2009-04-15 - Heidelberg 17.2
Heidelberg Catechism Series, Part 41
John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Question 17.2: 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.
The above verse, for many, is the best known and most precious verse in all the Bible. It is the axis of Christian experience and hope. It is both the running header and footer of Christian life, experience, and practice. The first question we might have is, Where did the love of God come from? We an swer, God is love. He loves because it is His very essence and nature to do so. We have not earned His love. In fact, everyone honest will admit we only deserve His displeasure. So His love to us must flow from Himself. God loved the world because He loved the world. It is not for us to ponder into the depths of God's love. He has not told us the reasons why, and it is out of order for the creature to question the Creator. It is enough for us that He loves.
I would like to ask mothers and fathers, specifically, to ask themselves if they would give up their only child for another. Even more, would you give up your son for an enemy? God gave His only Son for us. Jesus was one with God in the Triune relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and so without diving too deep into the mysteries of the unity and diversity of the Trinity, when God gave us His Son, He was giving us Himself. Can this love be measured? If you wonder what I am driving at, I will try to put it simply: From our perspective, it seems that God loved us even more than He loved His only Son, because He gave Him up to perish for our sins, that we might not perish eternally. He died a felon's death - crucifixion.
We must look at the whosoever aspect of this verse. The answer to the above question is that Christ would earn for us, and restore to us, righteousness and life. Who is us? Us is whosoever. Who is a whosoever? There are no limits on a whosoever. Are you a great sinner? Then you are a whosoever. Are you old or young? All old folks and young types are in a whosoever. Are you a particular nationality, color, height - maybe you are really tall - do you see what I am saying? So far all are included in a whosoever. In fact, nothing is excluded in a whosoever. You cannot be excluded from this verse, unless you don't believe. If you believe, the promise is simple, you have eternal life. If you do not believe, you will perish eternally. As said in our first response to question 17, we believe into the person of Christ. Our faith is in Him. Faith saves whosoever comes to Christ in faith. The whosoever takes in everyone. It gives all who have faith hope. The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out, John 6:37. These also are precious words from Jesus' lips. If you come to Christ, He will save you from your sins, Matt. 1:21. This means we cannot live in sin and claim to be His followers. God gives His Son, and God saves all who come to His Son in faith. That work of salvation is that sure. How do I know? God has promised (Phil. 1:6) to complete what He has started. It would be a great wonder to undo what God has done and thwart the purposes of the Creator. It would un-god, God, and that shall never happen.
Soli Deo Gloria,