On each Lord’s Day this year, we will display the 52 devotionals taken from the Heidelberg Catechism which are structured in the form of questions posed and answers given.
The Heidelberg Catechism was originally written in 1563. It originated in one of the few pockets of Calvinistic faith in the Lutheran and Catholic territories of Germany. Conceived originally as a teaching instrument to promote religious unity, the catechism soon became a guide for preaching as well.
Along with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt, it forms what is collectively referred to as the Three Forms of Unity.
The devotional for LORD’S DAY 16 is as follows. Please take note of the biblical references given in each answer. The theme for the next several weeks concerns the subject of God the Son.
Q. Why did Christ have to suffer death?
A. Because God’s justice and truth require it: 1 nothing else could pay for our sins
except the death of the Son of God.2
Q. Why was he “buried”?
A. His burial testifies that he really died.1
Q. Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?
A. Our death does not pay the debt of our sins.1 Rather, it puts an end to our sinning
and is our entrance into eternal life.2
Q. What further benefit do we receive from Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross?
A. By Christ’s power our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with him,1
so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer rule us,2 but that instead we may offer ourselves as a sacrifice of gratitude to him.3
Q. Why does the creed add, “He descended to hell”?
A. To assure me during attacks of deepest dread and temptation
that Christ my Lord, by suffering unspeakable anguish, pain, and terror of soul, on the cross but also earlier, has delivered me from hellish anguish and torment.1
May truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!