[CF Devotionals] 2008-02-27 - Heidelberg 7.1

Heidelberg Catechism Series, Part 15

Question 7.1: Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?

Answer: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise. This fall has so poisoned our nature that we are born sinners - corrupt from conception on.

Let us review where we have been. In Question 1, we are told that our only comfort in life and death is that we are not our own, but that we rather belong to Christ. This has huge implications for all of our lives. Question 2 asks what we have to know, to live and die in the joy of this comfort. The comfort that we are not our own, but belong to Christ, is to be a joy to us. The answer to the second question is that we must know the depth of our sin and misery, but also that we must know how we are set free from our sin and misery. Then we progress to Question 3, where we are asked how we have come to know our sin and misery, and the answer is that the Law of God has told us. We then progress to what the Law of God tells us (Question 4), and in Question 5, are asked if we can live up to what God's Law tells us, and we find both in the catechism's teaching, but also by our own experience, that we fall far short of what we should be and do. We have "a natural tendency" to hate God and our neighbor.

We are now in the section that, while acknowledging that all this is true and really bad, asks us, can we blame God for our predicament? The answer, of course, is that we can't. God created us as good. So here we are, in Question 7, asking us further, that if our corrupt nature didn't come from God, who is the Creator, where did it come from? The answer is that our corrupt nature comes from the disobedience of Adam and Eve in Paradise. It was sin of Adam that led to our new natural tendency to hate God and our neighbor (Question 5). The Catechism says Adam and Eve, but we must be more precise here. It was the sin of Adam, as our representative, that led to our nature being corrupted. There was sin in Eve, to be sure, but it was the sin of Adam - as our Federal Representative - that was the foundation of the fall into sin. The positive blessing of the Lord to Adam was that he could eat of any tree in the garden, but it included the negative prohibition that he must not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam was, for lack of a better term, a test case. Would he obey? He stood as our representative in the Garden of Eden where God had placed him. His actions, either to obey or disobey, would affect all who would proceed from him. He failed, and all who have proceeded naturally from him by birth, have shared in his corruption.

We see this brought out in Romans 5:12-21 most clearly, and we will look into this more deeply in 7.2, but let us quickly reflect on the remedy that is brought to us in Christ, who stands as our representative through our faith in Him. He fulfilled the Law of God. He is the only One who has. He stands as our new head, if we are His children. As in Adam all die, so in Christ all live. Yes, we are all born sinners, but Christ, by regeneration, changes the poison of our nature, and makes us pleasing to the Father. It is one of the wonders of Christ's mercy. He takes our hearts of stone, rebellious as they are, and gives us new hearts of flesh. But even more, He takes our corrupt nature, all we are in Adam, and gives us His perfect righteousness, thus changing our nature and all we are. Blessed be the Lord our righteousness.

Soli Deo Gloria,
T-

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