QUESTION 84. What doth every sin deserve?

ANSWER: Every sin deserves God's wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.

Q. 1. What do you understand by the desert or demerit of sin?

A. It is that in the nature of sin, which of itself deserves all that wrath and curse, which God, in his infinite justice, has entailed upon it, Gal. 3:10.

Q. 2. What is it in the nature of sin, which, of itself, deserves this wrath and curse?

A. It is the opposition, and contrariety of it to the holiness of God expressed in his law, Hab. 1:13; which is the very thing that constitutes the enormity, or heinousness of it, Jer. 44:4.

Q. 3. Can wrath be ascribed to God as it is a passion?

A. No; for all passions, properly speaking, are inconsistent with God's absolute unchangeableness, Mal. 3:6, and independency, Acts 14:15.

Q. 4. What then is to be understood by God's wrath?

A. That most pure and undisturbed act of his will, which produces most dreadful effects against the sinner, Isa. 33:14.

Q. 5. What are these dreadful effects, which the wrath of God produces against the sinner?

A. All the miseries of this life, death itself, and the pains of hell for ever.[101]

Q. 6. Is the desert of sin separable from the nature of it?

A. No; as sin is the very opposite of God's holy nature and righteous law, it cannot but deserve his wrath and curse, Rom. 6:23.

Q. 7. If every sin deserves God's wrath and curse, must not the sins of believers deserve the same likewise?

A. Whatever be the desert of their sin, their persons can never be exposed, or liable to God's vindictive wrath, either in this life, or that which is to come, Zeph. 3:17; Hos. 13:14.

Q. 8. Why cannot the persons of believers be liable to the wrath and curse of God?

A. Because of their union with Christ, Rom. 8:1, who has fulfilled all righteousness for them, ver. 33, 34; or answered all the demands of law and justice in their room and stead, chap. 4:25.

Q. 9. What do the Papists mean by venial sins?

A. Such sins as are in their own nature so small and trivial, that they do not deserve eternal punishment.

Q. 10. Are there any sins in this sense venial?

A. By no means; for the least sin, being committed against a God of infinite perfection, must, on that account, be objectively infinite, and consequently deserve an infinite punishment, 2 Thess. 1:9.

Q. 11. May not smaller offences be atoned for, by human satisfaction or penances?

A. "Even the least sin -- cannot be expiated, but by the blood of Christ," Heb. 9:22; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19.[102]

Q. 12. What may we learn from the desert of sin?

A. The amazing love of God, in transferring the guilt and punishment of sin, to the glorious Surety, making "him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. 5:21.

[101] All which see explained, Part I, On the misery of man's natural state.

[102] Larger Catechism, Question 152. See the necessity of satisfaction proved, Part I on Christ's priestly office.

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