Heidelberg Lord’s Day 21

Cont’d from here.

54. What do you believe concerning ‘the holy catholic church’?

I believe that the Son of God through his Spirit and Word, out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal life and united in true faith. And of this community I am and always a living member.

Jn 10.14-16; Ac 20.28; Ro 10.14-17; Col 1.18
Ge 26.3b-4; Rev 5.9
Isa 59.21; 1Co 11.26
Mt 16.18; Jn 10.28-30; Ro 8.28-30; Eph 1.3-14
Ac 2.42-47; Eph 4.1-6
1Jn 3.14, 19-21
Jn 10.27-28; 1Co 1.4-9; 1Pe 1.3-5

55. What do you understand by ‘the communion of saints’?

First, that believers one and all, as members of this community, share in Christ and in all his treasures and gifts. Second, that each member should consider it a duty to use these gifts readily and cheerfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.

Ro 8.32; 1Co 6.17; 12.4-7, 12-13; 1Jn 1.3
Ro 12.4-8; 1Co 12.20-27; 13.1-7; Php 2.4-8

56. What do you believe concerning ‘the forgiveness of sins’?

I believe that God, because of Christ’s atonement, will never hold against me any of my sins nor my sinful nature which I need to struggle against all my life. Rather, in his grace God grants me the righteousness of Christ to free me forever from judgment.

Ps 103.3-4, 10, 12; Mic 7.18-19; 2Co 5.18-21; 1Jn 1.7; 2.2
Ro 7.21-25
Jn 3.17-18; Ro 8.1-2

From The Heidelberg Catechism.

Heidelberg Lord’s Day 20

God the Holy Spirit

53. What do you believe concerning “the Holy Spirit”?
First, he, as well as the Father and the Son, is eternal God. Second, he has been given to me personally, so that, by true faith, he makes me share in Christ and all his blessings, comforts me, and remains with me forever.

Ge 1.1-2; Mt 28.19; Ac 5.3-4
1Co 6.19; 2Co 1.21-22; Gal 4.6
Gal 3.14
Jn 15.26; Ac 9.31
Jn 14.16-17; 1Pe 4.14

From The Heidelberg Catechism.

Heidelberg Lord’s Day 19

50. Why the next words: “and is seated at the right hand of God”?
Christ ascended to heaven, there to show that he is head of his church, and that the Father rules all things through him.

Eph 1.20-23; Col 1.18
Mt 28.18; Jn 5.22-23

51. How does this glory of Christ our head benefit us?
First, through his Holy Spirit he pours out his gifts from heaven upon his members. Second, by his power he defends us and keeps us safe from all enemies.

Ac 2.33; Eph 4.7-12
Ps 110.1-2; Jn 10.27-30; Rev 19.11-16

52. How does Christ’s return “to judge the living and the dead” comfort you?
In all my distress and persecution I turn my eyes to the heavens and confidently await as the Judge, the very One who has already stood trial in my place before God and so has removed the whole curse from me. All his enemies and mine he will condemn to everlasting punishment; but me and all his chosen ones he will take along with him into the joy and the glory of heaven.

Lk 21.28; Ro 8.22-25; Php 3.20-21; Tit 2.13-14
Mt 25.31-46; 2Th 1.6-10

From The Heidelberg Catechism.

Heidelberg Lord’s Day 18

46. What do you mean by saying, ‘He ascended to heaven’?
That Christ, while his disciples watched, was lifted up from the earth to heaven and will be there for our good until he comes again to judge the living and the dead.

Lk 24.50-51; Ac 1.9-11
Ro 8.34; Eph 4.8-10; Heb 7.23-25; 9.24
Ac 1.11

47. But isn’t Christ with us until the end of the world as he promised us?
Christ is truly human and truly God. In his human nature Christ is not now on earth; but in his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit he is not absent from us for a moment.

Mt 28.20
Ac 1.9-11; 3.19-21
Mt 28.18-20; Jn 14.16-19

48. If his humanity is not present wherever his divinity is, then aren’t the two natures of Christ separated from each other?
Certainly not. Since divinity is not limited and is present everywhere, it is evident that Christ’s divinity is surely beyond the bounds of the humanity he has taken on, but at the same time his divinity is in and remains personally united to his humanity.

Jer 23.23-24; Ac 7.48-49; (Isa 66.1)
Jn 1.14; 3.13; Col 2.9

49. How does Christ’s ascension to heaven benefit us?
First, he pleads our cause in heaven in the presence of his Father. Second, we have our own flesh in heaven–a guarantee that Christ our head will take us, his members, to himself in heaven. Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth as a further guarantee. By the Spirit’s power we make the goal of our lives, not earthly things, but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.

Ro 8.34; 1Jn 2.1
Jn 14.2; 17.24; Eph 2.4-6
Jn 14.16; 2Co 1.21-22; 5.5
Col 3.1-4

From The Heidelberg Catechism.

Heidelberg Lord’s Day 17

45. How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us?
First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, so that he might make us share in the righteousness he won for us by his death. Second, by his power we too are already now resurrected to a new life. Third, Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection.

Ro 4.25; 1Co 15.16-20; 1Pe 1.3-5
Ro 6.5-11; Eph 2.4-6; Col 3.1-4
Ro 8.11; 1Co 15.12-23; Php 3.20-21

From The Heidelberg Catechism.

Heidelberg Lord’s Day 16

40. Why did Christ have to go all the way to death?
Because God’s justice and truth demand it: only the death of God’s Son could pay for our sin.

Ge 2.17
Ro 8.3-4; Php 2.8; Heb 2.9

41. Why was he “buried”?
His burial testifies that he really died.

Isa 53.9; Jn 19.38-42; Ac 13.29; 1Co 15.3-4

42. Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?
Our death does not pay the debt of our sins. Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.

Ps 49.7
Jn 5.24; Php 1.21-23; 1Th 5.9-10

43. What further advantage do we receive from Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross?
Through Christ’s death our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with him, so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer rule us, but that instead we may dedicate ourselves as an offering of gratitude to him.

Ro 6.5-11; Col 2.11-12
Ro 6.12-14
Ro 12.1; Eph 5.1-2

44. Why does the creed add, “He descended to hell”?
To assure me in times of personal crisis and temptation that Christ my Lord, by suffering unspeakable anguish, pain, and terror of soul, especially on the cross but also earlier, has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell.

Isa 53; Mt 26.36-46; 27.45-46; Lk 22.44; Heb 5.7-10

From the Heidelberg Catechism.

[Note: The answer to #44 is the first reasonable answer I have found yet, speaking figuratively rather than literally of Jesus’ descent into hell.]

Heidelberg Lord’s Day 15

37. What do you understand by the word “suffered”?
That during his whole life on earth, but especially at the end, Christ sustained in body and soul the anger of God against the sin of the whole human race. This he did in order that, by his suffering as the only atoning sacrifice, he might set us free, body and soul, from eternal condemnation, and gain for us God’s grace, righteousness, and eternal life.

Isa 53; 1Pe 2.24; 3.18
Ro 3.25; Heb 10.14; 1Jn 2.2; 4.10
Ro 8.1-4; Gal 3.13
Jn 3.16; Ro 3.24-26

38. Why did he suffer “under Pontius Pilate” as judge?
So that he, though innocent, might be condemned by a civil judge, and so free us from the severe judgment of God that was to fall on us.

Lk 23.13-24; Jn 19.4, 12-16
Isa 53.4-5; 2Co 5.21; Gal 3.13

39. Is it significant that he was “crucified” instead of dying some other way?
Yes. This death convinces me that he shouldered the curse which lay on me, since death by crucifixion was accursed by God.

Gal 3.10-13 (Dt 21.23)

From the Heidelberg Catechism.