Family Devotions using the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 6 February 5-11

Family Worship Guide
For the Week of Lord’s Day 6

 

Catechism

16  Q.  Why must he be truly human and truly righteous?

A.  God’s justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for its sin;[1] but a sinner could never pay for others.[2]

17  Q.  Why must he also be true God?

A.  So that, by the power of his divinity, he might bear the weight of God’s anger in his humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life.[3]

18  Q.  And who is this mediator; true God and at the same time truly human and truly righteous?

A.  Our Lord Jesus Christ,[4] who was given us to set us completely free and to make us right with God.[5]

19  Q.  How do you come to know this?

A.  The holy gospel tells me. God himself began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise;[6] later, he proclaimed it by the holy patriarchs[7] and prophets,[8] and portrayed it by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law;[9] finally, he fulfilled it through his own dear Son.[10]

 

Scripture Memory

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Hebrews 9:15

Daily Scripture Reading

Sunday           Read the passage your pastor preached on this week.

Monday          Ezekiel 18:1-13

Tuesday          Hebrews 2:14-18

Wednesday    Isaiah 53

Thursday        Matt. 1:18-23

Friday              1 Corinthians 1:22-31

Saturday         Hebrews 9:1-15

Daily Prayer Requests

Sunday           Pray that the Lord would be glorified through you in the upcoming week.

Monday          Pray for the college students in your church.

Tuesday          Pray for the leaders of our state.

Wednesday    Pray for those who are homebound and for their caregivers.

Thursday        Pray for missionaries spreading the message of Christ throughout the world.

Friday              Pray for the marriages in your church.

Saturday         Pray that God would be glorified in tomorrow’s worship gathering.

Overview and Helps

Monday’s Scripture follows question and answer 16. The rest of the week’s readings have reference to various aspects of all the questions. Aspects in each will apply to multiple question and answers

MONDAY

This is a good passage to use in teaching the important truth that God does not have any grandchildren. God is just and deals with each person on an individual basis. It would be beneficial for you to read the entire chapter beforehand and be prepared to incorporate other verses in discussion with your family.

TUESDAY

Jesus is as human as humanity can be. If he were not he could not be man’s merciful and faithful high priest by offering atonement for man’s sins.

WEDNESDAY

Pay attention to the “he” and “we” pronouns. Teach your family what this passage teaches: the substitutionary atonement of Christ.

THURSDAY

Here, at the beginning of his incarnation, we receive a clear teaching about the nature and purpose of the Messiah. Jesus is God’s Son, having the nature of God he is God. Jesus came to save his people from their sins. While verse 21 certainly supports “limited atonement” there are greater truths to meditate upon in this passage.

FRIDAY

Many commentators note critically the cold, logical bluntness of this section of the Catechism (Lord’s Day 5 & 6). It is indeed a danger to be wary of. This passage is a helpful reminder that however logical the faith seems to us it is foolishness to the unbeliever. We do not strive to have a faith we can understand even as we seek to understand the faith we have.

SATURDAY

The last phrase of verse 14 stands in stark contrast to the surrounding context that speaks only of sacrifice and death. The death of Christ means life. The death of Christ is the power and right to serve the living God.

 

Catechism Comments & Quotes

Summarizing the group of questions:

It was already clear in the Old Testament that animal sacrifices, in themselves, were not enough to atone for man’s sin. There had to be something better. There had to be the sacrifice of a divine0human Savior. The New Testament shows how God fulfilled his great promise by sending such a redeemer. When the perfect and final sacrifice was finally made in the person and work of Jesus Christ, then at last God’s people could really be free—put right with God forever. (Williamson, 34)

Why must he be truly human? Why must he also be true God? We should not pretend that we have a compelling logical argument by which we can “prove” that our Mediator had to be god and man in one person. The Bible presents him that way. God gave him to us. And we accept him in faith and with adoration. (Kuyvenhoven, 38)

Precisely at this point the catechism intends to show by its arrangement and conception of the questions and answers that the fact of Christ, the ground of man’s redemption, is not an accidental and arbitrary fact but a meaningful, necessary, logical happening (Logos!) in which the wisdom of the divine decree is revealed. (Barth, 48)

 

When one considers these early attacks upon the truth concerning the Saviour, His person and natures, and is aware of the fact that all or most of these heresies repeatedly arise in the Church on earth, and attempt to destroy the true Christian doctrine concerning Christ and salvation, he will be able to appreciate properly the efforts put forth by the Heidelberg Catechism to demonstrate the necessity of the two natures, and of the unity of the person of Christ. (Hoeksema, 40)

Question 16

…in man’s sin, the question underlying the Gospel of Love is: who will be victorious? Will it be God’s justice demanding punishment or man’s sin in setting up his own standard of right and wrong? For God to be just and the justifier of the unjust, this divine must is satisfied in Christ. In him “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Ps. 85:10). (Vis, 25)

As far as the humanity of Jesus is concerned, it already appears in those outward marks of his life which attest to his true sharing in human existence: Jesus knows hunger (Matthew 4:2), thirst (John 19:28), sleep (Mark 4:38), joy (Luke 10:21), sorrow (Luke 19:41). (UCP, 46)

He must be very, i.e. real man. And a real man is one that partakes of our human nature. He must not assume a temporary appearance of a human being, for then he is not related to us. He must not come in a specially created human nature, for then he stands outside the scope of our race. He must be of us. He must subsist in the very human nature that was created in the beginning, and as far as his humanity is concerned, he must have been with us in the loins of Adam. He must be a very real “son of man.” (Hoeksema, 41)

Even though he is a son of man, born of woman, blood of our blood, and flesh of our flesh, yet the defilement and pollution that adheres to all men, to the whole human nature, may not cleave to him. (Hoeksema, 42)

Question 17

How great, how powerful must our Mediator be, so that he could be mediator for all time for all men? What did God require? That in the power of his Godhead he might, in his manhood, bear the burden of God’s wrath. That means that God’s wrath is so great that no one can measure it or satisfy it; it is infinite. Only God is infinite, and no matter how great the weight of sin, God’s infinite merit is greater. Thus by the power of his Godhead Christ bore the burden of God’s wrath. (Vis, 25)

 

Very God the mediator must be. That means that He must be of the divine essence. He must be the eternal One Himself, the I AM, the infinite God, Who exists in Himself, and has life in Himself, Who is the almighty, the allwise, the omniscient, the Lord of all! The mediator must not be a god, but he must be very God! (Hoeksema, 43-44)

Question 18

Nothing and nobody else are needed or wanted to unite us with God. He is the bridge from earth to heaven, for he is a true human being. He is the bridge from heaven to earth because he is truly God. (Kuyvenhoven, 39)

We do not have to do here with two acts, but with the one act of redemption which is given us in our Lord Jesus Christ in his fulfillment of God’s assertion and restoration of his own and man’s right. God is due recognition as the Lord; man is due life under his lordship. God’s right and man’s right are threatened by sin. God’s act as Redeemer restores both. He defends his right and his honor, but he does it in just such a way that he also takes up man’s destroyed right. Jesus Christ assumes responsibility for man before God. He “pays” for sin. He bears the burden of God’s wrath and thereby removes the abnormal condition of man. He establishes God and man in their right again. (Barth, 48)

Christ Himself is the fullness of our salvation. It is Himself we receive. Himself He imparts to us through faith by His Spirit. We do not receive Him piecemeal, bit by bit; we do not receive the blessings of salvation one by one until gradually we have appropriated the whole Christ and all His benefits: we receive Him! Into Him we are ingrafted by a truth faith. (Hoeksema, 46)

He is made or become unto us wisdom, righteousness and sanctification, and redemption. He is all this for us. (Hoeksema, 49)

Question 19

According to Scriptures, Christians are bound to acknowledge only one Mediator, by whom all people must come to God. That does not mean that we are disrespectful of all who would seek access to God elsewhere. It means that the Christian religion is a missionary religion. If Christian faith does no show its urge to bring all men to the Mediator, it has become untrue to its very character. As soon as it outgrows its “narrow” view that Jesus is the only way, the Christian church loses its missionary zeal; in fact, it ceases to be Christian. (Kuyvenhoven, 36)

The gospel is not a summons to kingdom living or a message about what we can do for God or a description of our efforts at cultural transformation. The gospel, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, is the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again on the third day. (DeYoung, 41)

His existence cannot be deduced and postulated a priori; it can and must be understood after the fact. The church knows what it is doing when it knows and praises in him “our only comfort,” for he is God’s righteousness and therefore also his mercy in person. (Barth, 50)

The “gospel of the promise” is, therefore, not to be changed into a vague, general, “well meaning offer of grace to all.” For between the “gospel of the promise” and a well meaning offer” there is as much difference as between day and night. The two have nothing in common. He that preaches a well meaning offer cannot preach the glad tiding of the promise. (Hoeksema, 57-58)


[1] Rom. 5:12, 15; 1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:14-16

[2] Heb. 7:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:18

[3] Isa. 53; John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:21

[4] Matt. 1:21-23; Luke 2:11; 1 Tim. 2:5

[5] 1 Cor. 1:30

[6] Gen. 3:15

[7] Gen. 22:18; 49:10

[8] Isa. 53; Jer. 23:5-6; Mic. 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Heb. 1:1-2

[9] Lev. 1-7; John 5:46; Heb. 10:1-10

[10] Rom. 10:4; Gal. 4:4-5; Col. 2:17

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