Q. 3. Where do you learn of your sin and its wretched consequences?
A. From the Law of God.
Q. 4. What does the Law of God require of us?
A. Jesus Christ teaches this in a summary in Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (Cf. Luke 10:27.)
Q. 5. Can you keep all this perfectly?
A. No, for by nature I am prone to hate God and my neighbor.
When you closely examine the human condition, there are really only two conclusions you can reach. The first is that humanity is generally good, that all people mean well, and there is hope for humanity to continually improve upon itself. In this view, evil is a tragic reminder of our lesser being, something we can overcome by enlightened thinking and a more tolerant society.
The other view, which reflects the revelation of Scripture, is that humanity is fallen and broken, sinful in the eyes of God. Quoting the Psalms, Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God.” “For all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”
We have been given a high calling, to love the Lord completely, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. While we all may mean well, we all know that we have fallen short of this calling. As disturbing as it may sound, we are taught that if we do not love God and our neighbor with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, then we are in all actuality, hating God. Deep down we are all prone to serve ourselves first, to seek first the things of this world and our comfort, rather than loving and seeking after God. This is where the catechism begins, we are prone to hate God; not to burden us with guilt, but to show us first of our need for salvation, and where that salvation is found.
Heavenly Father, I know that I have fallen short of your calling; I want to love you, but I am prone to hate you and my neighbor. Forgive me from my sin in Jesus Christ, that I may be set free to love and serve you. Amen