HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 23
What good does it do you, however, to believe all this?
In Christ I am right with God and heir to life everlasting.
How are you right with God?
Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
Why do you say that by faith alone you are right with God?
It is not because of any value my faith has that God is pleased with me. Only Christ’s satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness make me right with God. And I can receive this righteousness and make it mine in no other way than by faith alone.
Friday, June 2: John 1:1-13
How do I receive the gift of tireless grace? How do I become a child of God? How am I sustained as a child of God? The answer is faith: “All I need to do is accept this gift with a believing heart.” To believe the claims of the Christian gospel is the greatest good for your life. Christianity places the focus on what Christ has accomplished and His gift to us. Every other religion focuses on what we must still accomplish. Consider four truths. Christianity alone speaks of God coming down to us. As far as I know, every other religion demands that humans claw and crawl their way to him. Christianity alone speaks of God granting free salvation by grace. As far as I know, every other religion demands that humanity earns God’s favor. Christianity alone speak of obedience as loving gratitude for generous grace. As far as I know, every other religion demands obedience to rituals and laws in order to appease the gods, to keep them relatively happy. Christianity alone speaks of the future as a guaranteed inheritance of eternal joy with the Father. As far as I know, every other religion is void of that offer of peace. In summary, the Christian gospel places focus on the gracious work of Christ. It does not focus on the endless duty of humankind. So, let’s not be ashamed to boast in Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ is the difference between truth for today and false hope for tomorrow, between heaven and hell, between eternal life and eternal death. Do you hunger for love and acceptance? If so, you know the intense pain of life. I encourage you to put your faith in the One True God – the Triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit revealed in the Christian Bible – who alone delivers grace, love and acceptance beyond what we would ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21). Turn to Him today. Your life depends on it.
Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn