Heidelberg Catechism Sermons: Lord's Day 5

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Presented Oct. 15/00 by Dr. J. Faber
Canadian Reformed Church of Smithville, Ontario

Scripture Reading:
Hebrews 4: 14 - 5:10

Christ Our Mediator Redeemed Us In God's Justice

1. He Gave Full Satisfacation
2.He Showed Child-like Love
3. He Acted With Divine Power

Dr. Jelle Faber


12.   Q.  Since, according to God's righteous judgment we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, how can we escape this punishment and be again received into favour?
A.  God demands that His justice be satisfied.1 Therefore we must make full payment, either by ourselves or through another.2

1 Ex 20:5; 23:7; Rom 2:1-11. 2 Is 53:11; Rom 8:3, 4.

13.   Q.  Can we by ourselves make this payment?
A.  Certainly not. On the contrary, we daily increase our debt.1

1 Ps 130:3; Mt 6:12; Rom 2:4, 5.

14.   Q.  Can any mere creature pay for us?
A.  No. In the first place, God will not punish another creature for the sin which man has committed.1 Furthermore, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God's eternal wrath against sin and deliver others from it.2

1 Ezek 18:4, 20; Heb 2:14-18. 2 Ps 130:3; Nahum 1:6.

15.   Q.  What kind of mediator and deliverer must we seek?
A.  One who is a true1 and righteous2 man, and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is at the same time true God.3

1 1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:17. 2 Is 53:9; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 7:26. 3 Is 7:14; 9:6; Jer 23:6; Jn 1:1; Rom 8:3, 4.

The Heidelberg Catechism was written in Heidelberg at the request of Elector Frederick III, ruler of the most influential German province, the Palatinate, from 1559 to 1576. This pious Christian prince commissioned Zacharius Ursinus, twenty-eight years of age and professor of theology at the Heidelberg University, and Caspar Olevianus, twenty-six years old and Frederick's court preacher, to prepare a catechism for instructing the youth and for guiding pastors and teachers.

Frederick obtained the advice and cooperation of the entire theological faculty in the preparation of the Catechism. The Heidelberg Catechism was adopted by a Synod in Heidelberg and published in German with a preface by Frederick III, dated January 19, 1563. A second and third German edition, each with some small additions, as well as a Latin translation were published in Heidelberg in the same year. The Catechism was soon divided into fifty-two sections, so that a section of the Catechism could be explained to the churches each Sunday of the year.

In the Netherlands this Heidelberg Catechism became generally and favourably known almost as soon as it came from the press, mainly through the efforts of Petrus Dathenus, who translated it into the Dutch language and added this translation to his Dutch rendering of the Genevan Psalter, which was published in 1566. In the same year Peter Gabriel set the example of explaining this catechism to his congregation at Amsterdam in his Sunday afternoon sermons.

The National Synods of the sixteenth century adopted it as one of the Three Forms of Unity, requiring office-bearers to subscribe to it and ministers to explain it to the churches. These requirements were strongly emphasized by the great Synod of Dort in 1618-19. The Heidelberg Catechism has been translated into many languages and is the most influential and the most generally accepted of the several catechisms of Reformation times.

The Heidelberg Catechism