Articles

The Essence of Reformed Christianity

Taken from the Heidelberg Catechism
Liberation Theology has corrupted our understanding of Biblical Truth. In addition, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, under the leadership of Liberation Theologians, has falsely declared that there are no less than 5 different kinds of truth: factual truth; personal or narrative truth, social or dialogue truth; healing and restorative truth, and the truth of wounded memories. But Truth is One. Jesus Christ is Truth, and our Faith stands on Him.

The Heidelberg Catechism asks:
1. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I am not my own but belong - body and soul, in life and in death- to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven. In fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
1 Cor. 6:19-20, Rom. 14:7-9; 1 Cor. 3:23; Titus 2:14; Rom. 14:7-9; John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11. John 6:39-40 &
10:27-30; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5; Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18; Rom.8:28; Rom. 8:15-16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22 & 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14;
Rom. 8:1-17.


2. What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
Three things: first, how great my sin and misery are; second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.
Rom. 3:9-10; 1 John 1:10; John 17:3; Acts 4:12 & 10:43; Matt. 5:16; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 5:8-10; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:9-10.


Part I: HUMAN MISERY.
3. How do you come to know your misery?
The law of God tells me. - Rom. 3:20 & 7:7-25.


4. What does God's law require of us?
Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22 - "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." - Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18.


5. Can you live up to all this perfectly?
No. I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbour.
Rom. 3:9-20; 1 John 1:8, 10; Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7:23-24 & 8:7; Eph. 2:1-3; Titus 3:3.


6. Did God create people so wicked and perverse?
No. God created them good and in his own image, that is in true righteousness and holiness, so that they might truly know God their creator, love him with all their heart, and live with him in eternal happiness for his praise and glory. - Gen. 1:31; Gen. 1:26-27; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Ps. 8.


7. Then were does this corrupt human nature come from?
From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise. This fall has so poisoned our nature that we are born sinners - corrupt from conception on.
Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12 & 18-19; Ps. 51:5.


8. But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil?
Yes, unless we are born again, by the Spirit of God. - Gen. 6:5 & 8:21; Job 14:4; Isa. 53:6; John 3:3-5.


9. But doesn't God do us an injustice by requiring in his law what we are unable to do?
No, God created humans with the ability to keep the law. They, however, tempted by the devil, in reckless disobedience robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.
Gen. 1:31; Eph. 4:24; Gen. 3:13; John 8:44; Gen. 3:6; Rom. 5:12, 18 & 19.

10. Will God permit such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?
Certainly not. He is terribly angry abour the sin we are born with as well as the sins we personally commit. As a just judge he punishes them now and in eternity. He has declared: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."
Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27; Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26.


11. But isn't God also merciful?
God is certainly merciful, but he is also just. His justice demands that sin, committed against his supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty - eternal punishment of body and soul.
Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-9; Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30-31; Matt. 25:35-46.


Part II: DELIVERANCE
12. According to God's righteous judgment we deserve punishment both in this world and forever after; how then can we escape this punishment and return to God's favour?
God requires that his justice be satisfied. Therefore the claims of his justice must be paid in full, either by ourselves or another. - Ex. 23:7; Rom. 2:1-11; Isa. 53:11; Rom. 8:3-4.


13. Can we pay this debt ourselves?
Certainly not. Actually, we increase our guilt every day.
Matt. 6:12; Rom. 2:4-5.


14. Can another creature - any at all - pay this debt for us?
No. To begin with, God will not punish another creature for what a human is guilty of. Besides, no mere creature can bear the weight of God's eternal anger against sin and release others from it.
Ezek. 18:4 & 20; Heb. 2:14-18; Ps. 49:7-9 & 130:3.


15. What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?
One who is truly human and truly righteous, yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God. - Rom. 1:3; 1 Cor. 15-21; Heb. 2:17; Isa. 53:9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26; Isa. 7:14 & 9:6; Jer. 23:6; John 1:1.


16. Why must he be truly human and truly righteous?
God's justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for its sin; but a sinner could never pay for others. - Rom. 5:12 & 15; 1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:14-16; Heb. 7:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:18.


17. Why must he also be true God?
So that, by the power of his divinity, he might bear the weight of God's anger in his humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life. - Isa. 53; John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:21.


18. And who is this mediator - true God and at the same time truly human and truly righteous?
Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was given us to set us completely free and to make us right with God.
Matt. 1:21-23; Luke 2:11; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Cor. 1:30.


19. How do you come to know this?
The holy gospel tells me. God himself began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise; later, he proclaimed it by the holy patriarchs and prophets, and portrayed it by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; finally, he fulfilled it through his own dear Son.
Gen. 3:15; Gen. 22:18 & 44:10; Isa. 53; Jer. 23:5-6; Mic. 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Heb. 1:1-2; Lev. 1-7; John 5:46; Heb. 10:1-10; Rom. 10:4; Gal. 4:4-5; Col. 2:17.


20. Are all saved through Christ just as all were lost through Adam?
No. Only those are saved who by true faith are grafted into Christ and accept all his blessings.
Matt. 7:14; John 3:16, 18 & 36; Rom. 11:16-21.


21. What is true faith?
True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in his Word is true; it is also a deep-rooted assurance, created in me by the Holy Spirit through the gospel, that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too, have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation.
John 17:3 & 17; Heb. 11:1-3; James 2:19; Rom. 4:18-21 & 5:1 & 10:10; Heb. 4:14-16; Matt. 16:15-17; John 3:5; Acts 16:14; Rom 1:16 & 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:10.


 



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