Devotional Word for Friday, January 15, 2021
For the last month and a half we have been looking at various aspects of the Lord Jesus described in the Apostles’ Creed through the lens of the Heidelberg Catechism. Today, we are going to move on not only to the next question but to a different topic. Today as we look at question and answer 53, we will be looking at the Holy Spirit. Here is something I find interesting. In the Heidelberg Catechism there are three questions devoted to God the Father in the creed, there are more than 20 questions pertaining to God the Son, but there is only one question (the one we will look at today) that focuses on God the Spirit.
Here is question 53. It asks, “What do you believe concerning “the Holy Spirit”?” The answer responds, “First, that with the Father and the Son, He is equally eternal God; second, that God’s Spirit is also given to me, preparing me through a true faith to share in Christ and all His benefits, that He comforts me and will abide with me forever.” The Holy Spirit is eternal God. If He were not so we would not believe in the Trinity but in a bi-unity. The Scriptures show the divinity of the Holy Spirit in many places. One of my favorites is in the baptism formula given in the Great Commission. There Jesus instructs His followers to make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You might say, “Well, it doesn’t say that the Spirit is divine there.” My response would be to draw your attention to the parallelism between Father, Son, and Spirit. The members of the Trinity are listed in this manner because they are all God. Think of the alternative. We all know intuitively that we should not baptize someone in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Church. We know this because one of those things does not belong. The Church is not divine. The catechism following the Scriptures helps us see that the Holy Spirit is divine.
I would like to take a moment and discuss why there is only one question devoted to the Spirit. It has to do with the Spirit’s role in our redemption. Look at the answer. It says that the Spirit is “preparing me through a true faith to share in Christ and all His benefits.” Remember what true faith is. “It is not only a certain knowledge by which I accept as true all that God has revealed to us in His Word, but also a wholehearted trust which the Holy Spirit creates in me through the gospel, that, not only to others, but to me also God has given the forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation, out of sheer grace solely for the sake of Christ’s saving work.” (That is the answer to question 21.) based on these two answers. We see that the Holy Spirit is at work within the hearts of individuals revealing the person and work of the Lord Jesus. For this reason, when we look at the work of the Spirit in the Scriptures, we find that the Spirit directs our gaze to the Lord Jesus our Redeemer and Lord. In this way, through the Spirit, we are comforted by all that Jesus is and all that Jesus does. There may only be one question that focuses on the Holy Spirit in the Heidelberg Catechism, but do not be fooled. God the Spirit is at work in the redeeming of His people now and forever. Amen.