What Must I Know?

Heidelberg Catechism: Question 2: What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

Answer: Three things: first, how great my sin and misery are; second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.


Observations: Yesterday, I looked at Q&A 1 about the Christian’s comfort in life and death, and how we find comfort in the fact that we belong to Jesus Christ. Q&A 2 asks the question ‘what must we know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?’ It’s not enough to just say we have comfort in life and death, that confidence must be based in something objective. It’s not enough for a child to say they believe their dad will catch, they actually have to have a dad waiting below with open arms. So what do Christians base their confidence? According to the catechism, three things. Firstly, we must know ‘how great my sin and misery.’ The Good News of Christianity starts with bad news – the fact that we are sinners, who have rejected God and deserve eternal punishment, the consequences of our sin. John writes, ‘If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 Jn 1:8)’ Secondly, we must know, ‘how I am set free from all my sins and misery.’ There’s the Good News – God in his mercy and grace has provided a way for the penalty for our sin to be paid. Jesus says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (Jn 3:16)’ Thirdly, we must know ‘how I am to thank God for such deliverance.’ God’s grace changes us. It is impossible to experience God’s grace and not respond to Him with gratitude. Paul writes, ‘in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. (Rom 12:1)’ If any of these three aspects are missing in our lives then the comfort that we have is a false comfort.


Application: Is your comfort in life and death based on these three things? Do you recognize your sinfulness and your need for salvation? Do you believe that Jesus paid for your sin on the cross and that through faith in him you are reconciled with God? Do you desire to turn away from sin and towards God in faithful obedience? If you answered yes to those questions then you can take comfort in life and death, that you belong to Jesus. But if you answered no, then I encourage you to re-examine the foundation of your hope.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You are God Almighty, You are holy and righteous, You deserve total obedience and complete loyalty, but more often than not I serve myself and my desires instead of You. Lord, I am filled with sin, I am a sinner who deserves Your condemnation, I deserve to face the consequences of my rejection of Your authority, eternal separation from Your love ad grace. And yet despite the fact that I was dead in my sin and deserving of Your wrath, You sent Your only Son, Jesus to die in my place that I might be set free from sin and death, and be reconciled with You and receive eternal life. Lord, I stand in awe of Your grace, Your undeserved gift of love in Jesus Christ. Lord, I pray that because of Your grace, my life will be forever changed. Lord, I no longer want to live for myself, rather I want to live for You. Lord, may my life be an offering of worship to You as my Lord and King. In the name of Jesus I thank You and worship You. Amen.


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