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A Critical Question

HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 2

How do you come to know your misery?

The law of God tells me

What does the law of God require of us?

Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22:37-40 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.

Can you live up to tall this perfectly?

No. I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.

A Critical Question

Wednesday, January 11: 2 Samuel 12

The Heidelberg asks a critical question: “Can I live up to all this perfectly?” “All this” refers to God’s law (Exodus 20:1-17, Matthew 22:37-40, Galatians 5:22-23). It assumes we do not and because of sin cannot live up to God’s standards. Still, we intuitively push back. We quickly and easily see the failures of others. We are not, however, inclined to see them in ourselves. That’s what makes the question so critical. Just when we are feeling good about our own moral or spiritual disposition, God’s law serves as the mirror to tell a more honest story. What is that story? In our failure to love Him we are invited to surrender to His love for us. We are invited to live by grace! Consider the prophet Nathan’s reproach of King David. He tells the story of a rich man who stole a beloved ewe lamb from a poor man to prepare a meal for a traveler. David “burned” over this rich man’s cold-hearted sin while he, the King of Israel, himself abused his authority by plotting Uriah’s death after committing adultery with his wife. Nathan essentially asks David: “What should be done?” The King responds that a penalty must be paid. It was, after all, a cruel and heartless act. Nathan cuts to the chase: “You are the man” (2 Samuel 12:1-9). Can I live up to God’s law perfectly? Am I morally and spiritually superior to those around me? We know the answer. It doesn’t matter how we ask the question, how we spin the story, or how much self-pity we create, the answer is always the same: “No.” Because we are more sinful than we ever dared to imagine. Jesus, however is the true and better David. His obedience replaces our disobedience. He became sin to set us free from sin. His love set us free from hate. When we turn to Jesus in honest confession of sin, then we discover we are more loved than we ever dared to believe! The Heidelberg’s question points to God’s good news. He desires His grace in Christ to intersect with and disrupt our sin. Will you accept the invitation to daily confess sin?

Pastor Cal Hoogendoorn