Question 34: Wherefore callest thou Him our Lord?
Answer: Because He hath redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, but with His precious blood, and hath delivered us from all the power of the devil; and thus hath made us His own property.3
The Heidelberg catechism continues to follow the Apostles Creed and in doing so it moves from the affirmation that Jesus Christ was the only begotten son of God to the affirmation that Jesus is Lord.
The Lordship of Jesus upon the life of every Christian is indisputable. Throughout the Scripture record Jesus is referred to as “Lord.” Jesus Himself, addressing His disciples could say;
“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.” — John 13:13
Upon seeing the resurrected Jesus the disciples Thomas could exclaim, “My Lord and my God.”
Peter on the day of Pentecost preached;
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” — Acts 2:36
Jesus Christ is indeed, as St. John says in his Apocalypse, “Lord of Lords and King of Kings.”
The answer to Lord’s Day 34 deals with the why of Christ’s Lordship. Why is Jesus Christ the Lord to Christians?
And the first part of that answer is that Jesus Christ’s Lordship is due to the fact that He hath redeemed us in our totality (body and soul) from all our sins with that which was more valuable than gold or silver, to wit, His own precious blood.
Follow the assumptions of this answer.
1.) If we were Redeemed that implies that we were under a previous ownership
2.) As such we have gone from the owner that had claim upon us before being redeemed to another owner upon being redeemed.
This teaches us mortal men that we are never in a state where we operate as unowned by one or another Lord. Christians sing enthusiastically with Dylan;
You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You might be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Further Q. 34 teaches us that we can only be owned by Jesus as we are freed by the only price paid that can free us — the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
1 Pet. 1:18–19, Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
The idea of being redeemed from our “vain conversation” received by the tradition of their forefathers is that we have been bought back from a lifestyle that was unwholesome, unhealthy, and deadly. That lifestyle handed down by our unredeemed Kin is a lifestyle as beholden to Satan.
Jesus, having redeemed us from that lifestyle futility as received from our forefathers as they labored for the ends of their Lord, is now our Lord and Master, and He in turn delivers us from our previous inherited vain conversation (lifestyle futility/meaninglessness) to a lifestyle that is no longer, vain, futile, or meaningless. He is Lord and it is good to have Jesus as Lord, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. We are now the property of Jesus Christ and He takes responsibility as our owner for all things that concern us as under both categories of body and soul.
Being delivered from our vain conversations inherited by our imprisoned and shackled Fathers Jesus hath made us His own property.
This means that Jesus has property rights in the Christian. We belong to Him. We are emblazoned on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16) and we are stamped on our foreheads with His stamp (Revelation 22:14). We are His property and so we naturally refer to Jesus as Lord.
It is because Jesus is their Lord that the Christian refuses to live as if any other person or entity is their Lord. It is because Jesus is their Lord that the Christian refuses to place their children underneath the tutelage of those who are themselves the flacks and minions for some other Lord. It is because Jesus is their Lord that the Christian takes so seriously God’s law in its third use for their living.
This conviction that Jesus is Lord for the Christian has animated the Christian through the centuries with a white hot determination to live as only their Lord’s bondsmen. The Biblical Christian as such as always been a prickly pear when it comes to the issue of liberty. Jesus is our Lord and we Christians are His property and we will not be brought again into any bondage of any other Lord for to do so would make the Christian an idolater.
The Biblical Christian understands that we were bought with a price and therefore we are determined, by God’s grace, to therefore glorify God in our bodies, and in our spirits, which, belong to God (I Cor. 6:20).