Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 6 – Jesus Who?

What would you say if someone asked you to describe Jesus? How would Jesus’ CV look should you write it? Most of us are familiar with the Sunday school answers: “Jesus is my Saviour and He died for me on the cross.”, “God loves me and He sent Jesus, His son, to die for my sins.” all of which are true but does not really tell the whole story. How well do we understand what really is revealed to us in the Bible regarding the life and death of the perfect God and Man? Lord’s Day 6 of the Heidelberg Catechism should help.

He is a perfectly righteous man:

Q. 16: Why must he be very man, and also perfectly righteous?

A: Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned, should likewise make satisfaction for sin; and one, who is himself a sinner, cannot satisfy for others. 

By becoming fully human Jesus could bear our sins. In other words: for us to be saved God had to become fully man. He had to become weak, vulnerable, and experience all the temptations of the world so that He could die as our substitute. But He not only had to become human He also had to live the perfect life so that His right-standing with God could be transferred to us.

He is also fully God:

Q. 17: Why must he in one person be also very God?

A: That he might, by the power of his Godhead sustain in his human nature, the burden of God’s wrath; and might obtain for, and restore to us, righteousness and life.

We so often hear the cliché of Jesus bearing our sins on the cross that we give it no second thought. We seem to waltz through the day unaware that every time we lie, every time we act in anger, every time we desire a car or a house, every sin we commit we choose something instead of God. We constantly exchange the ultimate truth for a lie (Rom 1:23). The crime is massive and the punishment eternal.  While being fully man Jesus is also fully God because, as God, He has the strength to bear the weight of each and every of our blasphemous sins.

He is both man and God:

Q. 18: Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, and a real righteous man?

A: Our Lord Jesus Christ: “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”

Who is Jesus then? He is the God who gives wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. He gives us the means to get to know Him, a clean slate, a life of growing closer to Him and the means by which we can escape the wrath of God that we deserve. This is possible only because He became a man.

He has shown us all this:

Q. 19: Whence knowest thou this?

A: From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise; and afterwards published by the patriarchs and prophets, and represented by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; and lastly, has fulfilled it by his only begotten Son. 

The actual CV of Jesus Christ is infinite, we are told this in John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.“.

So what would you say in summary, who is Jesus? Apart from the infinite CV, it might work if you summarised with references:

    • See in the Paradise, also known as The Garden of Eden.
    • See the patriarchs and prophets.
    • See the ceremonies and sacrifices of the law.
    • See Jesus Himself, fulfilling every requirement as the dear Son of God.

This then is the Good News. The story of Jesus, fully man, fully God, satisfying the rightful anger of our perfect God.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 5 – Crossing the Chasm

God gave us the Bible, the whole Bible, and therein He reveals that which He determined we should know. He shows us a God who not only loves, serves and dies for others but a God who we should fear (Matt. 10:28). We stand guilty before this righteous God and our debt must be payed. We know the answer is Jesus, but why?

Lord’s Day 5 shows us how there is only one deliverer from the judgment of a righteous God.

Q. 12: Since then, by the righteous judgment of God, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, is there no way by which we may escape that punishment, and be again received into favour?

A: God will have his justice satisfied: and therefore we must make this full satisfaction, either by ourselves, or by another. 

God is just and fair and, when being truly honest with ourselves, we want this God. We want a God who hates the unjust, a God who hates rape and murder, a God who hates famine and corruption. How perfect would a world be where every wrong is removed and any foul deed punished. Imagine a country where the corrupt official is removed from his position immediately and then punished accordingly.

We like the idea of this fair and just god. The problem is when we are summoned before this perfect Judge and our deeds are judged against a perfect standard.

Q. 13: Can we ourselves then make this satisfaction?

A: By no means; but on the contrary we daily increase our debt.

By trying to serve out this deserved sentence we increase that very wrongful acts on which we are judged. As finite beings we cannot live up to the bar that an infinite Judge has set.

Q. 14: Can there be found anywhere, one, who is a mere creature, able to satisfy for us?

A: None; for, first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man has committed; and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin, so as to deliver others from it. 

A fair judge will not pronounce a guilty criminal free then point to a random spectator in the court declaring that he must now be imprisoned for the murder or rape or whatever the criminal is guilty of. More than that, the sentence pronounced cannot be served by any living person, animal etc. As an example imagine a child rapist and murderer is found guilty of fifty such offences, his sentence would be multiple life sentences adding up to (for example) 18 life sentences. Should that roughly equate to 1 800 years no man or animal could serve out such a sentence.

Standing before the perfect Judge we are charged with a sentence that cannot be served by us. I cannot serve the sentence I deserve for the wrong I have done or will still do.

Q. 15: What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for?

A: For one who is very man, and perfectly righteous; and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very God. 

So why would we need Jesus? As Kevin DeYoung puts it: “We need a righteous Man to save fallen men and a divine Man to bear the curse of God…. because nothing other than a God-man can save men from God”

We need Jesus as our mediator, fully man and fully god.

“There is no arbiter between us,
who might lay his hand on us both.” -Job 9:33

-See also The Good News We Almost Forgot, Kevin DeYoung.

Heidelbergse Kategismus, Sondag 4 – ‘n Muur te Hoog

Sondag 2 en Sondag 3 wys dat ons sondig is en dat God ons nie so geskep het nie; ons kom agter dat dit as gevolg van die sondeval is dat ons dié sondige natuur het. Sondag 2 spesifiek spreek aan die manier wat die Wet vir ons wys dat ons in die verkeerd is, in alle opsigte.

So as ons nie kan goed doen nie (buiten as nuwe skepsel deur die Heilige Gees), hoekom hierdie maatstaf? Dit is soos om by die Olimpiese Spele te kom en dan die hoogspring lat te sit op 73,42 meter of om vir Donald Trump te vra om sy hare te sny.

Vraag: Doen God die mens dan nie onreg aan as Hy in sy wet van hom eis wat hy tog nie kan doen nie?

Antwoord: Nee, want God het die mens so geskep dat hy dit kon doen. Maar die mens het homself en sy hele nageslag as gevolg van die aanhitsing van die duiwel en deur moedswillige ongehoorsaamheid van hierdie gawes beroof.

Daar is twee objeksies, 1) Hoe kan ons skuld hê in Adam en Eva se sonde? Ons was nie daar nie? 2) Om die onmoontlikheid van die gehoorsaamheid.

Een van die skrywers van die HK, Zacharias Ursinus, het vir ons hulp verleen om die vrae:

1) Sou ‘n prins vir een van sy vriende ‘n fooi gee en die vriend kom in opstand teen die prins verloor hy nie net die fooi vir homself nie, maar vir sy kinders ook. Die prins doen geen ongeregtigheid aan die kinders as hy nie dit wat die pa verloor deur sy optrede aan die kinders gee nie. Sou die prins dan ‘n fooi aan die kinders gee is dit slegs uit goedheid en genade.

2) “This impossible demand is, therefore, the greatest benefit; because it leads us to the attainment of the power through which we may comply with what is required of us.

Vraag: Wil God hierdie ongehoorsaamheid en afval ongestraf laat bly?

Antwoord: Nee, glad nie; inteendeel, sy toorn is verskriklik sowel oor die erfsonde as oor die sonde wat ons self doen: Hy wil dit in die tyd en in die ewigheid met ‘n regverdige oordeel straf. Hy het immers gesê: Vervloek is elkeen wat nie bly in alles wat geskryf is in die boek van die wet om dit te doen nie. (Gal 3:10, Deut 26:27)

Dis hoe die saak staan: God laat nie die rebellie ongestraf nie. Dis nie God se skuld nie. Ons is skuldig.

Ons begin in Sondag 5 met die verlossing van die mens – die oplossing.

Heidelbergse Kategismus, Sondag 3 – God Goed & Ek?

So die HK beweer in Sondag 2 dat ons, 1) ons ellend ken uit die Wet van God, 2) God eis van ons liefde aan Hom en aan ons naaste en 3) ons haat eintlik God sowel as ons naaste.

Dit is teen ons grein om te dink dat ons inherent nie goed (sleg) is of dat ons natuur is om mense te haat sowel as die God wat ons geskep het. Post Modernisme skep die subjektiewe maatstaf van reg en verkeerd en die Bybel gee ons ‘n ander antwoord as wat hierdie wêreld ons gee: ons is sondig.

As dit dan waar is kom ons by ‘n bombshell:  Is evil dan nie God se skuld nie? Waar kom die sonde dan vandaan?

Vraag: Het God die mens dan so sondig en verkeerd geskep?

Antwoord: Nee, God het die mens goed en na sy ewebeeld geskep. Dit beteken: in ware geregtigheid en heiligheid, sodat hy God sy Skepper reg kon ken, Hom van harte kon liefhê en saam Hom in die ewige saligheid kon lewe om Hom te loof en te prys.

Vraag: Waar kom hierdie verdorwe natuur van mens dan vandaan?

Antwoord: Van die val en ongehoorsaamheid van ons eerste ouers, Adam en Eva, in die paradys. Daar het ons natuur so verdorwe geraak dat ons almal in sonde ontvang en gebore word.

Vraag: Is ons so verdorwe dat ons glad nie in staat is om iets goeds te doen nie en tot alle kwaad geneig is?

Antwoord: Ja, behalwe as ons deur die Gees van God weergebore word.

Ons kom agter dat ons probleem ‘n groot probleem is soos wat Sondag 2 en nou Sondag 3 verduidelik het.

Vir nou bly wonder oor die probleem wat ons het, die gat waarin ons is. Dink aan wat jy sien as die oplossing (wat ons weet Jesus Christus is). Dink oor hoekom Jesus te werk gegaan het soos Hy het en wat die implikasies is vir ons. Probeer om verby ons gewone clichés te kyk en vra af wat jy rerig glo, of sou jy nie ‘n Christen wees wonder oor wat Christenne glo. (Die antwoorde soos vervat in die HK is oppad)

In Sondag 4, die laaste deel oor ons ellende, kyk ons na die regverdigheid van die eis van God dat ons nie moet sonde sowel as die straf wat hierdie sonde verdien.

Heidelbergse Kategismus, Sondag 2 – Die Wet en Ek

John Piper, een van die groot teoloë van ons tyd, vertel hoe sy pa, ‘n sendeling, hom eendag nader trek. Hy sê toe vir hom die volgende: “Johnnie. You know it’s hard getting people saved, but it’s even harder getting people lost”. Moeilikste deel van ‘n sendeling se werk is om mense verlore te kry -maak dit sin?

Die goeie nuus is die oplossing van ‘n probleem, en voor daar ‘n probleem opgelos kan word moet mens eers besef dat daar wel ‘n probleem bestaan. Die Heidelbergse Kategismus help ons in Sondag 2 om die probleem (dit is ons ellende) raak te sien.

Vraag: Waaruit ken jy jou ellende?

Antwoord: Uit die wet van God

Vraag: Wat eis die wet van God van ons?

Antwoord: Dit leer Christus ons samevattend in Matteus 22:37-40 (NIV): “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””

Vraag: Kan jy dit alles ten volle nakom?

Antwoord: Nee, want ek is van nature geneig om God en my naaste te haat.

Sondag 3 kyk na die toestand van die mens soos dit hier bo genoem word – skop jy in teen hierdie idee dat ons rerig inherent sleg is en dan hoe pas God die Skepper daarin?

Heidelbergse Kategismus, Sondag 1 (Deel 2) – Die Sambreel

In Heidelbergse Kategismus, Sondag 1 (Deel 1) het ons gekyk na die enigste troos in die midde van ‘n gebroke wêreld en ‘n onafwendbare dood. Deel 2 van Sondag #1 kyk nou na die oorhoofse “hoe” van hierdie besef.

Die drie dinge wat ons moet besef word in die deel genoem en dan in detail bespreek deur die res van die Kategismus. Hierdie vraag en antwoord is dus die sambreel waaronder die Heidelbergse Kategismus gebou word. Die middelpunt bly God en die troos wat nou, en vir ewig slegs by Hom lê.

Vraag:

Hoeveel dinge moet jy weet om in hierdie troos salig te kan lewe en sterwe?

Antwoord:

Drie dinge: Ten eerste, hoe groot my sonde en ellende isten tweede; hoe ek van al my sonde en ellende verlos word en ten derde hoe ek God vir so ‘n verlossing dankbaar moet wees.