Module 1 - Your Only Comfort

Step 1 - Introduction

Step 2 - What is your only comfort?

Heidelberg Catechism

The Catechism is the first of the three Confessions Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church subscribes to.  A confession is a document that summarizes the Bible.  In other words, most churches say that they believe in the Bible, but confessional churches can say that not only do we believe in the Bible, but here's what we believe the Bible says.

Catechisms summarize scripture by asking really important questions, and then pulling different teachings from the Bible together to arrive at an answer.  One of the most famous QA's (questions & answers) is the first one:

Q1. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own,

but belong with body and soul,

both in life and in death,

to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins

with his precious blood,

and has set me free

from all the power of the devil.

He also preserves me in such a way

that without the will of my heavenly Father

not a hair can fall from my head;

indeed, all things must work together

for my salvation.

Therefore, by his Holy Spirit

he also assures me

of eternal life

and makes me heartily willing and ready

from now on to live for him

Which of these paragraphs is your favorite, and why?

Step 3 - How can you live in this comfort? - 1) Admit your Guilt

Q2. What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

A. Three things:

1) how great my sins and misery are - GUILT

2) how I am delivered from all my sins and misery - GRACE

3) how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance - GRATITUDE

 

The Catechism doesn't just tell us that living in this comfort is possible, it tells us exactly how we can do it.  It starts with the first of three words that begin with 'G' - telling us about our GUILT.

Q3. How do you come to know your misery?

A. From the law of God
 

Q4. What does God’s law require of us?

A. Christ teaches us this in a summary in Matthew 22:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul

and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
 

Q5. Can you live up to all this perfectly?

A. No. I am inclined by nature to hate God and my neighbor.

  • How does God help you recognize sin in your life (Q/A 3)?
  • Why is it important to recognize this?

Step 4 - How can you live in this comfort? - 2) Receive God's Grace

How are we delivered from our sins & misery?

Thankfully, the section on our guilt is the shortest section in the catechism.  Next comes GRACE, which is how we are delivered from our misery.

Q12. According to God’s righteous judgment we deserve punishment both now and in eternity: how then can we escape this punishment and return to God’s favor?

  • God requires that his justice be satisfied. 

  • Therefore the claims of this justice must be paid in full, either by ourselves or by another.


Q14. Can another creature —any at all— pay this debt for us?

  • No.

  • To begin with,

    • God will not punish any other creature for what a human is guilty of.

  • Furthermore,

    • no mere creature can bear the weight of God’s eternal wrath against sin and deliver others from it.

Q15. What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?

  • One who is

    • a true and righteous human,

    • yet more powerful than all creatures,

  • that is, one who is true God and true man.

Q18. Then who is this mediator— true God and at the same time a true and righteous human?

  • Our Lord Jesus Christ

  • who was given to us to completely deliver us and make us right with God.

  • Why does your sin need to be paid for, and why is Jesus the only possibility for salvation?

Step 5 - How can you live in this comfort? - 3) Show God Gratitude

How do we show Gratitude for our deliverence?

The third, and longest, section of the Catechism in on how we are to live grateful lives.  This section includes a summary of the 10 commandments and the Lord's Prayer, but we're just going to look at one QA here:

Q86. We have been delivered from our misery by God’s grace alone through Christ and not because we have earned it: why then must we still do good?

 

  1. Because Christ,

    1. having redeemed us by his blood,

    2. also renews us by his Holy Spirit to be his image,

    3. so that with our whole life we may show ourselves thankful to God for his benefits,

    4. and he may be praised by us.

  2. Further, that we ourselves

    1. may be assured of our faith by its fruits,

    2. and that by our godly walk of life we may win our neighbors for Christ.

  • Why must you live gratefully to God (1.1 & 1.2)?
  • List some of the Fruit of the Spirit you are seeing in your life:
    • As you grow in Christ, are you seeing fruits you've not seen before?​
    • How are these fruits meeting the goals in 2.1 & 2.2?

OPTIONAL: Dying Away & Coming to Life

What does it mean to repent / be converted / be born again?

Two things happen to a Christian: they die to their old self, and they come to life in their new self.

Q89. What is the dying-away of the old self?
A. It is to:

grieve with heartfelt sorrow that we have offended God by our sin,

and more and more to hate it and flee from it.

Q90: What is the coming-to-life of the new self?
A. It is

a heartfelt joy in God through Christ,

and a love and delight to live according to the will of God in all good works.

Take one of these answers and put it into your own words: 

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