Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Zacharius Ursinus’ Category

Heidelberg Catechism #44

Q. 44 – Why does the Creed add, “He descended into Hell”?

A. To assure me in times of personal crisis and temptation that Christ my Lord, by suffering unspeakable anguish, pain, and terror of soul, especially on the cross but also earlier, has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell.

Theological: It is interesting to note that the Catechism basically bypasses all the discussion of the harrowing of hell in its answer. The wisdom in this policy is the controversy is not very edifying. (more…)

Read Full Post »

 

 

Baptism Hawaiian Style

Heidelberg Catechism #43

Q: What further advantage do we receive from Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross?

A: Through Christ’s death our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with him, so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer rule us, but that instead we may dedicate ourselves as an offering of gratitude to him.

Theological: Do you ever find yourself marveling at the way the Bible speaks of our definitive break from sin and darkness? I do. Paul tells us that our old man has been put to death in Christ, that we are new creations. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Heidelberg Catechism #42

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

A: Our death does not pay the debt of our sins. Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.

Theological: Christians still die… why? First thing is that Christ has transformed EVERYTHING for Christians. Death is something. Ergo, Christ has transformed death for Christians. Death, for the Christian, might be unknown, and, to that degree, might be scary. Death is not, however, a punishment for the Christian. Death IS a punishment for those outside of Christ. One gets the impression that death for the Christian (that is, when it actually happens) is actually a pleasure. Without doubt, it’s certainly a portal to eternal pleasure. After all, at Yahweh’s right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps 16:11).  Death is an entrance into those pleasures. The saint will live in those pleasures until the resurrection, when those pleasures will be perfected. Similarly (or maybe conversely), for those outside of Christ, death is punishment and an entrance into eternal punishment, which will be perfected at the resurrection. Christ has removed the sting of death (1 Cor 15), but not its use as a major point of transition.

Practical: You know, everyone’s gotta die… at least for the most part. There will be one generation that doesn’t have to, but, aside from them, we all face death. Steve Job’s comments about death are interesting, but seem flat when compared with eternal joys or punishment. You can see Steve’s full speech here. People outside of Christ should be horrified by death. Typically they are. Sometimes, however, they are act as if they don’t care, or that it doesn’t bother them. These folks are either simply lying (to themselves and/or to others) or are deluded. Death, therefore, is an evangelistic tool… use it. Preach it. Speak about it. If folks accuse you of being morbid, tell them you only speak of death in order to draw attention to the eternal life found only in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Read Full Post »

Heidelberg Catechism #45

Q. How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us?

A. First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, so that he might make us share in the righteousness he won for us by his death.

Second, by his power we too are already now resurrected to a new life.

Third, Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection

Theological: I think that the human mind too often works in false dichotomies. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Heidelberg Catechism #44

Q. Why does the Creed add, “He descended to Hell”?

A.  To assure me in times of personal crisis and temptation that Christ my Lord, by suffering unspeakable anguish, pain, and terror of soul, especially on the cross but also earlier, has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell.

Theological: Our theological instructors (Ursinus & Olevianus), in their pastoral wisdom, skipped over the controversy surrounding this passage; so will I. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Heidelberg Catechism #43

Q. What further advantage do we receive from Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross?

A. Through Christ’s death our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with him, so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer rule us, but that instead we may dedicate ourselves as an offering of gratitude to him.

Theological: Romans 6 (among other passages) teaches us that we were buried with Christ in baptism. The blessings of that baptism are received by faith (more…)

Read Full Post »

Heidelberg Catechism #42

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

A. Our death does not pay the debt of our sins. Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.

Theological: For the believer in Jesus Christ, death is transformed. What used to be a just penalty for sin has become a portal into a fuller version of eternal life. O death, where thy sting? O grave, where thy victory? This, like so much Christian verity, must be approached in faith. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Heidelberg Catechism #41

Question: Why was he “buried”?

Answer: His burial testifies that he really died.

Theological: The word “buried” comes from the Apostles’ Creed: Jesus “was crucified, dead, and buried.” The word “dead” certainly indicates that he died. His burial testifies to the same. Further, it was prophesied that he should not only die, but that he should be buried in association with the rich: “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death” (Is 53:9). This was fulfilled in his burial by the hand of Joseph of Arimathea (Mt 27:57-60). Furthermore, a significant theological image is that the burial of the body is the sowing of a seed for the resurrection. “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15: 42-4). Christ’s body was sown in human weakness, but raised in divine power. Thus, our human frailty is buried with him in his death, and his divine power is ours as we’re raised together with him. He is the firstfruits of the resurrection of the just: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20).

Practical: Baptism is important. Read Romans 6. Here’s a reminder: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:1-4). As those baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, we’re called to live in resurrection life. Sin no longer has dominion over us, for Christ has conquered sin and death. Since we’re united to him and his victory in our baptism, we’re to live in that union and life. We’re to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (vs 11). The Christian life is one of life and victory over sin, not one of death and defeat. Christ has come to save us the uttermost. Let us walk with joy in that fulsome salvation.

Read Full Post »

Jesus Conquered This Feller

Heidelberg Catechism #41

 

Q. Why was he “buried”?

A. His burial testifies that he really died.

Theological: Did Jesus really have to die? Isn’t it enough that he just lived a perfect life? And if that’s not enough, what about all his sufferings? Death, after all, is so final, and it requires a resurrection, which is basically impossible.

The actual and literal death of the Mediator is necessary. God threatened Adam with death if he disobeyed (Gen 2:16). It is written, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ez 18:20), and, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Further, it is prophesied of Messiah that he would die: “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death” (Is 53:9). So, here’s the deal: If Jesus Christ is truly the last Adam (Rom 6, 1 Cor 15), then he must succeed where Adam failed, and he must be a substitute for the punishment of Adam’s failure. Since Adam, by his sin, earned death, the Last Adam must die. If sinful humans are to be saved, blood must be shed (that is, death must be tasted) on their behalf, for “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin” (Heb 9:22). Messiah really died, was buried, and was resurrected: “And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13:29-30). There is no Gospel without the death and resurrection of Messiah.

Thus, all the unbelieving Bible scholarship that wants to worm its way around the death and resurrection of Jesus should be recognized for what it is: unbelieving lies. The swoon theory, for example, that Jesus just gave the appearance of death on the cross but was really still alive, is foolishness. But it’s foolishness that 18- and 19-century historians and theologians grabbed onto. Better that than break with Enlightenment thought and look the fool, right? There are some other theories about how Jesus didn’t really die, but these are to be rejected out of hand. The Bible testifies all over the place that Jesus died. Case closed.

Practical: One MASSIVE practical aspect of the death of Jesus is that it has transformed death for the believer. For those in Christ, death is not a judgement and an entrance into condemnation, rather it is a transition and portal into blessed life. For the Christian to die is for the Christian to be with the Lord. Hallelujah! O death, where thy sting? O grave, where thy victory?

Also, this (along with so many other things in the Bible) shows us that God is our only hope. Christ DIED. Dead. It don’t get more final than that, friends. But God raised him up in newness of life. Thus, God can raise the dead. That’s unthinkable. It’s scandalous. It’s impossible! Nope, God can do it. Let us not doubt his promises but wholly trust him “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”

Read Full Post »

Heidelberg Catechism #40

Q. Why did Christ have to go all the way to death?

A. Because God’s justice and truth demand it: only the death of God’s Son could pay for our sin.

Theological: God declared that he would punish sin with death. He told Adam that “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Sin, by God’s justice, brings death. If there is to be redemption from sin, there must be death. Or, another way of saying it, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:22). How does this strike you? Unsophisticated and primitive? Good. It should. This is exactly the sort of thing that so many nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholars were embarrassed by and tried to avoid. “This type of thinking,” they might say, “make Christianity on par with the Pacific-Island natives throwing a virgin into the volcano to make the volcano god propitious.” Well, I for one am not embarrassed. Christianity is unsophisticated and primitive… at least by the estimation of modernists with their noses in their air. Good. They can keep their “Christianity” consisting of the universal fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man (or whatever). I will take the Bible in all of its pre-modern garb and offensiveness. Christianity’s connection with unsophisticated myth is not a weakness to be denied, but a strength to be preached – check out C.S. Lewis on this point. No, really… check him out. Like stop reading this NOW and read that.

Practical: Let’s quit being ashamed of the Gospel. Every generation has new reasons to be embarrassed about the Bible and the Lord of it. So what if your college profs think that you’re a rube because you actually believe that the Son of God had to be sacrificed to assuage God’s anger? So what if your urbane uncle (or worse, brother-in-law) laughs at the idea that God’s angry and demands a sacrifice. Stand strong in the gospel of Christ crucified. If you preach, labor before God to present the crucified Son of God from the pulpit every time you stand in it. There is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of the blood of the God-man, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »