HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 33
What is involved in genuine repentance or conversion?
Two things: the dying-away of the old self, and the coming-to-life of the new.
What is the dying-away of the old self?
It is to be genuinely sorry for sin, to hate it more and more, and to run away from it
What is the coming-to-life of the new self?
It is wholehearted joy in God through Christ and a delight to do every kind of good as God wants us to.
What do we do that is good?
Only that which arises out of true faith, conforms to God’s law, and is done for his glory; and not that which is based on what we think is right or on established human tradition.
Sunday, July 16: Romans 6:1-14
Conversion is the term used to describe a change in direction. For Christians, the term is used both as a declaration of a new relationship and as a description of a new lifestyle. The Bible declares that conversion is a divine act of the Father to give new life through His Son and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We were dead, but have been made alive (Ephesians 2:1-10, Titus 3:3-7). The Bible also describes conversion as a human act of turning away from sin and turning to the Lord in repentance and faith (Ezekiel 33:11, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9, 2 Corinthians 5:20). In both cases, the emphasis remains on God’s sovereign grace. The Bible teaches that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6) and that “no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). I’m sure it is interesting to theologically probe the relationship between divine and human roles in conversion. Lord’s Day 33, however, avoids the question. Instead, it places emphasis on the life-long process of growth in Christ-like holiness, “the dying to the old-self” and the “coming-to-life of the new self.” Andrew Kuyvenhoven quotes the first of Martin Luther’s 95 theses that sparked the Reformation: “Our Master Jesus Christ, in saying ‘Repent ye, etc.,’ means the whole life of the faithful to be an act of repentance.” He himself then states: “Wherever biblical teaching has been restored, Christians know that change is a daily order and that conversion is not finished until we are completely new, inside and outside” (Comfort and Joy, 95). As converted children of the Father we are to live this life of daily conversion: “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). Is this true for you?
Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn