May 15, 2008

What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

Posted in Christian life, Gospel, Jesus Christ, Reformed Theology, Sin at 10:56 am by Dan Lowe

Yesterday I reflected on the first question from the Heidelberg Catechism… today I will reflect on Question # 2 (along with support from Questions # 3-5)…

Question 2

Question: What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

Answer:  First, how great my sins and misery are; [1] second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery; [2] third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance. [3]

[1] Rom_3:9-10; 1Jo_1:10.

[2] Joh_17:3; Act_4:12; Act_10:43.

[3] Mat_5:16; Rom_6:13; Eph_5:8-10; 1Pe_2:9-10.

 

There are three things necessary to fully appreciate the comfort which we have in Jesus Christ. 

1)      We must understand how great our sins are. 

We are so prone to think of ourselves as basically good.  But this is not the biblical evaluation of humanity.  We are sinful…

Genesis 6:5 (ESV) – 5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV) – 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Romans 3:9-11 (ESV) – 9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.

Not only do we commit wicked acts… we also fail to commit righteous acts.  We fail to do that which God has commanded of us.  Jesus summarized God’s expectations for all mankind in Matthew 22:37-40 (see Question # 4 of the catechism):

Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV) – 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Until we know and remember how far we fall short of the glory of God… we cannot fully appreciate the comfort which is ours in Christ Jesus.  In fact, until we know this, we will never even begin to seek our comfort in Christ Jesus, because we will see no need of a Savior.

From where do we learn the extent of our sins? (This is Question # 3 of the catechism.)  We learn of our sinfulness from the Law of God.

Romans 3:20 (ESV) – 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

If we meditate on the Law of God and prayerfully examine ourselves in the light of it, then it won’t be long until we see the depravity of our own hearts and lives.

We cannot be “saved” until we realize our danger.   We cannot be “found” until we are “lost.”

2)      We must know how we are delivered from our sins.

We cannot save ourselves.  There is nothing good in us (Rom 7:18.)  Salvation from sin and its consequences is a gracious gift of God (Eph 2:8-9) and this salvation comes through one Source alone… through Jesus Christ.  There is only one Mediator between God and man and that is Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all His people (I Tim 2:5-6.)  Deliverance from our sinful state and the consequences of sin is to be found in Jesus Christ alone.

Acts 4:12 (ESV) – 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

John 14:6 (ESV) – 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If only we would remind ourselves of this more often.  We are so prone to think far too highly of ourselves.  Our salvation is wholly the work of Jesus Christ.

3)      We are live lives expressing our gratitude to God for this great salvation which He has provided for us.

The knowledge of our true, natural state and the salvation which God has provided for us should do more than simply stimulate our thinking.  It should stimulate our hearts to love and good deeds.  It should affect us deeply and eternally.

1 Peter 2:9-12 (ESV) – 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

God has saved us for the glory of His grace (Eph 1:6, 12, 14.)  Our lives should reflect the work which God has done in us and we should shine brightly as God’s workmanship so that the world may glorify Him (Eph 2:10, Matt 5:16, Eph 5:8-10.)

This is the purpose behind our salvation… the glory of God!  In order to fully appreciate the comfort which is ours in Christ Jesus, we must be striving to fulfill the purpose behind our salvation… that God Himself might be honored and praised for the work which He has done in us.

 

“…To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  (Revelation 1:5b-6 (ESV))

 

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