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 25
Question 65: It is through faith alone
that we share in Christ and all his benefits:
where then does that faith come from?
Answer: The Holy Spirit produces it in our hearts 1
by the preaching of the holy gospel,2
and confirms it
by the use of the holy sacraments.3
1. John 3:5; 1 Cor. 2:10-14; Eph. 2:8
2. Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23-25
3. Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 10:16
Question 66: What are sacraments?
Answer: Sacraments are visible, holy signs and seals.
They were instituted by God so that
by our use of them
he might make us understand more clearly
the promise of the gospel,
and seal that promise.1
And this is God’s gospel promise:
to grant us forgiveness of sins and eternal life
because of Christ’s one sacrifice
accomplished on the cross.2
1. Gen. 17:11; Deut. 30:6; Rom. 4:11
2. Matt. 26:27-28; Acts 2:38; Heb. 10:10
Question 67: Are both the word and the sacraments then
intended to focus our faith
on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross
as the only ground of our salvation?
In the gospel the Holy Spirit teaches us
and by the holy sacraments confirms
that our entire salvation
rests on Christ’s one sacrifice for us on the cross.1
1. Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 11:26; Gal. 3:27
Question 68: How many sacraments
did Christ institute in the New Testament?
Answer: Two: holy baptism and the holy supper.1
1. Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26
Where does faith come from? Wow, now there’s a question! If you normally don’t take the extra time to look up the verses listed, this would be an excellent time to start. Faith is introduced by the preaching of the word, but it is produced by the Holy Spirit. It is not something we generate ourselves. And the Lord has provided two ways to publicly confess this faith, baptism and communion. Over the next couple of Lord’s Days, we will dive into the two sacraments. We must remember that there is no salvation found in them, but they were nevertheless instituted by Jesus. The sacraments are signs given to us to focus our faith and help us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel, that salvation is only found in Christ.
His body was broken and his blood was spilled for our sins (communion).
He washes away our sin and raises us up to new life (baptism).
“Any of you who have been Christians for any period of time, or have been around the church for any period of time are aware of the significance that the church attaches to two particular rites: one is baptism and the other is the Lord’s Table, or Communion. The reason we attach so much significance to these are that these things are two that the Lord has told us to do Himself. They are commanded ordinances of the church. Both of them were commanded and instituted and the example was set by our Lord Jesus Christ.” John MacArthur