Joel Beeke Reformed Rap Holy Hip Hop Mea Culpas and Why Christ Came: Will the Real Dr. Beeke Please Stand Up?

Dr. Joel Beeke, president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and prolific author on all things Puritan, has been “encouraged” to walk back comments he made when questioned about Reformed Rap. A panel at a Family Worship conference was asked what they thought about Reformed Rap. Dr. Beeke gave the “softest” most gracious answer of any of the panel members. But even that was too much for the gatekeepers. His good friend, Tim Challies, made it clear that such Christian liberty would not be tolerated and apologies were in order. Dr. Beeke apologized,

Recently I was asked to participate in a panel discussion at a Reformed Worship conference. In that discussion the panelists were asked to address the subject of Christian rap music (which I took to mean rap music primarily in the context of a local church worship service). To my regret, I spoke unadvisedly on an area of music that I know little about. It would have been far wiser for me to say nothing than to speak unwisely. Please forgive me. I also wish to publicly disassociate myself from comments that judged the musicians’ character and motives.

It seems pretty clear that any kind of divergent opinion on such matters is strictly forbidden among Evangelicalism’s elite.

I had always thought pretty highly of Dr. Beeke. I don’t know him personally or anything, but I have never seen anything from him I found objectionable- (I mean, other than the fact that he gives babies baths in church…). For family devotions we are actually using his newly released book. Why Christ Came. Given his recent encounters with the Rap PC crew, I found certain statements in chapter 5 of that book pretty discouraging:

  • In cultures and thought systems that reject the very idea of absolute truth rooted in Christ, speaking the truth is not necessarily a virtue and lying is not necessarily a fault. (p. 16)
  • Today, even in Judeo-Christian contexts, people frequently question the existence of truth itself. Some people wonder whether truth matters. (p. 17)
  • Pilate questioned the existence of truth, and his life bore the fruit of his doubts. He lived in fear of losing position. Against his conscience, he gave deference to the requests of the people. (p. 17)
  • Do you experience true freedom in Christ? Or are you living in bondage to the fear of men, to the demands of your flesh, and to the guilt of lies? (p. 18)

Wow. A couple things stick out to me. First, it seems pretty cleat that Evangelicalism is no longer just “No Place for Truth,” it is now “No Place for Debate.” If the gatekeepers have rendered their verdict, that verdict is final and it will be unopposed. Secondly, I would really like to hear Dr. Beeke’s answer to those final questions that he himself asked.

I feel bad for a man who is not allowed to have personal standards of holiness. I feel worse for a church who will not let him have them.

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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

January 29 – February 4 Family Worship Guide for Family Devotions using the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 5

Family Worship Guide
For the Week of Lord’s Day 5

Catechism

12  Q.  According to God’s righteous judgment we deserve punishment both in this world and forever after: how then can we escape this punishment and return to God’s favor?

A.  God requires that his justice be satisfied.[1] Therefore the claims of his justice must be paid in full, either by ourselves or another.[2]

13  Q.  Can we pay this debt ourselves?

A.  Certainly not. Actually, we increase our guilt every day.[3]

14  Q.  Can another creature; any at all; pay this debt for us?

A.  No. To begin with, God will not punish another creature for what a human is guilty of.[4] Besides, no mere creature can bear the weight of God’s eternal anger against sin and release others from it.[5]

15  Q.  What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?

A.  One who is truly human[6] and truly righteous,[7] yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God.[8]

Scripture Memory

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

1Timothy 2:5-6

Daily Scripture Reading

Sunday           Read the passage your pastor preached on this week.

Monday          Romans 2:1-11

Tuesday          Job 9:1-20

Wednesday    Job 9:21-35

Thursday        Job 16:16-22

Friday              Job 40:1-5

Saturday         1 John 2:1-3

Daily Prayer Requests

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

Monday:         Pray for the senior adults in your church.

Tuesday:         Pray for the leaders in your church.

Wednesday:   Pray for those who are homeless and destitute.

Thursday:       Pray for the salvation of friends and family members; call them by name.

Friday:             Pray for your family members; call them by name.

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

Overview and Helps

Monday’s Scripture follows question and answer 12. The readings on Tuesday through Saturday refer collectively to questions 13-15. You will notice that most of the readings are from the book of Job. The biblical theme of the need for a mediator plays a key role in the theology of Job. Any further study you did on this theme in the book of Job would be profitable.

MONDAY

Romans 2:1-11 is pretty clear about mankind’s universal guilt and condemnation. Paul’s battle was with Jews and Gentiles. Perhaps today the argument of the passage could be applied to “Christians” and believers. Children “born and raised” must understand that all people stand guilty before God and are in desperate need of embracing “the riches of his kindness” that leads to repentance.

TUESDAY

Job is a far more complex character than most Christians realize. For instance, in Job 9:1-20, does Job really believe he is blameless? We know from the first chapter that he was very careful about the mere possibility his sons and daughters sinned. Does he not think he is guilty of sin as well? Or is his view of God so high that he is saying even if he thought he was not guilty, he knows God would prove him wrong? Or is his view of God warped into claiming that God is a petty enough tyrant to find something wrong in even a perfect man? In any event, however good or bad as Job thinks he is, he knows God is infinitely more holy.

WEDNESDAY

Nearly all your attention can be devoted the last several verses of the chapter. This is mankind’s dilemma. There is no one to bridge the great chasm between God and man. Man’s only hope is someone who can stretch out one hand to God, the other hand to man, and bring them together. Hence the cross.

THURSDAY

Dwell on verse 19. Job’s hope is ours: an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

FRIDAY

In Job 40:1-5 we actually see how the law is a surrogate for the presence of God. “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” (Romans 3:19) The law accomplishes in man what the appearance of God accomplished in Job: it leaves us speechless in regards to the charges against us.

SATURDAY

This passage answers the dilemma this week’s questions present and points to the solution that next week’s questions offer. It should be noted that we are saved from our sins, and saved to keep his commandments. God is concerned with our obedience, but only its place. We obey in response to God’s grace not to secure God’s grace.

Catechism Comments & Quotes

Summarizing the group of questions:

The Catechism reorients us to the crisis of the human condition: On our own, God is not for us but against us. God’s wrath cannot be wished away from the pages of Scripture. (DeYoung, 38)

It took the church a few centuries of heresies to safeguard this biblical truth from error. Almost all the early heresies dealt somehow with the person of Christ, either denying His full deity (Arianism), or His full manhood (Docetism), or confusing the two (Eutychianism), or splitting the two (Nestorianism). As attractive as the compromise solutions seemed at the time, nothing other than a full-throated orthodoxy would do, because nothing other than a God-man can save men from God. We need a bridge that goes far enough in both directions, spanning the gulf that exists between a holy God and a rebellious people. We need a Mediator, as the Athanasian Creed says, who is “God and human” yet “not two, but one.” (DeYoung, 39)

Question 12

The design of this Lord’s Day is to prove how utterly destitute of salvation the sinner has become. If God dealt with sinners as they deserve, none could dare hope. From the human standpoint, there is no way of salvation. Three ways of solving the problem of sin are possible: obedience, paying the penalty, atonement. Adam has already forfeited the first way; the second offers no salvation; and the third is one which man is incapable of making  himself- first because no creature is good enough to pay either his own or another’s indebtedness; and second, because all men are already “dead in sins.” If there is a way of escape therefore, it is not to be found in ourselves. (Brower, 16)

Light is the natural symbol of God’s absolute justice and truth, just as darkness is the symbol of Satan’s kingdom of error and evil. Because God is light, it is very foolish to think for even one moment he will go easy on sin. The truth is that not one single sin—not even one we might call “a very little one”—will be remitted without full payment. (Williamson, 28)

…if man wants to “come again to grace,” to live in the presence of God, it will be necessary for him to pay; if he is insolvent, it will be necessary that someone else pay for him. The debt cannot remain unpaid. (UCP, 38)

Question 13

Man cannot satisfy God’s righteousness. He cannot restore the right of God and man. In fact he himself is the ever new, ever recurring cause of the destruction of this right. (Barth, 49)

Hundreds of thousands believe that rites and ceremonies are roads to the everlasting God. They sprinkle water, they dip and immerse, they burn candles, and they say litanies. Or they chant verses until their minds are numb. They call on saints and holy people, make pilgrimages, sing songs, pay money, But the Lord says that there is only one Mediator between God and man. (Kuyvenhoven, 36)

“Good” deeds are quite useless; they cannot compensate for the bad ones; they cannot restore the balance. Our acts are all tainted by the curse; we cannot produce a single pure deed, that is to say, a completely unselfish act motivated by love alone. (UCP, 40)

“It is the road to hell that is paved with good intentions, not the road to heaven.” (Cited in UCP, 41)

Question 14

Another creature cannot “pay” because man is the one who committed the violation, He is questioned about his deed and he must answer for it. Moreover, no mere creature can reestablish the right of God and man. (Barth, 49)

This is an intolerant teaching. It gives no saving credit to other religions, and it declares all human efforts hopeless. (Kuyvenhoven, 36)

How many times do we not find men and women, who, in one way or another, think they ought still to satisfy God? But when God reveals himself as he really is in Jesus Christ, when he ceases to be a creation of the human imagination, it becomes clear immediately that he could not allow anyone to bargain with him over his grace. (UCP, 42)

Question 15

Redemption as redemption through righteousness is only possible through one who is true man, one who is able to measure up to the responsibility of man before God, one who is capable of representing a new man (q. 16). But at the same time he must also be true God, one who is capable of actually achieving the restoration in its significance for all other men (q. 17). (Barth, 49)

One could imagine one righteous man dying to redeem one other person (if such a righteous man could be found, and he were willing to do it.) But even if such a person could be found, he could not redeem many people—unless he were not only a man but also an infinite person. (Williamson, 29)


[1] 1  Ex. 23:7; Rom. 2:1-11

[2] 2  Isa. 53:11; Rom. 8:3-4

[3] Matt. 6:12; Rom. 2:4-5

[4] Ezek. 18:4, 20; Heb. 2:14-18

[5] Ps. 49:7-9; 130:3

[6] Rom. 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:17

[7] Isa. 53:9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26

[8] Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Jer. 23:6; John 1:1

Family Worship Guide for Family Devotions January 22 – January 28 Using the Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 4

Family Worship Guide
For the Week of Lord’s Day 4

 

9   Q.  But doesn’t God do us an injustice by requiring in his law what we are unable to do?

     A.  No, God created humans with the ability to keep the law.[1] They, however, tempted by the devil,[2] in reckless disobedience,[3] robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.[4]

 

 10  Q.  Will God permit such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?

     A.  Certainly not. He is terribly angry about the sin we are born with as well as the sins we personally commit. As a just judge he punishes them now and in eternity.[5] He has declared: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.[6]

  

11  Q.  But isn’t God also merciful? 

    A.  God is certainly merciful,[7] but he is also just.[8] His justice demands that sin, committed against his supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty; eternal punishment of body and soul.[9]

 Scripture Memory

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.

Heb 9:27

 Daily Scripture Reading

Sunday           Read the passage your pastor preached on this week.

Monday          Genesis 3:1-6 

Tuesday          Genesis 3:7-19

Wednesday    Deuteronomy 27:15-19, 24-26

Thursday        Psalm 5

Friday              Exodus 33:18-34:8

Saturday         Hebrews 10:23-31

Daily Prayer Requests

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

Monday:         Pray for the senior adults in your church.

Tuesday:         Pray for the leaders in your church.

Wednesday:   Pray for those who are homeless and destitute.

Thursday:       Pray for the salvation of friends and family members; call them by name.

Friday:             Pray for your family members; call them by name.

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

Overview and Helps

Beginning with Monday’s Scripture reading each of the three Catechism questions for this week are focused on for two days. While each question should be reviewed every day, special attention should be given to #9 on Monday and Tuesday; #10 on Wednesday and Thursday; and #11 on Friday and Saturday.

 MONDAY

             Notice the wiles of the Devil. He baited his hook with something good: “you will be like God.” As he would do later with Jesus, Satan held out something good but offered a short-cut to obtaining it. Had Adam and Eve thought more carefully, perhaps they would have wondered at such a temptation and would have seen through it. Satan offered them the opportunity to be like God, yet he gained a hearing by planting doubts about God’s goodness.

 TUESDAY

            In setting the pattern for all such acts in the future, we see that if man is going to be saved, God must do the seeking. Sin immediately separated man from God. If Adam and Eve could have had their own way they never would have had fellowship with the Lord again. In his great mercy, however, God sought the wandering pair.

 WEDNESDAY

            Verses 20-23 were left out for their sexual nature. They should be included at your discretion. Deuteronomy itself presents this as a “congregational” activity so it is not hard to imaging youngsters being present.

            It would be helpful to ask questions or lead discussion in such a way to point out that the list of “curses” should not be limited to the letter of these verses. What are other ways we should show love to God and neighbor?

THURSDAY

            If nothing else, this Psalm certainly contradicts the worn-out cliché “God hates sin but loves the sinner.” The light of verses 11 and 12 is not appreciated without the darkness of verses 4-10.  

 FRIDAY

            A wonderful passage that demonstrates the true “secret of Moses’ success:” an abiding desire to know God more. Moses demonstrates the only proper response to the revelation of a God who forgives sin but by no means clears the guilty: he bowed his head and worshipped.

            How can God forgive sin and by no means clear the guilty? Preach Christ to your family!

 SATURDAY

             Another passage that dispels a popular contemporary myth. It is common to hear of a radical difference between “the God of the Old Testament” and of the New Testament. Contrary to popular Christian opinion, the grace of God in Christ brings with it even greater responsibility. Bring this home by meditating on verse 29 with your family.  

Catechism Comments & Quotes

Summarizing the group of questions:

Herman Hoeksema entitles his chapters on these questions: The Justice of God’s Demand; The Justice of God’s Wrath; The Justice of God’s Mercy

 This is the third and last Lord’s Day in which we confess the truth about the misery of humanity. Perhaps it is the most difficult one. We must now admit that God is righteous in his verdict, in his punishment, and in his ultimate wrath. (Kuyvenhoven, 31)

 All three questions might be expressed in one query: Is there a way out as far as sinful man is concerned? Is there a possibility for man in his fallen state and depraved condition to be blessed, to escape the wrath of God and punishment? (Hoeksema, 211)

 Man loves sin, but he dreads hell. And so he makes an attempt to escape the one while continuing in the other. And it is this possibility that is the subject of discussion in this fourth Lord’s Day. (Hoeksema, 212)

 Question 9  

What is it that makes people reject God’s judgment? In the first place, they say that it is not fair of God to ask for the impossible. How can you ask a poor cripple to walk? How can God expect us, weak and short-sighted people that we are, to do what not even Adam could do? (Praamsma, 19)

 It surely is not fair, or just, to punish a creature for not doing what it was never given the ability to do. So why can’t we say the same thing about man, since he is not able to keep God’s commandments perfectly? The answer is very simple: when God created man, he was able to keep God’s commandments. It is entirely man’s own fault that he is no longer able to do what he was able to do in the beginning. (Williamson, 22)

 Man cannot go forward. He stands under a historical power and can do nothing about it. God created him good, but man has renounced and lost his freedom. (Barth, 37)

 We form a corporate unity. In many respects you and I have never doubted it. The national debts, the astronomical amounts of money that our nations owe to bankers and other creditors in the world, are your and my debts. Yet when the debts were incurred, some of us were not yet born and none of us were asked. Similarly, the debt of the human race is yours and mine. (Kuyvenhoven, 32)

 Man wants to rid himself of the obligation to serve his Creator. He registers a complaint against his divine Employer in order to justify himself in his sin. He tries to justify a strike. (Hoeksema, 213)

 For the demand of the law of God is that man love Him with all his heart and mind and soul and strength. And this demand is not to be divorced from the so-called “cultural” mandate, but, on the contrary, dominates it. And it is this demand of the law that the Catechism refers in this ninth question.  This demand man cannot perform. (Hoeksema, 216)

 …we must proceed from the fundamental axiom: God is just, and He is the sole criterion of all justice. All his works are justice and truth. The question, therefore, can never be whether God Himself is just, nor whether His works are righteousness; but whether in a given case we understand the justice of God. (Hoeksema, 218)

 God gave man the means to perform the law; man squandered the gifts of God; the demand of the law is still just, though man is now incapable of performing it: love the Lord the God with all thy heart and mind and soul and strength! (Hoeksema, 222)

 Question 10

Lines about eternal punishment should be written wet with tears of our soul. Words thus spoken must have the hush of awe. (Vis, 19)

 Perhaps sin will go unpunished, as happens everywhere around us! Not every criminal faces the judge. No thunderbolt strikes us, when we transgress the Ten Commandments. “Original sin I disclaim and with actual sin I can afford to take a chance,” so speaks a rebellious voice in the troubled silence of the hall of justice of man’s accusing conscience. (Vis, 20)

 God’s honor—but also man’s salvation—depends on the fact that he cannot tolerate the destruction of his order, that forgiveness therefore cannot mean an overlooking of guilt. (Barth, 41)

 hen a person is called cursed in the Bible that means quite simply that he is no longer inside but outside. . . . Curse means the rejection of the chosen, dismissal from the sight of God, banishment to the shadow and night and chaotic side of creation, exile to an existence without ground and possibility—all this for the creature who was destined to dwell in light! Curse does not mean the annihilation of man, release from being, but banishment to being in negation, in the sphere toward which turned his back already at creation when he separated light and darkness. (Barth, 42)

 …death is no accident. It is not the natural end of all existence. It is the hand of God that is heavy upon us. Death is the expression of the wrath of God against sin. It is the wrath of god that abideth on us and never gives us even a moment’s respite. (Hoeksema, 225)

 If a man practices sexual immorality, God punishes him in His just judgment with certain diseases and corruption of the body; the drunkard makes of himself a physical wreck and mental imbecile; certain sins of character, such a lying, deceit, pride, haughtiness, and the like, meet with their own proper retribution. The ungodly world looks upon these evils as the natural results of the vices practiced, as the operation of the physical laws of the universe that cannot be changed but the believer knows that in all these “results” of sin the hand of God and His righteous judgment become manifest. (Hoeksema, 226)

 The wrath or displeasure of God is not to be compared to human anger. It is not a passing emotion. It is constant. For God’s anger is the reaction of the holiness of God against the wicked that tramples under foot the glory of His name and refuses to give Him thanks. God is holy. And His holiness is the divine virtue according to which He always seeks Himself as the only Good. (Hoeksema, 233)

 Only in Christ, Who voluntarily bore the wrath of God and the curse on the accursed tree, is there a way out. For in Him there is eternal righteousness, favor of God, and the blessing of life in His fellowship forever. (Hoeksema, 234)

 Here one does not “get by.” . . . Jesus Christ did not “get by.” And if we Christians belong to this Christ, we also cannot get by, for we cannot get around him. He stands before us as the rejected one. “Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole” (Is. 53). And because it lies on him, we are bound in him to take it seriously, It is only at this one place where God’s wrath had burned as a consuming fire—Golgotha. There is where the judgment of God on man is revealed. (Barth, 44-45)

 Question 11

When we minimize God’s justice, we do not exalt His mercy, we undermine it. God’s mercy exhibits its full power and sweetness when we see it not merely as a general goodwill to all people, but as the means by which God’s people are rescued, in Christ, from their just wrath and condemnation. (DeYoung, 35)

 The proof and the hope in that fearfulness [of eternal punishment] is evident when Jesus bore our punishment: the chastisement of our sin was upon him! Him who knew no sin, God made sin on our behalf. Would you see the fearfulness of the curse of sin? Go to dark Gethsemane and linger at the cross-crowned Calvary. There is the demonstration and the divine miracle of substitution. And we cast our anchor there. (Vis, 20-21)

 [The Catechism] readily grants that God is merciful. But it denies that this mercy of God eliminates the execution of His justice and righteous wrath. It insists that the blessed mercy of God can reach the creature only through the channels of His justice. (Hoeksema, 236)

 God is His attributes. His mercy is His justice, and His justice is His mercy. And therefore, His mercy is always a just and righteous mercy; and His justice is always merciful. (Hoeksema, 239)

 The greatness of sin is not measured by the position and worth of him that commits it, but by the majesty and goodness and sovereignty of Him against whom sin is committed. (Hoeksema, 242).

 He is Lord in all the universe; He is Lord in time and eternity. Always and everywhere and for ever we have to do with Him. Never can we escape Him. There is, therefore, no rest for the sinner. Offense against the infinite majesty of God, than Who there is no other sovereign, must be punished everywhere and for ever. (Hoeksema, 242)

 All the problems of heaven and earth, though they were to confront us together and at once, would be nothing compared with the overwhelming problem of God: That He is; what He is like; and what we as moral beings must do about Him. (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1992) 3.)

 


[1] Gen. 1:31; Eph. 4:24

[2] Gen. 3:13; John 8:44

[3] Gen. 3:6

[4] Rom. 5:12, 18, 19

[5] Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27

[6] Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26

[7] Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-9

[8] Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30-31

[9] Matt. 25:35-46

Family Worship Guide For the Week of Lord’s Day 3 using Heidelberg Catechism for Family Devotions

Family Worship Guide For the Week of Lord’s Day 3

 6   Q.  Did God create people so wicked and perverse?

     A.  No. God created them good[1] and in his own image,[2] that is, in true righteousness and holiness,[3] so that they might truly know God their creator,[4] love him with all their heart, and live with him in eternal happiness for his praise and glory.[5]

 

7   Q.  Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?

     A.  From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise.[6] This fall has so poisoned our nature[7] that we are born sinners; corrupt from conception on.[8]

 

 8   Q.  But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil?

     A.  Yes,[9] unless we are born again, by the Spirit of God.[10]

 Scripture Memory

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 1:27, 31

Daily Scripture Reading

Sunday           Read the passage your pastor preached on this week.

Monday          Genesis 1:24-31         

Tuesday          Psalm 8

Wednesday    Romans 5:12-21

Thursday        Psalm 51

Friday              1 Cor. 2:11-16

Saturday         John 8:34-47

Daily Prayer Requests

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

Monday:         Pray for the adults in your church.

Tuesday:         Pray for your local leaders.

Wednesday:   Pray for those who are sick and in need of physical healing.

Thursday:       Pray for specific opportunities to share the message of Christ with others.

Friday:             Pray for the families in your church.

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

Overview and Helps

Beginning with Monday’s Scripture reading each of the three Catechism questions for this week are focused on for two days. While each question should be reviewed every day, special attention should be given to #6 on Monday and Tuesday; #7 on Wednesday and Thursday; and #8 on Friday and Saturday.

 MONDAY

             There are several significant theological implications within this passage. The statement “Let us make man…” makes room from the very start of Scripture for the later revelation of the Trinity. While some commentators see this as God speaking to the heavenly counsel of angels, Scripture only speaks of man as made in God’s image and likeness: never in the image of angels. It is for this reason that Christ, the true image and likeness of God, came to redeem man and not angels.

            Verse 31 makes it very difficult to adopt any kind of evolutionary theory of creation. It is difficult to understand how “everything” could be “very good” as is sat on top of the bone-heap of billions of years of death.

 

TUESDAY

            This passage is particularly meaningful in our day and age. The message of unbelieving astronomers is that man is a tiny speck of insignificance in a vast universe. As Herman Bavinck wrote,

…even if, in an astronomic sense, the earth is no longer central to us, it is definitely still central in a religious and ethical sense, and thus it remains central to all people without distinction, and there is not a thing science can do to change that. Here the kingdom of God has been established; here the struggle between light and darkness is being waged; here, in the church, God is preparing for himself an eternal dwelling.

Psalm 8 should also be read in the light of Hebrews 2:5-9. The author of Hebrews interprets Psalm 8 Christologically to teach that Jesus is the Perfect Man who has been granted rule over all things.

 

WEDNESDAY

            Why are all men sinners? Is it because Adam is the seminal head of humanity; or because he is the federal head of humanity? The answer is probably, “both.” In any case, that is not really a question this text is trying to answer. Paul argues two facts: through Adam all men are sinners and Jesus Christ is the “one man” through whom sinners can be saved.

            A possible discussion question: how can grace said to abound much more than sin if there are more lost people than saved people?

 

THURSDAY

            As much of the back-story of this Psalm as is fitting for the children in your family should be discussed. The need of the sinner is God’s mercy, forgiveness, and cleansing. The sinner must recognize the depth of his sin: sin is against God and sin is in man from birth. The blessings of forgiveness are restoration, joy, and worship. In all of this, God is pursuing the heart of his child. The mercy and grace of God are not shallow, so neither is the repentance that pursues it.

 

FRIDAY

            While Scriptural support is offered, Question 8 could be taken to state the matter too absolutely. Jesus acknowledged that even evil parents know how to give good gifts (Matt. 7:11). Paul allows that even unbelieving Gentiles sometimes obey the lay “by nature” (Rom. 2:14-15). Even today’s Scripture reading offers an illustration of this: unbelieving scholars often provide valuable grammatical, lexical, and historical information about Scripture even as they disbelieve its divine nature. Nevertheless, the truth of today’s passage should be emphasized: the Bible will only “make sense” to those who have the Spirit of God.

            Depending on the mental perception abilities of your children, you may have to spend time discussing this aspect of total depravity. Every part of man is incurably corrupted by sin: his thinking, feelings, and actions. But this does not mean that every man is as bad as he could be or that every man does only bad continually. Rather, man is completely unable to do anything to recommend himself to God. He is spiritually dead.

 

SATURDAY

             Jesus focuses on the law of nature: sinners sin, murderers murder, and liars lie. In every example the root cause is the same: sin reigns because Scripture does not (8:37, 43, 44). Jesus was speaking to men who had large portions of the Old Testament memorized. Some of them might have even had the entire Old Testament memorized. Yet Jesus could assert that the word was not in them. What was their problem? Their nature: they were not born of God.

Catechism Comments & Quotes

Summarizing the group of questions:

We have already answered the question how we know what’s wrong with us. Now we wish to know how the trouble started and what the extent of the misery is. (Kuyvenhoven, 23)

Question 6  

This “image” is the dignity we must defend in human society. It involves a deep respect for human beings. We must honor as human beings even those who behave dishonorably. It is because they are God’s images that people’s blood may not be shed (Gen. 9:6) and their names may not be cursed (James 3:9-10). (Kuyvenhoven, 25)

 

The true nature of man is to know God. He can love him or hate him, but he cannot exist without him. (Miller, 25)

 

We are more than a mass of molecules. We are more than the sum of blood, bones, tissues, organs, and skin. Of all His creatures, we are unique in that we can know God, hear from God, communicate with God, and have union with God. (DeYoung, 29)

 

He created man good. In this connection this means: without corruption and sin; and, positively, so that man could reach the purpose of his existence in relation to God and all things. (Hoeksema, 91)

 

The animals are called forth by God’s Word out of the ground, man is formed by God’s creative hand. The very act that forms Adam out of the earth elevates him above it! (Hoeksema, 104)

 

No matter what becomes of man, whether he actually shows forth the beauty and glory of the image of God, or whether he turns into the very opposite and reveals the image of the devil, always you can distinguish him as a creature that ought to show forth God’s image, always he remains the living soul that was formed by God’s fingers out of the dust of the ground, and into whose nostrils God breathed the breath of life originally; always he remains a personal, rational and moral being, who ought to live in covenant fellowship with the living God! (Hoeksema, 105-106)

 

Question 7

Our actual sins do not make us sinners, but we have by nature a sinful condition that is the root and hotbed of all our actual sins. (Kuyvenhoven, 27)

 

If man has sabotaged the work of creation, it is because he has not had confidence in God. He has not believed God’s Word. He has believed that God was holding something back, even though in creating man “in his own image, in true righteousness and holiness,” God had already given him everything. Give me the share of the property that falls to me (Luke 15:12), the prodigal son said to his father, as if in his father’s house the son were not already enjoying his whole inheritance. (Miller, 27)

 

Why He did not sustain him by the virtue of perseverance is hidden in his counsel; it is ours to keep within the bounds of soberness. Man had received the power, if he had the will, but he had not the will which would have given the power; for this will would have been followed by perseverance. Still, after he had received so much, there is no excuse for his having spontaneously brought death upon himself. (Calvin, I, xv, 8)

 

Just as an apple tree has many apples—and all of them are Delicious apples if the tree is a Delicious apple tree—so it is with the human race because of the first sin of Adam and Eve. Because of our relationship with our first parents, we share their fallen nature. (Williamson, 18)

 

Our fundamental problem is not bad parents, bad schools, bad friends, or bad circumstances. Our fundamental problem is a bad heart. And every single one of us is born into the world with it. (DeYoung, 30)

 

After the heavenly image in man was effaced, he not only was himself punished by a withdrawal of the ornaments in which he had been arrayed, viz., wisdom, virtue, justice, truth, and holiness, and by the substitution in their place of those dire pests, blindness, impotence, vanity, impurity, and unrighteousness, but he involved his posterity also, and plunged them in the same wretchedness. (Calvin, II.i.5)

Question 8

Sin is no less than the destruction of the entire man, yet through His common grace God preserves enough of the gifts of creation so that man can still be seen and addressed as man. (Praamsma, 17).

 

Are we then incapable of doing any good? We can render civil and moral good; we can feed the hungry and engage in philanthropy; many make much of “common grace” and “practical Christianity,” yes, they manifest some good toward their fellow-man and we appreciate that. They are like a clock without main spring that shows time accurately twice a day, and does some good. But it is dead. And they that are in the flesh cannot please God. We must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. (Vis, 18)

 

…there is nothing in fallen men themselves, by nature, that can bring about the change that is needed. If a man is to be saved, it will have to be by God’s almighty power and unmerited mercy, and that only. (Williamson, 19)

 

The Christian life—the life of faith on God, hope in Christ, and love for others—necessitates, first of all, a life that has been given a supernatural new start by the Holy Spirit. We must be born again. (DeYoung, 31).


[1] Gen. 1:31

[2] Gen. 1:26-27

[3] Eph. 4:24

[4] Col. 3:10

[5] Ps. 8

[6] Gen. 3

[7] Rom. 5:12, 18-19

[8] Ps. 51:5

[9] Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; Isa. 53:6

[10] John 3:3-5

Guide for family devotions using Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day Week 2

FAMILY WORSHIP GUIDE
For the Week of Lord’s Day 2

 

3  Q. How do you come to know your misery?

A. The law of God tells me.[1]

 

4 Q. What does God’s law require of us?

A. Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22– Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.[2]* This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.[3] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

*Earlier and better manuscripts of Matthew 22 omit the words “and with all your strength.” They are found in Mark 12:30.

5 Q. Can you live up to all this perfectly?

A. No.[4] I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.[5]

Scripture Memory

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20 ESV)

Daily Scripture Reading

 Sunday           Read the passage your pastor preached on this week.

Monday          Romans 7:7-25

Tuesday          Galatians 3:15-21

Wednesday    Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Thursday        Luke 10:25-37

Friday              1 John 1:5-10

Saturday         Eph. 2:1-10

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

Beginning with Monday’s Scripture reading each of the three Catechism questions for this week are focused on for two days. While each question should be reviewed every day, special attention should be given to #3 on Monday and Tuesday; #4 on Wednesday and Thursday; and #5 on Friday and Saturday.

MONDAY

While there is disagreement about the latter portion of this passage (is Paul referring to himself before or after salvation), its teaching on the Law is clear. The Law cannot save anyone because it was never meant to do so. The Law can never save because the Law does not eliminate sin, it incites and reveals sin. To illustrate the truth of these verses you can try to coax your children into giving an honest answer to the question, “What is the first thing you want to do when Mommy or Daddy says, ‘No Cookies!’?” Or you can simply ask yourself what your immediate reaction is when someone places restrictions on you, e.g. a speed limit.

TUESDAY

This passage is in the larger context of answering the question of how a man is made right before God. Can man be made right before God by keeping the Law? What then, is the purpose of the Law?

WEDNESDAY

This passage of Scripture remains central within Judaism to this day. It should be more important to the church as well. The Jews take the words literally and put portions of the Law in small containers to hang around their heads, or nail to their door rather than allowing the Word to grow in their hearts. Having a regular time of family worship is one way in which Christians can follow the commands of this chapter. But what are some of the ordinary activities and surroundings of your everyday life that could be more explicitly tied to God’s Word?

THURSDAY

In what ways or on what occasions have you been a part of this story? When were times you have needed help and seen others pass you by? When have you helped someone forsaken by others? What made this story so jarring to Jesus’ audience was the racial aspect of a Samaritan helping a Jew. How can race or social status effect the way you see the people around you?

You should not miss the opportunity to use this passage to point to Christ. Jesus is the Good Samaritan who gave from his riches to aid us in our poverty (cf. 2 Cor. 8:9). In love, Jesus reached out to save us when we were lost and without hope.

FRIDAY

The death spiral of self-deception should be noted. The passage can be divided into three separate false claims. There is a remedy for claiming to walk with God while sinning (1:5-7). There is a remedy for claiming that one is not a sinner (1:8-9). John offers no remedy for the person who says they have never sinned (1:10). Everyone sins: that is bad news. Jesus came to save sinners: that is good news. If you are not a sinner, Jesus cannot save you.

SATURDAY

Special attention should be given to the “nature” language of verses 1-3. At his core, what is man? He is spiritually dead; he follows the sinful world and Satan; he does whatever his sinful nature tells him to do; he is a child of wrath.

“But God!” You cannot stop with the discussion of man’s nature though; you must go on to magnify the merciful, gracious, saving, powerful, kind, and creative nature of God.

 

Catechism Comments & Quotes

            This week is the first of three weeks on the subject of the Sin and Misery of man. Vis summarizes these three questions as: the Mystery, the Measure, and the Misunderstanding of our misery.

            Concerning the fact there follows 27 weeks on Deliverance, and 21 weeks on gratitude commentators note:

Its brevity shows that the Reformation, though deeply impressed by our guilt and condemnation, is not a pessimistic type of faith and has no independent interest in the doctrine of sin. We have to know the depth of sin in order to know the heights of God’s grace. (Berkhof, 97)

We notice first of all quite generally how much shorter this part is than the two following parts. That is not accidental or immaterial. “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime” (Ps. 30:5). (Barth, 35)

Question 3

The trouble with most people is that they don’t know the trouble we are in. Therefore their proposed solutions make no sense. One cannot prescribe a cure before on has diagnosed the illness. . . . Our problems are so deep that nobody can plumb the depth of the pit. Of course, we can describe our misery. . . . But nobody knows what our misery is unless God has told him or her. (Kuyvenhoven, 17)

A man may, in a general way, realize that his condition is abnormal, that there is something wrong with him, but only when he applies the proper criterion and gauges his condition with it can he know the character and seriousness of the abnormality. (Hoeksema, 62).

The law is “normal.” Whatever is in agreement with the law is “normal.” And whatever departs or is in conflict with the law of God is “abnormal,” and therefore, miserable! (Hoeksema, 64)

Question 4

It is a summary because it is the sum total of God’s requirements: the law and the prophets. (Kuyvenhoven, 18)

So at the very beginning of our knowledge sin there is mention of the name of him who in the first question was introduced as our Savior and Protector. His law says: you shall love the Lord your God and your neighbor. And this love is shown nowhere in Scripture as a spontaneous act of our own initiative, but an answer, a reflection, a reaction of the love God in Christ toward us: “We love because he first loved us.” (Berkhof, 97)

Sin, in the biblical sense of the word, is not transgression of separate commandments, of natural law, or of general standards. It is a personal act, the distortion of our personal relation with God and our neighbor. (Berkhof, 97)

The Measure of our Misery in indicated by God’s commandments. Voluminous like a lawyer’s library? Complicated like our Federal statutes? No, just two: Love God and love thy neighbor. (Vis, 15)

To the fish God says: “You must live in the water. That’s your environment. That’s your life.” And when a fish comes on dry ground, it is absolutely miserable and is going to die. To us God says, “You must love, because that’s my will for your life.” And when we don’t, we become absolutely miserable. We are going to die. (Kuyvenhoven, 18)

God, who requires love, has given love. That love was flesh and blood in Jesus Christ. And since Christ is still living, those who look to him will now receive the same quality of love by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). (Kuyvenhoven, 21)

“Love God” means that you love Him for His own sake with your whole being, with all your thinking and willing, with all your strength, every moment of your existence, in every relationship of your life, with all that you possess. Love of God is all-inclusive. It is either that or nothing, or rather: it is either love God or hate Him! Here you cannot divide or compromise. (Hoeksema, 70)

Question 5

The law of love says that God has to stand uppermost in our judgments and decisions, and that he is immediately followed by our neighbor; we ourselves have to have third place. In our sinful reality this order is basically and continuously reversed. As “love” in its biblical sense does not mean primarily a sentiment but an act of will, a decision in favor of anyone (whom we may like or may not like); so “hate” means not to acknowledge anyone’s legitimate place in our decisions and actions, to neglect or misuse him. That is exactly what we do with God and our neighbor. (Berkhof, 97-98)

We may think that the person who loves for here and now is just too careless to be religious. But the Bible interprets the “mind that is set on the flesh” as a case of “hostility,” of “enmity.” Such a person hates God! He does not and cannot submit to God’s law (Rom. 8:7). The person who thinks he or she does not need the Creator to live life or to teach philosophy is, by biblical standards, not merely politely indifferent but a “fool” who hates the One who sustains his or her breathing (Ps. 14:1, etc.). And when biblical light falls over gossip circles in taverns and beauty salons, these people are spitting out the poison of vipers (Rom. 3:13-14) and spreading a fire that was lit in hell (James 3:6). (Kuyvenhoven, 20)

…God’s standard is perfection and nothing less. Every attempt on the part of sinful men to compromise or to deny this is a hopeless delusion. When we begin to see this, we begin to understand what God intended us to learn through the law. And when we begin to grasp the unpleasant truth about our own position and condition, we also begin to realize our need for Jesus Christ as our only comfort. (Williamson, 15)

Do you really love God with every fiber of your being, never putting any person or dream or possession before Him? And do you really love your neighbor as yourself, always aiming for the advancement of others, always putting the needs of others ahead of your own, and always treating others just as you wish to be treated? (DeYoung, 27)

It is true, that in a very wide sense all men are my neighbors. But if I would feel the force of this answer of the Heidelberger, I must not think in general of “all men,” nor of the poor Chinese whom I never see, and whom to love seems rather easy; but I must bring before mind the man with whom I come into contact daily, and because of whose existence I am limited in my place in the world. Well, my nature is such, that I am prone to hate God; and, therefore, also to hate my neighbor. As my neighbor who crosses my path and who limits my place, I dislike him, and like to destroy him. If that neighbor is my employer, I simply try to get my wages out of him; if he is my employee, I try to keep those wages down as far as possible; if he is in the same business I am in, I try to force him out of business; if he is my competitor for a certain job or office, I do all in my power to disqualify him and spoil his reputation. If he is in authority over me, I rebel against him; if he is subject to me, I lord it over him. These and many other things are daily manifestations of this hatred of my neighbor. (Hoeksema, 81)

For this adverb “perfectly” is not added in order to suggest that it is possible that you keep all these things imperfectly; but on the contrary, to emphasize the fact, that you must either keep them perfectly or cannot keep them at all. (Hoeksema, 79)


[1] Rom. 3:20; 7:7-25

[2] Deut. 6:5

[3] Lev. 19:18

[4] Rom. 3:9-20, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10

[5] Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7:23-24; 8:7; Eph. 2:1-3; Titus 3:3

 

 

Here is the .pdf file

Heidelberg Family Week 2

Family Devotions using Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 1

FAMILY WORSHIP GUIDE
For the Week of Lord’s Day 1

 

1   Q.  What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A.  That I am not my own,[1] but belong; body and soul, in life and in death;[2] to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.[3] He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,[4] and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.[5] He also watches over me in such a way[6] that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven:[7] in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.[8] Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life[9] and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.[10]

 

2   Q.  What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

A.  Three things:

first, how great my sin and misery are;[11]

second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery;[12]

third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.[13]

Scripture Memory

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:8 ESV)

Daily Scripture Reading

Sunday             Read the passage your pastor preached on this week.

Monday           Romans 14:1-9

Tuesday           1 John 3:1-10

Wednesday     2 Corinthians 5:1-15

Thursday         Romans 3:9-19

Friday              Romans 3:20-28

Saturday          Psalm 111

 

Daily Prayer Requests

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

Monday           Pray for the children and youth in your church.

Tuesday           Pray for the leaders of our nation.

Wednesday     Pray for missionaries spreading the message of  Christ throughout the US.

Thursday         Pray for the men and women serving in the US military.

Friday              Pray for specific opportunities to bless others.

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

Click here for a pdf file of added helps for this week’s material.


[1] 1 Cor. 6:19-20

[2] Rom. 14:7-9

[3] 1 Cor. 3:23; Titus 2:14

[4] 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:2

[5] John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11

[6] John 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5

[7] Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18

[8] Rom. 8:28

[9] Rom. 8:15-16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14

[10] Rom. 8:1-17

[11] Rom. 3:9-10; 1 John 1:10

[12] John 17:3; Acts 4:12; 10:43

[13] Matt. 5:16; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 5:8-10; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:9-10