Whence knowest thou thy misery?
Out of the law of God.
What does the law of God require of us?
Christ teaches us that briefly, Matthew 22:37-40, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Canst thou keep all these things perfectly?
In no wise;
for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbour.
Since then, by the righteous judgment of God, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, is there no way by which we may escape that punishment, and be again received into favour?
God will have his justice satisfied:
and therefore we must make this full satisfaction, either by ourselves, or by another.
Can we ourselves then make this satisfaction?
By no means;
but on the contrary we daily increase our debt.
Can there be found anywhere, one, who is a mere creature, able to satisfy for us?
None; for, first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man has committed;
and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God's eternal wrath against sin, so as to deliver others from it.
What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for?
For one who is very man, and perfectly
and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very God.
—Heidelberg Catechism, The