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New City Catechism 18.1

This week we begin with Question 18 of the New City Catechism, found in Part 1 (questions 1-20), which focuses on God, creation and the fall, and the law.

Question 18: Will God allow our disobedience and idolatry to go unpunished?

Answer: No, every sin is against the sovereignty, holiness, and goodness of God, and against his righteous law, and God is righteously angry with our sins and will punish them in his just judgment both in this life, and in the life to come.

It is hard for modern people to come to terms with the idea of God’s wrath. Too many people assume that because God is love, there is no place for him to bring judgment against sin. But that is the farthest thing from the truth.

In fact, if God did not judge sin, he would not be love at all. Because love requires a commitment to what is right, true, and good. Love is incompatible with evil. And God’s wrath is his proper, holy response to what is evil. His judgment of sin is the full demonstration that he remains completely opposed to all that is evil.

What would be the case if God did not bring judgment against sin? He would become evil himself because he would allow evil to go on forever without receiving any answer from him. And a God who is evil is a God who could never love us. The coming judgment that we rightly find terrifying is an expression of God’s supreme goodness.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Psalm 96. What does the end of this psalm (verse 13) declare that God will do? What is the psalmist’s response to what God is going to do? What does that teach us?

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