Westminster Larger Catechism
Q.151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,
1. From the persons offending
2. From the parties offended
3. From the nature and quality of the offense:
|4. From circumstances of time [r] and place [s]: if on the Lord’s day [t], or other times of divine worship [v]; or immediately before [w] or after these [x], or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages [y]; if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled [z].|
From circumstances of time [r]
[r] 2 Kings 5:26 And he said unto him (Gehazi), Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
and place [s]:
[s] Jeremiah 7:10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
Isaiah 26:10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
if on the Lord’s day [t],
[t] Ezekiel 23:37-39 That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery;— Ver.38 Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths. Ver.39 For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house.
or other times of divine worship [v];
[v] Isaiah 58:3-5 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Ver.4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Ver.5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
Numbers 25:6-7 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Ver.7 And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand;
or immediately before [w]
[w] 1 Corinthians 11:20-21 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. Ver.21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
or after these [x],
[x] Jeremiah 7:8-10 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Ver.9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; Ver.10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
Proverbs 7:14-15 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Ver.15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
John 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Ver.30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: etc.
or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages [y];
[y] Ezra 9:13-14 And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Ver.14 Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us?
if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled [z].
[z] 2 Samuel 16:22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.
1 Samuel 2:22-24 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Ver.23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Ver.24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.
Q.152. What doth every sin deserve at the hands of God?
A. Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty [a], goodness [b], and holiness of God [c], and against his righteous law [d], deserveth his wrath and curse [e], both in this life [f], and that which is to come [g]; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ [h].
Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty [a],
[a] James 2:10-11 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. Ver.11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
[b] Exodus 20:1-2 And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
and holiness of God [c],
[c] Habakkuk 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?
Leviticus 10:3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. —
Leviticus 11:44-45 For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Ver.45 For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
and against his righteous law [d],
[d] 1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
deserveth his wrath and curse [e],
[e] Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
both in this life [f],
[f] Lamentations 3:39 Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?
Deuteronomy 28 from Verse 15 to the end But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Ver.16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Ver.17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store, etc.
and that which is to come [g];
[g] Matthew 25:41 Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ [h].
[h] Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; Ver.19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Q.153. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?
A. That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ [i], and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation [k].
Day 88: The Word of God in Worship, part 4