Heidelberg Catechism Q47

Q.47. But isn’t Christ with us until the end of the world as he promised us?

A. Christ is truly human and truly God.  In his human nature Christ is not now on earth; but in his divinity, majesty, grace and Spirit he is not absent from us for a moment.


Friendship and companionship are real needs.  When God looked at Adam and saw that he was alone, he said that it was not good.  Furthermore, God saw the real need of humanity; we need a helper, a helper that is suitable for our physical needs.  Read Genesis 2:18-23.

But the story of the creation of man and woman also serves to point us to the reality that we need a spiritual companion who can meet our true needs for intimacy with our Creator.  It is in this vein that Jesus says he will never leave us.  Read Matthew 8:20. He will be our companion, our helper, our guide and friend.  And because we believe the Bible to be the very Word of God, we trust that what Jesus has said is faithful and true.  He is with us.


Anyone who has been paying attention to the catechism will recall that last week, we affirmed Jesus ascended into heaven.  If this is so, then how can he be with us?  To answer this we must return to an even earlier question regarding the nature of our savior.  In Question 15 we learned that our savior must be truly human and truly divine.  It is to this distinction that we turn.

As a person, we all know that it is impossible to be in two places at the same time.  I cannot be in school and on the playground, or in New York while also being in Shanghai.  The nature of being human allows us to be present in only one physical place at a time.  Physically Jesus was on earth for 33 years and following his crucifixion and resurrection he spent another 40 days teaching his disciples before he ascended into heaven. Read Acts 1:3, 7-11. As a resurrected human, our Savior sits at the right hand of God interceding for us, and for that we rejoice.  Death has been conquered and our helper is asking the Father always for our best.


But Jesus also has another nature; he is fully divine.  The Scriptures tell us that God is Spirit.  Read John 4:24. And it is in this divine and spiritual companionship that our Lord is with us.  He promised that when he physically left us as a man, he would spiritually return to us.  Read John 14:16-18. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and it now dwells with us and in us, never to leave, until once again we are united with our Savior in a new and better heaven.


Earlier we learned about our true need for spiritual companionship and friendship.  What makes a good friend?  Good friends stick with you, they teach you new things, and they understand and share.  These are but a few of the qualities we recognize in good companionship and these same qualities are present in the Spirit of Christ that is with us.  Read John 14:26-27. Jesus’ spiritual presence is in us forever.  His spiritual presence in us shows us new things, and reminds us of old things we once new to be true.  He shares truth and understands our needs; that is why he is called our Counselor.


How this all happens is beyond comprehension.  Being fully human and fully divine is unfathomable.  And while it may cause our minds to hurt thinking about it, it also can cause awe and wonder.  We are unable to be present in two places at once, but our Savior is so grand and powerful that he can be present in the throne room of God and also in the hearts of every believer – past, present and future.  This is awe-inspiring.  We worship a great God.  Read Acts 3:19-21 & Romans 8:9-11.


As we conclude this week, I would like to step back in time to before the incarnation of Jesus.  We know that Jesus is God and therefore he has always been.  It seems logical that is Jesus was able to send his Spirit after his ascension, then we should also find evidence of him sending the same spirit upon men before his virgin birth.  While there are countless examples throughout the Old Testament of this happening as the Spirit came upon prophets and kings, I would like to turn to one passage in the New Testament that sums them all up.  Read 1Peter 1:10-12.

In this passage the Apostle Peter recognizes the truth that Christ Spirit ahs been present in every prophet in order to lead him or her into truth.  This should come as a great comfort, the very Spirit of Christ at work in men to create the Scriptures is also at work in us to understand the Scriptures and lead us in their truth.  Glory be to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit who have worked tirelessly from the beginning to bring men, women and children unto salvation.


About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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