Every Sunday, we will be going through one of the fifty-two Lord’s Days of the Heidelberg Catechism. Written in the year 1563, the Heidelberg still remains a popular confession of faith in many churches to this day. You can find the full text here.
Lord’s Day Five
Question 12: Since, according to God’s righteous judgment we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, how can we escape this punishment and be again received into favor?
Answer: God demands that his justice be satisfied. 1
Therefore we must make full payment,
either by ourselves or through another. 2
1.Ex 20:5; 23:7; Rom 2:1-11.
2.Is 53:11; Rom 8:3, 4.
Question 13: Can we by ourselves make this payment?
Answer: Certainly not. On the contrary, we daily increase our debt. 1
1.Ps 130:3; Mt 6:12; Rom 2:4, 5.
Question 14: Can any mere creature pay for us?
In the first place,
God will not punish another creature
for the sin which man has committed. 1
no mere creature can sustain
the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin and deliver others from it. 2
1.Ezek 18:4, 20; Heb 2:14-18.
2.Ps 130:3; Nahum 1:6.
Question 15: What kind of mediator and deliverer must we seek?
Answer: One who is a true 1
and righteous 2
and yet more powerful than all creatures;
that is, one who is at the same time true God. 3
1.1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:17.
2.Is 53:9; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26.
3.Is 7:14; 9:6; Jer 23:6; Jn 1:1; Rom 8:3, 4.
The first part of the Heidelberg is made of the first four Lord’s Days, with the focus being on our sin and misery. Once we are aware of the depths of our wickedness and just how serious the just and holy God takes sin, we realize that we are in a very dangerous position. At this point, we do what any person would do in a dangerous, life threatening situation…Look for a way out. Part two of the Heidelberg focuses on just that…Our deliverance. But we are quickly reminded that we aren’t going to get ourselves out of this mess, and not just anyone can help. What kind of mediator and deliverer must we seek? Someone very special is needed. We need a man who is truly righteous, yet someone who is more than a man, because who could sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath except for God?…
We need the God-man.
We need the hypostatic union.
We need Jesus.
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” 1 Timothy 2:5-6