Monday, January 3, 2011

Daily Devotions from the Heidelberg Catechism: Tuesday, January 3

Church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg, Germany
Tuesday

How Is Your Spiritual Health?

Reading:

1) Heidelberg Catechism

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

A. That I am not my own, but belong---body and soul, 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 the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

2) Scripture

Matthew 16:13-17: Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

Comment

The catechism is personal and direct. It uses personal pronouns like, your, my, and I. The catechism begins by asking about your spiritual health. It asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The catechism wants to know what you think about Jesus Christ. It wants to know if you belong to Jesus Christ and have the spiritual life and health that comes from belonging to him.

In Matthew 16:13 Jesus takes his disciples away by themselves. First, the Great Physician asks them, “Who do people say that I am?” But then Jesus asks the kind of direct, personal question our catechism asks: What about you? “Who do you say I am?”

The Father of our Lord Jesus revealed the answer to Peter. Peter confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter’s answer is the answer of faith. Peter’s answer is the answer that brings people into the family of God. Peter’s answer is the beginning of spiritual life and health. Peter’s answer brought him, and will bring those who answer like him, the comfort and blessing of belonging to Jesus Christ, for Jesus says, “Blessed are you, Simon (Peter).”

To be “blessed” is similar to what the catechism means by the word comfort. To be blessed by the Lord is to enjoy his favor, peace, and life. When we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ we receive eternal life and health. Where will we find healing for our sin-sick souls? Only in Jesus Christ --- only in belonging to Him. “What is your only comfort in life and in death?”

Discussion: Why is the catechism so direct and personal in its questions?
Why was Jesus so direct and personal in his question in Matthew 16? Where are you at in your relation to Christ? Can we learn anything about using direct, personal questions in our evangelism or talks with others? What did Peter’s answer bring about in his life?

Prayer Starter: In your prayer, give thanks for the fact that you belong to Jesus, and for the blessing, comfort and life he brings to you. Ask the Lord for the kind of faith that brings comfort and blessing to your heart.


Only One Comfort

To the Tune: EVENTIDE (Abide with Me http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/PsH/442 or http://www.hymnary.org/hymn/UMH/700). Based on Lord’s Day 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism. Words: Bill Weber, 2010.

v. 1
There’s just one comfort in life and in death,
that I belong to Jesus, not myself.
The Lord completely paid for all my sins,
freed me from slav’ry, blesses me in Him.

v. 2
The Lord cares for me in a tender way,
watches my life and leads me all my days.
My Father works out all things for my good,
bless’d in His Son and filled with gratitude.

v. 3
O Jesus, Lord, my Savior and my Song,
how bless’d in You I am to now belong.
You send Your Spirit, plant Your life in me,
and in Your Word may I Your glory see.

v. 4
There are three things believers need to know:
How great my sin is, misery also.
How I am set free from iniquity.
How I should thank God who has set me free.

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