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Heidelberg #1

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Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?
Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.
So what brings us comfort in both life and death is:
The work of Christ on the cross and by His resurrection.
That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil.
The governance of our heavenly Father.
He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.
Vonk, C. (2013). Living and Dying in Joy: A Devotional Guide to the Heidelberg Catechism. (J. J. Ballor, Ed., N. D. Kloosterman, Trans.) (p. 2). Grand Rapids, MI: Christian’s Library Press; Paideia Press.
And the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
So let’s look at the work of Christ this morning with three main words.
First word is “paid”.
What’s my only comfort? That Jesus paid for my sins in His own lives blood!
In this manner I have been reconciled with God and can be comforted by Him. (turn to ).
Here in the first 11 verses we see the themes of peace and hope that come from the work of Christ.
Because we’ve been justified by faith we enjoy the
benefit of peace with God (reconciliation) in the present (v1,11) and
have a secure hope that, despite the trials we face in this life (vv3-4),
God’s love and His work for us in Christ and the Spirit will save us from God’s wrath on the day of judgment (vv5-10) and
bring us to glory (v2).
So what do we read in v1? Peace with God. God has removed the hostility between Himself and believers because Christ has borne the wrath of God against their sins (3:25).
The enmity that characterizes the relationship between God and his sinful, rebellious creatures is ended for those who are justified by faith (vv. 10–11; ; ).
Then we have “freed”.
Moo, D. J. (2015). The Letters and Revelation. In D. A. Carson (Ed.), NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (p. 2300). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Christ freed us from the dominion of the devil. (Let’s turn to ).
The passage from vv5-18 speak about Jesus and the destiny of mankind.
But I want to draw your attention to v14 "Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the devil—” ()
It says that Jesus shared in having flesh and blood.
Why was this needed? Man sinned, so man has to make atonement for sin, right?
Jesus entered into our physical, earthly existence (flesh and blood) to provide deliverance for us “through His death” (see also v9).
We were held under the power of satan, subdued by him through our sin and ruled over us.
But Jesus’ death provided deliverance for us. He freed us (Col. 2:15)!
15 "and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.” ()
When Christ subdued Satan, it was an act of deliverance for Christ’s children.
You know these familiar verses: 34 "Jesus responded, “Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 "A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. 36 "So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.” ()
True freedom only is possible is Jesus grants it and when we’re freed, we’re freed now with the desire and ability to serve God rather than sin!
Christ alone has been sent by God to rescue people from their slavery to sin and make them children of God.
Listen to this: 8 "The one who commits sin is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works.” ()
The devil seeks to turn people aside from doing God’s will, causing them to sin, so that he may accuse them before God and demand judgment upon them.
By his death Jesus atoned for human sin, thus removing the basis of the devil’s accusation and so destroying his work.
Christ came to destroy sin. He is the seed of Eve () who conquered the devil (; ).
The last word is that Christ preserves or protects us so that, without the will of the Father, nothing will happen to us.
Moo, D. J. (2015). The Letters and Revelation. In D. A. Carson (Ed.), NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (p. 2566). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.Christ came to destroy sin. He is the seed of Eve () who conquered the devil (; ).
This also brings such comfort to the soul. The Trinitarian God preserves our reconciliation (paid sin debt) and our freedom.
De Bruyn, P. J. (1997). Your only comfort: The Heidelberg catechism for mankind today. Potchefstroom: PU vir CHO.
He preserves us because His Son that He loves died and purchased those benefits for us.
So we are His property and He watches over His own. Let’s turn to .
27 "My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. 28 "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 "My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” ()
My sheep … follow me. The defining mark of those for whom Christ died is their faith and obedience to His Word.
He died for them, and they in turn live for Him (; ).
hear my voice. The power of Christ operates through the Word of Christ to produce life (5:24–25).
v28 Jesus powerfully keeps his sheep from harm (e.g., vv. 1, 8, 11).
my hand. An expression for Christ’s power, which preserves believers so that they in turn will persevere (6:39; ).
Their security rests with the good shepherd, who faithfully fulfills his mission to preserve everyone the Father has given to him (6:37–40).
Carson, D. A. (2015). The Gospels and Acts. In D. A. Carson (Ed.), NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (p. 2174). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Beeke, J. R., Barrett, M. P. V., & Bilkes, G. M. (Eds.). (2014). The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible (p. 1530). Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books.
Their security rests with the good shepherd, who faithfully fulfills his mission to preserve everyone the Father has given to him (6:37–40).
v29 greater than all. Therefore, no force or person can sever the relation between the true believer and Jesus. There can be no greater security ().
Beeke, J. R., Barrett, M. P. V., & Bilkes, G. M. (Eds.). (2014). The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible (p. 1530). Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books.
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