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| The Heidelberg Catechism|
Part 2-Deliverance: The Lord’s Day 5
By: G.I. Williamson
This week’s chapter leads us into part 2 of catechism, which focuses on deliverance. Questions 12-85 will teach how God delivers His chosen from “sin and misery”. Part 1 describes our desperate state and how God’s merciful act of sending Christ allows us to redeem salvation through faith. We should realize that in fairness all of humanity deserves condemnation. Belief in Christ allows God’s chosen to have the blessings salvation. As for those who have not been chosen judgment will be rightfully executed because God hates sin.
Question 12: Since, then, by the righteous judgment of God we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, is there no way by which we may escape that punishment and be again received into favor?
Answer: God will have His justice satisfied; therefore we must make full satisfaction to the same, either by ourselves, or by another
Question 13: But can we ourselves make this satisfaction?
Answer: By no means; on the contrary, we daily increase our dept.
Question 14: Can there be found anywhere a mere creature able to satisfy for us?
Answer: None; for, first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man has committed; and, further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin, and deliver others from it.
Question 15: What manner of mediator and deliverer, then, must we seek?
Answer: One who is a true and righteous man, and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is withal true God.
Normally when God is spoken of, we tend to speak on His goodness and mercy. Some may say “God is love” or “God is forgiving”; though it may be true these are only two aspects. We must remember that we serve a “jealous” God, who is omnipotent, omnipresent and will rightfully execute justice on the Day of Judgment. We cannot forget God’s hatred for sin and assume that He’ll forgive and forget. By believing this we are then creating a false idol and as God proclaimed “I will not justify the wicked” (Ex. 23:7). As the author writes: “The truth is that not one single sin—not even one we might call ‘a very little one’—will be remitted without full payment.”
Sin must be compensated for; those who believe no longer have to pay because Christ had died for us. As for the non-believers, their punishment awaits for they are still in debt. All throughout Matthew Jesus speaks of the eternal suffering some men will face. Christ, who was sin free, died for our sake so that we wouldn’t have to suffer. For those who don’t whole heartily believe, their ignorance will lead them into eternal damnation. Romans 8:32 shows how God “did not spare His own Son” and this was all for our sake as believers. To think that unbelievers will be saved is a foolish thought. Williamson writes: “If even the sins of believers had to be punished in Jesus, then it is a vain thing to imagine that unbelievers will escape.”
Sinning against an infinite God deserves an infinite punishment. In the Old Testament we read how bulls and goats were sacrificed for atonement. Hebrews 10:4 reminds us that “the blood of bulls and goats” can never take away our sins. The reason is because animal’s blood can never equate to man’s nature or value. Human’s are the only creature’s that are made in God’s image. Jesus Christ can be the one and only man that can redeem us. This is because we need a savior that is both divine and human.
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