Question 30: Do such then believe in Jesus the only Savior, who seek their salvation and welfare in saints, in themselves, or anywhere else?
As we continue through our examining of the Heidelberg Catechism we are reminded here of what has been said previously. Previously, we said that one purpose of the Catechism was to distinguish Reformed thought from other expressions that were either barely Christian or not Christian at all. This question and answer provides one example.
Clearly here the Catechizers have Roman Catholicism in their sites. Rome taught then and still teaches that Jesus is not the only Savior because Rome taught then and teaches now that praying to Mary and the saints is appropriate.
Scripture teaches that Jesus is the alone mediator between God and man.
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus… I Timothy 2:5
When prayers are offered up to saints, the saints become what this passage denies and that is mediators between God and man. The catechism takes this error very seriously and insists that people who pray to the saints, however well intended they may be, are not in point of fact trusting Jesus Christ to be their only savior. The implication here is that people who do not trust Jesus Christ to be their only savior do not have Jesus as their savior at all. This question and answer reads out of the Christian faith Roman Catholics who really believe in the doctrine of praying to the saints.
This is the answer the HC gives;
Answer: They do not; for though they boast of Him in words, yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Savior;3 for one of these two things must be true, that either Jesus is not a complete Savior or that they, who by a true faith receive this Savior, must find all things in Him necessary to their salvation.4
HC 30 explicitly teaches that “they do not believe in Jesus the only Savior, who seek their salvation and welfare in saints, in themselves, or anywhere else?”
Succinctly put, such people must be born again. Succinctly put, the Jesus such people believe in is not the Jesus of the Bible. Succinctly put, even though these people doubtless affirm the Apostles creed even reciting it, they are not in Christ. They are investing a different meaning into the words of the AC; “And in Jesus Christ His only son.” HC 30 is teaching that despite how much the word “Jesus” is on their lips, their deeds of praying to the saints denies the Jesus of the Bible. Here the HC is teaching that if we try to add anything to the finished work of Jesus Christ for our salvation, we have taken to ourselves a Jesus who is no Jesus.
We should add here this also casts off all those who believe in Libertarian free will. All those who believe that the death of Jesus for us must be combined with our “dead in sin will” to choose Christ are outside of Christ. This is so because when it is taught that our “dead in sin will” must choose Christ then we have a doctrine of Christ plus our Libertarian free will choosing Christ. This is a seeking of salvation in themselves.
Because Jesus is our only Savior and Deliverer, His people must be content with His alone provided salvation. Jesus alone will save or He will not save at all.
3 1 Cor. 1:13, 31, Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Gal. 5:4, Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Roman Catholics and Arminians alike cannot glory in the Lord alone. They must glory in the Lord plus the saints, or they must glory in the Lord plus themselves as it was their will in choosing Jesus and not Jesus alone. This Jesus plus their decision contrasts them from those who Jesus also died for that didn’t choose Jesus.
Again, the Jesus of the Bible is the alone savior or we are not saved. This is what HC 30 is insisting upon;
for one of these two things must be true, that either Jesus is not a complete Savior or that they, who by a true faith receive this Savior, must find all things in Him necessary to their salvation.4
We see with this answer and question the centrality of a very particularly defined Jesus. It is important to note that there are as many Jesus’ as there are various expressions of Christianity but only the paedo covenant Reformed faith gives one the Jesus of the Bible who can alone save. We must find in that Biblical Jesus all things necessary to our salvation. Christ alone is necessary and sufficient to being saved. There is no other Jesus under heaven who alone can save but the Jesus sat forth in the Reformed Creeds and Confessions.
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
who (Jesus) being the brightness of His (the Father’s) glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… Hebrews 1:1-3
who (Jesus) does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. ” Hebrews 7:2