2009-03-18 - Heidelberg 16.2
Heidelberg Catechism Series, Part 38
Question 16.2: "Why must he be truly human and truly righteous?"
Answer: "God's Justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for its sin, but a sinner could never pay for another."
We come again to this question, and one thing that this question allows us to examine is the way that Jesus Christ is with believers in their struggles. "Who can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided," Hebrews 5:2, is something that is answered in Christ. He knows our afflictions and He has undergone temptation Himself, yet without sin. We saw earlier (15.3) that we look to Christ for all our righteousness. In ourselves we do not find purity and holiness, (Try to live a day without sin - try to go an hour perfectly: thought, word, and deed.), but in Christ, we find holiness in all things. When we come to Him in faith, He gives us His righteousness and while our new nature struggles with the old as long as we live, the new inward principle makes progress, and, while progress can be painfully slow, we do grow in the grace of Christ as the spiritual battle for our hearts advances.
Let us say that we have been engaged in this battle for awhile. It seems as if our troubles have grown, not diminished. You may have some difficulties that, while greatly on your minds, you wouldn't dare tell a soul about. Jesus knows your present struggle and trial. He had trials beyond even our deepest, darkest, most perplexing trials, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" He can sympathize. He does support you. He knows exactly what the issue is that you have. We go to Him, and He applies balm to our wound. His way is full of peace and comfort. We never need to hesitate to go to Him with our struggles, because in Christ, there is the deepest well of sympathy we will ever find.
It is not simply Christ's sympathy that we have. He has been down our path. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us (Heb. 7:25), and He is God-exalted over all. But He is also human, lived a human life, and underwent temptations and struggles Himself. He gives us not merely His support, but He can empathize with us, because He has been there. Consider the temptation He underwent in the desert (Matthew 4). He was once subject to the same struggles that we are now. "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted," Hebrews 2:18.
You may be tired of the burden that rests on you - that you know so personally - but consider Christ, who bore the burden of the sins of all His people upon Himself on the cross. He knows what it is to have a heavy burden. He lives now to uphold us, and He never forsakes us. Remember that an additional burden that Christ bore, that His children never have to bear, is that Christ lost the favor of the Father, when He took our sin upon Himself. In many respects the One who upholds us now has undergone more than we ever have suffered, do now endure, or ever will undergo. Why must our redeemer be truly human and truly righteous? One reason is that He is now able to have compassion upon His children, as they undergo the trials life brings us all. No fellow sinner could support us as Christ can, and does.
Soli Deo Gloria,