Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Heidelberg Catechism - Lord's Day 21

I grew up in the Methodist Church, and this is where I learned the Apostle's Creed. But, I never understood why we talked about the "holy catholic Church". It wasn't until much later in life that I came to understand that this was not talking about the Roman Catholic Church, but it was just talking about the whole entire church of believers. Sometimes refered to as the invisible church. And when Jesus was praying for us in John 17 that we might be One as He and the Father are One. He said it and it was so. We as believers all around the world are all one, no matter how many denominations and peculiarities there may be. We are Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I also like to imagine that when it is time to take communion that I am taking it simultaneously with someone around the world and I think about being united with them through Christ. Maybe I'm spiritualizing, but I think that I'm really just realizing the connection and the humble feeling that I'm not alone and we are not divided by Nation, Race, or any other status. We are just wretches saved by grace. Praise and Honor are due to God that He would, before the foundations of the world, choose to save anyone. To be part of the adopted family of God, it gives new meaning to being able to approach God and call Him Father. We are a family.

"The forgiveness of Sins" section reminds me of what Luther called the "Great Exchange". Jesus on the cross took our sins upon himself to not just be an atonement, but to also be a "propitiation" (turning away the wrath of God). Also, Christ's Righteousness is imputed to us. So basically, Jesus (on the cross) is treated as if He lived the life that we lived. And we get treated as if we lived the life the Jesus lived. Thus, the Great Exchange has taken place. And Jesus said, "It is finished". No more sacrifices by priests in the temple. Jesus is our High Priest and He sits down at the right hand of the Father. He sits down, because there are no more sacrifices, and He rules and reigns over His kingdom.

I pray that we as a church continue to anticipate His Return and the Glory that we will one day all together enjoy forever. Remember.... He is coming!!!

Chris Allen
Coram Deo!!!

Lord’s Day 21

54. What do you believe concerning the “holy catholic Church?”
That out of the whole human race,[1] from the beginning to the end of the world,[2] the Son of God,[3] by His Spirit and Word,[4] gathers, defends, and preserves for Himself[5] unto everlasting life a chosen communion[6] in the unity of the true faith;[7] and that I am and forever shall remain a living member of this communion.[8]
[1] Gen 26:4; Rev 5:9; [2] Isa 59:21; Jn 10:10; 1 Cor 11:26; [3] Jn 10:11; Acts 20:28; Eph 1:10-13, 4:11-13; Col 1:18; [4] Isa 59:21; Rom 1:16, 10:14-17; Eph 5:26; [5] Ps 129:1-5; Mt 16:18; Jn 10:28-30; [6] Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:3-14, 4:3-6; [7] Ps 71:18; Jn 10:28-30; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Cor 1:8-9, 11:26; [8] Ps 23:6; Jn 10:27-28; 1 Cor 1:4-9; Gal 3:28; 1 Pt 1:3-5; 1 Jn 2:19, 3:14, 19-21

55. What do you understand by the “communion of saints?”
First, that believers, one and all, as members of the Lord Jesus Christ, are partakers with Him in all His treasures and gifts;[1] second, that each one must feel himself bound to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the advantage and welfare of other members.[2]
[1] Rom 8:32; 1 Cor 6:17, 12:4-7, 12-13; 1 Jn 1:3; [2] Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:12-13, 20-27, 13:1-7; Php 2:4-8; Heb 3:14

56. What do you believe concerning the “forgiveness of sins?”
That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction,[1] will no more remember my sins, nor the sinful nature with which I have to struggle all my life long;[2] but graciously imputes to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may nevermore come into condemnation.[3]
[1] 1 Jn 2:2; [2] Ps 103:3, 10-12; Jer 31:34; Mic 7:18-19; Rom 7:21-25, 8:1-4; 2 Cor 5:18-21; 1 Jn 1:7, 2:2; [3] Jn 3:17-18, 5:24; Rom 4:7-8, 7:18, 8:1-2; Eph 1:7

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