Heidelberg Questions 114b – 115

Question 114. But can those who are converted to God perfectly keep these commandments?

Answer: No: but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; (a) yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God. (b)

Re-cap — small beginning (Illustration — advance in an infinite ocean)

(b) Rom.7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

This teaching of the Catechism, following Scripture as it does, ought to put an end to all forms of antinomianism in the Church. Antinomianism is the teaching that the law has no role in the Christian’s life. The idea is that the believer has been saved by God from the law and so the law no longer has a role in their life and instead of the law as their standard for “how shall they then live,” the standard becomes the Holy Spirit, as abstracted or divorced from the law guiding them, or they will contend that it is love” that directs their behavior but again, it is a love that is more informed by their instinct then it is by God’s revelation.

The Catechism brings to the fore that, “that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God.” And they lodge this observation in the teaching of Scripture,

Ps.1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

You see some folks want to pit the NT against the OT and so they will go to passages like

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

And reading that they will then interpret it to mean that the law has ended for the Christian who trusts in Christ. But end in “R. 10:4″ means goal, purpose, or culmination and what it is teaching is not that the law no longer has a role in the Christian’s life but rather that Christ is the one who gives all that the law required.

So, our walking in the way of God’s law revelation is not a means to gaining something we do not already have (peace with God and God’s approval) but rather our walking in God’s law revelation is a manifestation that we are a people who are now, as Paul says in Ephesians, “light in the Lord.” Our walking in God’s law revelation is the placarding of the truth that Christ has redeemed us and made us a people unique unto Him. This is so true that if it is the case, by God’s grace that we make advance in this walking in God’s law revelation that announces that we are being conformed to Christ, that we glory in the Lord because we know it is the Spirit of Christ that causes us to go from Christ-likeness unto Christ-likeness.

And so because of that we pay attention to God’s Revelation as it teaches us how to walk as Disciples of Christ. We agree with the Apostle Paul,

2 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

So, we understand that the experience of the Grace of God in our lives that finds us redeemed and set apart as God’s Holy people, in no way detracts from the permanence and authority of God’s law.

There is a long record in our history of trying to squeeze out the role of God’s law in the believers life as a rule of conduct.

In the 17th century one Robert Towne could say

“To faith, or in the State or things of faith, there is no obligation, nor use of the law.”

John Saltmarsh disliked,

those who say “that duties are to be done because commanded,” and in his book, “Free-Grace” he reveals his contempt for those whose Gospel preaching is ‘over-much heated by the Law, and conditions and qualifications,’ and who hold the believer in the poverty of spirit by keeping him ‘both under Grace and Law at the same time.” Saltmarsh said that to urge believers to ‘Repent … and walk according to the Law of God’ is a legal way of bringing comfort to the soul, and that preachers who do this give ‘rather something of the Law than Gospel,’ for ‘nothing but the taking in of the law … can trouble the peace and quiet of any soul.’

Saltmarsh continued,

“The Gospel is … a perfect law of life and righteousness … and therefore I wonder at any that should contend for the ministry of the law or the Ten Commandments under Moses. The believer is under grace, and there is ‘no Moses now.”

Now as we continue to consider we say again, that as Christians our “sincere resolution to begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God,” is a resolution that is born of gratitude for the righteousness and peace with God that we have because Christ is our acceptability before the Father. “Our sincere resolution to begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God,” is a sincere resolution that starts from being forgiven and not from trying to earn forgiveness by our behavior.

Well, the Reformed of the day had an answer for those who even those many years ago wanted to deny the role to the law as a rule of conduct for the believer,

John Sedgwick considered,

“The antinomian war-cries of Free Grace, Christ’s Righteousness, and Gospel Liberty, to be “Baits and Snares … to cast down Obedience, to keep Christians from their dutie to God,” and Sedgwick deplored the “Law destroying, Dutie casting down course of the Antinomians.”

Another Puritan minister, James Durham affirmed that this rejection of the principle of obligation was itself a breach of the 1st commandment.

Thomas Gataker defended the principle of obligation by reference to the Greek word in I John 2:6 and the occurrence of the same verb in Romans 7:12. Gataker could say,

“To deny the Moral law to be of any more use to believers, or to be so much as a rule of conversation, or that they owe obedience unto it in point of duty and conscience; this strikes at the very root, and cuts in sunder the knot, not only of Christian Charity, but even of all civil society.”

Now the reason I’m giving these quotes and going over this issue is because we have needs to see that we are not the first generation to deal with antinomianism. And we have needs to see that the objections that we might see today have been seen before and have been dealt with before. We can be confident that the Catechism is correct when it teaches us, following Scripture, that we begin to live not only according to some but all the commandments of God. And the catechism is correct to enjoin upon us the law as a rule of conduct for the Christian’s life.

And for this section, to underscore this, we will finish with a quote from 17th century Reformed Minister Samuel Rutherford,

“The Law is yet to be preached, as tying us to personal obedience, whatever antinomians say on the contrary … Antinomians judge that by the Gospel, Christ hath done all for us, which is most true in the kind of meritorious and deserving cause, satisfying justice, but they do loose us from all personal duties, or doing ourselves, or in our own persons, so as we should be obliged to do, except we would sin. We think the same law obligation, but running in a Gospel-channel of Free-Grace, should act as now as if we were under a covenant of works, but not as if the one were Law-debt, and the other wages that we sweat for, and commeth by law debt; Antinomians make all duties a matter of courtesy.”

He then goes on to point out that Antinomians ‘contend for a Christian liberty wherewhith Christ hath made us free, and we contend for the same, but the question is, wherein the liberty consisteth, in concerns us much that we take not license for liberty.

Well, I could go on with many more quotes. But you get the sense. The problem that we have in the Church today of antinomianism, is a problem that has been in the Church in the past. And yet our Catechism solves that problem by insisting that.

That while no Christian can keep God’s law perfectly and though even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God. ,

And we would close this question by observing that it is precisely at this point why we will be hated by men. It was Christ’s keeping of the law and his exposing of God’s enemies false treatment of the law that found Him crucified. If we seek to walk in God’s law revelation as a rule of life, out of gratitude for a forgiveness freely given, we will be walking convictions to those who insist that the only law is that there is no law, or to those who live by other autonomously created law orders that are inconsistent with God’s revelation.

Well, then this takes us to question 115 and with this we finish up our look at the law.

Question 115. Why will God then have the Ten Commandments so strictly preached, since no man in this life can keep them?

Answer: First, that all our lifetime we may learn more and more to know (a) our sinful nature, and thus become the more earnest in seeking the remission of sin, and righteousness in Christ;

(b) likewise, that we constantly endeavor and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us, in a life to come. (c)

Know our sinful nature

We preach the law the Catechism says so that we may know our sinful nature and find ourselves keep returning to Christ as our only righteousness.

Rom.3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

There are two dangers here.

1.) Knowing our sinful nature so thoroughly that we lament of God’s grace to us or we become so defeated because of our knowledge of our sinful nature that we become ineffective.

To those who fall into this trap we must remind them that God has forgiven them in Christ and that though they are sinners that ought not to stop them from attempting mighty things for God. They need to have impressed upon them and be reminded that even though they may be great sinners, Christ is a greater savior.

2.) The other danger here is that our sinful natures would lie to lightly upon us and so we would begin to think of ourselves more highly than we ought and in thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought we would fail to be impressed with Christ being our acceptability before the Father.

If the previous group of people need to be constantly taken back to God’s provision in Christ, this group of people need to be taken back to God’s absolute standard of righteousness. None of us have any reason to be impressed with ourselves. If we could for one second see our sin as it really is we would know in that one second why,

Our hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
We dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ name.

Paul understood how the law took men back to Christ,

Rom.7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Rom.7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now, as a minister, let me say that I far more often see contemporary Christians plagued with the second danger of having their sinful natures lie on them too lightly then I meet people who are plagued with the first danger of their sinful nature lying on them too heavily. I know my own danger is the former and not the latter.

The second reason they give for preaching of the law is that we “constantly endeavour and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us, in a life to come.

Here they cite Paul from his letter to the Philippians on the importance of this pursuit of God

Philip.3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Philip.3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Philip.3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, Philip.3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

It is interesting that what the Catechizers are doing here with this answer is in the first reason they are emphasizing looking outside of ourselves to Christ who is our righteousness, while in the second reason they emphasize the aspect of increasingly becoming in our daily lives what we have freely been declared to be.

These always go together and in this order. The objective reality of who we are in Christ is the foundation from which we operate to increasingly become what we have been freely declared to be. The outward look creates and sustains our inward becoming. Much is wrong with the Church today in the West because we forget the necessity of both of these reasons for preaching the law or because we reverse the order of these reasons for preaching the law.

The Catechism, following Scripture, instructs that there is a connection between preaching the law and our conformity to the image of God. By putting it this way there is direct linkage made between the law and God’s image. The law is strictly preached that we may become increasingly conformable to God’s image. How is it that the strict preaching of God’s law could lead to our becoming increasingly conformable to God’s image unless it were the case that the law is God’s image?

Notice here though, that we are not thrown upon our own autonomous efforts. It is the case that we are looking to God for increasing conformity to His image. As the catechism teaches, we pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit that we might increasingly become more conformable to the image of God that is set forth by the strict preaching of God’s law. This is not “lift yourself up by your bootstraps and trust in your own efforts” sanctification. This is God’s grace from beginning to end.

Here we see a fantastic coming together of several themes. The strict preaching of God’s law, the reality that Christ is our righteousness, and the fact that our increasing conformity to the image of God is related to the strict preaching of God’s law, the reality that Christ is our righteousness and the place of the Holy Spirit and prevailing prayer in the life of the believer.

But that perfection we all desire … that being done with the sin that we are all too familiar with is not something that transpires in this life. Our perfection that is proposed to us is for the life to come. This keeps us humble and dependent upon Christ for our righteousness. This keeps us from being self satisfied. This keeps us always looking for the sin that needs to be put off in our own life, regardless of how far God has brought us in Christ. And finally, this makes heaven precious.

Sometimes disgust with myself makes me pine for heaven so I can be done with the sinful nature I carry around and see all too often. The thought of death scares me but the thought of heaven makes the thought of death tolerable because I know that once death is past, what lies in front of me is the perfection proposed. I will be done with the old man and the newness I already know as down payment and promise will be known in full.

Caleb’s Baptism — True Faith Defined — (Heidelberg Catechism Q. 21)

Question 21. What is true faith?

Answer: True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, (a) but also an assured confidence, (b) which the Holy Ghost (c) works by the gospel in my heart; (d) that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, (e) are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits. (f)


Question 20 ended by giving us the distinction between those who are saved by Christ and those who are not saved. As you remember the distinction was given that “only those who are ingrafted into him, and, receive all his benefits, by a true faith,” are those who are saved. Those who are not ingrafted into him and so do not receive all his benefits by a true faith are without God and without hope.

As such, question 21 thus delves into the issue of how true saving faith is defined and what it looks like. We should say at the outset that by asking about “True faith,” and then by starting off their answer with “True Faith is,” the clear implication is that there exists such things as false faith or spurious faith and so they want to distinguish false faith from true faith. They give us a detailed answer on what true faith is but before we go into that we want to take a second to look at the whole idea of false faith.

We find false faith throughout Scripture. The most startling example is in Matthew 7

22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Here we see recorded people claiming faith, and knowing Christ but Christ claims he does not know them. Elsewhere in Jude and in 1st John we also see people claiming to have faith and so be part of the body of Christ and yet the Apostles in both of those letters warns the genuinely faithful against them. In Galatians we have a group of people (they were called Judaizers) who would have considered themselves Christians and yet had a false faith as seen in St. Paul’s treatment of them. In James we learn that there is a kind of faith that does not save,

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

The faith of the devils here is a faith with knowledge but no assent. The devils know the facts but they wage war against God. So we see that the kind of knowledge in faith that we are looking for is knowledge with assent. Some varieties of false faith may affirm certain matters as true but they do not assent to them. Indeed this idea of “assent” is so important that many scholars list “assent” along with “knowledge” as a element of faith.

In the last book of the Bible we find Christ warning against faithlessness among those who are supposed to be Faithful. False faith most often co-exists side by side with faith in a False Christ. People make Christ in their own image and then place faith in that self-created Christ. As such both their Christ and their faith is false.

Because false faith exists in such abundance the Catechism is precise in giving us the definition of true faith. However, we should say in setting out, that there is a danger in this issue of false vs. true faith. Some people, being so concerned with the nature, quality, and legitimacy of their faith have taken to spending so much time examining their faith that they have forgotten that their gaze needs to be on Christ more than their faith. Like every other virtue any of us might have been given it is simply the case that none of our faiths are perfect. The faith of the greatest saint who has ever lived was not saved by his perfect faith but by a perfect Christ.

We should see the relationship of faith to Christ as a bride to be sees the relationship of the prongs to a diamond as set in an engagement ring. Yes, the prongs holding the jewel in place must be sturdy and tight but she is not impressed with the prongs holding the diamond but rather boasts in the diamond and even more so in what that diamond represents (that she belongs to her beloved and her beloved is hers). So it is with faith in Christ. Faith must clasp and cling to Christ and we must make our boast in him and remember that though our faith might not be all that it should be, it is enough if it holds on to Christ. Weak faith saves just as completely as strong faith Caleb.

With that in mind we turn to the Catechism’s answer concerning what true faith is.

The Catechism gives us three essential elements of faith.

1.) Faith includes knowledge

23 This is what the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

Now faith can not be reduced to just knowledge — some of the greatest heretics in Church History have been incredibly knowledgeable men — but faith includes knowledge. Another way to say this is that faith is never less than a certain knowledge but it is always much more than that. There is a tendency to go to two extremes on this matter. On the one hand there are those who seem to suggest that unless someone has the entire catechism memorized they don’t have enough knowledge to have faith. So, with these folks those who have little knowledge regarding Christianity are looked on with suspicion regarding their profession of faith. The other extreme is to suggest that Faith has no knowledge content so that anybody who mouths some kind of confession of faith, even if it is uninformed by Scripture or the confessions is seen as having Biblical faith. Neither of these extremes will do. Biblical faith must have knowledge of Christ and the Scriptures and yet one does not have to have a theology degree in order to have faith. This reminds us that even the youngest of the young can have faith.

The knowledge that the Catechizers say we must have is a knowledge that “has us holding for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word.” Now I won’t spend much time here because the next few questions in the Catechism go on to elaborate just exactly what knowledge we must have. Four brief comments though.

a.) Clearly this teaches us that Christianity is the life of the mind. There is a set content in the Christian faith that must be known, affirmed, and defended. Christianity is not primarily about emotions, experiences, relationships, (those are beautiful byproducts of the Christian faith) or opinions not anchored in the word. Christianity begins with knowing what we believe and why we believe it and what we don’t believe and why we don’t believe it.

b.) The Catechizers believe in objective truth. This is important to bring out in an age of postmodern philosophy and deconstructionst literary theory which denies objective True Truth and affirms that all truth is subjective (i.e. — person or people group variable).

c.) That objective truth of which they speak is tied to the Word (Scriptures). Because Biblical Christians through the centuries have believed this they have always taken people back to the Scriptures in order to give the explicit or implicit underpinning for what they believe.

d.) Do not miss that they assert that we know what we know by God’s revealed word. Christians believe that God’s Revelation is the means by which we know what we know. God’s Revelation is the beginning and ending point for our knowing. We do not know what we know by reason operating independently of Scripture. We do not know what we know by some kind of mystical intuitive experience. The beginning and ending of our knowing is God’s Revelation.

2.) Faith includes Assured Confidence As Worked by the Holy Ghost in Concord with the Gospel

One matter that is being emphasized here is that faith is a gift of God.

Eph.2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Eph.2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph.3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

And not only Faith is a gift of God, worked in me by the Holy Ghost, in concert with the Gospel, but also the confidence that is a byproduct of being united to Christ and so having faith (one of those benefits mentioned in the previous question) is considered an element of faith.

And what does that confidence entail that faith brings?

That confidence entails Christ. That confidence entails the conviction that Christ has taken away my offense (sin) before God. That confidence entails the conviction that Christ has won for me a righteousness and salvation that can not be negated, overturned or reneged upon. That confidence entails that all the good that comes to me, come to me quite beyond my performance or just deserts but comes to me completely by God’s Grace (undeserved favor) as secured for me by the work of Christ for me in my place.

Note, that we are taught that all this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Gal.5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

But the work of the Holy Spirit in concert with the Gospel. Word and Spirit are inseparably tied together.

Rom.10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

I can not savingly know the word without the Spirit and the Spirit will not work upon me apart from the Word. Long ago I learned that the Spirit always runs along the track of the word. The reason this is important to insist upon is that it keeps us from both the extremes of a spiritual enthusiasm on one hand that if it uses the word it uses it only as a talisman (a magic device that gives power) and on the other hand a dry arid rationalism that has no life because the Spirit is not in the rationalism. If we are to have faith that clings to Christ then we must be enlivened by the Holy Spirit in the context of the Gospel being proclaimed in some form.

Another fascinating aspect of this Question is that our faith is Trinitarian. If we re-read the question we see faith is in the Father’s revealing work, the Spirit’s enlivening work and the Son’s removal of penalty work. Our faith looks to God in both His Unity and His Diversity.

Finally, for this entry we close looking at how closely to home the Catechism brings this. The catechism, following Scripture, want us to understand that all of this good news is not just true in the abstract but that it is good news for me personally. The Gospel promises that we cling to by faith are not just true in a general sense but should be clung to as being true for each and every individual believer that God calls from every tribe, tongue, and nation. The Gospel promises are not only true but they are true for me, whichever me they come to.

Caleb’s Baptism — Those Who Are Saved (Heidelberg Catechism Q. 20)

Question 20. Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?

Answer: No; only those who are in-grafted into him, and, receive all his benefits, by a true faith.

Let’s briefly remind ourselves of the flow of the catechism’s flow of thought. In the last few questions and answers the catechism has been teaching us the character qualities and attributes that are required of any mediator who would rescue us from God’s just wrath and our sins. They have taught us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who has these character qualities and attributes thus teaching us that there is no salvation in any other name but that of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, the Catechizers ask, in question 20, the very sensible question’ “Whether all men are saved by Christ.” It is sensible because it might be reasonable to assume that as all perished in Adam, so all would be saved by Christ. But the answer they give, following Scripture, is that relief from perishing is only had by those who have a true faith in Christ.

Notice several obvious matters here.

1.) The question presumes that all men are lost, or if you prefer, are in the way of perishing. If the descendants of Adam are to be released from the state of perishing that they are born under then they must have a true faith. If they do not have a true faith in Jesus Christ they will eternally perish.

That man outside of Christ is in the way of perishing is everywhere assumed by Scripture. Here are just a few verses,

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Notice in all those verses from John 3 that the presupposition of Scripture regarding man without Christ is that he is in the way of perishing, underneath the penalty of God’s just wrath. As we have noted earlier, the reason that man without Christ, is in the way of perishing, is that man without Christ has a sin nature and consequently sins and so is in high rebellion to God.

2.) The catechism negates any notion of Universalism. Universalism is the doctrine that teaches that all men through all time will go to heaven no matter their relation to Jesus Christ while on earth. To the contrary the catechism, following Scripture, teaches that not all men are saved. Jesus speaking could say,

Matthew 25:45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Of course the corollary of this denial of Universalism is the truth that God does not love everybody. If God loved everybody, with redemptive love, then everyone would be saved. However, as it is the case that not all people are saved, this means that God does not and did not love, with a redemptive love, those who are not saved and who are not in-grafted into Christ.

Now, being postmillennialists we believe that a vast majority of mankind will be saved because we believe Scripture when in Revelation John sees in heaven

Revelation 7:9 … a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

That great multitude is in keeping with God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would be as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. So, we assert, with the catechism and with Scripture, that not all men will be saved, but also that the number of men that will be saved will testify to the greatness of God’s grace to save and the vast reach of God’s saving power in Christ.

3.) As the catechism, following Scripture, negates Universalism, that means by necessity it teaches particularism. This is only to say that the Scripture teaches that God saves only who He intends to save. God is particular in His choosing. All people who believe that there are those who go to Hell believe that there is a particularity in God’s grace. The difference is that some locate the reason for that particularity in the individual human’s sovereign choice while others locate the reason for the particularity that Scripture teaches in God’s sovereign choice. Biblical Christians, believing in God’s exhaustive sovereignty, follow the Scripture when it insists that God is the reason that Universalism isn’t true and God is the one who makes the decision as to who and who will not be saved (particularism). Either man is sovereign over salvation or God is. We see this particularism in action in Acts,

16:13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

God opened Lydia’s heart while not opening the hearts of the other women who met there.

This particularity of God’s was even recognized by the Lord Jesus Christ,

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

So, Universalism is not true. Not all men will be saved. And, those who will be saved are saved by God’s sovereign Particularism. Finally, God’s particularism is so vast that no man can number all those God intends to save via His sovereign particular choice.

4.) Heidelberg question 20 puts an end to the old liberal canard of “the Fatherhood of God over all men” and the “Brotherhood of all men under God.” Since Universalism isn’t true therefore it follows that God is not the Father of all men. God is nothing but an avenging Judge to those outside of Christ. The idea of the God’s Fatherhood of all men and so the Brotherhood of all men has often been used as a anti-Christ liberal ploy to force Christians to embrace people of other faiths as those who are our Brothers because God is the Father of us all. The nonsense of this idea has even made it into some of our hymnody.

Let there be peace on earth,
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be.
With God as our father
We are family.
Let us walk with each other
In perfect harmony.

When we embrace the idea of God’s universal Fatherhood and man’s universal Brotherhood the temptation for us is to compromise our Christian beliefs in order that we can all get along with all our putative Brother’s on the earth. It is precisely because God is not the Father of all, redemptively speaking, that we must not yield our beliefs to the siren song of a compromise that would promise a compromised peace. Also, such thinking of the Fatherhood of God over all and the Brotherhood of all cuts the heart out of evangelism. If we are all Brothers then what is the need to evangelize? In point of fact if God is Father of all and we are all Brothers than it would be insensitive and insulting to others to suggest that their faiths are sub-optimal by seeking to evangelize them.

5.) Notice the language about being in-grafted Caleb. The phrase, “only those who are in-grafted into Christ,” linguistically supports God’s sovereignty. We are passive until we are in-grafted. God does all the in-grafting and only after we are in-grafted do we have a true faith. This is just to say that in salvation God does all the saving and we only do our required all (repentance, faith, obedience) after God has done all, but God having done all we always respond by working out our salvation with fear and trembling. God initiates and we respond and when God initiates with saving intent the elect never fail to respond.

The language of grafting communicates the idea of being taken out of one place and put into another. In the way that the language is used here it communicates being taken out of our Covenant head Adam where there is nothing but death and being placed in Christ where there is abundant life. To be in-grated into Christ is to be united with Christ. Christ is our covenant head and represents us before the Father so that the Father has the disposition towards us that He has towards His Son. Further to be in-grafted into Christ means to be given the Holy Spirit so that we increasingly become what we have been freely declared to because we are in-grafted into Christ. Romans 11 speaks a little regarding this being grafted into Christ,

Rom.11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Rom.11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Rom.11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

Being in-grafted into Christ we thus begin to desire what Christ desires, and we begin to conform to the likeness of Christ. In being in-grafted into Christ we receive the life of Christ and are sustained by that life, and over the course of time the graft begins to take on the characteristics of divine olive tree.

6.) The catechism speaks of receiving all of Christ’s benefits. The consequence of being in-grafted into Christ is that we receive all the spiritual blessings of Christ. This means that we have peace with God, which means not only the cessation of God’s just hostility towards us but also all the blessings that come by being favored of God. We no longer have reason to cower in fear before God. Receiving all Christ’s benefits means we no longer have to live with the guilt of sin and the misery of being without God and without hope. Receiving all Christ’s benefits means a boldness and confidence coming from knowing that the Sovereign God of the whole universe is ordaining all that comes into our lives for His advance and our profit. Receiving all Christ’s benefits means the end of temporal and earthly fear, for if God be for us, who or what can be against us? Receiving all Christ’s benefits means a profound sense of security and comfort because I know that I am not my own but belong to my faithful savior Jesus Christ. There are so many other benefits we could speak of that we receive. Death is no longer an enemy to us because we have the benefit of knowing to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We are increasingly given the ability to think God’s thoughts after him so that we confound God’s enemies. We are given the benefit of belonging to Christ’s body the Church so that we have precious fellowship with the Saints of God. We know that our Elder Brother, the Lord Christ, continues to plead our cause before the Father. We know that we shall finish our race here well because God who won us is able to keep us until the very end. We are given the benefit of having a continued affection for our High Captain the Lord Christ and a desire to defend His honor at every turn.

As we move through the catechism we will see many of these benefits up close in more detail.

The fact that we receive all Christ’s benefits in light of being united to Christ is seen in Ephesians,

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

7.) Answer 20 ends by noting the necessity of true faith. The idea that we must have a “true faith” implies that such a thing as false faith exists. We will talk more about that in the next question and answer that provides a biblical definition of faith. Suffice it to say here that not all professions of faith qualify as true faith.

I would like to end though by observing that a true faith in Christ can not be held apart from knowing the true Christ. I only bring this up because there are those who say that people can be saved by Christ even though they have never heard of him. These people will argue that if people who have never heard of Christ will just follow the good that they know then they will be saved by Christ. Some will even contend that well intentioned practitioners of other gods will have their well intentioned but misguided worship accepted as worship of Christ precisely because they were well intentioned. C. S. Lewis makes such a argument in his novel, “The Last Battle.” Such types of doctrine (and there are many nuances to this teaching I have not brought forth here) are nowhere found in Scripture. Only those who have had Christ placarded before them and so have embraced Christ in faith, in this life, will have the Lord Christ as their mediator. Scripture not only looks for a general faith in a known Christ but it also expects a intimate faith in a known Christ. We must not only believe in the Son but we must pay Him homage,

Ps.2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

If there are exceptions to the necessity to have faith in a known Lord Jesus Christ those exceptions would be the unborn, the newly born, and the mentally impaired. In such cases it is best for us to simply say, “Will not the Lord of all the earth do right,” though we can have complete confidence of their salvation if they were Baptized members of the covenant community.

Scripture clearly teaches that eternal life is pinned upon knowing the Christ of Scripture,

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

The fact that Jesus Christ requires the knowledge of Himself along with the Father, for eternal life, is a strong testimony to the deity of Jesus Christ.

Now couple that scripture with Jesus’ statement,

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

And you have the clear teaching that one can not be saved (have fellowship with the Father) except by a true faith in a known Christ.

Don’t let your faith be shipwrecked by those who insist on Universalism by appealing to a few texts in Scripture not properly read against God’s complete revelation.

I sign off by citing a few more Scripture that convey how important faith in Christ is,

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Rom.3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Heb.4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Heb.4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Heb.10:39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Heb.11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Caleb’s Baptism — The Scriptures Placard To Us Christ (Heidelberg Catechism Q. 19)

Question 19. Whence knowest thou this?

Answer: From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise; and afterwards published by the patriarchs (b) and prophets, (c) and represented by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; (d) and lastly, has fulfilled it by his only begotten Son. (e)

In question 19 Caleb, the authors of the Catechism (Zacharias Ursinus & Caspar Olevianus) finish Lord’s Day #6 asking from where we know what they taught us in questions 16-18 regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ. The answer they give is insightful on several accounts.

First, the Catechism’s answer indicates that we know what we know about Christ and the Christian faith from the Scriptures, and yet the way they give the answer indicates that the Catechizers (Zacharias Ursinus & Caspar Olevianus) wanted to impress upon the student that the Gospel is inclusive of all of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. This overturns the notion that the Gospel is somehow to be restricted to what we find in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; those books of the Bible known as “The Gospels.” It is true that in the Gospels we get the life and work of Jesus Christ but the Catechism wants to impress upon us that ones finds the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ everywhere in the Scripture. It is because this is true Caleb that during the Liturgy at Charlotte CRC we will give “God’s Absolution of Sin” from week to week from different portions of Scripture, Old and New Testament.

This observation reminds us that when we read the Scripture we need to read all of the Scripture understanding discovering Christ. Put negatively, if we read Scripture, all the while missing the person and work of the Lord Christ we are not reading Scripture aright. To miss Christ while reading the Scripture is like reading Tolkien and missing the One ring. Some portions of Scripture will emphasize Christ in His work as our Great High Priest who does all the rescuing (saving) of His people. Some portions of Scripture will emphasize Christ in His work as our Great High King who leads us in dominion taking under His authority; a dominion that incarnates our freely given salvation into whatever we are called to. Some portions of Scripture will emphasize Christ in His work as our Prophet speaking to us words of comfort and challenge. But all of Scriptures proclaims our great Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

This truth that we have just examined can be a plumb line for you in years to come when it comes to deciding what Church you may or may not attend. If you are not being given Christ from the Pulpit and from the teaching lectern but are being given therapeutic psychology feel good piffle then the Church is no Church. The Church’s call is hold out Christ to God’s people in all its preaching and teaching from Scripture.

Second this answer emphasizes that God’s revelation is about redemption. When God spoke to man He spoke a revelatory word that explained redemption both as to how God saves man and as to how God would have man manifest His saved life. It is true that God acts throughout Scripture but His acting would mean nothing to us if we did not have his explanatory word in revelation. That Jesus dies on a cross would mean nothing if God did not give a revelatory word that explains that the death of Jesus was for sin. The God who acts in redemption is the God who speaks in revelation.

Third this # 19 answer reveals that redemption is progressive. By that we mean that redemption grows and expands, in terms of its contour with the passage of time. Think of it this way. If you were to plant a tulip bulb without knowing what it would produce ahead of time you would have no idea what that bulb would eventually look like without the passage of time. Redemption, like the tulip bulb, begins as a bulb in Genesis and grows incrementally, stage by stage, to a tulip throughout Scripture, blooming to full flower in the Springtime that is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We look back now seeing the whole tulip in springtime and see more clearly the whole unfolding process from bulb to bloom. This process, as we see it unfold in Scripture is called “the progress of redemption.” The first glimmering we get of the Gospel is found in Genesis

Gen.3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall crush thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This is our proverbial tulip bulb of the Gospel. We look back now and see how this promise of God is the beginning of the Gospel. This is Gospel because in it we learn of the great conflict between the seed of the serpent (Satan’s co-laborers) and the seed of the woman (ultimately, the Lord Christ and penultimately, His people) that ends in the Messiah being bruised by the serpent and the serpent being crushed by the Messiah. In the Cross the serpent bruised the Messiah but in the Resurrection and Ascension the head of the serpent was crushed. This theme of conflict and of bruising and crushing is a theme the developed throughout the Scriptures.

One example, of the development of the this Gospel conflict theme between, is David vs. Goliath. David is a picture of the Lord Christ fighting solitary for His people against the serpent champion Goliath. Goliath is decked out in scale armor, the Hebrew word literally meaning “scales”. (1 Sam. 17:5) Typologically this harkens back to the scales of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. David posits a stone between the Serpent representative’s eyes and proceeds to cut his head off. Goliath was dressed like a serpent with his scale armor, and he died like a serpent, with a head wound. David, as a type of Christ has crushed the head of the serpent.

In the New Testament this theme is likewise taken up after Christ’s resurrection and ascension. In Romans, the Holy Spirit, hearkening back to this theme began in Genesis can say in 16:20, The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

I have given you just one example but this is a theme we find repeatedly developed in Scripture. Think of Jael crushing the head of Sisera, the serpent representative opposing God’s people (Judges 4). Similarly there is Judges 9:52-53.

52 So Abimelech came as far as the tower and fought against it; and he drew near the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 But a certain woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull.

These are all instances where we see the theme of God’s representative crushing the head of the serpent developed and we find it ultimately fulfilled in the Lord Christ crushing the head of Satan in His resurrection and ascension.

Of course there are other themes that the Scriptures develop that are typological of Christ who is the fulfillment of all the Gospel that is promissory in the Old Testament. The Gospel is first pronounced in Paradise as a tulip bulb but through the rest of Scripture we see the Gospel continued to unfold and develop. What this reminds us is that a proper reading of the whole of Scripture is like watching a time lapsed film that shows the growth of a acorn into a great oak condensed into a comparatively short book. Centuries passed in the progress of Redemption and the Scriptures give us the necessary information to understand the whole — if we read the Scripture understanding that we needs see Christ.

This video might give you an idea of what I’m trying to get at. Who would have ever guessed that the baby at the beginning of this time lapsed video would be the 12 year old at the end.

Similarly, no one would have been able to identify the Gospel from Genesis 3 unless the Scriptures gave us the progress of redemption in a time lapsed form, condensing vast amounts of time into a comparatively small book. The baby of Genesis 3 is the same Gospel message all grown up in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

A few scriptures that are given from the prophets that pronounced Christ,

Gen.22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Informs us that all the nations that remain distinct nations are blessed by the seed of Abraham who is Christ. The New Testament begins by tell us that Jesus is the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Gen.12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

In Revelation 7:9 we see all the different nations — nations which retain yet their national identity — blessed by having been saved by the work of Christ. Many different blessed nations and yet one spiritual people of God.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

Gen.49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Gen.49:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:

The Kings (sceptre standing for Kingly office) in the OT were from Judah and Christ is from the tribe of Judah. Likewise in the Sermon on the Mount we see the Lord Christ as a Lawgiver, the anti-type of Moses the great lawgiver who last gave law from a Mountain context. The whole notion of this King and lawgiver gathering people is spoken repeatedly about in the OT,

“Now the predicates of the covenant are applied in Isa. 19 to the Gentiles of the future, — “Egypt my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance,” Egypt, the people of “Jehovah of hosts,” (Isa. 19:25) is therefore also expected to live up to the covenant obligations, implied for Jehovah’s people. And Assyria comes under similar obligations and privileges. These nations are representative of the great Gentile world, to which the covenant privileges will therefore be extended.”

Martin J. Wyngaarden, The Future of the Kingdom in Prophecy and Fulfillment: A Study of the Scope of “Spiritualization” in Scripture (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011), p. 94.

“More than a dozen excellent commentaries could be mentioned that all interpret Israel as thus inclusive of Jew and Gentile, in this verse, — the Gentile adherents thus being merged with the covenant people of Israel, though each nationality remains distinct.”

“For, though Israel is frequently called Jehovah’s People, the work of his hands, his inheritance, yet these three epithets severally are applied not only to Israel, but also to Assyria and to Egypt: “Blessed be Egypt, my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance.” 19:25.

Thus the highest description of Jehovah’s covenant people is applied to Egypt, — “my people,” — showing that the Gentiles will share the covenant blessings, not less than Israel. Yet the several nationalities are here kept distinct, even when Gentiles share, in the covenant blessing, on a level of equality with Israel. Egypt, Assyria and Israel are not nationally merged. And the same principles, that nationalities are not obliterated, by membership in the covenant, applies, of course, also in the New Testament dispensation.”

Wyngaarden, pp. 101-102.

And then this King and Lawgiver gathering people is fulfilled in the New Testament, as on the day of Pentecost, people hear the Gospel pronouncement in a multitude of languages, thus revealing that the distinct peoples are gathered unto Him just as written in Genesis 49 as a Gospel declaration. That the Apostles understood it this way is seen in how they quote the Scripture. In Acts 15:14 forward they quote a Old Testament text (Amos 9:11-12) to prove that the coming in and gathering of the Gentiles into the Church and unto Christ is a fulfillment of the promise to rebuild David’s fallen inheritance. Christ is the one who has gathered the people unto Himself as the greater David who holds the eternal scepter and is the eternal lawgiver. This greater David shall continue to bear His scepter and publish His law until all the nations are gathered under the shade of His great rule.

The writers of the Catechism then go on to give Scriptural texts to show how the Gospel was promised in the Prophets and by the sacrifices and ceremonies of the old covenant. Everywhere we turn in Scripture we find the Lord Christ placarded. I won’t wear you out with teasing each passage out in order to develop the theme of how all Scripture proclaims Christ. This is the material that gives us a lifetime of study and preaching.

Prophets Proclaiming the Gospel

Isaiah 53.

Isa.42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. Isa.42:2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. Isa.42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. Isa.42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Isa.43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Isa.49:5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. Isa.49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Isa.49:22 Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. Isa.49:23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

Jer.23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. Jer.23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Jer.31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: Jer.31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Jer.32:39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: Jer.32:40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. Jer.32:41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

Mic.7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. Mic.7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Mic.7:20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old. Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Rom.1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

Heb.1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Acts 3:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. Acts 3:23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Acts 3:24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

NT Insistence that the OT Sacrifice and Ceremonies Proclaimed the Gospel

(d) Heb.10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. Heb.10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

Col.2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.


(e) Rom.10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Gal.4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, Gal.4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Gal.3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Col.2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

The Scripture gives us Christ. It gives us Christ as the great High Priest who is also the suffering servant. It gives us the ascended King leading His people from triumph unto triumph. It gives our great Prophet who speaks God’s word to us. The Scripture was and is given to give us Christ.

Caleb’s Baptist — Behold The Deliverer (HC Q. 18)

Question 18. Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, (a) and a real (b) righteous man? (c)

Answer: Our Lord Jesus Christ: (d) “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (e)

Questions 16 and 17 taught us that if we are going to be delivered from our sins then certain quality characteristics must be found in the person who rescues us from our sin. Those character qualities are repeated in question 18 with the inquiry asking who fits that description.

Note that in question 18 that the our deliverer and rescuer is spoken of as a Mediator. We have mentioned the mediatorial aspect before but reviewing briefly we underscore that a Mediator is one who represents both parties in a dispute. In the Old Testament the Priests filled the role as the Mediator. The Old Testament Priest represented the people to God in his sacrificial responsibilities and he represented God to the people in his very person. So, we learn from this language that whoever is in one person both very God, and a real righteous man, is also the person who God has set aside to be a Mediator.

One aspect that is interesting about the Lord Christ having the two natures of God and real righteous man is that in being both God and Man the person of Christ has the properties which belong to both natures. This is only to say that the human and divine natures belong to the person of the Lord Christ and so are ascribed to Him in his person. The impact of this means that properties that belong uniquely to both divine and human natures are attributed to the one person of Jesus. For example, the person Jesus can be spoken of in his human nature (Jesus wept, Jesus grows in wisdom and stature, Jesus was tired) but the person Jesus can also be spoken of in his divine nature (omnipresence, all knowing, etc.) However, as we learned in our last session, this does not mean that any of his human nature was divinized, nor was any of his divine nature mixed with the human nature.

Let me clarify with a couple examples Caleb. In John’s Gospel Jesus says,

17:5, “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.”

The person of Jesus here is claiming something that could only be true of divinity. Jesus is claiming pre-existence and eternality. We might ask how it is that Jesus, who was born of a virgin, and so had a beginning of days, could claim pre-existence with the eternal God. The answer to that is that second person of the Trinity took to himself a human nature, as that was added in the incarnation, and so the person Jesus of Nazareth can speak John 17:5 as one who has a divine nature belonging to His person. The language of Scripture often ascribes to the person of Jesus attributes that could only belong to God.

Another example of this that works in the other direction is found in Acts 28:20

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

Of course it is Jesus who purchased the church of God with His own blood. Paul, in Acts, is speaking of the attributes of humanity (blood) as being ascribed to God. As the person Jesus has a divine nature, and as a man he has blood, it can be said that God purchased the church with His own blood even though the divine nature can not bleed.

So, we see that the Scripture teaches that Jesus has two natures. We see that Scripture affirms that Jesus was one person. But we also see Scripture speaking in such a way that “the properties of both, the human and the divine natures, are now the properties of the person, and are therefore ascribed to the person,” and yet without confusing or mixing, nor separating or changing the Divine and Human natures. The fancy theological term for this is communicatio idiomatum.

The reason this is important to keep in mind is that there is a tendency to forget one or the other of these natures. In the early Church, the temptation was to forget the humanity of Jesus. The heresy called gnosticism was constantly denying that Jesus was human. In our era the tendency is to forget that Jesus is divine. We treat the Lord Christ so casually. This is evidenced, I would suggest, by people talking incessantly about having a “relationship with Jesus,” forgetting that this person we talk so casually about having a relationship with is the one whom the Apostle John fell before as dead because of the intense divine glory of His divine presence.

Question 18 gives a number of Scriptures to support the fact that Jesus is God. Here are but three,

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Rom.9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Jer.23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Question 18 gives a number of Scriptures to support the fact that Jesus is Man. Here are but three,

Luke 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Philip.2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Heb.2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; Heb.2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Heb.2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Question 18 gives a number of Scriptures to support the fact that Jesus was without sin. Here are but four,

Heb.4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Heb.7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

1 Pet.1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 Pet.2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

Remember, this all started by looking for someone qualified to bring us rescue from our sins. That all of this is, in Scripture, seen predominantly in that light is proven by a few texts from Scripture,

1 Tim.2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Heb.2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

There are other philosophical reasons why the divine and the human meeting in Jesus is monumentally important but the Catechism is only concerned with the soteriological (pertaining to salvation) reasons as to why the Lord Christ Christ is both human and divine. In short, unless the Lord Jesus Christ was and is human and divine we could not have been delivered from our sins and would be without God and without hope.

Question 18 ends by quoting 1 Cor.1:30,

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

The importance of this text is found in the reality that as we as Christians are placed in Christ as our representative before the Father, we now wear before the Father the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption of our representative the Lord Jesus Christ so that when we are considered by the Father we are considered as belonging to the one the Father delights in and so the Father delights in us.

This is why there is no other name under heaven by which men must be saved.