Thursday, January 6, 2011

Daily Devotions from the Heidelberg Catechism: Friday, January 7

Philip Melanchthon, Lutheran reformer and
 Zacharius Ursinus' professor.  Ursinus is the
main author of the Heidelberg Catechism.

The Triune God: Above Us and Near Us


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

2 Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.


In Q&A 1 of the catechism, we see all three persons of the trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Christians we believe in the trinity. The trinity describes the fact that God is both one and three! God is one in essence, but three in persons. In the divine math, the Father is fully God, the Son is fully God, and the Holy Spirit is fully God. And yet, there are not three gods, but rather three persons in this one God.

We believe the teaching about the trinity, because this is what God reveals about himself in his Word. When we look at the things that Jesus said and did, we realize he is more than just a man. We see that he is God himself, who put on our human nature. Jesus is the God-man, and so the facts of the Bible force us to describe God as triune: as one in three and three in one.

All of this is a mystery to us. The trinity is beyond the ability of our minds to grasp. But this mystery should not be surprising to us. It only makes sense that the almighty Creator of the universe should be exalted and high above us!

But even though God is far above our understanding, he is so good that he draws near to us so that we can experience him as our triune God. We experience the favor that God the Son earned for us at the cross. We experience the love of God our Father, as those who are adopted into his family by faith. We experience fellowship with the Father and the Son which God the Holy Spirit enables as he is sent by the Father and the Son. So even though our triune God is high and exalted, yet he comes near to us in Christ, so that we can know him in a personal way as our God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Discussion: Why do we believe in the trinity? Is it surprising that we cannot
understand the triune nature of God? How does 2 Corinthians 13:14 show that God draws near to us?

Prayer Starter: In your prayer, praise God for both his transcendence (he is
exalted far above us) and immanence (he reveals himself to us and comes near to us in Christ).

Only One Comfort

To the Tune: EVENTIDE (Abide with Me or 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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