Of the Baptist Catechism
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Question Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
Answer No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God,1 but doth daily break them in thought, word, or deed (Genesis 6:5, 8:21; Rom. 3:9-21; James 3:2-13
[1] Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8, 10; Galatians 5:17

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Was Adam before the fall perfect?
Yes.

For in the image of God created he him,
Genesis 1:27

Was Christ, who was not a mere man, perfect?
Yes.

He knew no sin,
2 Corinthians 5:21

And are the saints in heaven perfect?
Yes.

In their mouth is found no guile,
Revelation 14:5

But is any mere man since the fall in this life perfect?
No.

For there is not a just man on earth,
Ecclesiastes 7:20

And have the best of men acknowledged this?
Yes.

We are all as an unclean thing—and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away,
Isaiah 64:6


Did the Father of the faithful sin through unbelief?
Yes.

For he denied his wife, lest the Egyptians should have slain him,
Genesis 12:12, 19

Was Jacob, a plain man, guilty of deceit?
Yes.

For Isaac said, art thou my very son Esau? and he said I
Genesis 27:24

Did the meekest man offend by passion?
Yes.

For they provoked his spirit so that he spoke unadvisedly with his lips,
Psalm 106:33

And the most patient man by impatience?
Yes.

For he cursed his day,
Job 3:1

And was the wisest man guilty of the greatest folly?
Yes.

For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods,
1 Kings 11:4

Did the most resolute of Christ’s disciples sin through weakness and fear?
Yes.

For he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man,
Mark 14:71

And did the apostle Paul, who so earnestly breathed after perfection, yet fall short of it?
Yes.

I am carnal, sold under sin,
Romans 7:14


Do the best of saints sin in thought?
Yes.

Why think ye evil in your hearts?
Matthew 9:4

And in word?
Yes.

Ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right,
Job 42:7

And in deed?
Yes.

By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme,
2 Samuel 12:14

Are they guilty of many sins which they know?
Yes.

My sin is ever before me,
Psalm 51:3

And of many more which they do not know?
Yes.

For who can understand his errors?
Psalm 19:12


Are the saints sanctified in every part?
Yes.

In soul, body and spirit,
1 Thessalonians 5:23

And yet are they sanctified but in part?
Yes.

For God will perfect that which is lacking,
1 Thessalonians 3:10

Are they sincerely obedient?
Yes.

Remember I have walked before thee in truth,
Isaiah 38:3

But are they perfectly obedient?
No.

For we cannot do the things that we would,
Galatians 5:17

Have they a relative perfection in Christ?
Yes.

We are complete in him,
Colossians 2:10

But have they a personal perfection in themselves?
No.

Look not upon me because I am black,
Song of Solomon 1:6

Is justification then by our own works impossible?
Yes.

For if thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, who shall stand?
Psalm 103:4

From A Scriptural Exposition of the Baptist Catechism

The Westminster Larger Catechism Copy a link to this section

#149 Copy this
Question Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
Answer No man is able, either of himself,1 or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God;2 but doth daily break them in thought,3 word, and deed.4
[1] James 3; Romans 8:3
[2] Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8, 10; Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:18–19
[3] Genesis 6:5; 8:21
[4] Romans 3:9–19; James 3:2–13