Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Heidelberg Exhortations-Lord's Day 5

The Second Part - Of Man's Deliverance

Q. 12. 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? A. God will have his justice satisfied: and therefore we must make this full satisfaction, either by ourselves, or by another.

Q. 13. Can we ourselves then make this satisfaction? A. By no means; but on the contrary we daily increase our debt.

Q. 14.Can there be found anywhere, one, who is a mere creature, able to satisfy for us? A. 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.

Q. 15.What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for? A. For one who is very man, and perfectly righteous; and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very God.

Dear Christians, you can see that apart from Christ we are in a miserable condition. We have offended God and incurred an unpayable debt. There is no mere man that we can seek as a benefactor. All the gold in California or the diamonds in Africa could not satisfy the debt. God cannot be bought off the way an unrighteous judge can be bought off. He is merciful but also just. His justice must be satisfied. The debt must be paid. And yet it cannot. What can we do? Of course, the answer is our refrain in Christianity. We turn to Christ. He is our all. In Him, our debt is satisfied. He paid the price for all those who receive Him. We can never have assurance in our deeds, especially if we think those deeds have earned the favor of God. They are always lacking and usually presented to Him with questionable motives. But in Christ, we are assured of perfect pardon.

No mere man could save us from the punishment we deserve. But Christ is no mere man. He is fully God and fully man. We do not pretend to comprehend this mystery but we receive it by faith. Our God paid the debt against Himself through the subsitutionary death of God the Son, Jesus Christ. Believe this; live this; receive this; lay hold of Christ by faith and your debt is paid in full.

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