Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My Only Comfort

Question 1: What is your only comfort, in life and in death?

Answer 1: That I belong - body and soul, in life and in death - not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of His own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that He protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed that everything must fit His purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.

What you've just read is the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism. It was written in 1563 by Caspar Olevianus and Zacharias Ursinus to be used as a catechism and statement of the Reformed understanding of Scripture. This catechism is one of my favorites because of it's structure - it's organized around the broad themes of first guilt, then grace, and finally gratitude. (I think "guilt, grace, and gratitude" is an excellent summary of the Gospel and the Christian life.)

The first answer resonates with my every time I read it. That really is my only comfort in life and death. I belong to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has delivered me and keeps me, and the Holy Spirir gives me assurance and the desire to live for Him. My only hope is bound up in those facts, which gives me great comfort.

Check out the Heidelberg Catechism. You'll be glad you did!


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