Heidelberg Catechism: Deliverance

Lord’s Day 5

Q&A 12
Q. According to God’s righteous judgment we deserve punishment both now and in eternity: how then can we escape this punishment and return to God’s favor?
A. God requires that his justice be satisfied.1 Therefore the claims of this justice must be paid in full, either by ourselves or by another.2

1 Ex. 23:7; Rom. 2:1-11
2 Isa. 53:11; Rom. 8:3-4

Q&A 13
Q. Can we make this payment ourselves?
A. Certainly not. Actually, we increase our debt every day.1

1 Matt. 6:12; Rom. 2:4-5

Q&A 14
Q. Can another creature—any at all—pay this debt for us?
A. No. To begin with, God will not punish any other creature for what a human is guilty of.1 Furthermore, no mere creature can bear the weight of God’s eternal wrath against sin and deliver others from it.2

1 Ezek. 18:4, 20; Heb. 2:14-18
2 Ps. 49:7-9; 130:3

Q&A 15
Q. What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?
A. One who is a true1 and righteous2 human, yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God.3

1 Rom. 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:17
2 Isa. 53:9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26
3 Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Jer. 23:6; John 1:1

Lord’s Day 6

Q&A 16
Q. Why must the mediator be a true and righteous human?
A. God’s justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for sin;1but a sinful human could never pay for others.2

1 Rom. 5:12, 15; 1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:14-16
2 Heb. 7:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:18

Q&A 17
Q. Why must the mediator also be true God?
A. So that the mediator, by the power of his divinity, might bear the weight of God’s wrath in his humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life.1

1 Isa. 53; John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:21

Q&A 18
Q. Then who is this mediator—true God and at the same time a true and righteous human?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ,1 who was given to us to completely deliver us and make us right with God.2

1 Matt. 1:21-23; Luke 2:11; 1 Tim. 2:5
2 1 Cor. 1:30

Q&A 19
Q. How do you come to know this?
A. The holy gospel tells me. God began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise;1later God proclaimed it by the holy patriarchs2 and prophets3 and foreshadowed it by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law;4 and finally God fulfilled it through his own beloved Son.5

1 Gen. 3:15
2 Gen. 22:18; 49:10
3 Isa. 53; Jer. 23:5-6; Mic. 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Heb. 1:1-2
4 Lev. 1-7; John 5:46; Heb. 10:1-10
5 Rom. 10:4; Gal. 4:4-5; Col. 2:17

Lord’s Day 7

Q&A 20
Q. Are all people then saved through Christ just as they were lost through Adam?
A. No. Only those are saved who through true faith are grafted into Christ and accept all his benefits.1

1 Matt. 7:14; John 3:16, 18, 36; Rom. 11:16-21

Q&A 21
Q. What is true faith?
A. True faith is not only a sure knowledge by which I hold as true all that God has revealed to us in Scripture;1 it is also a wholehearted trust,2 which the Holy Spirit creates in me3 by the gospel,4 that God has freely granted, not only to others but to me also,5 forgiveness of sins, eternal righteousness, and salvation.6 These are gifts of sheer grace, granted solely by Christ’s merit.7

1 John 17:3, 17; Heb. 11:1-3; James 2:19
2 Rom. 4:18-21; 5:1; 10:10; Heb. 4:14-16
3 Matt. 16:15-17; John 3:5; Acts 16:14
4 Rom. 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:21
5 Gal. 2:20
6 Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:10
7 Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10

Q&A 22
Q. What then must a Christian believe?
A. All that is promised us in the gospel,1 a summary of which is taught us in the articles of our universal and undisputed Christian faith.

1 Matt. 28:18-20; John 20:30-31

Q&A 23
Q. What are these articles?
A. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Lord’s Day 8

Q&A 24
Q. How are these articles divided?
A. Into three parts: God the Father and our creation; God the Son and our deliverance; and God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification.

Q&A 25
Q. Since there is only one divine being,1 why do you speak of three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
A. Because that is how God has revealed himself in his Word:2 these three distinct persons are one, true, eternal God.

1 Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6
2 Matt. 3:16-17; 28:18-19; Luke 4:18 (Isa. 61:1); John 14:26; 15:26; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 4:6; Titus 3:5-6

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