Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standard WSC #14 & 15

Doctrinal Standards WSC #14 & 15

  • Q. What is sin?
  • A. Sin is disobeying or not conforming to God’s law in any way.
  • Q. By what sin did our first parents fall from their original condition?
  • A. Our first parents’ sin was eating the forbidden fruit.

Memory Verses

  • ”Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4, ESV).

Study Passage: I John 3

Support Passages: Leviticus 4; Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Romans 3:9-24; James 2:1-13

Bible Story: Genesis 4:1-15


  • “Sin never consists merely in a voluntary act of transgression. Every volition proceeds from something that is more deep-seated than the volition itself. A sinful act is the expression of a sinful heart (cf. Mk. 7:20–23; Pr. 4:23; 23:7). Our understanding of sin must always take into consideration  the perversity of heart, mind, disposition and will.”[1]
  • 1 John 3 is very adamant that the people of God are to not be caught up in sin. In verse 10 He writes that “whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God.” There are a couple important words to examine to fully understand what John is telling us in this passage. The word righteousness is used in scripture in a couple different ways. Righteousness can mean our acceptance before God. We are righteous before God because of what Christ did on the cross which we had no part in. Righteousness can also refer to living right before God. We are to be “Holy as (God) is holy,” we are to obey the commands of God. In 1 John chapter 3 the word righteous has the meaning of the latter.  John is calling Christians to live a life in obedience to the commands of God.
  • As Christians we are to practice living a life in obedience to the commands of God. We are to struggle to live a righteous life before God and when we do sin we can be obedient by immediately confess it to the Lord (1 John 1:9).

Discussion Questions

  • What is sin?
  • Who determines what sin is? Can it change?
  • How does our culture view sin?
  • If sin is not conforming to God’s law, what first must we know?
  • Can we know what sin is without knowing God’s word? Explain
  • Is ignorance a valid excuse to sinning? Explain
  • Are acting upon a desire and temptation the same thing (Genesis 4:6-7)? Explain


[1] Wood, D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (1107). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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