Heidelberg Catechism Devotional Q15-17

Q.15. What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?

A. One who is truly human and truly righteous, yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God.

Q.16. Why must he be truly human and truly righteous?

A. God’s justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for its sin; but a sinner could never pay for others.

Q.17. Why must he also be true God?

ASo that, by the power of his divinity, he might bear the weight of God’s anger in his humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life.


Last week we learned that a human or any other creature would be unable to save us or cover our sin.  Does that mean there is no hope?  Does it mean that we are doomed to die for our sin, and be punished by God himself?  Yes, if an acceptable offering can’t be made to satisfy God’s sense of justice and his extreme anger at our sin.
Consider this. If you were trapped under a giant rock and couldn’t get out from under it, would you look for someone to help?  Of course, you would.  Would you look to a small child or a weak, sickly person?  No, you would look for someone who was healthy and strong, preferably the strongest person at hand.  The same is true for people who are trapped under the stone of sin, we need a really big person to come along and rescue us, and they need to be in prime condition, not a sinner like ourselves.
We need a perfectly sinless human being, and that is exactly who Jesus Christ is.  Read Hebrews 7:26-28.


While our savior needed to be perfect, he also needed to be human.  God won’t punish an animal or another creature for the sins of a human.  If you recall, sin came to all humanity because of Adam.  He was our representative and brought God’s wrath upon each and every person.  So if another is to take God’s punishment for human sin, then the savior must be both a human and a representative of the human race.  Again Jesus meets both requirements.  He is a descendant of David and a representative of all people.  The genealogy in Matthew 1 tell us how Jesus descended from Abraham through David but Luke 3 goes even further tracing Jesus back to Adam, the son of God.  The Holy Spirit wanted us to see that Jesus was like Adam in many ways, but also entirely different.  Thanks be to God that a new representative came and saved us.  Read Romans 1:3, 2Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, and 15:45.


Beyond just being our representative, our savior needed to be fully human in order to free humans from the death that held them because of their sin.  Our savior needed to appease God’s anger, but he also needed to defeat the results of our sin, death.  Read Hebrews 2:14-18.


If you recall from Monday, our Savior needed to be able to pick the stone of sin off of us, so he needed to be like us so that we could communicate with him and understand him, but he also needed to be the strongest person around.  In fact, if a substitute could be found they would need to be strong enough to take the punishment that God would send.  They would need to be able to bear all the wrath and anger that God has against all the sin in the entire world.  In fact, if God is infinite, then we can assume that his anger and wrath at sin would be infinite as well.  So, we need a savior who is also infinite like God.  But there is only one God, so we need God himself to be our savior.  This is the only one who can save us and deliver us.  Read Isaiah 9:6.  All of these titles refer to the one who will save; he will be God Incarnate.


Our savior must also be able to destroy death, as well as bear God’s wrath.  On Wednesday we explored this a little.  Let’s explore it some more.  If Satan is a created being and he ‘holds the power of death’ according to Hebrews 2:14, then our savior must be the one who created all the universe, and we know that God created it all.  So our savior must also be God the creator.  Again we rejoice for Jesus Christ is the Creator too.  Read John 1:1-14.


Since our savior must be truly God and truly human, there are very few candidates who can fill this requirement.  Truly there is only one. Sure there are plenty who have claimed to be divine, but none of them has ever risen from the dead like Jesus.  There are even many who claim to be perfect, though we all know that is impossible.  The mere claim by a person to be without sin is itself sinful.  But Jesus can and does fulfill all these requirements for a savior.  He alone is our mediator, going to God on our behalf, bearing our punishment and giving us his glory.  Let us rejoice.  Read 1Timothy 2:5-6 and 2 Corinthians 5:21.

About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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