Heidelberg Catechism Devotional Q1

Q.1. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own but belong body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. 
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. 
He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. 
Because I belong to him, Christ,
by his Holy Spirit assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
Week 1


If you are a believer, if you “confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Rom 10:9) then Jesus owns you.  The idea of ownership, particularly of individuals is very unsettling to most people.  It stirs up ideas of slavery, particularly the bad kind of slavery where an owner abuses his slave and works him or her harshly only to dispose of the slave when he or she is no longer useful. This kind of ownership is offensive to anyone.  But the Bible talks about another kind of ownership and slavery.  Read Romans 1:1.  Paul refers to himself as a servant of Christ; the word he uses for servant is a Greek word meaning slave.  Why would Paul refer to himself as a slave?  After reading 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 talk about the price that Jesus paid to bring you into his family.


No one wants to be owned by another, no body wants to be ruled or lorded by someone else, so why does the Christian consider being owned by Jesus a comfort?  Read John 18:9.  Here Jesus is speaking as he is being arrested, but his words are a comfort for they remind us that all who are owned by Christ, all who are under his care and are part of his body will be kept safe from harm.  This doesn’t mean that difficult or even bad things won’t happen to Christians, but it does mean that none of those things will be able to rip us from his arms and so our salvation in Christ is assured, not because of what we do, but because of what he has done, is doing and promises to continue to do for all time.  Read Job 12:10 and Psalm 100:3 then reflect on how a shepherd cares for his sheep.  All the good, all the care, all the concern of the shepherd for his sheep pale in comparison to Christ’s tender care, protection and concern for each of his children.


Why is Jesus Christ faithful?  Read Titus 2:14.  Faithfulness is the constant dedication, unswerving loyalty and complete dependability of one person for another.  In our case as human beings we are undependable, and when that undependability is directed at God it is called sin.  Take for instance, a direction you are given by your parents, the faithful child obeys their parents instruction immediately, but the unfaithful child rebels and refuses to obey, or obeys slowly.  We call this sin.  Do you like to be around people who are undependable, or who refuse to obey you?  No, none of us do, but Jesus, even when we refused to obey him, came an acted on our behalf because he wanted to be around us.  That makes him faithful, even when we are unfaithful.  Read 2 Timothy 2:13.


Why is Jesus Christ my Savior?  Yesterday we read how Jesus was faithful by wanting to have us in his family even when we were unfaithful.  Today we will learn about how he made us part of his family again.  Read Hebrews 9:22.  How is sin forgiven and cancelled?  Read 1 Peter 1:18-19 and Hebrews 9:11-14.  Jesus’ life, his very blood removes our sin, and it is eternally able to remove every sin we have.  Is there any sin that can’t be cleansed by the blood of Christ?  There is not, Jesus’ blood is able to save each and every sinner to whom it is applied. Read 1 John 2:2.


How does our faithful Savior Jesus Christ set us free from the devil and his tyranny?  By his death and his resurrection.  Read Hebrews 2:14-15 and 1 John 3:8b.  In dying the Scriptures tell us that Jesus paid the price for sin, which is death, but in his resurrection we sing these beautiful lines “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).  The resurrection is the penultimate event in history that changed everything and freed us from sin and death and the tyranny of the devil.  Read 1 Corinthians 15:17.


On Tuesday we thought about what a shepherd does for his sheep.  Let’s dig a little deeper into the caring concern of Jesus for his people.  The Catechism says that Jesus “watches over us in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven.”  Oh, how glorious a statement, but is it true?  Read Matthew 10:29-31 and Luke 21:16-18.  We are in the care of our God and he knit us together and he sees our every action according to the Psalmist. He is concerned about each and every one of us.  “He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture” (Psalm 95:7).


About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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