2009-04-11 - Good Friday/Heidelberg 17.1
Heidelberg Catechism Series, Part 40
Isaiah 53:5, But He was Pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.
Question 17.1: Why must He also be true God?
Answer: So that, by the power of his divinity, he might bear the weight of God's anger in his humanity and earn for us, and restore to us, righteousness and life.
It would change us, if we could see sin as it appears in the eye of God. With such a vision, our shock would be greater than it would be if we were given a glimpse into the terrors of Hell. There is something about Hell that purity approves. Hell is the vindication that sin is punished, and righteousness (goodness) ultimately triumphs. But sin is not simply disorder. It is pure abomination. Sin is a monster, and God's eye cannot look upon it without detestation. Sin is so hideous that God cannot even look upon it. When Christ bore the sins of His people on the cross, the Father forsook Him. What should the Christian do when he/she sees sin? Should we be angry, repulsed, unglued? Maybe we should be all of these, but our proper response is to weep.
Many feel that they have a weak faith, or that their prayer life yields little power. Others think that their hearts are cold toward the things of God and/or when it comes to spiritual things, they are so easily distracted. What is the solution to this reality that every Christian, to one degree or another, faces? The solution is to look to Christ. Our failing to measure up, and our black as coal sins, were taken upon Himself by the Lord Jesus Christ. As the answer to the above question says, that, he might bear the weight of God's anger in his humanity. It is what Christ did at Calvary. He took our sins upon Himself.
Many think that if they believe that Jesus died for them, that they are saved. I want to ask you to read this paragraph carefully, because that is not the Gospel of salvation. Our faith is placed in Christ Himself, who offers salvation to all who come to Him in faith. We do not put our faith in a historical act, but in a person. We believe into Christ. It is then that His Atonement for sins is applied to us. To know that Jesus died for sin at Calvary, and to believe that this is true, is to know an event in history. It is not unlike knowing that the Allied forces conquered Germany in WWII. Saving faith, faith that saves, puts its trust in the person of Jesus Christ, who offers redemption through His death for sin, at Calvary. It is an important distinction. Faith in Christ is personal, and Christ is a personal savior. To come into a relationship with Him changes our character and makes us new men and women. We will not be changed, if we simply believe in the event of Jesus dying for sin, because that is not the faith that saves and regenerates us. Our trust is in Christ Himself, who has restored to us righteousness and life.
Soli Deo Gloria,