Thursday, July 22, 2004

Heidelberg Exhortations-Intro

We have a wonderful heritage in our faith.  It is an ancient faith that stretches back to the very dawn of time.  We find our kinship, not only in the second Adam, our perfect savior Jesus Christ, but in the first Adam, as well.  We all descended from him and he is our first earthly father.  Not such a good one.  But we identify with him in his fall and are his fallen seed.   You all sinned in him and fell with him in his first transgression.  God did not forget that Adam and brought forth a heritage from his stained seed that a perfect seed might come to redeem us from our sin and misery.  The story of redemption has been told through the ages and has found full fruition in Christ.  In our redemption, we are thankful to our God and understand that He requires holy living from us.  How dare we neglect so great a salvation? 

This identity with the past is very important to us.  We must know who we are and where we come from.  This tells us much about what we believe, why we believe it, and what we ought to do.  It tells us about how our thoughts have changed, what we have learned from our mistakes, how to correct them, and where we go from here.  The Scriptures tell us this marvelous story. As we learn the story of Scripture better, we will be informed from the past and equipped for the future. 

We have other friends of the past to inform us for today and for tomorrow.  We spent a couple of years going through the Westminster Shorter Catechism in our exhortations so that we could better understand the rudiments of the Scripture.  This proved very helpful in shaping our thoughts along the lines of those great men who came before us.  We learn from them and we go on to teach our children and those who will come after us. 

Another great body of divinity is the Heidelberg Catechism.  Written in 1536, it has one hundred twenty-nine questions giving us great pastoral instruction about the fundamentals of our faith.  The first part teaches on the sin and misery of man and covers the fall.  The second part teaches on man’s redemption and covers God’s requirement for justice, our inability to pay it and the need for Christ.  It covers God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Sacraments Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  The third part teaches on thankfulness and covers the requirement of good works as new men and women in Christ, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer.  

This is a wonderful way to view the story of the Bible.  We will spend some time going over these one hundred twenty-nine questions in our exhortations.  May God bless us as we do so.           

As modern Christians, one of our great failures is having so much extra time and knowing our Bibles so poorly.  May this remind us of our need to confess our sins to God regularly.

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