The Heidelberg Catechism (page 1)

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Authors' Bias | Interpretation: conservative

Catechisms were written for the purpose of instructing new Believers and children of Believers the essentials of Christianity. Their question and answer format made it easy to understand and memorize.

Around 1560, Frederick III, a devout Christian ruler of the German province Palatinate, wanted an oral method to teach the Reformed faith to the general public. He commissioned his court preacher, Caspar Olevianus, and a professor of theology at the Heidelberg University, Zacharius Ursinus, to prepare a catechism and soon, the entire theological faculty was involved. Upon its completion, the catechism was quickly adopted by the Reformed church and published in 1563. Shortly after, pastors began using portions of the catechism in their sermons as they taught the congregation.

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. A few decades later, these requirements were strongly emphasized by the great Synod of Dordt in 1618-19.

The Heidelberg Catechism's 129 questions and answers are divided into three parts patterned after the book of Romans. Questions 3-11 consider the experience of sin and misery (Romans 1-3:20), questions 12- 85 are concerned with redemption in Christ and faith (Romans 3:21- 11:36), and questions 86-129 stress true gratitude for God's deliverance (Romans 12-16). More than 700 prooftexts reflect the desires of the authors who wanted it to be an echo of the Bible. The patron Frederick wrote in the preface: The Scripture proof by which the faith of the children is confirmed are such only as have been selected with great pains from the divinely inspired Scriptures.

1. Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?

A. That I am not my own,(1) but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death,(2) to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.(3) He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood(4), and has set me free from all the power of the devil.(5) He also preserves me in such a way(6) that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head;(7) indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.(8) Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life(9) and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.(10)

(1) I Cor. 6:19, 20 (2) Rom. 14:7-9. (3) I Cor. 3:23; Tit. 2:14. (4) I Pet. 1:18, 19; I John 1:7; 2:2. (5) John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14, 15; I John 3:8. (6) John 6:39, 40; 10:27-30; II Thess. 3:3; I Pet. 1:5. (7) Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18. (8) Rom. 8:28. (9) Rom. 8:15, 16; II Cor. 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13, 14. (10) Rom. 8:14.

2. Q. What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

A. First, how great my sins and misery are;(1) second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery;(2) third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance.(3)

(1) Rom. 3:9, 10; I John 1:10. (2) John 17:3; Acts 4:12; 10:43. (3) Matt. 5:16; Rom. 6:13; Eph. 5:8-10; I Pet. 2:9, 10.

First Part
Of the Misery of Man

3.Q. From where do you know your sins and misery?

A. From the law of God.(1)

(1) Rom. 3: 20;

4. Q. What does God's law require of us?

A. Christ teaches us this in a summary in Matthew 22: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.(1) This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.(2)

(1) Deut. 6:5. (2) Lev. 19:18.

5. Q. Can you keep all this perfectly?

A. No,(1) I am inclined by nature to hate God and my neighbour.(2)

(1) Rom. 3:10, 23; I John 1:8, 10. (2) Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 7:23; 8:7; Eph. 2:3; Tit. 3:3.

6. Q. Did God, then, create man so wicked and perverse?

A. No, on the contrary, God created man good(1) and in His image,(2) that is, in true righteousness and holiness,(3) so that he might rightly know God His Creator,(4) heartily love Him, and live with Him in eternal blessedness to praise and glorify Him.(5)

(1) Gen. 1:31. (2) Gen. 1:26, 27. (3) Eph. 4:24. (4) Col. 3:10. (5) Ps. 8.

7. Q. From where, then, did man's depraved nature come?

A. From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise,(1) for there our nature became so corrupt(2) that we are all conceived and born in sin.(3)

(1) Gen. 3. (2) Rom. 5:12, 18, 19. (3) Ps. 51:5.

8. Q. But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined to all evil?

A. Yes,(1) unless we are regenerated by the Spirit of God.(2)

(1) Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Job 14:4; Is. 53:6. (2) John 3:3-5.

9. Q. Is God, then, not unjust by requiring in His law what man cannot do?

A. No, for God so created man that he was able to do it.(1) But man, at the instigation of the devil,(2) in deliberate disobedience(3) robbed himself and all his descendants of these gifts.(4)

(1) Gen. 1:31. (2) Gen. 3:13; John 8:44; I Tim. 2:13, 14. (3) Gen. 3:6. (4) Rom. 5:12, 18, 19.

10. Q. Will God allow such disobedience and apostasy to go unpunished?

A. Certainly not. He is terribly displeased with our original sin as well as our actual sins. Therefore He will punish them by a just judgment both now and eternally,(1) as He has declared:(2) Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them (Galatians 3:10).

(1) Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; 7:10; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; 5:12; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27. (2) Deut. 27:26.

11. Q. But is God not also merciful?

A. God is indeed merciful,(1) but He is also just.(2) His justice requires that sin committed against the most high majesty of God also be punished with the most severe, that is, with everlasting, punishment of body and soul.(3)

(1) Ex. 20:6; 34:6, 7; Ps. 103:8, 9. (2) Ex. 20:5; 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30, 31. (3) Matt. 25:45, 46.

Second Part
Of Man’s Deliverance

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 full payment must be made either by ourselves or by another.(2)

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

13. Q. Can we ourselves make this payment?

A. Certainly not. On the contrary, we daily increase our debt.(1)

(1) Ps. 130:3; Matt. 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; Nah. 1:6.

15. Q. What kind of mediator and deliverer must we seek?

A. One who is a true(1) and righteous(2) man, and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is at the same time true God.(3)

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

16. Q. Why must He be a true and righteous man?

A. He must be a true man because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned should pay for sin.(1) He must be a righteous man because one who himself is a sinner cannot pay for others.(2)

(1) Rom: 5:12, 15; I Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:14-16. (2) Heb. 7:26, 27; I Pet. 3:18.

17. Q. Why must He at the same time be true God?

A. He must be true God so that by the power of His divine nature(1) He might bear in His human nature the burden of God's wrath,(2) and might obtain for us and restore to us righteousness and life.(3)

(1) Is. 9:5. (2) Deut. 4:24; Nah. 1:6; Ps. 130:3. (3) Is. 53:5, 11; John 3:16; II Cor. 5:21.

18. Q. But who is that Mediator who at the same time is true God and a true and righteous man?

A. Our Lord Jesus Christ,(1) whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption (I Corinthians 1:30).

(1) Matt. 1:21-23; Luke 2:11; I Tim. 2:5; 3:16.

19. Q. From where do you know this?

A. From the holy gospel, which God Himself first revealed in Paradise.(1) Later, He had it proclaimed by the patriarchs(2) and prophets,(3) and foreshadowed by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law.(4) Finally, He had it fulfilled through His only Son.(5)

(1) Gen. 3:15. (2) Gen. 12:3; 22:18; 49:10. (3) Is. 53; Jer. 23:5, 6; Mic. 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Heb. 1:1. (4) Lev. 1:7; John 5:46; Heb. 10:1-10. (5) Rom. 10:4; Gal. 4:4, 5; Col. 2:17.

20. Q. Are all men, then, saved by Christ just as they perished through Adam?

A. No. Only those are saved who by a true faith are grafted into Christ and accept all His benefits.(1)

(1) Matt. 7:14; John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; Rom. 11:16-21.

21. Q. What is true faith?

A. True faith is a sure knowledge whereby I accept as true all that God has revealed to us in His Word.(1) At the same time it is a firm confidence(2) that not only to others, but also to me,(3) God has granted forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation,(4) out of mere grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits.(5) This faith the Holy Spirit works in my heart by the gospel.(6)

(1) John 17:3, 17; Heb. 11:1-3; James 2:19. (2) Rom. 4:18-21; 5:1; 10:10; Heb. 4:16. (3) Gal. 2:20. (4) Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:10. (5) Rom.3:20-26; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10. (6) Acts 16:14; Rom. 1:16; 10:17; I Cor. 1:21.

22. Q. What, then, must a Christian believe?

A. All that is promised us in the gospel,(1) which the articles of our catholic and undoubted Christian faith teach us in a summary.

(1) Matt. 28:19; John 20:30, 31.

23. Q. What are these articles?

A. I believe in God the Father almighty,

1. Creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord;
3. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary;
4. suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell;
5. On the third day He arose from the dead;
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
7. from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit;
9. I believe a holy catholic Christian church, the communion of saints;
10. the forgiveness of sins;
11. the resurrection of the body;
12. and the life everlasting.

24. Q. How are these articles divided?

A. Into three parts: the first is about God the Father and our creation; the second about God the Son and our redemption; the third about God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification.

25. Q. Since there is only one God,(1) why do you speak of three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

A. Because God has so revealed Himself in His Word(2) that these three distinct persons are the one, true, eternal God.

(1) Deut. 6:4; Is. 44:6; 45:5; I Cor. 8:4, 6. (2) Gen. 1:2, 3; Is. 61:1; 63:8-10; Matt. 3:16, 17; 28:18, 19; Luke 4:18; John 14:26; 15:26; II Cor. 13:14; Gal. 4:6; Tit. 3:5, 6.

Of God the Father and Our Creation

26. Q. What do you believe when you say: I believe in God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?

A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and all that is in them,(1) and who still upholds and governs them by His eternal counsel and providence,(2) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father.(3) In Him I trust so completely as to have no doubt that He will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul,(4) and will also turn to my good whatever adversity He sends me in this life of sorrow.(5) He is able to do so as almighty God,(6) and willing also as a faithful Father.(7)

(1) Gen. 1 and 2; Ex. 20:11; Job 38 and 39; Ps. 33:6; Is. 44:24; Acts 4:24; 14:15. (2) Ps. 104:27-30; Matt. 6:30; 10:29; Eph. 1:11. (3) John 1:12, 13; Rom. 8:15, 16; Gal. 4:4-7; Eph. 1:5. (4) Ps. 55:22; Matt. 6:25, 26; Luke 12:22-31. (5) Rom. 8:28. (6) Gen. 18:14; Rom. 8:31-39. (7) Matt. 6:32, 33; 7:9-11.

27. Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?

A. God's providence is His almighty and ever present power,(1) whereby, as with His hand, He still upholds heaven and earth and all creatures,(2) and so governs them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty,(3) indeed, all things, come not by chance(4) but by His fatherly hand.(5)

(1) Jer. 23:23, 24; Acts 17:24-28. (2) Heb. 1:3. (3) Jer. 5:24; Acts 14:15-17; John 9:3; Prov. 22:2. (4) Prov. 16:33. (5) Matt. 10:29.

28. Q. What does it benefit us to know that God has created all things and still upholds them by His providence?

A. We can be patient in adversity,(1) thankful in prosperity,(2) and with a view to the future we can have a firm confidence in our faithful God and Father that no creature shall separate us from His love;(3) for all creatures are so completely in His hand that without His will they cannot so much as move.(4)

(1) Job. 1:21, 22; Ps. 39:10; James 1:3. (2) Deut. 8:10; I Thess. 5:18. (3) Ps. 55:22; Rom. 5:3-5; 8:38, 39. (4) Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov. 21:1; Acts 17:24-28.

Of God the Son

29. Q. Why is the Son of God called Jesus, that is, Saviour?

A. Because He saves us from all our sins,(1) and because salvation is not to be sought or found in anyone else.(2)

(1) Matt. 1:21; Heb. 7:25. (2) Is. 43:11; John 15:4, 5; Acts 4:11, 12; I Tim. 2:5.

30. Q. Do those believe in the only Saviour Jesus who seek their salvation and well-being from saints, in themselves, or anywhere else?

A. No. Though they boast of Him in words, they in fact deny the only Saviour Jesus.(1) For one of two things must be true: either Jesus is not a complete Saviour, or those who by true faith accept this Saviour must find in Him all that is necessary for their salvation.(2)

(1) I Cor. 1:12, 13; Gal. 5:4. (2) Col. 1:19, 20; 2:10; I John 1:7.

31. Q. Why is He called Christ, that is, Anointed?

A. Because He has been ordained by God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Spirit,(1) to be our chief Prophet and Teacher,(2) who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption;(3) our only High Priest,(4) who by the one sacrifice of His body has redeemed us,(5) and who continually intercedes for us before the Father;(6) and our eternal King,(7) who governs us by His Word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in the redemption obtained for us.(8)

(1) Ps. 45:7 (Heb. 1:9); Is. 61:1 (Luke 4:18; Luke 3:21, 22. (2) Deut. 18:15 (Acts 3:22). (3) John 1:18; 15:15. (4) Ps. 110:4 (Heb. 7:17). (5) Heb. 9:12; 10:11-14. (6) Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; I John 2:1. (7) Zach. 9:9 (Matt. 21:5); Luke 1:33. (8) Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:28; Rev. 12:10, 11.

32. Q. Why are you called a Christian?

A. Because I am a member of Christ by faith(1) and thus share in His anointing,(2) so that I may as prophet confess His Name,(3) as priest present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him,(4) and as king fight with a free and good conscience against sin and the devil in this life,(5) and hereafter reign with Him eternally over all creatures.(6)

(1) I Cor. 12:12-27. (2) Joel 2:28 (Acts 2:17); I John 2:27. (3) Matt. 10:32; Rom 10:9, 10; Heb. 13:15. (4) Rom. 12:1; I Pet. 2:5, 9. (5) Gal. 5:16, 17; Eph. 6:11; I Tim. 1:18, 19. (6) Matt. 25:34; II Tim. 2:12.

33. Q. Why is He called God's only begotten Son, since we also are children of God?

A. Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God.(1) We, however, are children of God by adoption, through grace, for Christ's sake.(2)

(1) John 1:1-3, 14, 18; 3:16; Rom. 8:32; Heb. 1; I John 4:9. (2) John 1:12; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:5, 6.

34. Q. Why do you call Him our Lord?

A. Because He has ransomed us, body and soul,(1) from all our sins, not with silver or gold but with His precious blood,(2) and has freed us from all the power of the devil to make us His own possession.(3)

(1) I Cor. 6:20; I Tim. 2:5, 6. (2) I Peter 1:18, 19. (3) Col. 1:13, 14; Heb. 2:14, 15.

35. Q. What do you confess when you say: He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary?

A. The eternal Son of God, who is and remains true and eternal God,(1) took upon Himself true human nature from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary,(2) through the working of the Holy Spirit.(3) Thus He is also the true seed of David,(4) and like His brothers in every respect,(5) yet without sin.(6)

(1) John 1:1; 10:30-36; Rom. 1:3; 9:5; Col. 1:15-17; I John 5:20. (2) Matt. 1:18-23; John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 2:14. (3) Luke 1:35. (4) II Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 132:11; Matt. 1:1; Luke 1:32; Rom. 1:3. (5) Phil. 2:7; Heb. 2:17. (6) Heb. 4:15; 7:26, 27.

36. Q. What benefit do you receive from the holy conception and birth of Christ?

A. He is our Mediator,(1) and with His innocence and perfect holiness covers, in the sight of God, my sin, in which I was conceived and born.(2)

(1) I Tim. 2:5, 6; Heb. 9:13-15. (2) Rom. 8:3, 4; II Cor. 5:21; Gal. 4:4, 5; I Pet. 1:18, 19.

37. Q. What do you confess when you say that He suffered?

A. During all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end, Christ bore in body and soul the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race.(1) Thus, by His suffering, as the only atoning sacrifice,(2) He has redeemed our body and soul from everlasting damnation,(3) and obtained for us the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life.(4)

(1) Is. 53; I Tim. 2:6; I Pet. 2:24; 3:18. (2) Rom. 3:25; I Cor. 5:7; Eph. 5:2; Heb. 10:14; I John 2:2; 4:10. (3) Rom. 8:1-4; Gal. 3:13; Col. 1:13; Heb. 9:12; I Pet 1:18, 19. (4) John 3:16; Rom. 3:24-26; II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:15.

38. Q. Why did He suffer under Pontius Pilate as judge?

A. Though innocent, Christ was condemned by an earthly judge,(1) and so He freed us from the severe judgment of God that was to fall on us.(2)

(1) Luke 23:13-24; John 19:4, 12-16. (2) Is. 53:4, 5; II Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13.

39. Q. Does it have a special meaning that Christ was crucified and did not die in a different way?

A. Yes. Thereby I am assured that He took upon Himself the curse which lay on me, for a crucified one was cursed by God.(1)

(1) Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13.

40. Q. Why was it necessary for Christ to humble Himself even unto death?

A. Because of the justice and truth of God(1) satisfaction for our sins could be made in no other way than by the death of the Son of God.(2)

(1) Gen. 2:17. (2) Rom. 8:3; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 2:9, 14, 15.

41. Q. Why was he buried?

A. His burial testified that He had really died.(1)

(1) Is. 53:9; John 19:38-42; Acts 13:29; I Cor. 15:3,4.

42. Q. Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?

A. Our death is not a payment for our sins, but it puts an end to sin and is an entrance into eternal life.(1)

(1) John 5:24; Phil. 1:21-23; I Thess. 5:9, 10.

43. Q. What further benefit do we receive from Christ's sacrifice and death on the cross?

A. Through Christ's death our old nature is crucified, put to death, and buried with Him,(1) so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer reign in us,(2) but that we may offer ourselves to Him as a sacrifice of thankfulness.(3)

(1) Rom. 6:5-11; Col. 2:11, 12. (2) Rom. 6:12-14. (3) Rom. 12:1; Eph. 5:1, 2.

44. Q. Why is there added: He descended into hell?

A. In my greatest sorrows and temptations I may be assured and comforted that my Lord Jesus Christ, by His unspeakable anguish, pain, terror, and agony, which He endured throughout all His sufferings(1) but especially on the cross, has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell.(2)

(1) Ps. 18:5, 6; 116:3; Matt. 26:36-46; 27:45, 46; Heb. 5:7-10. (2) Is. 53.

45. Q. How does Christ's resurrection benefit us?

A. First, by His resurrection He has overcome death, so that He could make us share in the righteousness which He had obtained for us by His death.(1) Second, by His power we too are raised up to a new life.(2) Third, Christ's resurrection is to us a sure pledge of our glorious resurrection.(3)

(1) Rom. 4:25; I Cor. 15:16-20; I Pet. 1:3-5. (2) Rom. 6:5-11; Eph. 2:4-6; Col. 3:1-4. (3) Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 15:12-23; Phil. 3:20, 21.

46. Q. What do you confess when you say, He ascended into heaven?

A. That Christ, before the eyes of His disciples, was taken up from the earth into heaven,(1) and that He is there for our benefit(2) until He comes again to judge the living and the dead.(3)

(1) Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50, 51; Acts 1:9-11. (2) Rom. 8:34; Heb. 4:14; 7:23-25; 9:24. (3) Matt. 24:30; Acts 1:11.

47. Q. Is Christ, then, not with us until the end of the world, as He has promised us?(1)

A. Christ is true man and true God. With respect to His human nature He is no longer on earth,(2) but with respect to His divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit He is never absent from us.(3)

(1) Matt. 28:20. (2) Matt. 26:11; John 16:28; 17:11; Acts 3:19-21; Heb. 8:4. (3) Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:16-19; 16:13.

48. Q. But are the two natures in Christ not separated from each other if His human nature is not present wherever His divinity is?

A. Not at all, for His divinity has no limits and is present everywhere.(1) So it must follow that His divinity is indeed beyond the human nature which He has taken on and nevertheless is within this human nature and remains personally united with it.(2)

(1) Jer. 23:23, 24; Acts 7:48, 49. (2) John 1:14; 3:13; Col. 2:9.

49. Q. How does Christ's ascension into heaven benefit us?

A. First, He is our Advocate in heaven before His Father.(1) Second, we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that He, our Head, will also take us, His members, up to Himself.(2) Third, He sends us His Spirit as a counter-pledge,(3) by whose power we seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God, and not the things that are on earth.(4)

(1) Rom. 8:34; I John 2:1. (2) John 14:2; 17:24; Eph. 2:4-6. (3) John 14:16; Acts 2:33; II Cor. 1:21, 22; 5:5. (4) Col. 3:1-4.

50. Q. Why is it added, And sits at the right hand of God?

A. Christ ascended into heaven to manifest Himself there as Head of His Church,(1) through whom the Father governs all things.(2)

(1) Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 1:18. (2) Matt. 28:18; John 5:22, 23.

51. Q. How does the glory of Christ, our Head, benefit us?

A. First, by His Holy Spirit He pours out heavenly gifts upon us, His members.(1) Second, by His power He defends and preserves us against all enemies.(2)

(1) Acts 2:33; Eph. 4:7-12. (2) Ps. 2:9; 110:1, 2; John 10:27-30; Rev. 19:11-16.

52. Q. What comfort is it to you that Christ will come to judge the living and the dead?

A. In all my sorrow and persecution I lift up my head and eagerly await as judge from heaven the very same person who before has submitted Himself to the judgment of God for my sake, and has removed all the curse from me.(1) He will cast all His and my enemies into everlasting condemnation, but He will take me and all His chosen ones to Himself into heavenly joy and glory.(2)

(1) Luke 21:28; Rom. 8:22-25; Phil. 3:20,21; Tit. 2:13, 14. (2) Matt. 25:31-46; I Thess. 4:16, 17; II Thess. 1:6-10.

Of God the Holy Ghost

53. Q. What do you believe concerning the Holy Spirit?

A. First, He is, together with the Father and the Son, true and eternal God.(1) Second, He is also given to me,(2) to make me by true faith share in Christ and all His benefits,(3) to comfort me,(4) and to remain with me forever.(5)

(1) Gen. 1:1, 2; Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3, 4; I Cor. 3:16. (2) I Cor. 6:19; II Cor. 1:21, 22; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:13. (3) Gal. 3:14; I Pet. 1:2. (4) John 15:26; Acts 9:31. (5) John 14:16, 17; I Pet. 4:14.

54. Q. What do you believe concerning the holy catholic Christian church?

A. I believe that the Son of God,(1) out of the whole human race,(2) from the beginning of the world to its end,(3) gathers, defends, and preserves for Himself, (4) by His Spirit and Word,(5) in the unity of the true faith,(6) a church chosen to everlasting life.(7) And I believe that I am(8) and forever shall remain a living member of it.(9)

(1) John 10:11; Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11-13; Col. 1:18. (2) Gen. 26:4; Rev. 5:9. (3) Is. 59:21; I Cor. 11:26. (4) Ps. 129:1-5; Matt. 16:18; John 10:28-30. (5) Rom. 1:16; 10:14-17; Eph. 5:26. (6) Acts 2:42-47; Eph. 4:1-6. (7) Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:3-14. (8) I John 3:14, 19-21. (9) Ps. 23:6; John 10:27, 28; I Cor. 1:4-9; I Pet. 1:3-5.

55. Q. What do you understand by the communion of saints?

A. First, that believers, all and everyone, as members of Christ have communion with Him and share in all His treasures and gifts.(1) Second, that everyone is duty-bound to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the benefit and well-being of the other members.(2)

(1) Rom. 8:32; I Cor. 6:17; 12:4-7, 12, 13; I John 1:3. (2) Rom. 12:4-8; I Cor. 12:20-27; 13:1-7; Phil. 2:4-8.

56. Q. What do you believe concerning the forgiveness of sins?

A. I believe that God, because of Christ's satisfaction, will no more remember my sins,(1) nor my sinful nature, against which I have to struggle all my life,(2) but He will graciously grant me the righteousness of Christ, that I may never come into condemnation.(3)

(1) Ps. 103:3, 4, 10, 12; Mic. 7:18, 19; II Cor. 5:18-21; I John 1:7; 2:2. (2) Rom. 7:21-25. (3) John 3:17, 18; 5:24; Rom. 8:1, 2.

57. Q. What comfort does the resurrection of the body offer you?

A. Not only shall my soul after this life immediately be taken up to Christ, my Head,(1) but also this my flesh, raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul and made like Christ's glorious body.(2)

(1) Luke 16:22; 23:43; Phil. 1:21-23. (2) Job 19:25, 26; I Cor. 15:20, 42-46, 54; Phil. 3:21; I John 3:2.

58. Q. What comfort do you receive from the article about the life everlasting?

A. Since I now already feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, (1) I shall after this life possess perfect blessedness, such as no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived-- a blessedness in which to praise God forever.(2)

(1) John 17:3; Rom. 14:17; II Cor. 5:2, 3. (2) John 17:24; I Cor. 2:9.

59. Q. But what does it help you now that you believe all this?

A. In Christ I am righteous before God and heir to life everlasting.(1)

(1) Hab. 2:4; John 3:36; Rom. 1:17; 5:1, 2.

Article Continues: How are you righteous before God?

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