Grace Filled Desire
HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 24
Why can’t the good we do make us right with God, or at least help make us right with him?
Because the righteousness which can pass God’s scrutiny must be entirely perfect and must in every way measure up to the divine law. Even the very best we do in this life is imperfect and stained with sin.
How can you say that the good we do doesn’t earn anything when God promises to reward it in this life and the next?
This reward is not earned; it is a gift of grace.
But doesn’t this teaching make people indifferent and wicked?
No. It is impossible for those grafted into Christ by true faith not produce fruits of gratitude.
Grace Filled Desire
Thursday, June 8: Philippians 3:12-16
We are not saved by our good works, but we are saved to do good works. In fact, the Catechism teaches that “it is impossible for those grafted into Christ by true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.” Holy obedience is the joyful response to life in Christ. The key word is, “Impossible.” It is impossible for us to do what the law requires, to love God and our neighbors, “unless we are born again by the Spirit of God” (Lord’s Day s 3-4). It is impossible for us to make things right with God because “no mere creature can bear the weight of God’s eternal anger against sin and release others from it” (Lord’s Day 5). Yet, the Father has achieved the impossible through His Son, Jesus Christ (Luke 1:37, 18:27). “Out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ” we “have been made forever right with God” (Lord’s Day 7) and our sin has been removed “from God’s sight” with His “perfect holiness” (Lord’s Day 14). In fact, we have received as our own Christ’s “perfect satisfaction, righteousness and holiness” (Lord’s Day 23). Therefore, those who have true faith in Christ know “it is impossible” not to live in holy obedience. Listen to the Apostle Paul: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Is this your desire? Can you say with Paul: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12)?
Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn