Life in the Right Direction
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.
Life in the Right Direction
Monday, July 17: Psalm 1
The Catechism teaches that conversion consists of two things: “the dying-away of the old self, and the coming-to-life of the new.” I hope you see the positive, forward looking message captured in those words. Conversion is about walking in the right direction (Psalm 1). Since we have been set free from sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), guilt (Galatians 3:13, Hebrews 10:22), punishment (Romans 8:1-2), and fear (1 John 4:18) through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are to develop new minds (Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 10:5), new attitudes (Philippians 2:1-11), new lifestyles (Ephesians 4-5), and new choices (Colossians 3:1-17). Yet, what does life in the right direction look like? The words affirmation and assimilation answer the question. First, conversion affirms that the Christ-like life is the truly human life. J. Packer states: “Genuine holiness is genuine Christ-likeness, and genuine Christ-likeness is genuine humanness – the only genuine humanness there is.” The sinless second Adam, Jesus, replaces the first and sinful Adam. His death and resurrection replace lust with love, greed with generosity and selfishness with selflessness. Jesus is in the restoration business. Second, conversion affirms the call to assimilation, the call to imitate Jesus Christ. Again, Packer states: “Love in the service of God and others, humility and meekness under the divine hand, integrity of behavior expressing integration of character, wisdom with faithfulness, boldness with prayerfulness, sorrow at people’s sins, joy at the Father’s goodness, and single-mindedness in seeking to please the Father morning, noon, and night were all qualities seen in Christ, the perfect man. Christians are meant to become human as Jesus was human” (Rediscovering Holiness, 28). Is your life headed in the right direction? Are you “like a tree planted by streams of living water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” (Psalm 1:3)? If, yes, then give thanks to God. If, no, then accept His invitation to receive new life in Christ (2 Peter 3:9, Revelation 22:17).
Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn