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

Advertisements

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

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