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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 6

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 6

Q. Why must he be a true and righteous man?
A. Because God’s righteousness requires that man who has sinned should make reparation for sin, but the man who is himself a sinner cannot pay for others.

Q. Why must he at the same time be true God?
A. So that by the power of his divinity he might bear as a man the burden of God’s wrath, and recover for us and restore to us righteousness and life.

Q. Who is this mediator who is at the same time true God and a true and perfectly righteous man?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is freely given to us for complete redemption and righteousness.

Q. Whence do you know this?
A. From the holy gospel, which God himself revealed in the beginning in the Garden of Eden, afterward proclaimed through the holy patriarchs and prophets and foreshadowed through the sacrifices and other rites of the Old Covenant, and finally fulfilled through his own well-beloved Son.

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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 14

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 14

Chapter 8 – Of Christ the Mediator Cont.(Paragraphs 3-5)
III. The Lord Jesus in his human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure; having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell: to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety. Which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.
IV. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which, that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of his Father, making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.
V. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, has fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father has given unto him.

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Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 14

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 14

Q & A 46
Q What was the estate of Christ’s humiliation?
A The estate of Christ’s humiliation was that low condition, wherein he for our sakes, emptying himself of his glory, took upon him the form of a servant, in his conception and birth, life, death, and after his death, until his resurrection.*1

Q & A 47
Q How did Christ humble himself in his conception and birth?
A Christ humbled himself in his conception and birth, in that, being from all eternity the Son of God, in the bosom of the Father, he was pleased in the fulness of time to become the son of man, made of a woman of low estate, and to be born of her; with various circumstances of more than ordinary abasement.*2

Q & A 48
Q How did Christ humble himself in his life?
A Christ humbled himself in his life, by subjecting himself to the law,3 which he perfectly fulfilled;4 and by conflicting with the indignities of the world,5 temptations of Satan,6 and infirmities in his flesh, whether common to the nature of man, or particularly accompanying that his low condition.*7

Q & A 49
Q How did Christ humble himself in his death?
A Christ humbled himself in his death, in that having been betrayed by Judas,8 forsaken by his disciples,9 scorned and rejected by the world,10 condemned by Pilate, and tormented by his persecutors;11 having also conflicted with the terrors of death, and the powers of darkness, felt and borne the weight of God’s wrath,12 he laid down his life an offering for sin,13 enduring the painful, shameful, and cursed death of the cross.*14

Q & A 50
Q Wherein consisted Christ’s humiliation after his death?
A Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried,15 and continuing in the state of the dead, and under the power of death till the third day;16 which hath been otherwise expressed in these words, He descended into hell.

*1 Philippians 2:6-8; Luke 1:31; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Acts 2:24.
*2 John 1:14, 18; Galatians 4:4; Luke 2:7.
*3 Galatians 4:4.
*4 Matthew 5:17; Romans 5:19.
*5 Psalm 22:6; Hebrews 12:2-3.
*6 Matthew 4:1-12; Luke 4:13.
*7 Hebrews 2:17-18; Hebrews 4:15; Isaiah 52:13-14.
*8 Matthew 27:4.
*9 Matthew 26:56.
*10 Isaiah 53:2-3.
*11 Matthew 27:26-50; John 19:34.
*12 Luke 22:44; Matthew 27:46.
*13 Isaiah 53:10.
*14 Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 12:2; Galatians 3:13.
*15 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
*16 Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:24-27, 31; Romans 6:9; Matthew 12:40.

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Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 12

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 12

Q & A 36
Q Who is the Mediator of the covenant of grace?
A The only Mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ,1 who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father,2 in the fulness of time became man,3 and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.4

Q & A 37
Q How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul,5 being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her,6 yet without sin.*7

Q & A 38
Q Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God?
A It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death,8 give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession;9 and to satisfy God’s justice,10 procure his favour,11 purchase a peculiar people,12 give his Spirit to them,13 conquer all their enemies,14 and bring them to everlasting salvation.15

Q & A 39
Q Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be man?
A It was requisite that the Mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature,16 perform obedience to the law,17 suffer and make intercession for us in our nature,18 have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities;19 that we might receive the adoption of sons,20 and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.21

Q & A 40
Q Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and man in one person?
A It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us,22 and relied on by us as the works of the whole person.23

*1 1 Timothy 2:5.
*2 John 1:1, 14; John 10:30; Philippians 2:6.
*3 Galatians 4:4.
*4 Luke 1:35; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 7:24-25.
*5 John 1:14; Matthew 26:38.
*6 Luke 1:27, 31, 35, 42; Galatians 4:4.
*7 Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26.
*8 Acts 2:24-25; Romans 1:4; Romans 4:25; Hebrews 9:14.
*9 Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 7:25-28
*10 Romans 3:24-26.
*11 Ephesians 1:6; Matthew 3:17.
*12 Titus 2:13-14.
*13 Galatians 4:6.
*14 Luke 1:68-69, 71, 74.
*15 Hebrews 5:8-9; Hebrews 9:11-15.
*16 Hebrews 2:16.
*17 Galatians 4:4.
*18 Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 7:24-25.
*19 Hebrews 4:15.
*20 Galatians 4:5.
*21 Hebrews 4:16.
*22 Matthew 1:21, 23; Matthew 3:17; Hebrews 9:14.
*23 1 Peter 2:6.

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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 12

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 12

Q & A 21
Q Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ,1 who, being the eternal Son of God,2 became man,3 and so was, and continues to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.4

Q & A 22
Q How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul,5 being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her,6 yet without sin.*7

*1 John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6.
*2 Psalm 2:7; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 1:18.
*3 Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23; John 1:14; Galatians 4:4.
*4 Acts 1:11; Hebrews 7:24-25.
*5 Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:14, 17
*6 Luke 1:27, 31, 35.
*7 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26; 1 John 3:5.

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Remember Who Put Christ In Christmas

Somewhere or other I read/heard the contrast between: the annual polite requests-appeals-strident demands that maintain the effort to keep Christ in Christmas, or to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season, or to correct someone who wishes you season’s greetings or happy holidays that they should be saying merry Christmas; and the fact that it’s not up to us to keep Christ in Christmas because we didn’t put him there in the first place.
God did that.
God entered creation in the incarnation when nobody really wanted Him to come.
It’s helpful to remember that we didn’t want Jesus either until God placed His Spirit in our hearts.
The (intentional or accidental) sidelining of Jesus from celebrations of His own birth is an annual metaphor of the circumstances of His first coming.
He won’t receive the recognition or welcome He deserves until His second coming.
And that second coming will also depend on God, not us.
So, whatever it is Christians observe about attitudes to Jesus this time of year underlines the spiritual reality we face until our Lord’s return.
God became incarnate and entered creation with humility, grace and love.
Our lives are meant to be a reflection of the incarnated love that comes to those who aren’t expecting it.

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2014 Mount Gambier City Carols Devotion

As part of the printed booklet of song words for the Mount Gambier City Blue Lake Carols a devotion is included on behalf of the local Minister’s Association.
I wrote this year’s one.
Here it is:

The first person who celebrated the birth of Jesus in song was his own mother. Luke’s Gospel retells a story that Christians believe was told to Luke by Mary herself. After all, she was the only one there!
That first celebration was not only an anticipation of the birth that would take place nine months later near a manger in Bethlehem. Mary composed and sang a song of praise that expressed faith and joy in God’s love and saving power. Decades later the words of that song were still etched in Mary’s mind, and they still declared the hope that filled her heart.
Before their births, all parents have great hopes for our children as we dream of what their lives may be. Mary’s song was not just a romantic aspiration, however. She was not shut away from the realities of life. Her people were under foreign rule. She was engaged to be married to an honourable man who would struggle to understand her pregnancy. There was the danger that she would become a marginalised person among a marginalised people.
Yet she hears the words and believes that more than the blessing of motherhood, there is the blessing of a merciful God who would fulfil a promise of blessing for all the nations. God had long promised to bring the marginalised and powerless to himself. And her son, Jesus, would be the way he would do it.
The words of the carols we sing, the observance of Christmas on December 25; these speak of a destiny that is so wonderful that amidst the cares and limitations of life we can scarcely believe they are for us. We might feel that these words mock us with hope, so great is their promise in contrast to our present experience.
Years later Mary would feel the greatest pain a parent can experience, watching the cruel death of her son. Yet her song was not in vain. The resurrection demonstrated the power of God’s love over death.
The great truth of the carols we sing tonight and through the Christmas season is not that we can find God, but that God in his power, love and mercy has come to find us in the person of Jesus Christ.
The song that started in his mother’s throat rings down through the ages and people of faith and hope continue to sing his praise.