Introduction As Christians, our focus is on our Lord Jesus Christ. The catechism took quite some time (Lord’s Days 11 to 19) to discuss his identity and his work. It says much less about the Holy Spirit. An obvious reason is that the Apostles’ Creed has only that short line: “I believe in the Holy … Continue reading Who is the Holy Spirit (LD 20, Nicene Creed)
Risen or raised?
“Jesus rose from the dead.”“God raised Jesus from the dead.” Which of these statements is the most correct? In the first sentence, the intransitive verb “rise” is used. Jesus is the one acting here: he himself came out of death. But in the second sentence, we have the transitive verb “raise”. God the Father is … Continue reading Risen or raised?
God’s Son, our Lord (LD 13, q&a 33-34)
Introduction “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, our Lord.” We discussed the meaning of the name Jesus, Saviour. We learned that he is the Anointed One, God’s ultimate agent in this world, our chief Prophet, only High Priest, and eternal King. Now we consider his last two titles in the Apostle’s Creed: only-begotten … Continue reading God’s Son, our Lord (LD 13, q&a 33-34)
“One and Only” or “Only-Begotten”?
From early on, the church has emphasized that Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God. We find this phrase in the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed. Until recently, it was also found in English Bibles, for instance in the well-known verse, John 3:16: God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. … Continue reading “One and Only” or “Only-Begotten”?
The Creator is my Father (LD 9, q&a 26)
Introduction “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” That is how the book of Genesis introduces God, who is the main character not only of the Bible but in all of reality. In the previous lesson we mentioned that all three divine Persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy … Continue reading The Creator is my Father (LD 9, q&a 26)
Knowing the Triune God (LD 8, q&a 24-25)
Introduction “I believe in God.” Many people say that. They believe that there is something, someone greater than they, who is in charge of their life and must be worshiped. But who is this God? What is he like? What is my relationship to him? What does he want of me? “I believe in God.” … Continue reading Knowing the Triune God (LD 8, q&a 24-25)
Speaking of the Trinity…
Our Triune God is not like anything on earth. It is therefore no surprise that the church struggled to find appropriate words to speak about the Trinity. We want to avoid partialism, the suggestion that God consists of three separate parts. But we should also shun modalism, where God is described as one individual person … Continue reading Speaking of the Trinity…
What to believe? (LD 7, q&a 22)
Introduction You can only be saved if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The catechism made that very clear in q&a 20. Faith is what “grafts you into” the Saviour, that is, connects you with him on an essential level, so that his righteousness becomes your righteousness, and his holiness becomes your holiness, and … Continue reading What to believe? (LD 7, q&a 22)
The Trinity in the Heidelberg Catechism
“Contemporary Christians by and large do not appropriate God for themselves in a specifically trinitarian way. Yet both worship and thought remain replete with symbols expressing God as triune—symbols, however, that remain at a certain remove from actual life.” (William J. Hill, The Three-Personed God, p. 251) Reformed Christian do not escape this problem. We … Continue reading The Trinity in the Heidelberg Catechism