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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


XIV. Ques. What is sin?
Ans.
Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of; the law of God.

Q. 1. What is meant by the law of God, which sin is a breach of?
A. By the law of God is meant the commandments which God, the Creator, and Supreme King, and Law-giver, bath laid upon all the children of men, his creatures and subjects, as the rule of their obedience.

Q. 2. Where is the law of God to be found?
A. The law of God in some part of it, and more darkly, is to be found written upon the hearts of all men (Rom. 2:15); but most plainly and fully it is to be found written in the Word of God I

Q. 3. How many kinds of laws of God are there in the Word of God?
A. 1. There is the judicial law, which concerned chiefly the nation of the Jews, and in every respect doth not bind all other nations. 2. There is the ceremonial law, which was in no part of it binding upon any, but for a time; namely, before the coming of Christ, who fulfilled this law, and abrogated it. 3. There is the moral law, written at first by God himself, on tables of stone; which is a standing rule of obedience unto the end of the world.

Q. 4. What is meant by want of conformity to the law of God?
A. By want of conformity to God's law, is meant both an unsuitableness and disagreeableness to the law, and a not observation, and not obedience to it.

Q. 5. What sins doth want of conformity to the law include?
A. The sins included in the want of conformity to the law of God, areŚl. Original sin, and that natural enmity in the heart against the law of God. "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to his law, neither indeed can be."ŚRom. 8:7. 2. All sins of omission. The former is a want of conformity of heart, the latter a want of conformity of life, to God's law.

Q. 6. What is it to transgress the law of God?
A. To transgress the law is to pass the bounds which are set in the law.

Q. 7. How doth it appear that the transgression of the law is sin?
A. It doth appear from 1 John 3:4: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth the law; for sin is the transgression of the law."

Q. 8. Is nothing a sin, then, but what is against God's law?
A. Nothing is a sin but what God hath either expressly or by consequence forbidden in his law.

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