LORD'S DAY 2: WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST PROBLEM?

We all have problems. Life is full of them. Some are serious, some only seem to be. All are irritating.

But what is your greatest problem? Poor health? Financial distress? A broken relationship? Whatever our biggest problems in life may be, the Bible tells us that there is one that outweighs them all: the problem of our sin. Even if we had perfect physical health, financial security, and a happy family, this problem would remain. Even if we could cure the world's diseases, erase the world's poverty, and secure world peace, we would still have this problem.

Sin means missing the mark, failing to reach God's standard of righteousness. God made us for a specific purpose: to glorify him and enjoy him forever. We glorify God by loving him and loving our neighbor, that is to say, by obeying his commands and doing good for others. That is the purpose of your life. If you are living for yourself, for you own ambitions, success, and glory, you are missing out on the purpose of your life.

We might not think this is such a problem, especially if we are relatively happy and content with our lives. But the fact is that to miss out on God's purpose for our lives (i.e. to glorify him by loving him and loving our neighbor) deeply offends God. In fact, in his eyes, it is criminal, an act of treason. For he is our Creator, and he made us for himself. Being holy, God cannot have fellowship with sinners. Being perfectly just, he must punish sinners for their crimes.

We might assume that we do a decent job of loving God and loving neighbor. But the law of God exposes the depths of the corruption of our hearts. Like a CT scan that reveals an internal problem in our bodies, the law reveals the internal problem of our hearts. It reveals why we were made, and why we fail to live up to that standard and purpose. In fact, it is precisely because of sin that disease, poverty, and war have always been and always will be a problem in this world.

Heidelberg Catechism Lord's Day 2 address our biggest problem in three simple questions:

Q.3. From where do you know your misery?

A: From the Law of God.[1]

[1] Rom 3:20, 7:7

Q.4. What does the Law of God require of us?

A: Christ teaches us this in summary, in Matthew 22:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.[1] This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.[2] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”[3]

[1] Deut 6:5; [2] Lev 19:18; Gal 5:14; [3] Luk 10:27

Q.5. Can you keep all this perfectly?

A: No,[1] for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbor.[2]

[1] Rom 3:10-12, 23; 1 Jn 1:8, 10; [2] Gen 6:5, 8:21; Jer 17:9; Rom 7:23, 8:7; Eph 2:3; Tit 2:3

The Catechism asks these questions in order to help us understand the greatness of our sin and misery, that is, the depths of our biggest problem. It does this in order to drive us to the only solution to our greatest problem, and that solution is Christ.

Only Jesus has loved God and neighbor perfectly and perpetually. He lived the righteous life that you and I have not, loving and obeying the Father will all of his heart, soul, and mind, and truly loving his neighbor as himself. Only Jesus has fulfilled God's purpose for human beings. Only Jesus has hit the mark and reached God's standard. He then went to the cross as a righteous man to pay the debt we owed. He suffered God's judgment against our sins. His resurrection on the third day proves that his life was truly righteous, and that God accepted his sacrifice on the cross.

This is good news for sinners. For God's promise is that by trusting in Christ and his finished work - his life, death, and resurrection - he counts us as righteous in his sight. By faith alone in Christ alone, we receive the obedience and righteousness of Jesus, so that God declares us righteous and receives us as his own children. He even gives us his Holy Spirit so that we begin to fulfill his purpose for us: to live for his glory by serving others.

But we won't appreciate the good news till we hear the bad news. We won't want the solution until we know that we have a problem. A big one. Do you know yours?