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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 82. Is any man able in this life 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 does daily break them in thought, word, or deed.

1. Are any in this world perfectly free from sin? No: for there is no man that sinneth not, 2 Chron. 6:36. Was Christ, who was not a mere man, perfect? Yes: he knew no sin, 2 Cor. 5:21. Was Adam before the fall perfect? Yes: for God made man upright, Eccl. 7:29. Are the saints in the other life perfect? Yes: the glorious church is without spot or wrinkle, Eph. 5:27. But is any mere man since the fall in this life perfect? No for there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not, Eccl. 7:20.

2. Are self-justifiers self-deceivers? Yes: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, 1 John 1:8. And do they put a great affront upon God? Yes: for if we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, 1 John 1:10.

3. Are not we able to keep God's commandments better than we do? Yes: If I have done iniquity, I will do no more, Job 34:32. But are we able perfectly to keep them? No: For when I would do good, evil is present with me, Rom. 7:21. Though Noah was said to be perfect, yet did not he sin? Yes: for he drank of the wine, and was drunk, Gen. 9:21. And Job? Yes: for he cursed his day, Job 3:1. And Hezekiah? Yes: for his heart was lifted up, 2 Chron. 32:25. Was St Paul himself perfect? No: Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, Phil. 3:12.

4. Do we sin daily? Yes: in many things we offend all, Jam. 3:2. Do we daily sin in thought? Yes: for, The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, Gen. 8:21. Are we guilty of many tongue sins? Yes: In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, Prov. 10:19. Are the best guilty of many defects? Yes: for when the spirit is willing the flesh is weak, Matt. 26:41. And of many inadvertencies? Yes: They are overtaken in a fault, Gal. 6:1. Can we tell how often we offend? No: who can understand his errors? Ps. 19:13. Should we not therefore have recourse to Christ daily by faith and repentance? Yes: If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, 1 John 2:1.

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