Lesson 4: In that judgment the condition of the pious and of the impious will be utterly dissimilar and opposed.
This is taught in the text by the separation of the sheep and the goats, by the right hand and the left hand, and by “come, ye blessed” and “depart, ye cursed.”
- There is a great dissimilarity and opposition between the lives and ways of the impious and [those of] the pious while they are in this world.
- There is a great dissimilarity and opposition between the promises that pertain to the pious and the threats that concern the impious.
- There is the greatest dissimilarity and opposition between the manifestation of the greatest mercy and the manifestation of the greatest avenging of justice.
For admonition, so that we might separate ourselves from impious persons to whatever extent and in whatever way it can be done. That is, although we may not be able to be separate in regard to place, we ought to be as dissimilar as possible as much in the inner affection of our soul as [we are] from their outer conversation.
—William Ames, A Sketch of the Christian’s Catechism, trans. Todd Rester, ed. R. Scott Clark (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books), on Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 19.