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Our Only Comfort


pen resting on paper

Occasionally it’s good to look back on some of the old Confessions of Faith to find solid, encouraging words that bolster our own faith.  One such statement is the Heidelberg Confession, a teaching tool developed by some Reformed Churches in and around Heidelberg, Germany in the 1560’s.  It was divided into 52 sections to enable churches to teach one section each Lord’s Day throughout the church year.  It was used to instruct young people in the faith and to serve as a preaching guide for pastors.


One of its more memorable statements is actually found on Day One.  The question-and-answer format is helpful.


Question one:  What is your only comfort in life and death?


Answer:  That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.


I don’t know if it’s the beautiful language or the theology itself, but I’ve always been drawn to this statement of Biblical truth.


The truth of the statement is jarring, beginning with the question itself.  It implies that there is only one source of real, lasting comfort in this life.  And the answer is just as direct.  Our only comfort is this life is that we are not our own, but belong to someone else.


We belong – body, soul, mind and spirit – to our Lord and Savior Jesus.  This fact is clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.”  Jesus, through his death on the cross, has paid the price to redeem our souls and claim us as his own.  Our fate is in His hands, because we rest in those hands. 


That’s encouraging!


man standing by ocean

We are no longer under the power of the devil, but have been set free from his dominion.  Once in darkness, we are now living in the kingdom of light.  Colossians 1:13-14 states that God as “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness

of sins.


According to the catechism, God’s care for us extends beyond our salvation to the daily details of our life.  No detail is too small.  No part of our safety is beyond the care and supervision of our loving, heavenly Father.  Jesus assures us of God’s care for us with these words found in Luke 12:6-7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. 


The catechism concludes with a strong affirmation that all of this is possible through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who assures us of our salvation and daily makes us willing and able to live fully for him.  He is the one working in us, giving us the desire to live for God and the ability to do so.  In Philippians 2:13-14 Paul says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.


The world often promises comfort, peace and safety, but does so through empty words and hollow promises.  Only God can comfort you, protect you, and give you a sense of real meaning, purpose and satisfaction in life. 


To Him be all the honor, glory and praise!

 

 

 

 

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