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| The Heidelberg Catechism|
Part 2-Deliverance: The Lord’s Day 6
The Lord’s Day 6 is the second chapter into part 2 which is titled “deliverance”. In the previous chapter questions 12-15 taught us to the that we are unable to redeem ourselves. Prior to Christ there was no possible way that man could satisfy God completely, not even with the sacrifice of animals. This is because animals were not made in the likeness of God. God had sent His only Begotten Son to come in the flesh in order to serve as an appropriate atonement. Man can never follow the 10 Commandments as Christ did because Jesus was fully man and God all in the same sense.
Question 16: Why must He be a true and righteous man?
Answer: Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should make satisfaction for sin, and because one who himself is a sinner cannot satisfy for others.
Question 17: Why must He withal be true God?
Answer: That by the power of His Godhead He might bear in His human nature the burden of God’s wrath; and that He might obtain for us, and restore to us, righteousness and life.
Question 18: But who is that Mediator who is at once true God and true, righteous man?
Answer: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.
Question 19: Whence do you know this?
Answer: From the holy gospel, which God Himself first revealed in Paradise; afterwards published by the holy patriarchs and prophets, and foreshadowed by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; and lastly fulfilled by His only begotten Son.
It is clear that Christ is the perfect atonement because He is of both human and divine nature. G.I. Williamson writes that Christ “as one person who has two natures—is really the central teaching of both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures.” Going all the way back to Genesis we can read about the coming of Christ. When God addressed Satan after the fall of Adam and Eve He said: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). This statement was alluding to the coming of Christ. As Williamson writes “the ‘seed’ that God had in mind would be one person—a male person—who would be mighty enough to inflict a greater wound on Satan than Satan could inflict on him.” In order for Satan to be greatly wounded it would have to be from a divine entity, God Himself. Even though Satan would bruise the heel of Christ, the blow that Satan receives will prove to be the sign of defeat.
Two other examples we see coming from the Old Testament are in 2 Samuel and the psalms of King David. In 2 Samuel 7:12-13 God tells David “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” In Psalm 110:1 David writes “The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’”.
Normally the ancestor gives honor to the one they descended from. In this case David is honoring his descendant because he is speaking of Christ when he says “The LORD said to my Lord”. In Matthew 22:45 Jesus asked the Pharisees “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” Genetically Jesus is a descendant of David, but Christ is far more superior because He is of a divine nature, which explains why David would refer to his offspring as “Lord”.
Sacrificial atonement has been significant since the beginning; in Genesis 3:21 we read how God had made tunics out of the skins of animals to clothe Adam and Eve. Genesis 4:3-5 also shows the need for a blood sacrifice it reads: “In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.”
Hebrews 11:4 helps us understand this situation better it reads: “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain”. That was because Cain’s sacrifice was bloodless, Hebrews 9:22 says: “without shedding of blood there is no remission [i.e., forgiveness]” Animal sacrifice was indeed accepted by God, but in order for His children to be redeemed there was a need for a substantial sacrifice, one that could save all. Hebrews 10:10 tells us that “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Christ was sent for the purpose of fulfilling prophecy. He serves as the perfect mediator between God and man because Christ is both, without this belief we can never be considered as a delivered Christian. This is why we must take God’s word seriously; catechism breaks the word down to us so that we can get a deeper understanding of the bible. Let us continue to grow so we can not only understand, but truly listen and follow.
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