Heidelberg Catechism: God the Holy Spirit

Lord’s Day 20

Q&A 53
Q. What do you believe concerning “the Holy Spirit”? 
A. First, that the Spirit, with the Father and the Son, is eternal God.1

Second, that the Spirit is given also to me,2 so that, through true faith, he makes me share in Christ and all his benefits3 through true faith, comforts me,4 and will remain with me forever.5

1 Gen. 1:1-2; Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4
2 1 Cor. 6:19; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Gal. 4:6
3 Gal. 3:14
4 John 15:26; Acts 9:31
5 John 14:16-17; 1 Pet. 4:14

Lord’s Day 21

Q&A 54
Q. What do you believe concerning “the holy catholic church”? 
A. I believe that the Son of God through his Spirit and Word,1 out of the entire human race,2 from the beginning of the world to its end,3 gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal life4 and united in true faith.5And of this community I am6 and always will be7 a living member.

1 John 10:14-16; Acts 20:28; Rom. 10:14-17; Col. 1:18
2 Gen. 26:3b-4; Rev. 5:9
3 Isa. 59:21; 1 Cor. 11:26
4 Matt. 16:18; John 10:28-30; Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:3-14
5 Acts 2:42-47; Eph. 4:1-6
6 1 John 3:14, 19-21
7 John 10:27-28; 1 Cor. 1:4-9; 1 Pet. 1:3-5

Q&A 55
Q. What do you understand by “the communion of saints”? 
A. First, that believers one and all, as members of this community, share in Christ and in all his treasures and gifts.1

Second, that each member should consider it a duty to use these gifts readily and joyfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.2

1 Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 6:17; 12:4-7, 12-13; 1 John 1:3
2 Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:20-27; 13:1-7; Phil. 2:4-8

Q&A 56
Q. What do you believe concerning “the forgiveness of sins”? 
A. I believe that God, because of Christ’s satisfaction, will no longer remember any of my sins1 or my sinful nature which I need to struggle against all my life.2

Rather, by grace God grants me the righteousness of Christ to free me forever from judgment.3

1 Ps. 103:3-4, 10, 12; Mic. 7:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; 1 John 1:7; 2:2
2 Rom. 7:21-25
3 John 3:17-18; Rom. 8:1-2

Lord’s Day 22

Q&A 57
Q. How does “the resurrection of the body” comfort you? 
A. Not only will my soul be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head,1 but also my very flesh will be raised by the power of Christ, reunited with my soul and made like Christ’s glorious body.2

1 Luke 23:43; Phil. 1:21-23
2 1 Cor. 15:20, 42-46, 54; Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2

Q&A 58
Q. How does the article concerning “life everlasting” comfort you? 
A. Even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy,1 so after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever.2

1 Rom. 14:17
2 John 17:3; 1 Cor. 2:9

Lord’s Day 23

Q&A 59
Q. What good does it do you, however, to believe all this? 
A. In Christ I am righteous before God and heir to life everlasting.1

1 1 John 3:36; Rom. 1:17 (Hab. 2:4); Rom. 5:1-2

Q&A 60
Q. How are you righteous before God? 
A. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.1

Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments, of never having kept any of them,2 and of still being inclined toward all evil,3 nevertheless, without any merit of my own,4 out of sheer grace,5 God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,6 as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, and as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.7

All I need to do is accept this gift with a believing heart.8

1 Rom. 3:21-28; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil 3:8-11
2 Rom. 3:9-10
3 Rom. 7:23
4 Titus 3:4-5
5 Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8
6 Rom. 4:3-5 (Gen. 15:6); 2 Cor. 5:17-19; 1 John 2:1-2
7 Rom. 4:24-25; 2 Cor. 5:21
8 John 3:18; Acts 16:30-31

Q&A 61
Q. Why do you say that through faith alone you are righteous? 
A. Not because I please God by the worthiness of my faith. It is because only Christ’s satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness make me righteous before God,1and because I can accept this righteousness and make it mine in no other way than through faith.2

1 1 Cor. 1:30-31
2 Rom. 10:10; 1 John 5:10-12

Lord’s Day 24

Q&A 62
Q. Why can’t our good works be our righteousness before God, or at least a part of our righteousness? 
A. Because the righteousness which can pass God’s judgment must be entirely perfect and must in every way measure up to the divine law.1 But even our best works in this life are imperfect and stained with sin.2

1 Rom. 3:20; Gal. 3:10 (Deut. 27:26)
2 Isa. 64:6

Q&A 63
Q. How can our good works be said to merit nothing when God promises to reward them in this life and the next?1 
A. This reward is not earned; it is a gift of grace.2

1 Matt. 5:12; Heb. 11:6
2 Luke 17:10; 2 Tim. 4:7-8

Q&A 64
Q. But doesn’t this teaching make people indifferent and wicked? 
A. No. It is impossible for those grafted into Christ through true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.1

1 Luke 6:43-45; John 15:5

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