Friday, July 23, 2004

Heidelberg Exhortations-Lord's Day 1

Question 1.  What is thy only comfort in life and death? Answer. That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

This first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism offers so much grace, faith, hope and joy.  It declares that we are not our own but owe a great debt to our Savior Jesus Christ.  He has bought us with His own blood and so we have been made slaves of righteousness.  In purchasing us, he set us free from the dominion of the devil.  Many Christians act and speak as if the devil were still master but he is not.  Christ is king indeed and has set at nought the wiles of that foul fiend.

This first question also declares the complete sovereignty of God that not even a hair can fall from the head of one of His saints apart from His will.  If we think about the answer, we realize that even hairs falling from our head work together for our salvation.  They do this because God has determined these things.   He has determined them for His purpose of blessing you and of glorifying His own great name.  The Holy Spirit of God comes to us to speak of the life that now is and the life that is to come.  He assures us of our place of honor before the Father.  We doubt when we see our sins but the Holy Spirit calls us to look upon Christ’s blessed cross and wipe away the doubt.  When we do this, we are assured of our salvation and are enabled to walk in this new life without threat of banishment.  This produces more faith in Christ, hope of His calling, and love for Him.  We grow in His likeness and by His righteousness are ever pleasing to the Father.

One area we often fall short is in our assurance of salvation.  We do this because we look at our own sins instead of at the finished work of Christ.  Let us confess this lack of faith in looking at ourselves and not Christ.

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