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What we believe


The Heidelberg Catechism

Lord's Day 1

Part One:
Of the misery of man

Part Two:
Of man’s deliverance
Of God the Father
Of God the Son
Of God the Holy Spirit
Of the sacraments
Of holy baptism
Of the holy supper

Part Three:
Of thankfulness
Of prayer


Heidelberg Catechism

This catechism is fully based on the scriptures. The references to scripture are indicated in parentheses with a letter. For example, the letter (a) points to the texts placed after the answer, also indicated with the letter (a).


Part 3 - Of Thankfulness

Lord’s Day 32

86. Since then we are delivered from our misery, merely of grace, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?
Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit, after his own image; that so we may testify, by the whole of our conduct, our gratitude to God for his blessings, (a) and that he may be praised by us; (b) also, that every one may be assured in himself of his faith, (c) by the fruits thereof; and that, by our godly conversation others may be gained to Christ. (d)
(a) Rom.6:13; Rom.12:1,2; 1 Pet.2:5,9,10; 1 Cor.6:20. (b) Matt.5:16; 1 Pet.2:12; 1 Pet.1:6,7. (c) 2 Pet.1:10; Matt.7:17; Gal.5:6,22,23. (d) 1 Pet.3:1,2; Rom.14:19.

87. Cannot they then be saved, who, continuing in their wicked and ungrateful lives, are not converted to God?
By no means; for the holy scripture declares that no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or any such like, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (a)
(a) 1 Cor.6:9,10; Eph.5:5,6; 1 John 3:14.

Lord’s Day 33

88. Of how many parts does the true conversion of man consist?

Of two parts; of the mortification of the old, and the quickening of the new man. (a)
(a) Rom.6:1,4-6; Eph.4:22-24; Col.3:5-10; 1 Cor.5:7; 2 Cor.7:10.

89. What is the mortification of the old man?
It is a sincere sorrow of heart, that we have provoked God by our sins; and more and more to hate and flee from them. (a)
(a) Rom.8:13; Joel 2:13; Hos.6:1.

90. What is the quickening of the new man?
It is a sincere joy of heart in God, through Christ, (a) and with love and delight to live according to the will of God in all good works. (b)
(a) Rom.5:1; Rom.14:17; Is.57:15. (b) Rom.6:10,11; Gal.2:20.

91. But what are good works?
Only those which proceed from a true faith, (a) are performed according to the law of God, (b) and to his glory; (c) and not such as are founded on our imaginations, or the institutions of men. (d)
(a) Rom.14:23. (b) Lev.18:4; 1 Sam.15:22; Eph.2:10. (c) 1 Cor.10:31. (d) Deut.12:32; Ezek. 20:18,19; Is.29:13; Matt.15:7-9.

Lord’s Day 34

92. What is the law of God?
God spoke all these words, Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, saying: I am the LORD  your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

       1st commandment:  You shalt have no other gods before me.
       2nd commandment:  You shalt not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shalt not bow down  yourself to them, nor serve them; for I the LORD  your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
       3rd commandment:  You shalt not take the name of the LORD  your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.
       4th commandment:  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt you labor, and do all  your work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD  your God: in it you shalt not do any work, you, nor  your son, nor  your daughter,  your manservant, nor  your maidservant, nor  your cattle, nor  your stranger that is within  your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
       5th commandment:  Honor  your father and  your mother: that  your days may be long upon the land which the LORD  your God giveth you.
       6th commandment:  You shalt not kill.
       7th commandment:  You shalt not commit adultery.
       8th commandment:  You shalt not steal.
       9th commandment:  You shalt not bear false witness against  your neighbor.
       10th commandment:  You shalt not covet  your neighbor’s house, you shalt not covet  your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is  your neighbor’s.

93. How are these commandments divided?
Into two tables; (a) the first of which teaches us how we must behave towards God; the second, what duties we owe to our neighbor. (b)
(a) Ex.34:28; Deut.4:13; Deut.10:3,4. (b) Matt.22:37-40.

94. What does God enjoin in the first commandment?
That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, (a) sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, (b) invocation of saints, or any other creatures; (c) and learn rightly to know the only true God; (d) trust in him alone, (e) with humility (f) and patience submit to him; (g) expect all good things from him only; (h) love, (i) fear, (j) and glorify him with my whole heart; (k) so that I renounce and forsake all creatures, rather than commit even the least thing contrary to his will. (l)
(a) 1 John 5:21; 1 Cor.6:9,10; 1 Cor.10:7,14. (b) Lev.19:31; Deut.18:9-12. (c) Matt.4:10; Rev.19:10; Rev.22:8,9. (d) John 17:3. (e) Jer.17:5,7. (f) 1 Pet.5:5,6. (g) Heb.10:36; Col.1:11; Rom.5:3,4; 1 Cor.10:10; Philip.2:14. (h) Ps.104:27-30; Is.45:7; James 1:17. (i) Deut.6:5; Matt.22:37. (j) Deut.6:2; Ps.111:10; Prov.1:7; Prov.9:10; Matt.10:28. (k) Matt.4:10; Deut.10:20,21. (l) Matt.5:29,30; Matt.10:37; Acts 5:29.

95. What is idolatry?
Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God, who has manifested himself in his word, to contrive, or have any other object, in which men place their trust. (a)
(a) Eph.5:5; 1 Chron.16:26; Philip.3:19; Gal.4:8; Eph.2:12; 1 John 2:23; 2 John 1:9; John 5:23.

Lord’s Day 35

96. What does God require in the second commandment?
That we in no wise represent God by images, (a) nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word. (b)
(a) Deut.4:15-19; Is.40:18-25; Rom.1:23,24; Acts 17:29. (b) 1 Sam.15:23; Deut.12:30-32; Matt.15:9.

97. Are images then not at all to be made?
God neither can, nor may be represented by any means: (a) but as to creatures; though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make, or have any resemblance of them, either in order to worship them or to serve God by them. (b)
(a) Is.40:25. (b) Ex.23:24,25; Ex.34:13,14,17; Num.33:52; Deut.7:5; Deut.12:3; Deut.16:21; 2 Kin.18:3,4.

98. But may not images be tolerated in the churches, as books to the laity?
No: for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have his people taught, not by dumb images, (a) but by the lively preaching of his word. (b)
(a) Jer.10:8; Hab.2:18,19. (b) Rom.10:14,15,17; 2 Pet.1:19; 2 Tim.3:16,17.

Lord’s Day 36

99. What is required in the third commandment?
That we, not only by cursing (a) or perjury, (b) but also by rash swearing, (c) must not profane or abuse the name of God; nor by silence or connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in others; (d) and, briefly, that we use the holy name of God no otherwise than with fear and reverence; (e) so that he may be rightly confessed (f) and worshiped by us, (g) and be glorified in all our words and works. (h)
(a) Lev.24:11-16. (b) Lev.19:12. (c) Matt.5:37; James 5:12. (d) Lev.5:1; Prov.29:24. (e) Jer.4:2; Is.45:23. (f) Rom.10:9,10; Matt.10:32. (g) Ps.50:15; 1 Tim.2:8. (h) Rom.2:24; 1 Tim.6:1; Col.3:16,17.

100. Is then the profaning of God’s name, by swearing and cursing, so heinous a sin, that his wrath is kindled against those who do not endeavor, as much as in them lies, to prevent and forbid such cursing and swearing?
It undoubtedly is, (a) for there is no sin greater or more provoking to God, than the profaning of his name; and therefore he has commanded this sin to be punished with death. (b)
(a) Prov.29:24; Lev.5:1. (b) Lev.24:15,16.

Lord’s Day 37

101. May we then swear religiously by the name of God?
Yes: either when the magistrates demand it of the subjects; or when necessity requires us thereby to confirm a fidelity and truth to the glory of God, and the safety of our neighbor: for such an oath is founded on God’s word, (a) and therefore was justly used by the saints, both in the Old and New Testament. (b)
(a) Deut.6:13; Deut.10:20; Is.48:1; Heb.6:16. (b) Gen.21:24; Gen.31:53,54; Jos.9:15,19; 1 Sam.24:22; 2 Sam.3:35; 1 Kin.1:28-30; Rom.1:9; 2 Cor.1:23.

102. May we also swear by saints or any other creatures?
No; for a lawful oath is calling upon God, as the only one who knows the heart, that he will bear witness to the truth, and punish me if I swear falsely; (a) which honor is due to no creature. (b)
(a) 2 Cor.1:23; Rom.9:1. (b) Matt.5:34-36; James 5:12.

Lord’s Day 38

103. What does God require in the fourth commandment?
First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; (a) and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, (b) to hear his word, (c) to use the sacraments, (d) publicly to call upon the Lord, (e) and contribute to the relief of the poor. (f) Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by his Holy Spirit in me: and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath. (g)
(a) Tit.1:5; 2 Tim.3:14,15; 1 Tim.5:17; 1 Cor.9:11,13,14; 2 Tim.2:2. (b) Ps.40:10,11; Ps.68:27; Acts 2:42,46. (c) 1 Tim.4:13,19; 1 Cor.14:29,31. (d) 1 Cor.11:33. (e) 1 Tim.2:1-3,8-11; 1 Cor.14:16. (f) 1 Cor.16:2. (g) Is.66:23.

Lord’s Day 39

104. What does God require in the fifth commandment?
That I show all honor, love and fidelity, to my father and mother, and all in authority over me, and submit myself to their good instruction and correction, with due obedience; (a) and also patiently bear with their weaknesses and infirmities, (b) since it pleases God to govern us by their hand. (c)
(a) Eph.5:22; Eph.6:1-5; Col.3:18,20-24; Prov.1:8; Prov.4:1; Prov.15:20; Prov.20:20; Ex.21:17; Rom.13:1-7. (b) Prov.23:22; Gen.9:24,25; 1 Pet.2:18. (c) Eph.6:4,9; Col.3:19-21; Rom.13:2,3; Matt.22:21.

Lord’s Day 40

105. What does God require in the sixth commandment?
That neither in thoughts, nor words, nor gestures, much less in deeds, I dishonor, hate, wound, or kill my neighbor, by myself or by another: (a) but that I lay aside all desire of revenge: (b) also, that I hurt not myself, nor wilfully expose myself to any danger. (c) Wherefore also the magistrate is armed with the sword, to prevent murder. (d)
(a) Matt.5:21,22; Matt.26:52; Gen.9:6. (b) Eph.4:26; Rom.12:19; Matt.5:25; Matt.18:35. (c) Rom.13:14; Col.2:23; Matt.4:7. (d) Gen.9:6; Ex.21:14; Matt.26:52; Rom.13:4.

106. But this commandment seems only to speak of murder?
In forbidding murder, God teaches us, that he abhors the causes thereof, such as envy, (a) hatred, (b) anger, (c) and desire of revenge; and that he accounts all these as murder. (d)
(a) Prov.14:30; Rom.1:29. (b) 1 John 2:9,11. (c) James 1:20; Gal.5:19,21. (d) 1 John 3:15.

107. But is it enough that we do not kill any man in the manner mentioned above?
No: for when God forbids envy, hatred, and anger, he commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves; (a) to show patience, peace, meekness, mercy, and all kindness, towards him, (b) and prevent his hurt as much as in us lies; (c) and that we do good, even to our enemies. (d)
(a) Matt.7:12; Matt.22:39; Rom.12:10. (b) Eph.4:2; Gal.6:1,2; Matt.5:5,7,9; Rom.12:18; Luke 6:36; 1 Pet.3:8; Col.3:12; Rom.12:10,15. (c) Ex.23:5. (d) Matt.5:44,45; Rom.12:20,21.

Lord’s Day 41

108. What does the seventh commandment teach us?
That all uncleanness is accursed of God: (a) and that therefore we must with all our hearts detest the same, (b) and live chastely and temperately, (c) whether in holy wedlock, or in single life. (d)
(a) Lev.18:27,28. (b) Jude 1:23. (c) 1 Thess.4:3-5. (d) Heb.13:4; 1 Cor.7:7-9,27.

109. Does God forbid in this commandment, only adultery, and such like gross sins?
Since both our body and soul are temples of the Holy Spirit, he commands us to preserve them pure and holy: therefore he forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words, (a) thoughts, desires, (b) and whatever can entice men thereto. (c)
(a) Eph.5:3,4; 1 Cor.6:18-20. (b) Matt.5:27,28. (c) Eph.5:18; 1 Cor.15:33.

Lord’s Day 42

110. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?
God forbids not only those thefts, (a) and robberies, (b) which are punishable by the magistrate; but he comprehends under the name of theft all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we design to appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbor: (c) whether it be by force, or under the appearance of right, as by unjust weights, ells, measures, fraudulent merchandise, (d) false coins, usury, (e) or by any other way forbidden by God; as also all covetousness, (f) all abuse and waste of his gifts. (g)
(a) 1 Cor.6:10. (b) 1 Cor.5:10; Is.33:1. (c) Luke 3:14; 1 Thess.4:6. (d) Prov.11:1; Prov.16:11; Ezek.45:9-12; Deut.25:13-16. (e) Ps.15:5; Luke 6:35. (f) 1 Cor.6:10. (g) Prov.23:20,21; Prov.21:20.

111. But what does God require in this commandment?
That I promote the advantage of my neighbor in every instance I can or may; and deal with him as I desire to be dealt with by others: (a) further also that I faithfully labor, so that I may be able to relieve the needy. (b)
(a) Matt.7:12. (b) Eph.4:28.

Lord’s Day 43

112. What is required in the ninth commandment?
That I bear false witness against no man, (a) nor falsify any man’s words; (b) that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer; (c) that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly, or unheard; (d) but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit, as the proper works of the devil, (e) unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God; (f) likewise, that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; (g) also that I defend and promote, as much as I am able, the horror and good character of my neighbor. (h)
(a) Prov.19:5,9; Prov.21:28. (b) Ps.15:3; Ps.50:19,20. (c) Rom.1:29,30. (d) Matt.7:1,2; Luke 6:37. (e) John 8:44. (f) Prov.12:22; Prov.13:5. (g) 1 Cor.13:6; Eph.4:25. (h) 1 Pet.4:8.

Lord’s Day 44

113. What does the tenth commandment require of us?
That even the smallest inclination or thought, contrary to any of God’s commandments, never rise in our hearts; but that at all times we hate all sin with our whole heart, and delight in all righteousness. (a)
(a) Rom.7:7.

114. But can those who are converted to God perfectly keep these commandments?
No: but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; (a) yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God. (b)
(a) 1 John 1:8-10; Rom.7:14,15; Ecc.7:20; 1 Cor.13:9. (b) Rom.7:22; Ps.1:2; James 2:10.

115. Why will God then have the ten commandments so strictly preached, since no man in this life can keep them?
First, that all our lifetime we may learn more and more to know (a) our sinful nature, and thus become the more earnest in seeking the remission of sin, and righteousness in Christ; (b) likewise, that we constantly endeavor and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us, in a life to come. (c)
(a) Rom.3:20; 1 John 1:9; Ps.32:5. (b) Matt.5:6; Rom.7:24,25. (c) 1 Cor.9:24; Philip.3:11-14.

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