Monday, May 9, 2011

Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 24

Q: 62. But why cannot our good works be the whole, or part of our righteousness before God?
A: Because, the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect, and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.

Q: 63. Do not our good works merit that which God will reward in this and in a future life?
A: This reward is not of merit, but of grace.

Q: 64. But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?
A: By no means: for it is impossible that those, who are implanted into Christ by a true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.

1. All of our works in this life are marred with sin. Therefore, there is no room for pride. Without Christ's blood even what we consider "good works" would send us straight to Hell.

2. The Heidelberg does a great job of keeping its answers tied to Scripture. A lot of men feel that any talk of reward is unbiblical. However, the Bible plainly teaches that there are rewards to the faithful. (See II Timothy 4:7-8 and Hebrews 11:6) The question is not, "Is there is a reward?" But rather, "What type of reward is it?" The Heidelberg rightly answers that it is a reward of grace.

3. The doctrine of grace does not lead to men doing whatever they please. Note that last phrase, "It is impossible..." If a man is born again, he grows in holiness. Any other teaching is not from the Bible.

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8