Monday, February 7, 2011

Daily Devotions from the Heidelberg: Jesus, Lamb and Shepherd

Christ the Lamb of God and Shepherd of His People


1) Heidelberg Catechism

9 Q. But doesn’t God do us an injustice by requiring in his law what we are unable to do?

A. No, God created human beings with the ability to keep the law. They, however, tempted by the devil, in reckless disobedience, robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.

2) Scripture

Isaiah 53:6:

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.


When Adam was first created he was able to obey God’s commands. But after Adam sinned, a change took place. After his sin, Adam’s mind, emotions, desires, and will changed. He no longer wanted to obey God’s commands, and when he tried, he found he could not obey with a whole heart.

This change of heart is what the catechism refers to when it says we are unable to obey God’s law. Sadly, Adam’s bad heart has been passed down to us. Just as our parents pass down certain characteristics like hair color or height or facial expressions, so Adam has passed down his bad heart to the human race.

What this means is that God’s commands still stand (Psalm 119:89), but we have no desire or ability to obey them. We are in a bad position, because God requires an obedience we can no longer give.

Adam was sort of like the lead sheep. Sheep follow the leader. All of us follow Adam in his sin, because we inherited his nature. Just as Adam went astray, so we have left God to follow our own way.

Is there a way back to God? Yes, there is! Isaiah 53:6 talks about the way back. God sent his Son who became a man. At the cross all of our iniquity and sins were laid on Jesus, and all of his righteousness is laid on us if we put our trust in him. Peter puts the truth of our return to God, this way in 1 Peter 2:24-25:

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
Jesus is the lamb of God whose wounds heal us. But Jesus is also the Shepherd and Pastor (overseer) of our souls!

Discussion: When Adam was first created, was he able to obey God’s commands? After Adam’s sin, was he able to perfectly obey God’s commands? After Adam’s sin, did he want to obey God’s commands?

Prayer Starter: In your prayer thank the Father that Christ bore our sins so that we might return to him as the Shepherd of our souls. Pray that you “might die to sin and live to righteousness,” near Christ your Shepherd.

Hymn for Lord’s Day 4

Who Is Like the Lord Our Maker?

To the tune HOLY MANNA ( or Based on Lord’s Day 4 of the Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 9-11 (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 14, 19, 84). Words: Bill Weber, 2010.

v. 1
Who is like the Lord our Maker?
ruling, sov’reign over all.
Robed in glory, great in power,
all things own His righteous rule.
From Him all things have their being.
Through Him all things are sustained.
To Him all things praise His glory,
so his beauty may we trace.

v. 2
Maker, Ruler, and Sustainer,
How much to you do we owe!
But through Adam we have left you,
Your ways we refused to go.
Of all creatures, man the only
fails to give the Lord His due.
God’s law, man in pride, rebellion
will not keep and will not do.

v. 3
Great is sin against our Maker,
ev’ry sin is aimed at Him.
Should the clay resist the Potter,
fight against his wise design?
For the Lord is right in anger
‘gainst all human sin and pride.
God is holy, full of justice.
He is Judge and will do right.

v. 4
We can’t bear God’s righteous anger
or against his power stand.
So the Father in His mercy,
sent the Son of His right hand.
Jesus is the Father’s glory,
perfect picture of our God.
This is He who came to save us,
fully man and fully God.

v. 5
At the cross we see God’s glory,
justice there and mercy meet.
At the cross Christ bore our judgment,
so from judgment we’d be free.
Why would God die for his creatures,
rebels from the time of birth?
He is just and he is gracious,
Praise Him one and all on earth!

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