Ques. 34. Wherefore callest thou him our Lord?
Ans. Because he hath redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, but with his precious blood, and hath delivered us from all the power of the devil, and thus made us his own property.
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 13.
Every child that was born in the line of the covenant aroused new hopes in the hearts of our first parents, Adam and Eve. They were looking for the promised Seed as they rejoiced in the birth of Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, and Enoch.
Noah blessed the God of Shem because his hope of salvation was centered in the generations of Shem.
Abraham longed to see Christ’s day. Jacob spoke of the coming of Shiloh, and breathed the cry of longing, “I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord” (Gen. 49:18).
It was David who was privileged to hear with a prophetic ear, “The Lord (Jehovah, the covenant God of His people) said to my Lord (Adonai, the Mighty One), Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1). The king who fought the battles of the Lord saw the promised Christ risen from the dead, exalted at the right hand of the Father, with all power entrusted to Him in heaven and on earth, until the mighty Jehovah gives Him the glorious victory over all His enemies in the creation.
Daniel declares, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they (the angel host) brought Him before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” What a wonderful preview that was of the mighty Conqueror coming forth out of the torments of hell, out of death and the grave, marching triumphantly into the highest heavens to receive of the Father a Name which is above all names, “King of kings and Lord of lords”!
When Jesus began His public ministry His disciples first were impressed by the fact that He spoke with authority, and not as the scribes, so that they made bold to call Him Rabbi, Master. But when they beheld His power over devils, sickness, and death, and saw that even the winds and the seas obeyed Him, they began to call Him Lord. Many others who were healed from their physical infirmities and who were quickened to a living faith in Him fell down in worship before Him and confessed Him as their Lord. After the resurrection Thomas cries out, “My Lord and my God.”
Today we sing of our exalted Lord in heavenly glory when we confess with the church of the shadows, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:7, 8). For we now, “see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:9). He is the Lamb that was slain, and Who lives and reigns in heaven, that we may live and reign with Him in His glorious kingdom, “Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is a very personal confession, for as individual believers we may say, “My Lord.” Yet we never want to isolate ourselves from the assembly of the saints, of which we are such an integral part, so that we count it a privilege to declare with all believers that He is “OurLord.”
Our Catechism teaches us in the section quoted above that there are three specific benefits that we derive from that confession, namely, He redeems, He delivers us, and He makes us His property.
Our Lord Redeemer.
Our Lord has “redeemed us, both soul and body, from all our sins, not with gold or silver, but with His precious blood.”
The first thing that comes to our minds as we read this is that we come into this world as children of Satan, slaves of sin, and in the bondage of death. When Adam and Eve fell in paradise, God’s just punishment upon them and us was, “The soul that sins must die.” The death that we died in paradise includes nothing less than the heavy burden of God’s wrath upon us. That wrath includes that God gave us over to Satan, the prince of darkness, so that he has power over us to rule over us. We even bear his deceitful nature as his children. We are evil, sold under sin and bound in the shackles of physical and eternal death. We would not be honest with ourselves if we should try to deny this. Yet what fools we are. We imagine that our freedom lies in sinning, that we can transgress God’s law and escape His condemnation. We call that fun, real living, even while we can hardly fail to realize that the reward of sin is death. We are taking a heady, exciting ride down a steep slope that opens into the chasm of hell. Yet we love it. We refuse to give it up. The shackles of sin and the power of death are too strong for us to break.
But we have a Redeemer in the heavens, Who is none other than GOD. God has eternally appointed His Son, the Christ, to be our representative Head, our substitute, to break the power of sin, and to set us free in the glorious liberty of the sons of God. The price of redemption had to be paid—not to Satan, but to God, for God’s justice had to be satisfied. Not all the gold and silver in this world, no matter what its value may be per ounce on the common market, can redeem one soul from even the smallest sin. No angel in heaven, not all the blood of sheep and rams in the Old Testament sacrifices, no Moses and no Paul could deliver us. But God’s Son, Jesus Christ, stands eternally before the triune God, His Father, declaring, “I come to do Thy will, O God!” God came in the flesh in the person of the Son; took on the form of a Servant, and humbled Himself to the bitter, shameful, accursed death of the cross. He did this to pay the ransom price of His own precious blood, God’s blood, as an atonement for the sins of all His people. Were there millions more, this sacrifice would have been sufficient even then. But God gave His Son as a ransom for His chosen people. Christ laid down His life for His sheep. The fact that you and I may be privileged to count ourselves among this people, these sheep, fills us with humble worship. In deepest gratitude we may confess: “I know that my Redeemer liveth!”
We are redeemed in body and soul, for time and eternity; redeemed to the adoption of sons, members of the family of God; redeemed to live and reign with Christ in the new creation forever and ever!
Our Lord Deliverer.
I belong to the spiritually armed forces of the living God, not as an enlistee, nor as a volunteer for Jesus, but as a draftee who has been drawn by the impulsion of the Holy Spirit through the means of the Word of God. According to God’s sovereign election, and on the merit of Christ’s atoning death, I underwent a second birth. I was separated from the world, which became my enemy, and I became a new creature in Christ, a soldier of the cross. I am a friend of those who love God, and an enemy of all those who oppose Him. Therefore I find myself out on the battlefield, called to ward off my many personal enemies and to guard the City of my God day and night. We live in an evil day, for the devil is taking his last stand and making his final attack upon God’s Name and God’s Cause. I cannot begin to tell how many cunning onslaughts are made against God Himself, to wipe His Name from off the earth, against His Christ, His infallible Word, His Church, both as institute and as it manifests itself in its various members. The devil has succeeded in creating a spirit of complacency, a cold indifference in the hearts of members of the church, who cry, “Peace, peace,” even when heresies arise and the very foundations are being undermined. Even as our Lord forewarned us, the ten virgins rest, some in slumber, some in deep sleep. I find myself a victim of satanic attacks every moment of the day and night. This would be of no concern to me, if it were not for the fact that I am prone by nature to succumb, because of my innate selfish pride, and my evil inclination to hate God and my closest neighbor; I know, as our Canons teach, that if it were not for Christ, the Captain of my salvation, Who preserves me by the power of His grace and Spirit, I not only might perish, but I certainlywould. Therefore I need the complete armor of God, wearing on my head the helmet of salvation, on my chest the breastplate of righteousness, about my waist the girdle of truth, on my feet the shoes of the preparedness of the gospel of peace, gripping firmly in my left hand the shield of faith to ward off all the fiery darts of the evil one, and in my right hand the sword of the Spirit, which is, along with all the rest, the Word of God. Shoulder to shoulder I stand with all those who belong to the armed forces of the living God in an evil world. Our confidence is that, even as David could go alone, only an armor bearer with him, into the camp of Saul and his three thousand soldiers, we also can meet the enemy in the confidence that no one can harm the Lord’s anointed. Even as a small army of Judah could go out and gain the victory over a mighty enemy host, often without shooting an arrow, so we also always have the victory in our Lord Jesus Christ. When God is for us no one can be against us. We are more than conquerors through our Lord, Who loved us unto death and loves us still.
Our Lord Possessor.
Our Lord is ours, and we are His sole possession. He has a very special claim on us as His peculiar property. We are as closely knit to Him as members of the body are united with the head. We are one with Him as sheep of one Shepherd. He intercedes for us in heaven, and from heaven blesses us with every spiritual blessing. He is the Bridegroom Who is preparing the Home for His Bride, and preparing His Bride for His Home to live and reign with Him in His glorious Kingdom forever.
Our Lord’s rule is totalitarian. Peoples may rage, but He directs their lives that, in spite of themselves, they serve His purpose. Nations, like Russia, may devise schemes and plans for power, but God’s Christ reigns as our Lord in the heavens. Antichrist may lift his vile head, but his doom is sealed by the victory of the cross twenty centuries ago.
There is nothing, not a thumb breadth of all that we claim as our own, that does not belong to Christ. Our time, our very life, our strength, our gifts and talents, our families and homes, and everything else must be used in His service. We are servants in His house and vineyard who will be called to account when He returns.
To Him we owe our whole allegiance. The more so, because the Lord is our Shepherd, Who leads us in green pastures and beside still waters, ever leading us onward to the sheepfold of glory. In that confidence we confess: “And I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever.” You see, we belong to Jesus.