Caleb’s Baptism — Heidelberg Catechism Q. 16

Question 16. Why must he be very man, and also perfectly righteous?

Answer: Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned, should likewise make satisfaction for sin; (a) and one, who is himself a sinner, cannot satisfy for others. (b)

We have established if we are to be rescued from the just wrath of God we need someone else to do the rescuing since we only increase God’s anger with us daily because of our sin nature and our sins. We have established that the rescuer is also called a “mediator” since He represents both God to us and us to God. We have seen that the mediator we need must be more then a mere creature since a mere creature could not endure the just penalty of God for sin. In other words were our mediator only a mere creature there would be more penalty left to endure after the mere creature had expired and so our rescue would fail. We have seen that the mediator must be man without sin, yet also God. Now we are looking at why the mediator, who will be our rescuer from God’s wrath, must have those qualities.

The catechism, following Scripture, teaches us that our rescuer mediator must be very man (i.e. – thoroughly man) because as it is man who sinned the representative for man (mediator) must be man as well. Scripture teaches that God is just and in being just God requires skin for skin. Man has done the sinning. Man must pay the penalty. Scripture teaches that as all mankind fell in Adam so all of God’s new mankind is restored in the second Adam who reversed Adam’s fall by withstanding the death penalty for sin (Romans 5:12-21).

Scripture is repeatedly clear on this point,

“Hebrews.2:14– Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Note here that we are clearly taught that Jesus Christ was thoroughly man and that as our mediator, and in our place, he bore the penalty of death for our deliverance.

1 Pet.3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Note again the clarity of Scripture. Christ, as very man, was the one who stood in our place and received upon Himself, as our representative, our punishment.

Isa.53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isa.53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Isa.53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isa.53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Isa.53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Clearly the Catechism is correct in telling us that our mediator must be thoroughly man. Of course the implication of this is that Jesus Christ had all the characteristics associated with man. He grew tired. He wept. He was attracted to women. He developed blisters. As a baby he had to be diapered. He grew frustrated. He knew anger. He was thoroughly man.

However, the Catechism gives a qualifier. Our mediator must not only be thoroughly and completely man, sharing our human nature, but He must also be man without sin. If we are to be rescued from God’s just wrath the man doing the rescuing must neither have a sin nature nor must he have ever sinned. As the Catechism says, our rescuer mediator must be completely righteous. The reason is straightforward. Since sin requires the death penalty (“the soul that sinneth shall surely die”) the one who pays for other men’s penalty must not have any sin of His own since if he had His own sin, He would have to die to pay for His sin and could not be a substitute death for others.

The reality that Christ had no sin is taught in Hebrews,

4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

And again a few chapters later,

Heb.7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Heb.7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

We should probably point out here that another word for “mediator,” is “Priest.” In the Old Testament the Priests were those who represented God to the people and the people to God. They were the mediators, who by their work in the Sacrificial system rescued God’s people from God’s just wrath. The Hebrews 7 passage reveals Christ’s perfection in as much as He had no need to offer up sacrifice for His own sins. He had no sins that against which God could ever be angry.

As we end here, let us emphasize again the legal nature of Christianity. The rescue Christ brings to His people is a rescue concerned with satisfying God’s justice against sin. The Father had a writ against sin and if He did not punish sin He would have been unjust and so could not have been God. The reason we take some time to point this out is that modern Christianity wants to talk of the Christian faith in terms of “relationship,” and there is some truth to that (though far less than what it is given in the current church). Before we can talk about “having a relationship with God” (whatever that means in the concrete) we must first talk about the issue of justice. Christianity is a religion that is concerned about justice and God’s grace, that creates a relationship between God and man, only comes to us because God’s justice has been satisfied. Christians who can not talk about the Christian faith in terms of judicial categories are, at best, very weak Christians.

God’s justice demanded that sinners pay for sin. God’s justice demanded that if we were going to have a mediator He must be perfect man and very God. God’s justice accepted Christ’s death as our own. God’s justice, having been satisfied God can pardon (another term from the courtroom) man and free him from his condemnation (another courtroom term).

Caleb’s Baptism — Q. 15 — Heidelberg Catechism

Question 15. What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for?

Answer: For one who is very man, and perfectly righteous; and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very God.

Last time we left off Caleb we had seen that the Catechism had closed all doors against our being able to be our own deliverer. If we are going to be delivered from God’s just wrath against our sin nature and our sins, we need to start looking outside ourselves for that deliverance.

You will notice here the use of the word “mediator.” This is a word that is incredibly important in the Christian faith Caleb. A mediator is one who is a relational conduit between two parties who are at loggerheads. The role of the mediator is to represent each of the warring parties and their interests to the other party. A mediator is to be a honest broker in terms of the issues between the two parties and his purpose is to resolve the conflict between the two parties in such a way where the interest of each party is upheld.

So, we need a mediator to represent us before God in terms of His just case against us. We need somebody who will represent our position to God and who at the same time will represent God’s position to us. From our end, in order to find a mediator who can be our representative (i.e. — Federal Head) we need someone who is very man of very man (100% man), and yet a man who is without sin (perfectly righteous), and one who is God.

The next question will examine why this is so, but it is important to establish at this point that if we are going to be delivered from our sin and misery and delivered to our peace with God it is going to have to come to us by means outside ourselves. This reinforces the idea that our salvation must come to us as a matter of God’s work and not our own. Question 15 insists that if we are to be rescued from God’s just wrath we must “seek” a mediator.

However, the mediator we must seek must not only represent us between the two warring parties (God and man), the mediator must also represent God’s part. The important emphasis here is that man can not come to God without a intermediary and God can not look upon man without a intermediary. Secondarily, it is important to emphasize that the if the intermediary is sufficient for both parties then no other intermediary is necessary. I bring this out because many other expressions of Christianity will offer a multitude of mediators. If the mediator that we must seek for is sufficient then no other mediator is necessary.

Now, let us close this question by looking at just a few of the Scriptures that are offered to support the fact that our mediator must be (1) man, (2) man without sin, and (3) God.

The fact that the mediator we must seek to satisfy God’s just wrath against our sin must be man is seen by the fact that as it is man who has sinned it must be man who atones (makes the payment) for sin. I Cor.15:21 teaches us this clearly,

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”

It is man (Adam) who cast man into sin, and so if anyone is to deliver man from sin that deliverer must likewise be man.

Romans 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Christianity is a religion that demands that man restores what man destroyed, and if we are to be saved our savior must be a man.

However, this man must be different than all men since Adam, inasmuch as this man must be without a sin nature or sins of His own. If he is to be a mediator for God to us, one requirement is that He must be without sin. God will not deal with a mediator man who has sin and so the human mediator we are seeking must be perfect and without sin or flaw.

Scripture offers us this kind of human mediator,

2 Cor.5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Heb.7:26 “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

If the mediator had his own sin Caleb, he would have to pay for His own sin and so would be of no help to us as He becomes the one who bears our sins. No, if fallen man is to have a mediator that God will accept as a representative of fallen man then that man must be man without being sinful.

Finally the catechism insists that the mediator must not only be man, and man without sin, he must also be very God of very God. In the demand that the mediator we need is both 100% Man and 100% we find the Christian doctrine called the “Hypostatic Union.” This merely teaches that our mediator must be both man and God at the same time. That the mediator we need must be God is taught in the following passages,

(c) Isa.7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (God with us).

Isa.9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Rom.9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Jer.23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. Jer.23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

So …

1.) God is opposed to man because of man’s sin
2.) Man himself is not able to appease God’s just wrath against sin
3.) Man must look for a mediator who can stand in the gap for sinful man
4.) This mediator will do for sinful man what he can not do for himself
5.) This mediator, in order to do what needs to be done for sinful man must be

a.) Man
b.) Man without sin
c.) God

“God’s 8th Word — Thou Shalt Be Charitable

I hope you have noticed something as we have made our way through this series of God’s law. I hope you have noticed why it can be said that we are “post-Christian,” in our Culture. Our social order is no longer governed by God’s law. Our cultural Institutions and framework are structured by a law that is other than God’s law.

As a people group and culture, instead of having no other God’s before us, we believe as a people, whatever we might believe contrary-wise individually, that “in the State we live and move and have our being.”

Today, the graven images that we have is too often a love of country that outstrips love for God.

As a culture God’s name is regularly taken in vain. In a conversation w/ a Judge I learned that in court perjury is a regular occurrence.

As a people our culture no longer take the Sabbath seriously … as I witnessed 30 years ago when public commerce ceased on the Lord’s Day.

By any fair calculation the family (Honor thy Father & Mother) is disintegrating.

And who can argue that as a culture we take seriously the prohibitions against Murder, Adultery, and Theft?

This is not to suggest there are not Christians … In this very place and other places who don’t esteem God’s Law. It is merely to point out that as a culture we are “post-Christian.”

God’s law is intended to shape God’s people and structure them, as that Law comes to them as Redeemed in Christ, and yet we who are shaped by God’s law find, at every turn, another law structure next to us, cheek by jowl, that likewise seeks to shape and inform us according to the god who is the lawgiver of that law system.

And so Biblical Christians, in this post-Christian setting, invariably are the counter-culture. It should be said of us, as it was said of the early Christians when the pagan culture was threatened by their presence,

“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, (Acts 17:6)

As wicked Ahab accused righteous Elijah of being a “Troubler of Israel” because of Elijah’s stand for God, so we should be accused by our wicked culture as being “Troublers of our country,” because of our stand for the Lord Christ.

God’s law is health and vitality for those who are in Christ but those who are outside of Christ find God’s law to be accursed.

We are those who have been made righteous by Christ alone. The Scripture teaches that we were created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Eph. 2:10). It is God’s law that defines for us what good works are for us to walk in.

Christ gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:14). Our zealousness for good deeds can only successfully be demonstrated if we have a standard to define the “good” about our deeds. That “standard,” is God’s law that we have been examining week by week in this series.

Last Week we talked about

I.) Stealing From God (Vertical)

A.) All abuse and waste of His gifts

II.) Stealing From Others (Horizontal)

This commandment demands just price and just wages.

III.) Stealing In The Public Square

Inflation, Usury, Ponzi Schemes

We examined how those are what the Heidelberg Catechism calls, “Wicked tricks or Devices.”

We could have also talked about

Price and wage controls, minimum wage laws, Corporate Welfare, Entitlement programs, public debt that we incur which the income of our children and grandchildren after us must pay, and other assorted wicked trick and devices whereby we design to appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbour.

The passage that is cited to support the necessity to avoid these wicked tricks and devices as theft is,

1 Thess.4:6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

They might have also cited Ephesians 4:28

Eph.4:28 Let him that stole steal no more …

There is another category of wicked tricks and devices whereby we we design to appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbor that I would like to brush up against briefly.

Scripture in Romans 13:6-7 requires us

6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

And so clearly there is a proper due that is owed to those who rule. Because of Scriptures like this Christians can pay proper taxes as a devotion unto God.

C.) Confiscatory Taxation

Here I want to just offer some of what Calvin said on this subject,

Calvin argued for prudent limits, writing that taxes should only support public necessity; for “to impose them (taxes) upon the common folk without cause is tyrannical extortion.”

Calvin offered that obedience was a Christian duty in this area; however, he cautioned Princes not in indulge in “waste and expensive luxury,” lest they earn God’s displeasure. Again he would write on this subject, “Others drain the common people of their money, and afterward lavish it on insane largess.”

Has our tax system become confiscatory? Well, at least one area small businessman that I know of has just this past week written on this very subject,

A few years ago I computed how much of the profits that our companies have generated that I got to keep. Since every dollar in taxes starts as a dollar of profit, I figured out all the taxes we had paid corporately and personally. This included income taxes, social security taxes, sales & use taxes, franchise taxes, real estate taxes, license fees, etc. etc. I was stunned that we had paid a whopping 96% of all the profits we had generated to various governmental entities in taxes, keeping a miserable 4% for reinvestment in the business and as a reward for my work.

This small businessman then goes on to talk about what I consider to be hidden taxes,

And it has not only been the tax burden that successful entrepreneurs have to overcome, it is the regulatory ones as well. We have been forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and machinery that was totally unnecessary and has went unused for almost two decades merely because the Ruling Elites knew better than us what was good for us. We’ve been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in compliance costs to just make sure that we haven’t missed jumping through one hoop or another of the over 13,000 pages of rules and regulations that we are supposed to obey, and on and on.

Calvin certainly would have understood that this kind of confiscatory taxation is a wicked trick and devices whereby what is designed is the appropriation by violators of the 8th commandment to themselves the goods which belong to their and our neighbor. If we are to take the 8th commandment seriously and our own Catechism seriously, we will not be supporters of those who do not advocate the repealing of this kind of confiscatory taxation root, branch and twig.

However the Catechism has a “Thou Shalt” for us that corresponds to the “Thou Shalt Not.”

Question 111. But what does God require in this commandment?

Answer: That I promote the advantage of my neighbour 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 labour, so that I may be able to relieve the needy. (b)

(a) Matt.7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (b) Eph.4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

A.) Works of Charity

Here the Golden Rule is cited. In order to esteem the 8th commandment we should be a people who look not only to our needs but also to the needs of others.

In Reformed Church History this includes not only our personal giving to others as we see need but also our support for the Deacon’s fund in the Church.

Emperor Julian of Rome is quoted,

“Nothing has contributed more to the progress of the superstition of the Christians as their charity to strangers . . . . The impious Galileans provide not only for their own poor, but for ours as well.”

They fed the poor, nursed the sick, housed the homeless, and rescued those abandoned to die.

Calvin, envisioned the Church having this mercy ministry as well,

“When I first came to this Church,” he says, “there was as good as nothing here . . . . There was preaching, and that was all.” He would have found much the same state of things everywhere else in the Protestant world. The Church in the early Protestant conception was constituted by the preaching of the Word and the right administration of the sacraments: the correction of morals was the concern not of the Church but of the civil power…. Calvin could not take this view of the matter. “Whatever others may hold,” he observed, “we cannot think so narrowly of our office that when preaching is done our task is fulfilled, and we may take our rest.” In his view the mark of a true Church is not merely that the gospel is preached in it, but that it is “followed.” For him the Church is the “communion of saints,” and it is incumbent upon it to see to it that it is what it professes to be. From the first he therefore set himself strenuously to attain this end .

And so works of charity — mercy ministries — were hallmarks of the early Reformed Church in Geneva. Calvin himself died comparatively impoverished. Perhaps this was, in part, due to the fact that instead of soaking up the funds in his salary the funds were going to the Deacon’s fund?

B.) Protestant Work Ethic

In order to fulfill the 8th commandment we are required to labor (work) as we can. Many scholars have attributed this strong work ethic as being a major contributor to the success of Biblical Christianity. Christians understood that they were to work and give to the needy. We see here the clear call to be a blessing to others because of our work ethic. Of course that blessing is first to our family in providing for them but as God grants us abundance we are to be a blessing to others.

Let us close by asking what can be done in order to avoid stealing

What is to be done to avoid stealing?

(1) Live in a calling. ‘Let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands.’ Eph 4:28, &c. The devil hires such as stand idle, and puts them to the pilfering trade. An idle person tempts the devil to tempt him.

(2) Be content with the estate that God has given you. ‘Be content with such things as ye have.’ Heb 13:5. Theft is the offspring of avarice and envy. Study contentment. Believe that condition best which God has carved out to you. He can bless the little meal in the barrel. We shall not need these things long: we shall carry nothing out of the world with us but our winding sheet. If we have but enough to bear out our charges to heaven, it is sufficient.

(3) Stay out of debt. In Proverbs 22 Scripture teaches that the borrower is the slave of the lender. There is a natural tendency of those in slavery to get out of slavery at all costs, even if it means stealing to do so. Our whole economic system drives us towards debt. The temptation to theft will be far less upon those who are not in debt.

(4) Find ways to stewardship of what God is given you so that you can save against the day of need. When I lived in South Carolina a reasonably well to do Farmer told me that if “I took care of my pennies, my dollars would take care of themselves.”

(5) Entrust yourself to God’s providence. While it is true that we should

Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
7 Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
8 Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
9 How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10 “ A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—
11 Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.

It is also true that we are

31 not to worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But [s]seek first [t]His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be [u]added to you.

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will [v]care for itself. [w]Each day has enough trouble of its own.

If we are a hard working people, and wise with our stewardship of God’s resources to us, then we must entrust ourselves to God’s providence, especially at those times when thieving, in one form or another, to relieve our distress might be tempting.

Caleb’s Baptism — Heidelberg Catechism Q. 14

Question 14. Can there be found anywhere, one, who is a mere creature, able to satisfy for us?

Answer: None; for, first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man has committed; and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin, so as to deliver others from it.

The idea of “satisfy for us,” is pointing towards the idea of someone who can take our punishment as a substitute for us, in our stead.

We have learned from the previous questions that we can not provide for our own satisfaction and that we must look to another in order to have peace with God. Question 14 thus begins to examine what kind of substitute we might need in order to for God’s justice to be satisfied in terms of the case that He has against us as sinners.

The emphasis in question 14 falls on the word “mere.” If we are to look for someone who can undertake the penalty of God’s condemnation against sin in our place that someone we must find must be more than a creature like ourselves. With this simple statement the Catechism shuts the door to any Savior candidate who is not more than human. Anyone who we turn to, in order to be our penalty bearer, must have credentials that include, “more than a mere creature.” Of course that rules out all humans that are not also Gods.

In answer #14 we are given two reasons why a “mere creature,” is not sufficient to bear our sins.

1.) Scripture teaches, “the soul that sinneth it shall die,” (Ezekiel 18:4) and so even if another mere creature could be found to bear satisfaction, if that “mere creature,” did not share in the manishness of man, it would be unjust of God to visit penalty of man upon a non-manish man. As man did the sinning, any creature that might be found to take the penalty, must have the soul of man. So, a mere creature that does not share in man manishness can not satisfy for man the sinner.

2.) The second reason that a mere creature can not satisfy God’s wrath in the place of sinners is that any creature who might conceivably be found, who was only a creature, could never endure the wrath of God against sin so that others might be delivered from God’s wrath. If the mere creature could not sustain the penalty of God for His justice wronged then those who might be being represented by that mere creature could not be saved.

No mere creature can stand before God’s indignation. No mere creature can abide in the fierceness of God’s anger (Nahum 1:6).

So, question 14 leaves us with the necessity to find a savior candidate who,

1.) Shares in our manishness so that as one who might conceivably satisfy for our sin with His death is connected with the “soul that sinneth” as man himself.

2.) Is more than man so that He might withstand the fury of God’s just penalty against sin.

The catechism teaches us that in order for someone to satisfy for our sins we need someone who is man and yet who is more than man. The Scripture points to that person,

Heb.2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; Heb.2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Heb.2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Heb.2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Question 15 teases out even more what we find in Hebrews 2. Jesus Christ was very God of very God (hence, more than a mere creature) and yet became a partaker of flesh and blood (hence, he shared in the “manishness of man”). Because of this Jesus Christ qualifies as one who can be one who can satisfy for sin.

So, no mere creature can be found who can satisfy God’s just penalty for our sin but there is one who is more than a mere creature who can relieve us of our sin and misery.

Caleb’s Baptism — Heidelberg Catechism — Q. 13

Question 13. Can we ourselves then make this satisfaction?

Answer: By no means; but on the contrary we daily increase our debt. (a)

Now after having given a glimmer of hope in terms of returning to God’s favor in question and answer # 12

“God will have his justice satisfied: and therefore we must make this full satisfaction, either by ourselves, or by another.”

the catechism, methodologically speaking, begins to do the same thing it did in the first division when it shut all doors against man finding favor with God except the door through which one must walk through in order to find favor. The catechism hinting at another who can make satisfaction proceeds to shut the door to all potential providers of satisfaction except the only one who can provide satisfaction. If the one caught in sin and misery is to find his satisfaction in another he must move through the only door the catechism allows him to move through.

And so, the Heidelberg Catechism shuts the door to any idea that fallen man can make satisfaction to God’s righteous law. Notice again here though, the legal aspect of Christianity Caleb. Law broken. Law must be satisfied. Christianity is a faith founded on legal categories. If one doesn’t know that, one will struggle their whole Christian life.

Tis folly to think that we can provide satisfaction for our sin Caleb, and yet that is what mankind apart from Christ universally does. Man, apart from Christ, enters into all kinds of spurious satisfactions in order to ameliorate their inescapable sense of sin and misery. Fallen man has this guilt he can’t get rid of and so he does all kinds of contorted things in order to rid himself of his guilt, thus thinking he can satisfy the sense of God’s opposition.

Nah.1:6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.

Typically in order to satisfy his guilt before God fallen man will either turn to greater or lesser degrees of sado-masochism. Either he will seek to satisfy his guilt by rolling that guilt on another thus inflicting harm on others who are serving as providers of satisfaction (sadism) or he will seek to satisfy his guilt by rolling that guilt upon himself thus inflicting harm on himself thus punishing himself for his sin (masochism). This mad desire to find a false satisfaction as opposed to a true satisfaction that can only be found in Christ, as the one who provides satisfaction, explains a great deal of the psychological twisted-ness and the abnormality that we find in the human condition. If one will not look to Christ as the only one who can provide satisfaction unto God’s just justice against us, one will become psychologically bent in their seeking to unload and satisfy their guilt upon someone else.

Indeed, I would go as far to say that the greatest preponderance of the whole “psychological – psychiatry complex” that is so prevalent in our culture exists only as a means to provide men false satisfactions that can never satisfy. Men go to their counseling sessions to receive a temporary declaration of absolution from their Shrink as satisfaction for their sin. But, as the Catechism teaches, this Shrink absolution can never really satisfy, because we daily (minute by minute) increase our debt.

Job 15:16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

The greatest majority of the psychological – psychiatry complex was invented as a means to rationalize evil behavior and to provide a false satisfaction. True satisfaction can only be found in Christ as our satisfaction, but fallen man will not have Christ’s satisfaction because they will not surrender the authority of their fiat word to legislate reality. The psychological – psychiatry industry, in its majority report, is thus a sham science but it can exist and flourish because so many people want a satisfaction other than the satisfaction found in Christ.

So, fallen man plays this huge game of pretend in order to try and ease from himself this inescapable sense that God’s justice is not satisfied.

Ps.130:3 “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?”

Fallen man will confess his sins to a Shrink or in public but his confession will be qualified. “I confess though I didn’t really do anything wrong.” Ever notice the explosion of talk shows Caleb? People go live on television or radio to confess their sins, while at the same time often defending themselves that their sins weren’t really sinful. What else is this but fallen man trying to make his own satisfaction? As a pool of guilt grows in any society, the need to seek to satisfy for that guilt through pseudo confessions, through sadism, through masochism will grow exponentially. People are bent by their lack of satisfaction and as long as they refuse to go to the only one who can make satisfaction for them their guilt will eat them up and make them do the oddest of things. This mockery of satisfaction finds the soul trifling with itself — trifling because it can not find the permanent satisfaction for its sins it so desperately needs.

So, the catechism teaches that we can not provide our own satisfaction.

Job 9:2 “I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? Job 9:3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.”

Instead, the amount of satisfaction that fallen man needs grows daily because his debt grows daily. And experience teaches us the contortions fallen man will go to in order to evade the gnawing sense of guilt that he can not satisfy. Fallen man will damage his relationships, he will conspire against himself, he will make all manners of false confessions, and he will allow himself to be manipulated by those who hold out the brass ring of non-Christ satisfaction for his inescapable sense of guilt that he longs to be satisfied at any price except the price of permanent and eternal satisfaction.