2008-10-28 - Heidelberg 10.2
Heidelberg Catechism Series, Part 24
James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all."
Question 10.2: Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?
Answer: By no means, but is terribly displeased with our original as well as actual sin; and will punish them in his just judgment temporally and eternally, as He hath declared, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them?"
This is our second look at question 10 in the catechism. It has an interesting phrase I would like to consider today, "and will punish them in His just judgment temporally and eternally." Have you considered that the punishment for sin is not something that is merely future? It is not as if we can live out our 30, 40, 80, 95 years on Earth without any consequences. God's just judgment is not only future for the sinner, it is today as well. Sin brings with it punishment in the very nature of it. We all know this by experience. There are consequences for our actions in life, but it is more than that. Sin brings with it emotional and psychological consequences. We all have known regret, and while there are some regrets we might feel that are not directly a result of a sinful act on our part, the majority of them, I would maintain, are. We feel remorse for our sin. It makes us embarrassed, uneasy, and brings shame upon us. There is clearly a temporal outcome that we know all too well from our sins.
So the language in our catechism lends us to admit that not only will God punish sin in the future, but also He is punishing it even today. This is true for all sinners. All are already condemned and experiencing this condemnation now in their lives. At any moment, we may know the full weight of God's displeasure with sin, and He may crush us. In the last two weeks, through sudden health issues and a car accident, I have known of three people, who, apparently in good health, have drawn their last breath. There was no warning, and none of them, as far as I know, were trusting in Christ. The shadows of eternal doom are that close to each of us outside of Christ. The punishments do begin in this life, but they are but a foretaste of what is to come.
Sin is rebellion against the majesty of the giver of the Law. Break one of God's laws, and you have done as much as broken all (James 2:10). Who of us can stand? As we looked at in 10.1, our only hope is to flee to Christ. No honest person would deny they feel the result of sin in their bodies, and have experienced it in their lives. It is the holiness of God's nature that makes Him so upset with sin. There is only One who has lived a holy life, and it is to that One, Jesus Christ, that we must turn for our help. There is full redemption from sin for all who trust in Christ. The beauty of this is that the results of this redemption are felt also in this life. Just as punishment for sin is experienced today, so also forgiveness from sin affects us in our lives today. The inflictions we experience for sin in this life are warnings to us. Let us take those warnings and flee to Christ, who alone can remove the curse that sin brings, and has brought upon us. He alone can forgive, and to Him alone we should turn. God does punish sin, yes, but He also forgives sin in Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,
We apologize for accidentally sending this series out of chronilogical order. We trust that God is using the Heidelberg devotionals to bless you.