Catechism

The word “catechism” sometimes strikes fear in those who hear it or at least engenders a fair amount of suspicion – particularly among those who have been raised in a Baptist or Baptist-like tradition... Please click "What is Catechism?" link below to continue.

What is Catechism?

The word “catechism” sometimes strikes fear in those who hear it or at least engenders a fair amount of suspicion – particularly among those who have been raised in a Baptist or Baptist-like tradition. In reality, a catechism is simply a teaching tool for parents and churches to use to help children learn biblical truth.

We Baptists have a rich history with catechisms, and they have only fallen out of common use in the past century. They are not uniquely owned by Roman Catholics or “high churches.” They can be used to teach falsehood or truth. In the end, a catechism is simply a tool for learning – and a good one at that!

Catechisms typically follow a question and answer format, where children memorize answers to theological questions. It is designed to take advantage of the incredible memorization abilities of children, and to help them to be able to spout off theological truths in the same way that they may rattle off their ABC’s or multiplication tables.

How to Use a Catechism?

This version of A Catechism for Boys and Girls is divided both according to subject matter and according to age. The ages listed or merely recommendations, and you may find it helpful to move more quickly or more slowly with your child. For series’ of related questions, short explanations are given or hints on how to explain them to kids. These explanations are set apart in italicized type and may be used for teaching concepts and the meanings of words or ignored completely.

I recommend teaching children 2-3 questions at time, and adding more as those are mastered. Previously memorized questions should almost always be reviewed before working on new ones. The name of the game is repetition.

In doing this, you’ll find that little actual time is required. Five to ten minutes before bed or in the morning should suffice for learning new questions and reviewing the most recently learned. A little more time may be necessary as your child makes progress and needs to review a large number of questions. Parents will find that they too memorize the questions and answers fairly quickly; reviewing as you drive the kids to school or when you’re waiting in line at McDonald’s can be fun and extremely helpful!

The goal in teaching the catechism is initially simple memorization. Don’t get hung up on explaining every term and giving illustrations for every truth. Some words will certainly have to be defined in simple ways (and many of these are provided in the explanations), and you will find it helpful to explain some very important truths to your kids as they memorize answers. However, don’t feel the need to explain everything or give an illustration for each answer. Often, understanding will occur later.

I have found it most helpful to reference previously learned catechism questions when teaching at other times. So, for instance, when my son once asked me why God made elephants, I asked him, “Why did God make you and all things?” He answered, “For his own glory.” I then asked, “Why did God make elephants?” and he answered, “For his glory.” Then we had a fun discussion of how elephants show us how great and 3 powerful God is. You don’t have to be a theological genius to make use of this kind of teaching method. In fact, that ‘s the genius of the catechism: it instills truth into the minds of children so that it can be applied and expanded upon later.

How Not to Use a Catechism?

Of course, we never want to substitute learning a catechism for learning the Scriptures themselves. The catechism is designed to summarize biblical truth, not supplant it. Children should regularly be reading or having read to them the Bible. Bible story books can be very helpful for young children as well.

In addition, parents must be careful never to confuse accurate knowledge or the statement of biblical truth by their children for conversion. We don’t want to produce tiny theologians; we want to produce disciples of Jesus. If you use this catechism properly, your child will grow in knowledge, but he or she must be born again and genuinely trust in Christ in order to be saved. Salvation and discipleship are the goal, not great knowledge.

Finally, don’t ever give your children the impression that God requires them to learn the catechism or to impress others with their knowledge in order for them to be acceptable in God’s sight. God requires faith and repentance, and the catechism is designed teach the Gospel, never to impede the Gospel (see question 147). Misuse of any tool – no matter how good the tool – can lead people away from the Gospel.

Section One - Questions 1-16

Questions About God and Creation:

Question 1:

  • Q: Who made you?
  • A: God made me.

Question 2:

  • Q: What else did God make?
  • A: God made all things.

These first two questions of the catechism introduce the most basic and fundamental truth of the Christian faith: God made everything out of nothing. With young children, it’s helpful to point to different objects and ask, “Who made trees?” or “Who made dogs?” Each time they answer, “God did,” they are reinforcing in their minds that God is the creator of all things, including themselves.

Question 3:

  • Q: Why did God make you and all things?
  • A: For his own glory.

Question 4:

  • Q: How can you glorify God?
  • A: By loving him and doing what he commands.

Question 5:

  • Q: Why should you glorify God?
  • A: Because he made me and takes care of me.

The natural tendency of sinners is to view themselves or others like them as the center of the world. Kids are no exception to this rule. That’s why it’s important for us to teach them that they and everything else exists for God. He deserves our praise. He deserves our love and obedience. Remind them that God says that we should do everything for his glory (1 Cor. 10:31).

Question 6:

  • Q: How many gods are there?
  • A: There is only one true God.

Because we live in an increasingly pluralistic world, we need to constantly reinforce the idea that there is only one TRUE God. We will no doubt encounter people who believe in different gods or no god at all, so we must have this essential teaching of Scripture solidified in our minds. It is helpful to point out the most obvious kinds of false gods with which your kids will be confronted (e.g. Greek mythology or even false God’s mentioned in the Old Testament). Ask them, “Is Zeus (or Baal) a real God?” “No.” “Why?” “Because there is only one true God?”

Question 7:

  • Q: In how many persons does this one true God exist?
  • A: In three persons.

Question 8:

  • Q: Who are they?
  • A: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Teaching children about the Trinity at a young age accomplishes two important things for them. First, they learn that God is beyond their (and their parents’) comprehension. All of need to learn that we cannot fully understand God or “figure him out.” The Apostle Paul writes, ““Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’” (Romans 11:33-34).

Second, they learn one of the most important facets of God’s nature that separates him from the false gods of other religions. There is only one God, but he exists eternally as three distinct Persons. One way to help your kids remember what the Trinity teaches is to ask them, “Are there three gods?” “No.” “Is Jesus God?” “Yes.” “Is the Holy Spirit God? “Yes.” And so on.

Question 9:

  • Q: Who is God?
  • A: God is a Spirit, and does not have a body like us.

Question 10:

  • Q: Where is God?
  • A: God is everywhere.

Question 11:

  • Q: Can you see God?
  • A: No, I cannot see God, but he always sees me.

As if the doctrine of the Trinity were not enough to convince us that God is not like us, these three questions establish that he is altogether above us and beyond our understanding. Every child (and adult!) needs to know that though they cannot see God, he is always present. Whether for comfort when the light is turned out at night, or for motivation to obey when mom and dad are not around, knowing that God is there and that he sees us is a helpful truth to remember.

Question 12:

  • Q: Does God know all things?
  • A: Yes, nothing can be hidden from God.

Question 13:

  • Q: Can God do all things?
  • A: Yes. God can do all his holy will.

God is absolutely sovereign, which means that he has the authority and the power to do anything that he wants to do. No plans of his can be thwarted and no on can stop him from accomplishing his will. This is a sobering truth for adults and children. When fire burns down your home or when a loved one gets cancer, this truth comforts us by teaching us that even these terrible events are a part of God’s plan. He is working all things for the good of his people (Rom. 8:28), and that includes all the bad things that happen to us.

Questions About the Bible:

Question 14:

  • Q: Where do you learn to love and obey God?
  • A: Only in the Bible.

Question 15:

  • Q: Who wrote the Bible?
  • A: Holy men who were taught by the Holy Spirit.

Question 16:

  • Q: Can we trust the Bible?
  • A: Yes. The Bible is all-sufficient and without error.

This triad of questions is foundational for Christian theology and for our spiritual growth. Most fundamentally, the Bible teaches us who God is, what he has done, and what he requires of us. If we do not instill confidence and trust in the Bible into our kids, then they will be vulnerable to a thousand different attacks upon their faith.

Many younger children will not understand the word “sufficient.” You can explain that it means that the Bible is “enough” for us. We don’t need another book or new information about God. We need to learn what the Bible says. In addition, we need to believe and be confident that the Bible is always true, always right, and contains no errors.

Section Two - Questions 17-33

Questions About Man:

Question 17:

  • Q: Who were our first parents?
  • A: Adam and Eve.

Question 18:

  • Q: Of what were our first parents made?
  • A: God made the body of Adam out of the ground, and formed Eve from the body of Adam.

These two questions teach us that God made Adam and Eve directly and that he made them different from the animals. Our children will no doubt encounter and at some time be pressed to believe in the theory of evolution. From the earliest age, we want them to know that the Bible contains a different and more compelling account of the origin of human beings. We were created directly by God himself. By asking questions specifically about Adam and Eve, we affirm that they are real, historical persons.

Question 19:

  • Q: What did God give Adam and Eve besides bodies?
  • A: He gave them souls that could never die.

Question 20:

  • Q: Have you a soul as well as a body?
  • A: Yes. The Bible teaches me that I have a soul that can never die.

While it is important to teach our children that God made Adam and Eve, we also need to make sure that they understand that we, like them, are made in the image of God. This is why Questions 17 and 18 call them our “first parents.” Like them we have souls that will endure beyond the death of our bodies.

Question 21:

  • Q: In what condition did God make Adam and Eve?
  • A: He made them holy and happy.

Question 22:

  • Q: Did Adam and Eve stay holy and happy?
  • A: No. They sinned against God.

Three truths are taught in these questions. First, God made Adam and Eve holy. They were different from the rest of creation and set apart for the worship of God. Second, God made them happy. Holiness is not opposed to happiness; Adam and Eve’s happiness was bound up in their holiness. God wants us to be happy. He is not a cosmic kill- joy. He wants kids to be happy, but he also knows that he is their greatest source of happiness. Third, sin both destroyed Adam and Eve’s holiness and their happiness. Children need to know that happiness is not found in disobedience to God, but in humble service to him.

Questions About Sin:

Question 23:

  • Q: What is sin?
  • A: Sin is not glorifying God as we ought.

Question 24:

  • Q: What is transgression?
  • A: Transgression is sinning by disobeying God's Law.

Question 25:

  • Q: What does sin cause?
  • A: Sin separates us from God, makes him angry with us, and destroys our happiness.

At this point, your kids have already leaned that to glorify God means to love him and obey him. Now, they can see that anytime we don’t love God with all our hearts or obey his Word completely, we have sinned.

Question 26:

  • Q: What was the sin of our first parents?
  • A: Eating the forbidden fruit.

Question 27:

  • Q: Why did Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit?
  • A: Because they did not believe God’s Word.

Question 28:

  • Q: Who tempted them to this sin?
  • A: The devil tempted Eve, and she gave the fruit to Adam.

It will probably be helpful to read the story of the Fall to your children in Genesis 3 before teaching them these questions the first time. As you begin to read, first ask them, “Who were our first parents?” Then pause during the story and ask them these three questions at the appropriate time. This will help them identify the Serpent as well as help them to connect the things that they are learning with the Bible.

Question 29:

  • Q: What happened to our first parents when they sinned?
  • A: Instead of being holy and happy, they became sinful and miserable.

Children need to know that God wants them to be happy. God not only wants them to be happy; he wants them to be as happy as they can be! But he also knows that only he can make us maximally happy. Sin, which offers us small, temporary pleasure, robs us of the better pleasure of loving and obeying God.

Question 30:

  • Q: What effect did the sin of Adam have on all humanity?
  • A: All humanity is born in a state of sin and misery.

Question 31:

  • Q: What do we inherit from Adam as a result of this original sin?
  • A: A sinful nature.

For younger children, you will probably have to explain what “inherit” means. We get something from someone else. An inheritance is like a special treasure that gets passed down in a family. Unfortunately, our first parents have passed something bad down to us: a sinful nature. The reason we all sin, is because we have sin in our hearts. That’s why temptation is so hard to resist.

Question 32:

  • Q: What does every sin deserve?
  • A: The anger and judgment of God.

Many people may object to teaching children about the judgment and wrath of God, but it is essential to the Gospel message. If God is not angered by sin and if his righteousness doesn’t demand judgment, then there is no need for the cross. If there is no wrath, there can be no atonement. We do our children and ourselves no favors if we ignore what Jesus and the apostles regularly teach us. The key to helping anyone (including children) to understand God’s anger and judgment properly is to begin with his holiness and his rights over us as our Creator. The catechism does just that, laying the ground work for helping us to explain why sin deserves judgment.

Question 33:

  • Q: Do we know what God requires of us?
  • A: Yes. He has written his law on our hearts and in the Bible.

Section Three - Questions 34-51

Questions About God's Law:

Question 34:

  • Q: How many commandments did God give to Moses on the two stone tablets at Mount Sinai?
  • A: Ten Commandments.

Question 35:

  • Q: What are the Ten Commandments sometimes called?
  • A: God's moral law.

Question 36:

  • Q: Why should we obey the Ten Commandments?
  • A: Because God is our Creator, Savior, and King.

These questions both review the opening questions of the catechism (see questions 3-5) and prepare the way for the next several questions. You may want to quickly review the story of Moses on Mount Sinai before moving beyond these three questions.

Question 37:

  • Q: What do the first four commandments teach us?
  • A: Our duty to God.

Question 38:

  • Q: What do the last six commandments teach us?
  • A: Our duty to our neighbor.

Question 39:

  • Q: What is the sum of the Ten Commandments?
  • A: To love God with all my heart, and my neighbor as myself.

Question 40:

  • Q: Who is your neighbor?
  • A: Everyone is my neighbor.

Questions About the First Four Commandments:

Question 41:

  • Q: What is the first commandment?
  • A: “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Question 42:

  • Q: What does the first commandment teach us?
  • A: To worship only God.

Very little explanation will be given for the questions on the Ten Commandments, because explanations are provided by the questions themselves. The quotations of the commandments are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) of Exodus 20. You will probably only want to teach one commandment and one explanation at a time, as some of the commandments are long.

Question 43:

  • Q: What is the second commandment?
  • A: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them.”

Question 44:

  • Q: What does the second commandment teach us?
  • A: To worship God in the right way, and to avoid idolatry.

Question 45:

  • Q: What is the third commandment?
  • A: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”

Question 46:

  • Q: What does the third commandment teach us?
  • A: To respect God's name, Word and works.

Question 47:

  • Q: What is the fourth commandment?
  • A: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Question 48:

  • Q: What does the fourth commandment teach us?
  • A: To rest, knowing that God has finished his work and kept his promises in Jesus Christ.

Question 49:

  • Q: How do we rest?
  • A: In prayer and praise, in hearing and reading God’s Word, in repenting from sin and trusting in the Lord.

Question 50:

  • Q: When do we rest?
  • A: On Sunday, the Lord’s Day.

Question 51:

  • Q: Why is Sunday called the Lord’s Day?
  • A: Because Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday.

While New Covenant believers are not under the Sabbath law, the principal of rest still applies. We need to set aside time each week to devote ourselves to worshipping with other believers and studying God’s Word. Ultimately, we have rest in Christ through faith in him and will fully enter into that rest on the Last Day.

Section Four - Questions 52-65

Questions About the Last Six Commandments:

Question 52:

  • Q: What is the fifth commandment?
  • A: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”

Question 53:

  • Q: What does the fifth commandment teach us?
  • A: To love and obey our parents.

A parent’s favorite commandment! This commandment forms a kind of bridge between the first four commandments (which are about our relationship with God) and the last five (which are about our relationship with our neighbor). Because God is the Father of all those who believe in him, obeying parents is like practicing and learning to obey God. That’s why this command comes with the promise of long life.

Question 54:

  • Q: What is the sixth commandment?
  • A: “You shall not murder.”

Question 55:

  • Q: What does the sixth commandment teach us?
  • A: To avoid hating others, all that leads to it, and all that comes from it.

Question 56:

  • Q: What is the seventh commandment?
  • A: “You shall not commit adultery.”

Question 57:

  • Q: What does the seventh commandment teach us?
  • A: To be pure in heart, language and conduct.

Question 58:

  • Q: What is the eighth commandment?
  • A: “You shall not steal.”

Question 59:

  • Q: What does the eight commandment teach us?
  • A: To be honest and not to take things that belong to others.

Question 60:

  • Q: What is the ninth commandment?
  • A: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

Question 61:

  • Q: What does the ninth commandment teach us?
  • A: To tell the truth and not speak evil about others.

Question 62:

  • Q: What is the tenth commandment?
  • A: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Question 63:

  • Q: What does the tenth commandment teach us?
  • A: To be content with what we have and not want what belongs to others.

All of us are covetous, but with kids this particular sin can be really obvious and easy to talk about. When siblings fight over toys, the cause is coveting. When kids beg and pout for things they see in commercials or on store shelves, the cause is coveting. We can teach our children that wanting what is not ours leads to other sins. We steal things because we want what is not ours (8th commandment). We hurt others because they have things that we want (6th commandment). Parents need to help children understand this commandment and fight against it. It is the root cause of most of the sins we commit against other people.

Question 64:

  • Q: Can anyone keep all of these Ten Commandments?
  • A: No one except Jesus every has or can keep the Ten Commandments perfectly.

Question 65:

  • Q: How do the Ten Commandments help us?
  • A: They teach us our duty and show us that we are guilty and need a Savior.

The Ten Commandments aren’t supposed to be an endless burden. They burden us only until we realize that we are sinners in need of Savior and trust in Jesus. Every time your child breaks one of the commands, you can review the appropriate questions with them. Then you can remind them that only Jesus can perfectly obey the commands and that we all need forgiveness. Lead your children in prayers to God for forgiveness when they get in trouble. This will help them to understand that sin is ultimately about how we respond to God and his Word.

Section Five - Questions 66-84

Questions About the Covenants:

Question 66:

  • Q: What is a covenant?
  • A: A covenant is an agreement between two or more persons.

Question 67:

  • Q: What is the covenant of grace?
  • A: It is an eternal agreement within the Trinity to save God’s chosen people.

Question 68:

  • Q: What is the Old Covenant?
  • A: An agreement between God and Israel established at Mount Sinai in the giving of God’s Laws.

Question 69:

  • Q: Did Israel keep the Old Covenant?
  • A: No. The Israelites disobeyed God’s laws, breaking the covenant and bringing God’s wrath upon them.

Question 70:

  • Q: What is the New Covenant?
  • A: A covenant that depends completely on God’s promise to save his elect people from their sins.

Ask your kids, “What is the biggest difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant?” The main difference is that the New Covenant depends on God’s promise, not his people’s obedience.

Question 71:

  • Q: What did Christ do to fulfill the New Covenant?
  • A: Christ kept the whole law for his people, suffered on the cross for their sins, and rose from the dead so that they might share in his life.

The reason the New Covenant does not depend upon our obedience is not because God doesn’t care about obedience. It is because Jesus has obeyed for us. He did what we cannot do. Not only that, but he took the punishment for our sins and rose in victory over death. This is the Gospel!

Questions About Jesus

Question 72:

  • Q: Did our Lord Jesus Christ ever sin?
  • A: No. He was holy and obeyed God perfectly.

Question 73:

  • Q: How could the Son of God suffer?
  • A: Christ took on flesh and blood and became a human being so that he could be a substitute for sinful humanity.

This is the heart of the Gospel. Make sure your kids understand what it means for Christ to be our substitute. You can illustrate it my telling the story of a big brother who decides to take his little brother’s (or sister’s) after the younger sibling got into trouble for hitting the older brother. We’ve sinned against Jesus, but he takes the punishment for our sins. That’s a substitute.

Question 74:

  • Q: What is the atonement?
  • A: The atonement is Christ satisfying God’s justice by his suffering and death as a substitute for sinners.

Question 75:

  • Q: What kind of life did Christ live on earth?
  • A: Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to God’s law.

Question 76:

  • Q: What kind of death did Christ die?
  • A: The painful and shameful death of the cross.

Question 77:

  • Q: For whom did Christ die?
  • A: For the whole world, but especially for those whom the Father had given him.

It’s typical in evangelical churches for only the first half of this answer to be taught. But the Scriptures also teach that the death of Christ was a death in the place of his people. He bore the sins of his people. Those who do not belong to him (i.e. the non-elect) receive great benefits because of Christ’s death on the cross, but their sins have not been atoned for. Otherwise, their sins would be punished twice: on the cross and then in hell.

Questions About Salvation

Question 78:

  • Q: Who will be saved?
  • A: Only those who repent of their sin and believe in Jesus will be saved.

Question 79:

  • Q: What does it mean to repent?
  • A: To be sorry for sin, to hate sin, and to turn away from sin and follow Christ.

Question 80:

  • Q: What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
  • A: To know that your only hope is Christ and trust only in him for salvation.

You can teach your kids about faith and repentance with a simple illustration. Go in a dark room and turn the lights on in an adjoining room. The dark room represents sin and the lighted room represents Christ. In order for us to believe in Jesus and go into the lighted room, we have to leave the dark room. Leaving is repentance. We automatically turn away from darkness when we face the light, and we automatically turn away from sin when we trust in Jesus.

Question 81:

  • Q: Can you repent and believe in Jesus by your own power?
  • A: No. Only God by his Spirit gives repentance.

Since the Bible tells us that we love the darkness rather than the light, it makes sense that we will never leave the darkness behind so long as we don’t want to. We need God to give us new desires so that we will turn away from sin.

Question 82:

  • Q: How were God’s people saved before Christ came?
  • A: They believed in the Savior to come.

Question 83:

  • Q: How did they show their faith?
  • A: They offered sacrifices according to God’s commands.

Question 84:

  • Q: What did these sacrifices represent?
  • A: They were symbolic of Jesus, the lamb of God who died for sinners.

Even many adults are confused about how God saved people in the Old Testament era. The Scriptures teach us that they were saved in the same way as New Testament believers: through faith in Christ. They faith was forward looking and the object of their faith was symbolized in many of the temple regulations and the sacrificial system. They did not experience the work of the Holy Spirit in the same way as New Covenant believers, but the object of their faith was Christ and they were justified by that faith just as we are.

Section Six - Questions 85-104

Questions About the Work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Salvation:

Question 85:

  • Q: What does Christ do to save his people?
  • A: He fills the offices of prophet, priest and king.

Question 86:

  • Q: How is Christ a prophet?
  • A: He reveals God to us and teaches us his will.

The New Testament presents Jesus as a greater prophet even than Moses. He is the Word of God and he the ultimate revelation of God. Kids need to know that to know God they must know Jesus and his words.

Question 87:

  • Q: Why do you need Christ as a prophet?
  • A: Because I do not know God's will.

Question 88:

  • Q: How is Christ a priest?
  • A: He sacrificed himself for our sins and prays for us.

Question 89:

  • Q: Why do you need Christ as a priest?
  • A: Because I am guilty and separated from God.

All the priests and sacrifices of the Old Testament were temporary pointers to the greater priesthood and final sacrifice of Jesus. Explain to your kids that in the Old Testament the main job of a priest was to sacrifice animals in the temple. Jesus, on the other hand, sacrificed himself.

Question 90:

  • Q: How is Christ a king?
  • A: He rules over us and defends us.

Question 91:

  • Q: Why do you need Christ as a king?
  • A: Because I am weak and helpless.

Question 92:

  • Q: What has God the Father done to save his people?
  • A: He elected them and has determined to justify, adopt, and sanctify them.

Question 93:

  • Q: What is election?
  • A: God’s good and gracious choice of certain sinners for salvation.

While the doctrine of election or predestination is most often a source of contention today, in the New Testament it serves as a source of encouragement and comfort. We need to teach our kids about God’s absolute sovereignty in all things. God does not choose us because we first chose him. Rather he loves us and chooses us and we respond by loving him. Our kids may not understand election, but then again, neither do we!

Question 94:

  • Q: What is justification?
  • A: It is God counting us as righteous and forgiving all our sins.

Words like “justification,” “adoption,” and “sanctification” need to become a part of our regularly vocabulary. If we’re going to teach our children what God says in his Word, then we will have to use some of the same words he uses. Don’t shy away from long words; instead take the opportunity to use them and teach your children what they mean. We want to build a biblical vocabulary into ourselves and our kids as early as possible.

Question 95:

  • Q: What is adoption?
  • A: It is God’s acceptance of sinners as his own children.

Many people mistakenly believe and mistakenly teach their kids that all people are children of God. The Bible teaches that all people are created by God, but that only Jesus is God’s true Son. Others become children of God when they believe in Jesus and are adopted into his family. If we really ant to be able to call God our Father, we need to be united to his Son by faith in him.

Question 96:

  • Q: What is sanctification?
  • A: It is God’s freeing us from sin and making us holy and obedient to his Word.

Question 97:

  • Q: Is sanctification ever complete in this life?
  • A: No. Believers will grow in love and holiness their whole lives, but will never be perfect in this life.

Question 98:

  • Q: What keeps us from becoming perfectly holy in this life?
  • A: The sinful nature that remains in us.

Children get just as frustrated as adults about their own disobedience. We need to teach that they can become more obedient and more holy, but only through the work of the Holy Spirit. Just like adult believers, children need to be reminded of how far they have come. You may have to say to your child, “Do you remember when you used to throw fits all the time?” “Yes.” “Well, you don’t do that as often, so maybe the Holy Spirit is working in you.” Of course, you don’t want to confuse normal growth with spiritual growth and you don’t want to encourage a non-believing child to think that he or she has the Holy Spirit.

Question 99:

  • Q: Who can change a sinner’s heart?
  • A: Only the Holy Spirit can change a sinner’s heart.

Question 100:

  • Q: What does the Holy Spirit do to save God’s people?
  • A: He regenerates, baptizes, and seals them in Christ for salvation.

Question 101:

  • Q: What is regeneration?
  • A: A change of heart that leads to repentance and faith.

Question 102:

  • Q: Can you repent and believe in Jesus by your own power?
  • A: No. I can do nothing good without the Holy Spirit.

While it is popular to think that we are born again, or regenerated because we believe, the New Testament actually teaches us the opposite. The New Birth is a supernatural, sovereign work of God in our hearts that causes us to believe and repent. It is God’s making spiritually dead hearts come to life so that they respond to the Gospel by believing in Jesus.

Question 103:

  • Q: How does the Holy Spirit baptize believers?
  • A: He puts them into the body of Christ and dwells in their hearts.

Many Christians confuse baptism in the Spirit with the ongoing work of the Spirit in the believer’s life that is sometimes called being filled with the Spirit. Baptism in the Spirit, however, is a work that occurs when we believe and it unites us to the body of Christ. It is the initial work of the Spirit in the life of a believer.

Question 104:

  • Q: How does the Holy Spirit seal believers?
  • A: He comes to live within them and guarantees that they will receive all that God has promised to them in his Word.

Explain that God gives us the Holy Spirit to “hold our place” in God’s Kingdom. He guarantees that we will get everything that God has promised us. So, if we have the Spirit living within us and working within us, we can be sure that we will also receive eternal life.

Section Seven - Questions 105-123

Questions About Prayer:

Question 105:

  • Q: What is prayer?
  • A: Prayer is talking with God.

Question 106:

  • Q: In whose name should we pray?
  • A: We should pray in the name of the Lord Jesus?

Question 107:

  • Q: Why should we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus?
  • A: Because he intercedes for us and is our Mediator.

Parents will probably need to explain what a mediator is to children. Essentially, a mediator is a go-between. A mediator approaches someone and talks to them on your behalf. In our case, we need a mediator to go before God the Father and to bring our prayers to him. Because Jesus is both human and divine, he is perfectly suited to this role.

Question 108:

  • Q: What has Christ given us to teach us how to pray?
  • A: The Lord’s Prayer?

Like the sections dealing with the Ten Commandments, the following questions about the Lord’s Prayer need very little explanation, since they contain explanation within them.

Question 109:

  • Q: Can you repeat the Lord’s Prayer?
  • A: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Question 110:

  • Q: How many petitions are in the Lord’s Prayer?
  • A: Six.

Question 111:

  • Q: What is the first petition?
  • A: "Hallowed be your name."

Question 112:

  • Q: What do we pray for in the first petition.
  • A: That God’s name may be honored by us and all people.

Question 113:

  • Q: What is the second petition?
  • A: "Your kingdom come."

Question 114:

  • Q: What do we pray for in the second petition?
  • A: That the Gospel may be preached in all the world, and believed and obeyed by all people.

Question 115:

  • Q: What is the third petition?
  • A: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Question 116:

  • Q: What do we pray for in the third petition?
  • A: That people on earth will serve God as the angels in heaven.

Question 117:

  • Q: What is the fourth petition?
  • A: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Question 118:

  • Q: What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
  • A: That God will give us everything we need for our bodies.

Explain that in Jesus’ time, the primary food that people ate to keep them full and healthy was bread. Because of that, “bread” came to represent food and all that you need to be healthy and safe. Asking God to give us “daily bread” is asking him to take care of our physical needs each day.

Question 119:

  • Q: What is the fifth petition?
  • A: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Question 120:

  • Q: What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
  • A: That God will forgive us our sins, and help us to forgive those who have sinned against us.

Question 121:

  • Q: What is the sixth petition?
  • A: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Question 122:

  • Q: What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
  • A: That God will keep us from sin.

Question 123:

  • Q: What does the Lord's Prayer teach us?
  • A: That we are completely dependent upon God.

This is probably the most important lesson to be learned from the Lord’s Prayer. Children need to know that they are more dependent upon God than they are their parents. We depend upon God not only for food and shelter, but just to keep living, to keep existing. Jesus is upholding the whole universe by his Word!

Section Eight - Questions 124-145

Questions About the Word of God:

Question 124:

  • Q: How does the Holy Spirit bring us to salvation?
  • A: He uses the Bible, which is God’s Word.

Question 125:

  • Q: How can we know God’s Word?
  • A: We are commanded to hear, read and study the Scriptures.

Children need to regularly see and absorb the truth expressed in this question and answer in the lives of the adults around them. Parents need to model and demonstrate a love for God’s Word in the home. It is not enough to listen to sermons on Sunday or to send children to Bible study classes or even to teach them the catechism. The Word must be the first subject of our studies and at the top of our priorities. If we read the Scriptures to our kids, then they will hear it regularly. If we encourage them to read as they get older and then show them how to really think about and study the Word then we will have given them something far better than a set of theological truths; we will have given them to tools to see those truths in God’s Word.

Questions About the Church:

Question 126:

  • Q: What is a church?
  • A: A Church is an organized assembly of baptized believers, joined by a covenant of discipline, who meet together under the preaching of God’s Word.

It is popular today to think of the church as any group of believers. But that is not biblical. the church is organized (has structure and leadership), is composed of professing, baptized believers who have made a covenant with one another, and who are united under the proclamation of the Word. For too long youth groups and camps and Bible studies (which are not bad things, necessarily) have been substituted for a genuine church for many children and teenagers. We can help our kids to understand what a church really is only by showing it to them regularly and emphasizing the role of the church in God’s plan.

Question 127:

  • Q: What two ordinances did Christ give to his church?
  • A: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper?

Question 128:

  • Q: Why did Christ give these ordinances?
  • A: To show that his disciples belong to him and to remind them of what he has done for them.

Question 129:

  • Q: What is baptism?
  • A: The immersion of believers into water as a sign of their union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.

Question 130:

  • Q: What is the purpose of Baptism?
  • A: Baptism shows others that believers have been cleansed of their sins through Jesus Christ.

Question 131:

  • Q: Who should be baptized?
  • A: Only those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation should be baptized.

Question 132:

  • Q: Should babies be baptized?
  • A: No. The Bible does not command it or give any examples of it.

The most common mistake that children (and adults!) make regarding baptism is to think that it saves them or actually washes away their sin. In these last four questions we are helping them to see that salvation comes first by faith alone. Baptism comes later as a sign to show others that you’re already a follower of Christ.

Question 133:

  • Q: What is the Lord’s Supper?
  • A: At the Lord’s Supper the church eats bread and drinks wine to remember the sufferings and earth of Christ.

Question 134:

  • Q: What does the bread represent?
  • A: The bread represents the body of Christ, broken for our sins.

Question 135:

  • Q: What does the wine represent?
  • A: The blood represents the blood of Christ, shed for our salvation.

Question 136:

  • Q: Who should partake of the Lord’s Supper?
  • A: Only baptized believers who have repented of their sins, love one another, and are in good standing with the local church.

One way that you can help your child to see their need for conversion (even though he or she has been in the church since birth) is to explain to them why they cannot participate in the Lord’s Supper. Use these questions to explain why they cannot participate and then remind them of the Gospel.

Questions About Last Things

Question 137:

  • Q: Did Christ remain in the tomb after his crucifixion?
  • A: No. He rose from the tomb on the third day after his death.

Question 138:

  • Q: Where is Christ now?
  • A: Christ is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Question 139:

  • Q: Will Christ come again?
  • A: Yes. On the last day he will come to judge the world.

Question 140:

  • Q: What happens to men when the die?
  • A: Their soul goes to be with God or to a place of suffering and waiting for judgment.

The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about God, so it’s probably best to simply say what Scripture says: believers go to be with him when we die.

Question 141:

  • Q: Will the bodies of the dead be raised to life again?
  • A: Yes. “There will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.”

While the Bible does not say a great deal about “heaven” we do know that when Christ returns he will raise the dead and give us new bodies. You can explain to your kids that they will never get a cold again or scrape their knee again. The will have perfect bodes that never get sick and don’t get old.

Question 142:

  • Q: What will happen do the wicked on the Day of Judgment?
  • A: They will be cast into hell.

Question 143:

  • Q: What is hell?
  • A: Hell is a place of dreadful and endless punishment.

Hell is not a popular topic today, and we certainly don’t want to “scare people into heaven” (as if that’s possible), but we do want to help our kids understand the consequences of sin and the holiness of God. You can’t do that without teaching about hell. Hell is not just a bad word we teach them not to say; it’s a real place for sinners who have not be rescued by Jesus.

Question 144:

  • Q: What will happen to the righteous on the Day of Judgment?
  • A: The will live with Christ forever in a new heaven and new earth.

Now we come to the great hope of all believers. The old Tom and Jerry Cartoons may have taught us that our goal is to live in the clouds and strum harps forever, but the Bible says we will live in a new heaven and earth. We will have real physical bodies and live in a real, physical world. Take your child to Revelation 21 and read John’s description of the new heaven and earth. Make sure you point out that Christ is the center and source of all light, life and joy forever.

Question 145:

  • Q: In light of these truths, what should you do?
  • A: should repent of my sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The whole goal of this catechism is not to fill little minds with knowledge, but to move them to a real and vibrant faith in Jesus. We want our kids to know who he is, what he has done for them, what he has saved them from, and what he has saved them for. The catechism aims to teach all of these things so that they might repent and trust in Jesus.