutes in the company of the Lord, unless like Judas, they were determined to hide their true motives – as in his case, even from himself.

So in the process of learning, we are helped more by humbly admitting our ignorance and confessing our desire to learn. In all kindness to ourselves, if we have not tried to do this sheet on our own, using the catechism as a guide, it has not done us any good. The gate is narrow – it allows one at a time. When we stand before the Judgmentseat, it will be a personal accountability. We do not appear as a team or duo.

The person helped the most, is the one who is alarmed & humbled at how little they know. So take this too heart; whoever we are, – it is never too late to learn, as long as we still have breath. May God bless us in learning.