2009-03-07 - Heidelberg 15.3
Heidelberg Catechism Series, Part 36
Question 15.3: "What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?
Answer: "One who is truly human and truly righteous, yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God."
We have looked a little at this question, but in this look let us go a little deeper. The sin of Adam shattered, for us all, our righteousness. Jesus Christ establishes our right standing before God, and we receive this by faith in His Atonement. So far so good here is the shocker that few would dare to say. Christ taking our sin upon Himself on the cross is not enough for us to be restored into a right relationship with God. Adam, who represented us stood for us sinned, and thus, we fell in Adam (Romans 5:12-21), and Christ has taken the sin of Adam, and the sins of all who come to Him in faith upon Himself and made Atonement. However, it is still required of us that we keep God's Law. It is still required of us that we be holy if we are to be in a right standing with a holy God. Christ takes care of our breaking God's Law, but it is still required of us that we keep God's Law. How can we enter the presence of the holy God if we ourselves be not holy? We must have perfect obedience, and none of us do. Where is the righteousness that forgiven sinners need to come before the Lord God, and not be cast forever from His presence? Everyday we sin. Christ took our sins upon Himself. He took our debt. We still have the stipulation that we be holy and none of us are.
Christ is still our solution, as you might imagine, but you might be surprised that it is not His death that answers to this particular predicament it is His life. The sinless life of Christ is the righteousness in which His children are covered. His death has removed our sins (Ps. 103:12), but His life has given us the righteousness we need to be holy. Evangelicals are strong about understanding the merits of Christ's death for sin, but weak in understanding the merits of Christ's life for their righteousness. We are so happy to have our sins forgiven that we have settled for ½ a Gospel. Christ was at work His entire life, perfectly fulfilling the Law of God so that we might have His righteousness. He was always at work for our salvation. "I have finished the work that Thou gavest Me to do," John 17:4. Jesus said this in what we call His "High Priestly Prayer," but before He went to the cross. On the cross He also said, "It is finished," John 19:30. There are two aspects of our redemption in view here. We need both. We need His life and we need His death.
We have as much to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His living as we do for His dying. "And this is His name by which He will be called, `The Lord our Righteousness," Jeremiah 23:6. Christ is our righteousness. He has perfectly fulfilled the Law. He is as the answer to our question says, "truly righteous." He lived a spotless life, and He has given the merits of His life, His very righteousness, to those who come to Him in faith. It is a great weakness of Evangelicalism that we so focus on the death of Christ that we neglect to be thankful for His life, by which we are clothed, even decked-out, with His holiness. Let us also give thanks for His life, by which He is to us: The Lord our Righteousness.
Soli Deo Gloria,