5 December 2004
1 Kings 8:46, 1 John 1:8-2:6, Genesis 8:21 & James 3:8
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 82. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. No mere man, since the fall, is able, in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break them, in thought, word and deed.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.82. Can anyone perfectly keep the commandments of God?
A. Since the fall no ordinary man can perfectly keep the commandments of God in this life but breaks them every day in thought, word, and action.
1. What does it mean to “perfectly keep the commandments of God?”
It would mean that a person would have to live the life of perfection, not failing in one word, thought or deed.
2. Has anyone ever been able to keep the commandments of God?
Adam was able to keep them before the fall, but since the fall, no mere man has ever been able to keep them.
3. Why is it that man, saved man, cannot perfectly keep the commandments of God?
Man can’t keep the commandments because the Bible teaches that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” and believers have the remains of the corruption still in them while they are in this world.
4. Does the Bible state in any place that perfection is impossible for the Christian?
Yes, the Bible teaches this in James 3:2 where it states “we all stumble in many ways.” Paul also teaches this in Philippians 3:12.
5. Does not the Bible teach in 1 John 3:9 that a Christian does not sin?
The meaning of this verse is that the believers do not delight in sin, nor do they continually partake of it, for they show evidences of the saving grace of God in their souls.
6. Are sinful thoughts included in the breaking of God’s law?
Yes, for so the Bible teaches as in Matthew 5:28 and Matthew 15:19.
7. What may we learn from this question as believers in Christ?
We may learn to always depend upon the grace of God, recognising that in ourselves we are nothing; to know that perfectionism is impossible; to always mortify sin by the help of the Holy Spirit; to avoid occasions of sins.