Devotional Word for Friday, October 30, 2020
One of the reasons why I like the Heidelberg Catechism is the pastoral warmth that runs through it. There is a trade off for the pastoral warmth. Sometimes the answers to the questions are rather long. Take for instance Question 26 as the catechism begins in earnest to look at the Apostle’s Creed. It says, “What do you believe when you say: ‘I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth’?” The answer thought wonderful and rich is rather full. For that reason when I am thinking through it, I have to work hard to really focus on what is being said.
List to the answer to question 26. It says, “That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth with all that is in them, who also upholds and governs them by His eternal counsel and providence, is for the sake of Christ His Son my God and my Father. I trust in Him so completely that I have no doubt that He will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul. Moreover, whatever evil He sends upon me in this troubled life He will turn to my good, for He is able to do it, being almighty God, and is determined to do it, being a faithful Father.”
Today I would like to focus on one part of this magnificent answer. It says that God is for the sake of Christ His Son my God and my Father. How does that work? As we think about this, I think it is most helpful to think about what Christ has accomplished for us and to think about what the alternative to this statement would be. First, the Bible tells us that Christ has died for us and takes away our sin. We also know that He gives us His righteousness. That means we bear no punishment from the Lord for the sins we have committed. This is big news. This means that all of the promises of God for His people including that they would be called His children are secured for us through Christ.
Now for the sake of argument, lets think of a scenario wherein a person believes in Christ and their sins are forgiven. This means that the righteousness of Christ has been added to them. It means that when the Father looks down upon them, He sees the perfection of Christ. Let’s just pretend for a moment that such a person did not receive any of the promises of God. Let’s pretend for just a moment that this person whom Christ made righteous was not permitted in heaven but forced to spend eternity in hell. What would such a situation mean? It would mean that the Father has wasted the blood of Jesus. It means that the Father has looked upon the work of the Son as meaningless. Well, praise be to God that these are things the Father does not do. It is for this reason that the catechism says, “For the sake of Christ…”
There is another implication for us as we reflect upon this. It is again a reminder that we do not make our own way to heaven. Christ Jesus makes it for us. There is nothing we can say or do to make ourselves righteous or pleasing to God. When you have those moments where you think sure I believe in Jesus but how can I be sure that is enough, remember what the Bible says. The Bible says that the Lord Jesus died for you and has made you righteous. Remember also that the Father will not waste the blood of His Son. In the light of that knowledge, rejoice. Let us pray!