One Year Catechism
- Shorter answers are in bold and designed to be memorized
The Big Picture
- What is the chief purpose of humanity?
To glorify God and enjoy him forever (1 Cor 10:31; Ps 73:25–26).
- What is our only hope in life and death?
That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ (Rom 14:7-9; 1 Cor 6:19-20; 1 Thess 5:9-10).
- What does it mean to belong to God?
To belong to God is to be forgiven of sin, adopted into God’s eternal family, and united to Christ by faith alone through God’s grace alone (Eph 1:5-10; Gal 2:20-21; John 1:12).
- Can we belong to God apart from Christ?
No one comes to the Father, except through Christ alone (John 14:6).
- How do we know there is a God?
All creation proclaims there must be a Creator, and all humanity has a sense of morality and eternity imprinted within them by the Creator; but the Word of God alone fully reveals the one true God and tells us how we can belong to him (Rom 1:19-20; Ps 19; Eccl 3:11).
The Word of God
- What is the Word of God?
The Bible is the Word of God and our sufficient guide to teach, correct, and train for all of life (2 Pet 1:3; 2 Tim 3:16-17).
- Do we need the Bible in order to belong to God?
Yes, the Bible is necessary to know God’s gospel, to grow in holiness, and to discern how to glorify and enjoy God both in this life and for all eternity (Rom 10:17; Matt 4:4; 1 Pet 2:2-3).
- What is God?
God is the creator, sustainer, and ruler of everyone and everything. He is eternal Spirit, infinite and unchangeable in his power and perfections, and goodness and glory (Ps 24:1, Ps 90:2; John 4:24; 1 Tim 1:17; Jas 1:17).
- Who is the one true God?
The one true God eternally exists in three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three are one God, the same in essence, and equal in power and glory (1 John 5:7; Matt 28:19).
- Is God dependent on creation for anything?
No, because God is Triune, he is totally independent and sufficient within himself to possess and enjoy the full complement of his attributes, including relational attributes, such as love. And yet God is glorified by and derives joy from his creatures (Acts 17:24-25; 1 Cor 2:11; John 17:5, 24; 1 John 4:8, 13-16).
- Does each person in the Trinity differ in their roles?
Yes, each person of the Trinity carries out the one work of God distinctly and is uniquely involved in creating, sustaining, and saving creation. And yet the three operate inseparably in all divine works: the Father originates through the Son by the Spirit (Gen 1:1-2; John 15:26; 2 Cor 13:14; Col 1:3-20).
- What does it mean that God is holy?
God is perfectly pure, sinless in every way, transcendent and set apart, highly exalted above all creation (Isa 6:3; Hab 1:13; Lev 16:2).
Created Things – Humanity – Sin
- What makes humanity special?
God created us in his own image with the capacity to know, glorify and enjoy him forever. We alone are like God and we alone can represent God (Gen 1:26-27; Isa 43:7).
- Is our gender part of God’s good creation?
Yes, God created us, his image bearers, as male and female. This means that all men and all women have dignity and significance before God and before one another. It also means we are to treat all people with respect and love, avoiding any sense of superiority and inferiority (Gen 1:27; Gal 3:27-29).
- If we are made in God’s image, why is there sin and death?
Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden by eating the forbidden fruit, succumbing to Satan’s temptation. Instead of holy and happy, they became sinful and miserable, were cast out of the garden, and eventually died (Gen 3:14-24; Jas 1:14-15).
- What are the effects of this first sin on us?
We are all born in sin and guilt, spiritually dead, inheritors of a sinful nature and therefore unable to glorify and enjoy God (Rom 3:23; 5:12-19; Eph 2:1-3; Ps 51:5).
- What is sin?
Sin is not thinking or saying, not being or doing what God requires in his law. The root of all sin is the truth of God not sought, the holiness of God not reverenced, the promises of God not trusted,the wrath of God not feared, and the person of God not loved. (1 John 3:4; Heb 11:6; Rom 14:23).
- What is idolatry?
Idolatry is trusting in, or worshipping, created things rather than the Creator for our hope and happiness, significance and security (Rom 1:21, 25; Col 3:5).
- Will God allow our sin and idolatry to go unpunished?
No, God is righteously angry, and his holiness demands that no sin go unpunished. Therefore, his pure justice determines that the wages of sin is both death and eternal condemnation in hell (Rom 6:23; Eph 5:5-6).
- How can we escape punishment and belong to God?
God himself, as a loving Father, graciously reconciles us to himself, and delivers us from the power and penalty of sin by a Redeemer (Isa 53:10-11; Rom 5:21).
God the Father
- Who is God the Father?
He is God, coeternal with the Son and the Holy Spirit. As the first person of the Trinity, all creation comes from him and exists to bring him glory (1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:6; John 3:16; 14:16).
God the Son
- Who is the Redeemer?
The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. He alone purchased us with his blood and brought us back to God (1 Tim 2:5-6; 1 Cor 6:19-20).
- What sort of Redeemer is needed to bring us back to God?
One who is truly human and also truly God, coeternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is like us in every respect, yet without sin, and at the same time never gave up his divinity, always upholding the universe by the Word of his power (Col 2:9; Heb 4:15; 1:3).
- Why was Jesus’ life and sacrifice perfect and effective for salvation?
Because God made him who knew no sin to be counted as sin for us, and then credited us with his righteousness. His death fully satisfied God’s just wrath, and thereby delivers us from the power and penalty of sin. This is called “penal substitutionary atonement” (2 Cor 5:21; Col 1:21-22).
- Did Jesus stay dead?
No, on the third day Jesus rose bodily from the grave, according to the Scriptures, and was seen by eyewitnesses, including over five hundred at once. He ascended into heaven and promises to return again to judge the living and the dead (1 Cor 15:4-6; Acts 1:9-11; 2 Tim 4:1).
God the Holy Spirit
- Who did Jesus promise to send to the redeemed?
God the Holy Spirit permanently dwells within us, comforts us, and intercedes for us, even when we don’t know how to pray. His ministry in this age began at Pentecost, when he came from the Father sent by the Son (Rom 8:9, 26-27; John 14:15-17; Acts 2:33).
- What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?
That he is God, coeternal with the Father and the Son. He is a distinct person, yet equal in nature, power, and glory and should be worshipped with the Father and the Son (Gen 1:2; Acts 5:3-4).
- Is salvation first a work of God or a free choice of man?
Salvation is first a work of God, entirely a work of grace, “even as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Eph 1:4; Rom 9:15-16)
- What is regeneration?
Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit, by which he removes our dead heart and gives us a living heart, and thus, we are born again. The Holy Spirit, at the moment of regeneration, permanently indwells every believer, uniting them to Christ (Titus 3:5; John 3:5-8; Ezek 36:26-27; Rom 8:9; Eph 1:13).
- What is the proof of regeneration?
A repentant faith, which results in a whole life devoted to turning from sin and giving glory to God in all that we do. (Ezek 11:19-20; Col 3:17).
- Can we separate repentance and saving faith?
No, repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of God’s grace, because saving faith is always a repentant faith. We cannot truly believe without turning from sin, and we cannot truly turn from sin without believing (Mark 1:15; Luke 9:23).
- What is the difference between justification and sanctification?
Justification is our declared righteousness before God, our settled standing at the point of conversion. Sanctification is our gradual growing in righteousness that continues until our death or the Lord’s return (Rom 5:8-9; 6:22; Heb 10:14).
- What is the final hope of our salvation?
To partake in the blessed resurrection, when we will be given a glorified body and dwell in the presence of God forever, free from sin in the new heavens and the new earth (John 3:16; Rom 5:2; 8:30; Rev 20:6).
- What is a church?
A church is a Spirit-regenerated, new covenant community of individuals united to Christ by faith, committed to one another, and Biblically organized into one local body. Baptism as a believer inaugurates membership into that body, and the Lord’s Supper perpetuates that union (Heb 12:22-24; 1 Cor 12:12-13a, 10:17).
- What does a local church do?
A local church gathers regularly to worship around the preaching and reading of the Word of God, the celebration of the ordinances, the edification of one another, and the pursuit of holiness. A church scatters to evangelize the lost, engages in acts of mercy, and in all ways aims to glorify God (1 Tim 4:13; Matt 28:19; Eph 3:21).
- What leaders did Christ give to the church?
He first gave Apostles through whom we received the New Testament. Today, he gives the church two offices: pastor-elders and deacons. All church members are called to recognize and affirm their leaders as well as guard the purity of the gospel message and gospel witness through church discipline (Eph 4:11-12; 1 Tim 3:1, 13; 1 Cor 5:4-5; Heb 13:7, 17).
- Is church membership biblical?
Yes, in the book of Acts the early church kept rolls, lists, and numbers of those who joined the church. Further, church leaders are called to watch over their flock, and individuals are called to submit to leaders and guard one another, which is only possible in the context of clearly defined church membership (Acts 2:41, 47; 1 Tim 5:9; Heb 12:14-15; 13:17).
- How many ordinances did God give the church, and why?
There are two ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are given by God, instituted by Christ, rendered effective by the Holy Spirit, and clear symbols of gospel truth. As visible signs reflecting God’s saving work, they unite Christians together as a local body in gospel harmony –– just as we are one with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection, we are one with one another (Acts 2:38, 41; Luke 22:19-20).
- What is baptism?
Baptism is a church’s act of affirming and portraying a believer’s union with Christ by immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and a believer’s act of publicly committing to Christ and his church, thereby distinguishing them from the world (Rom 6:3-5; Matt 28:19).
- What is the Lord’s Supper or Communion?
The Lord’s Supper is a church’s celebration of union with Christ as the many commune together in one body, by partaking of the bread and the cup, remembering his death –– his body and blood, broken and shed, as a perfect substitute for every sin –– and anticipating his return (1 Cor 10:16-17; 11:23-26).
- How should we prepare to take the Lord’s Supper?
With these five looks: look up to thank God for the gift of Christ, look within in repentant self-examination, look back at the cross-work of Christ, look ahead to Christ’s return, and look around to celebrate our union with one another, just as we are one with Christ (1 Cor 11:26-33).
The Christian Life
- What is prayer?
Prayer is pouring out the desires of our hearts to God. We pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for things agreeable to God’s will, trusting him to guide and answer (Ps 62:8; John 16:23; 1 John 5:14).
- What should we pray?
The whole Word of God directs us in what we should pray as we learn to take words that originated in the heart and mind of God and circulate them through our hearts and minds back to God (Eph 3:14-16; John 6:63).
- How is the Word of God to be read and heard?
With diligence, preparation, and prayer, relying upon the Holy Spirit to illumine God’s words to our minds and help us apply his truth to our lives (Ps 119:18; 2 Tim 2:15; Eph 1:17-18).
- How should we feel about those who have not trusted in Jesus?
Our hearts should mourn and grow with compassion towards all unbelievers, and thus be motivated to share the gospel (Rom 9:1-3; Jonah 4:1-4, 10-11).
- What is the goal of evangelism?
To explain the gospel clearly and trust the Holy Spirit to regenerate hearts in order to make lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ. Then we aim to gather those disciples into self-sustaining churches (Acts 4:12, 29; Col 1:28-29).
- What is discipleship?
Intentionally investing your life into others with the goal of growing together in Christian knowledge, affections, and applications, so that you can present each other mature in Christ (Titus 2:1-8; Col 1:28-29).
- How can we worship God?
By glorifying and enjoying him in everything we do, offering our lives as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God (Rom 12:1-2; 1 Cor 10:31).
- Where do we go when we die?
Our bodies return to dust, and our soul remains conscious in an intermediate state. If we belong to God, we go directly into the blessed presence of Christ with the redeemed; if we die in sin and unbelief, we go directly to hell with the damned. (2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23; Luke 16:19-31; Heb 12:22-24).
- Will our physical bodies ever live again?
Yes, all humanity will physically live again for eternity; both the redeemed and the damned will be resurrected (Dan 12:2; John 11:25-26; 1 Cor 15:42-44).
- What is heaven and why is it our greatest source of hope?
Heaven is the place of eternal, conscious blessing for those united to Christ by faith. It is described as a new creation, a return to Edenic like blessings, with no sin, death, or disease, where in perfect bodies we will live with and enjoy God forever (Isa 65:17-25; Rev 21:1-5).
- When and how does Jesus say he will return?
Jesus will return personally, physically, obviously, and suddenly at a day and an hour known only to God. He will return as he ascended (Matt 24:36; 1 Thess 5:2; Acts 1:11-12; Zech 14:4; Luke 17:24).