Heidelberg Catechism Q 15

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Devotional Word for Friday, October 2, 2020

Earlier in the week we looked at the wrath of God as judgment for sin and that it will either fall on us or another.  We cannot stand the wrath of God to fall upon us, so if we are to experience any blessedness in this life or in the next, it must fall upon another.  Animals or other people are obvious choices but have their difficulties.  Heidelberg Catechism question 15 asks who believers should seek to bear the wrath of God.  It says, “Then what kind of mediator and redeemer must we seek?”  This person is a mediator because He goes between God and man.  This person is a redeemer because in order for Him to be successful in bearing the wrath of God, He must take away our sin and its guilt. Therefore, we who were lost are now righteous.

In order to escape the wrath of God we need a special mediator and redeemer.  The answer to the question gives us a wonderful description of the quality of this person.  It says, “One who is a true and righteous man and yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is at the same time true God.”   This is quite a statement and it needs to be carefully thought through.  First we note that our mediator and redeemer must be true man and true God.  That is not a concept we normally try to wrap our heads around.  Please note that does not mean that the mediator was 50% man and 50% God.  If he were 50/50 God and man, He would be neither God nor man and would not be able to serve as a mediator and redeemer.  We ought not think that the redeemer is 100% God and 100% man because that would mean that He was something else entirely beyond God and man.  Rather, we say that He is true God.  He is the Son of God who is eternally begotten of the Father and of the same essence of the Father.  We believe that our savior was also truly man with all of the characteristics and frailties of man, but He did not sin.  Just to be clear, The Bible presents Jesus of Nazareth as our truly God and truly man, mediator and redeemer.

If the Lord Jesus were not God, He would not have the power to forgive sinners.  If the Lord Jesus were not truly man, He would not be able to act as a substitute for sinful man.  Gregory of Nazianzus was an early church father and he recorded this reality by saying that what Christ had not assumed (meaning with regard to man), He could not redeem.  The Scriptures also make clear that only God is able to forgive sin.  As we wrestle with the Biblical witness of who Jesus has been revealed to be, we are left with the conclusion that He was truly man and truly God.  

We might well be tempted to think that this has no real importance in our daily lives.  We need to remember that the wrath of God will be poured out in judgment for sin.  It will either fall on individual sinners or upon another.  Our hope for now and forever rests on the other.  It rests upon the one who removes our sin and makes us free.  Therefore, it is important for Christians to wrestle with the realities of the Lord Jesus because He is the other who takes the wrath of God and gives to us His righteousness.  Thanks be to God that we might turn to Him and be forgiven.  Let us pray.