Monday, July 26, 2004

Heidelberg Exhortations-Lord's Day 1, too

Q. 2.  How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily? A.  Three; the first, how great my sins and miseries are; the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.

It is quite astonishing that we are so often in the dark regarding our own sin and misery.  We can grasp some aspect of this by looking at the current culture sinking in the mire around us.  In the midst of horrible crimes against God and man, they liken themselves the happiest men and women on earth.  Their hearts are darkened in the most extreme of sins.  So much so, that as a culture at large, these dark sins are now mainstream and respectable.  Not only do they not know that they are in rebellion against God, they flatter themselves that their horrible behavior is, in fact, pleasing to Him.  This is nothing less than measuring man by man’s standard.  When we do this, we always come out looking good.  The current travesty is that we now measure with such a perverse measuring stick that what is evil is considered good.

As Christians, we are not so debauched.  We understand that there is good and evil in the world, right and wrong, decency and indecency.  However, we have been so influenced by our culture that we often measure by the wrong standard also.  We compare ourselves to the rebellious lot that I mentioned above and we come out smelling pretty good.  However, that is the wrong standard.   You can always find a greater sinner than you are, but does the presence of a Stalin make Hitler a saint?  Of course not.  We must measure by God’s standard.  When we do this, we are always called up short in relation to our own self-righteousness because we haven’t got any.  Our only righteousness is in Jesus Christ.

Secondly, our culture fails to see its misery.  What they call happiness, is merely being punch-drunk with perverted pleasures.  Beware the adulteress women.  She is death.  Again, we Christians are not so far gone, but we often fail to see that our sins cause us great grief.  We will not give them up because we love them so.   What would we complain about if we forgave our brothers and sisters in the Lord?  How would we entertain ourselves if we applied God’s standards of not lusting after women in the heart?  We enjoy these things and think they bring us good and do not see the misery that they bring.

In our flesh, by our nature, we are objects of wrath, utterly lost and wholly unable to respond to God.  However, the Holy Spirit bids us repent and believe.  The law condemns us all as guilty and yet Christ proclaims all His own as righteous.  We merit nothing and in Christ gain everything.  What a gracious and merciful God we serve.  Let us forsake those things that lead to death and embrace Christ in new life.

As we are reminded of our sin and misery without Christ, let us confess our sins, repent of them, lay hold of Christ, and rejoice in His kindness to us.

No comments: