A weekly newspaper column that I help edit is beginning a new series based on the Heidelberg Catechism. I was formatting one of the early articles, written by J.K. Jones, and was blessed to read and consider again:
Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
Answer: That I am not my own, but belong - body and soul, 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 the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
I am free from the bondage of Self. I am not my own. Not now, not tomorrow, not in eternity. I belong to Jesus. That means I am free to release the death grip I've had on my own plans, my own goals, my own personal comfort...free to rest instead in the confidence that Jesus, my faithful Savior, has plans and purposes for me that are greater than I can imagine, plans that He will indeed accomplish. Free from the bondage of having to promote and protect myself...free instead to honor and glorify my King.
I am free from the tyranny of the devil. I have been bought by Jesus. Paid in full. The transaction is a done deal. Although the voice of my old master is too familiar in my head, I do not have to listen to him or obey him. Satan and sin are not my master. As I endeavor to leave sinful patterns behind and to walk in the holiness which honors my Master, I am learning to recognize and respond to the lovely voice of One who loves me so much that He bought me at the cost of His own life.
I am free from the fear lurking like a dark shadow around today's struggles and the uncertainties of tomorrow. God - the Sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe - knows my needs and meets them perfectly. If He brings me plenty or want, if He brings me health or pain...whatever He brings, I can rest in the confidence that He applies every single circumstance of my life, lovingly and precisely, for my good and His glory.
I am free from the struggle to maintain and live this faith on my own. Free from my own doubts and insecurities, from the frailty of my weak faith. Christ Himself kneads into me faith, and works out in me faithfulness, through His Holy Spirit. "A cord of three strands is not easily broken." Oh, the incomprehensible strength of the three strands woven together around me to secure my salvation - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
Set free, like one released from the darkness and stench and terror of a slave galley. Set free, like one who feels the weight of heavy chains dropping away, clanking to the ground. Set free, to walk in the life and light and love and hope of knowing and serving my great Savior.
I am not my own - hallelujah! - I belong to Christ!
That is comfort enough for this life, for death, and for the ages to come!
3 days ago