Justification in the Heidelberg Catechism

July 29, 2017


What separates Christianity apart from other worldviews is it's exclusivity and it's succinctness. Exclusive, because of the grace of God rendered to violators of His law. Succinct, because Jesus always cut to the chase about the true state of all human beings (Mark 7:20-23). Every other religion in existence has always sought to deny the fundamental bane of the world by creating a junction of good works plus a perfectionist attempt at piety.


In all of redemptive history, God is always steering people towards the inevitable need of justification that is only received by faith. Abraham understood that he was counted righteous by his faith (Romans 4:3), just as David espoused a righteousness that comes from God alone (Romans 4:6). The Heidelberg Catechism, a warm confession articulated in 1563 by the Dutch Reformed church, centralizes on the exactness of what true and biblical faith is:


Q 21. What is true faith?

A: True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction

that everything God reveals in his Word is true (1);

it is also a deep-rooted assurance (2),

created in me by the Holy Spirit (3) through the gospel (4), 

that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ (5), 

not only others, but I too (6), have had my sins forgiven,
have been made forever right with God,

and have been granted salvation. (7)


A faith that functions in actuality is a faith that is joint to the assurance of Christ's blood-currency. Faith that commutates us back into unity with God the Father. The theology of our prayers confirms it so by what we often use as a closing benediction: "In Christ's name, amen." Question 21 directs us toward basic Christian doctrine in explaining that "out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ, not only others, but I too, have had my sins forgiven," teaching us to approach our fellowship with our Lord on the basis of faith alone in the Son.


The Heidelberg Catechism instructs us to not only to meditate upon the gift of God's love in Jesus. It instructs us to experientially walk in the confidence of our justification. Jesus stands before Yahweh on our behalf and the result is that we "have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation." As we experience the solidity of Christ righteousness, we observe it in our daily practice.








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