9 Q. But doesn’t God do us an injustice
by requiring in his law
what we are unable to do?
A. No,^1 God created human beings with the ability to keep the law.
They, however, provoked by the devil,^2
in willful disobedience,
robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.
^1 Eph. 4:[22-23], 24-25
^2 Luke 10:30[-37]
10 Q. Does God permit
such disobedience and rebellion
to go unpunished?
A. Certainly not.^1
God is terribly angry
with the sin we are born with
as well as the sins we personally commit.
As a just judge,
God will punish them both now and in eternity,
“Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey
all the things written in the book of the law.”^2
^1 Rom. 5:12; Heb. 9:27
^2 Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10
11 Q. But isn’t God also merciful?
A. God is certainly merciful,^1
but also just.^2
God’s justice demands
that sin, committed against his supreme majesty,
be punished with the supreme penalty—
eternal punishment of body and soul.
^1 Exod. 34:6
^2 Exod. 20:5; Ps. 5:5; 2 Cor. 6:14
This weekend marks the 237th anniversary of the United States of America’s independence from England. It also marks a momentous and historic occasion for our sisters and brothers in Egypt as millions of them –Muslim, Christian, and secular alike—literally joined hand-in-hand to call for the resignation of an oppressive regime. When a moderatorial delegation I led this past May visited Egypt, we were struck by the determination, courage and confidence of Presbyterian and Coptic Christians who were ready to put their faith into action, recognizing that such efforts might cost them their very lives. Reports that our delegation and our national offices were receiving from partners in the region leading up to the decisive moment last Monday (June 30, 2013) were filled with cautious hopefulness, not knowing what would happen, but a certain appointment with the inevitable. They had reached a point of no return because the heart of the Egyptian people wanted to be free. The revolution that toppled the Mubarak regime two years ago and which ushered in the Morsy presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood brought with it the hopes and dreams of the Egyptian people – at long last, poverty would be alleviated, the economy would prosper, religious protections would be secured, women and Christian minorities would be given a place in the new governance, all sectors of the nation would be part of shaping the future of their country. The stated promises of the presidency were just that: statements without action. In fact, what we heard again and again from church leaders were stories of repression, oppression, violence, iron-handed governance, a questionable election, and a post-revolution constitution that placed power and control over collaboration and a shared future.