What Is Your Only Comfort?

  Dr. Kim Riddlebarger: Of all the Reformation-era catechisms, perhaps none is as well-loved as the Heidelberg Catechism. In the opening question and answer, the personal and distinctive tone of the catechism becomes evident. “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” This is not a theoretical question—”What would be necessary if God were to comfort sinners?” Rather, this is a very practical question—”How do I have comfort as long as I live and then when I die?” The key word in the opening question is comfort (German, trost). The word refers to our assurance and confidence in the finished work of Christ. This comfort extends to all of life and even to the hour of death. As one of the authors of the catechism (Zacharius Ursinus) puts it in his commentary on the catechism, this comfort entails “the assurance of the free remission of sin, and of reconciliation with God by and on account of Christ, and a

read more What Is Your Only Comfort?

Agnus Victor: Satan defeated through the substitution of the Lamb

Martin Downes: The first question of the Heidelberg Catechism views the atoning work of Christ as dealing with the satisfaction made for all our sins (penal substitution) and his redeeming us from all the power of the devil (Christus Victor). What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him. Thus the Catechism holds together what ought

read more Agnus Victor: Satan defeated through the substitution of the Lamb

Amen, and Amen!

Kevin DeYoung: What we mean when we say amen: The word amen is not Christianese for “prayer over.” It means something much more beautiful and significant. I had a friend in college who thought because of our freedom in Christ we shouldn’t say “amen” to conclude our prayers.  So he started ending his prayers with “groovy” (you would have thought I was in college in the 1970s). He thought it was pretty cool, a little bit of needed rebellion against tired old Christian cliches. But amen is not the same as groovy.  Amen means “let it be, “so be it,” “verily,” “truly.”  When you finish your prayer with “Amen” you are saying, “Yes Lord, let it be so. According to your will, may it be.” It’s a final note of confirmation at the end of our prayers. More than that, the Heidelberg Catechism reminds us that “amen” is also an expression of confidence. “Amen” means “This is sure to be!” It reminds

read more Amen, and Amen!