Saturday, 9 July 2011

A beginner’s guide to living, and dying, in joy

I thoroughly enjoyed heading east to the Faith Mission Convention last week. The highlight was hearing Alistair Begg preach on Romans 12:1-3.

During his message he mentioned the first two questions found in the Heidelburg Catechism:

What is your only comfort in life and death?                                                                  


What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

Big questions, it’d be worth stopping here and thinking about how you’d answer, but here’s how the catechism tackles them:

1. Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?                                                                   
 A. That I am not my own,[1] but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death,[2] to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.[3] He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil.[5] He also preserves me in such a way[6] that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head;[7] indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.[8] Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life[9] and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.[10]
[1] I Cor. 6:19, 20 [2] Rom. 14:7-9. [3] I Cor. 3:23; Tit. 2:14. [4] I Pet. 1:18, 19; I John 1:7; 2:2. [5] John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14, 15; I John 3:8. [6] John 6:39, 40; 10:27-30; II Thess. 3:3; I Pet. 1:5. [7] Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18. [8] Rom. 8:28. [9] Rom. 8:15, 16; II Cor. 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13, 14. [10] Rom. 8:14.
2. Q. What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
A. First, how great my sins and misery are;[1]
second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery;[2]
third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance.[3]
[1] Rom. 3:9, 10; I John 1:10. [2] John 17:3; Acts 4:12; 10:43. [3] Matt. 5:16; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 5:8-10; I Pet. 2:9, 10.

You can read the rest of the Heidelbueg Catechism here

Kevin DeYoung has written a really good book on the Heidelberg Catechism called ‘The good news we almost forgot’ preview available here.

Here’s something of what he has to say about the first question:

Heidelberg is asking, "What is your solace in life? What is your only real security?”…

…it poses the most important question we will ever face. What enables you to endure life and face death unafraid? Is it that you read your Bible every day? That you attend church every Sunday? That you give to the poor? That you have a cushy retirement account saved up? That you haven’t committed any of the big sins in life?

 We live in a world where we expect to find comfort in possessions, pride, power and position. But the Catechism teaches us that our only true comfort comes from the fact we don’t even belong to ourselves.

 How countercultural and counterintuitive!

 We endure suffering and disappointment in life and face death and the life to come without the fear of judgement, not because of what we’ve done or what we own or who we are, but because of what we do not possess, namely, our own selves.


No comments:

Post a Comment