Thursday, October 11, 2007

A comfort in confession

Strength from the Heidelberg Catechism

Q. What is your only comfort, in life and in death?

A. That I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of His own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that He protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that everything must fit His purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.

Q. How many things must you know that you may live and die in the blessedness of this comfort?

A. Three. First, the greatness of my sin and wretchedness. Second, how I am freed from all my sins and their wretched consequences. Third, what gratitude I owe to God for such redemption.

Q. What do you believe when you say: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A. 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.

Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?

A. The almighty and ever-present power of God whereby He still upholds, as it were by His own hand, heaven and earth together with all creatures, and rules in such a way that leaves and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and unfruitful years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, and everything else, come to us not by chance but by His fatherly hand.

Q. What advantage comes from acknowledging God’s creation and providence?

A. We learn that we are to be patient in adversity, grateful in the midst of blessing, and to trust our faithful God and Father for the future, assured that no creature shall separate us from His love, since all creatures are so completely in His hand that without His will they cannot even move.

Q. Why is He called CHRIST, that is, the ANOINTED ONE?

A. Because He is ordained by God the Father and anointed with the Holy Spirit to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, fully revealing to us the secret purpose and will of God concerning our redemption; to be our only High Priest, having redeemed us by the one sacrifice of His body and ever interceding for us with the Father; and to be our eternal King, governing us by His Word and Spirit, and defending and sustaining us in the redemption He has won for us.

Q. But why are you called a Christian?

A. Because through faith I share in Christ and thus in His anointing, so that I may confess His name, offer myself a living sacrifice of gratitude to Him, and fight against sin and the devil with a free and good conscience throughout this life and hereafter rule with Him in eternity over all creatures.

Q. Why do you call Him OUR LORD?

A. Because, not with gold or silver but at the cost of His blood, He has redeemed us body and soul from sin and all the dominion of the devil, and has bought us for His very own!



AP said...

Ahh, that is rich and deep - like a river flowing ever onward into eternity. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Loy said...

Indeed, AP! A river flowing into eternity, faithfully bearing us on its current...