Lord’s Days 1-13 14-26 27-38 40-52

The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 27-38

XXVII. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 72. Is then the external baptism with water the washing away of sin itself?

Answer. Not at all: for the [a] blood of Jesus Christ only, and the Holy Ghost cleanse us from all [b] sin.

 Question 73. Why then doth the Holy Ghost call baptism the washing of regeneration, and the washing away of sins?

AnswerGod speaks thus not without great cause, to-wit, not only thereby to teach us, that as the filth of the body is purged away by water, so our sins are [c] removed by the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ; but especially that by [d] this divine pledge and sign he may assure us, that we are spiritually cleansed from our sins as really, as we are externally washed with water.

 Question 74. Are infants also to be baptized?

Answer. Yes: for since they, as well as the adult, are included in the [e] covenant and [f] church of God; and since [g] redemption from sin by the blood of Christ, and the [h] Holy Ghost, the author of faith, is promised to them no less than to the adult; they must therefore by baptism, as a sign of the covenant, be also admitted into the christian church; and be distinguished [i] from the children of unbelievers as was done in the old covenant or testament by [j] circumcision, instead of which [k] baptism is instituted in the new covenant.

[a]: Mat. 3:111Pet. 3:11 [b]: 1John 1:71Cor. 6:11 [c]: Rev. 1:51Cor 6:11 [d]: Mark 16:16Gal. 3:27 [e]: Gen. 17:7Acts 2:39 [f]: 1Cor. 7:14Joel 2:16 [g]: Mat. 19:14 [h]: Luke 1:14,15Psa. 22:10Acts 2:39 [i]: Acts 10:471Cor. 12:131Cor 7:14 [j]: Gen. 17:14 [k]: Col. 2:11,12,13

of the Holy Supper of Our Lord Jesus Christ

 XXVIII. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 75. How are thou admonished and assured in the Lord’s Supper, that thou are a partaker of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross, and of all his benefits?

Answer. Thus: That Christ has commanded me and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, in remembrance of him, [a] adding these promises: first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes, the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.

 Question 76. What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ?

Answer. It is only to embrace with a believing heart all the sufferings and death of Christ, and thereby to [b] obtain the pardon of sin, and life eternal; but also, besides that, to become more and more [c] united to his sacred body, by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us; [d] so that we, though Christ is in heaven and we on earth, are notwithstanding Flesh of his flesh, and bone [e] of his bone; and that we live, [f] and are governed forever by one spirit, as members of the same body are by one soul.

 Question 77. Where has Christ promised that he will as certainly feed and nourish believers with his body and blood, as they eat of this broken bread, and drink of this cup?

AnswerIn the institution of the supper, which is thus expressed: [g] The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said: eat, this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying: this [h] cup is the new testament in my blood; [i] this do ye, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For, as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come. This promise is repeated by the holy apostle Paul, where he says: [j] The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread and one body; because we are all partakers of that one bread.

[a]: Mat. 26:26,27,28Mark 14:22,23,24Luke 22:19,201Cor. 10:16,171Cor 11:23,24,25 [b]: John 6:35,40,47,48,50,51,53,54 [c]: John 6:55,56 [d]: Acts 3:21Acts 1:9,10,111Cor 11:26 [e]: Eph. 5:29,30,31,321Cor. 6:15,17,191John 3:24 [f]: John 6:56,57,58Eph. 4:15,16 [g]: 1Cor. 11:23Mat. 26:26Mark 14:22Luke 22:19 [h]: Ex. 24:8Heb. 9:20 [i]: Ex. 13:91Cor. 11:26 [j]: 1Cor. 10:16,17

XXIX. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 78. Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?

Answer. Not at all: [a] but as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, neither is the washing away of sin itself, being only the sign and confirmation thereof appointed of God; so the bread in the Lord’s supper is not changed into the very [b] body of Christ; though agreeable to the [c] nature and properties of sacraments, it is called the body of Christ Jesus.

 Question 79. Why then doth Christ call the bread his body, and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood; and Paul the communion of the body and blood of Christ?

AnswerChrist speaks thus, not without great reason, namely, not only thereby to teach us, that as bread and wine support this temporal life, so his crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink, whereby our souls are [d] fed to eternal life; but more especially by these visible signs and pledges to assure us, that we are as really partakers of his true body and blood (by the operation of the Holy Ghost) as we [e] receive by the mouths of our bodies these holy signs in remembrance of him; and that all his sufferings [f] and obedience are as certainly ours, as if we had in our own persons suffered and made satisfaction for our sins to God.

[a]: 1Cor. 10:1,2,3,41Pet. 3:21John 6:35,62,63 [b]: 1Cor. 10:16ff1Cor. 11:20ff [c]: Gen.17:10,11,14Ex. 12:26,27,43,48Acts 7:8Mat. 26:26Mark 14:24 [d]: John 6:51,55,56
[e]: 1Cor. 10:16,171Cor 11:26,27,28Eph. 5:30 [f]: Rom. 5:9,18,19Rom. 8:4

 XXX. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 80. What difference is there between the Lord’s supper and the popish mass?

AnswerThe Lord’s supper testifies to us, that we have a full pardon of all sin [a] by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself has once accomplished on the cross; and, that we by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted [b] into Christ, who, according to his human nature is now not on earth, but in [c] heaven, at the right hand of God his Father, and will there [d] be worshipped by us: – but the mass teaches, that the living and dead have not the pardon of sins though the sufferings of Christ, unless Christ is also daily offered for them by the priests; and further, that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine, and therefore is to be worshipped in them; so that the mass, as bottom, is nothing else than a [e] denial of the one sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ, and an accursed idolatry.

 Question 81. For whom is the Lord’s supper instituted?

Answer. For those who are truly sorrowful [g] for their sins, and yet that these are forgiven them for the sake of Christ; and that their remaining infirmities [h] are covered by his passion and death; and who also earnestly [i] desire to have their faith more and more strengthened, and their lives more holy; but hypocrites, and such as turn not to God with sincere hearts, eat and [j] drink judgment to themselves.

 Question 82. Are they also to be admitted to this supper, who, by confession and life, declare themselves unbelieving and ungodly?

Answer. No; for by this, the covenant of God would be profaned, and his wrath [k] kindled against the whole congregation; therefore it is the duty of the christian church, according to the appointment of [l] Christ and his apostles, to exclude such persons, by the keys of the kingdom of heaven, till they show amendment of life.

[a]: Heb. 7:27Heb. 9:12,26mat. 26:28Luke 22:19,202Cor. 5:21 [b]: 1Cor. 61Cor 171Cor 12:13
[c]: Heb. 1:3Heb 8:1ff [d]: John 4:21,22,23Col. 3:1Phil. 3:20Luke 24:52,53Acts 7:55 [e]: Isa. 1:11,14Mat. 15:9Col. 2:22,23Jer. 2:13 [g]: Mat. 5:3,6Luke 7:37,38Luke 15:18,19
[h]: Psa. 103:3 [i]: Psa. 116:12,13,141Pet. 2:11,12 [j]: 1Cor. 10:20ff1Cor. 11:28ffTit. 1:16Psa. 50:15,16 [k]: 1Cor. 10:211Cor. 11:30,31Isa. 1:11,13Jer. 7:21Psa. 50:16,22 [l]: Mat. 18:17,18

 XXXI. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 83. What are [a] the keys of the kingdom of heaven?

Answer. The preaching [b] of the holy gospel, and christian discipline, [c] or excommunication out of the christian church; by these two, the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers, and shut against unbelievers.

 Question 84. How is the kingdom of heaven opened and shut by the preaching of the holy gospel?

Answer. Thus: when according to the command of [d] Christ, it is declared and publicly testified to all and every believer, that, whenever they [e] receive the promise of the gospel by a true faith, all their sins are really forgiven them of God, for the sake of Christ’s merits; and on the contrary, when it is declared and testified to all unbelievers, and such as do not sincerely repent, that they stand exposed to the wrath of God, and eternal [f] condemnation, so long as they are [g] unconverted: according to which testimony of the gospel, God will judge them, both in this, and in the life to come.

 Question 85. How is the kingdom of heaven shut and opened by christian discipline?

Answer. Thus: when according [h] to the command of Christ, those, who under the name of christians, maintain doctrines, or practices [i] inconsistent therewith, and will not, after having been often brotherly admonished, renounce their errors and wicked course of life, are complained of to the church, [j] or to those, who are thereunto [k] appointed by the church; and if they despise their admonition, [l] are by them forbidden the use of the sacraments; whereby they are excluded from the christian church, and by God himself from the kingdom of Christ; and when they promise and show real amendment, are again [m] received as members of Christ and his church.

[a]: Mat. 16:19 [b]: John 20:23 [c]: Mat. 18:15,16,17,18 [d]: Mat. 28:19 [e]: John 3:18,36Mark 16:16 [f]: 2Thes. 1:7,8,9 [g]: John 20:21,22,23Mat. 16:19Rom. 2:2,13-17 [h]: Mat. 18:15 [i]: Cor. 5:12 [j]: Mat. 18:15-18 [k]: Rom. 12:7,8,91Cor. 12:281Tim. 5:172Thes. 3:14 [l]: Mat. 18:171Cor. 5:3,4,5 [m]: 2Cor. 2:6,7,8,10,11Luke 15:18

Part 3 – of Thankfulness

 XXXII. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 86. Since then we are delivered from our misery, merely of grace, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?

Answer. Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit, after his own image; that so we may testify, by the whole of our conduct, our gratitude [a] to God for his blessings, and that he may be [b] praised by us; also, that every one may be [c] assured in himself of his faith, by the fruits thereof; and that, by our godly conversation, others may be [d] gained to Christ.

 Question 87. Cannot they then be saved, who, continuing in their wicked and ungrateful lives, are not converted to God?

Answer. By no means; for the holy scripture declares [e] that no unchaste person, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous man, drunkard, slanderer, robber, or any such like, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

[a]: 1Cor. 6:19,20Rom. 6:13Rom. 12:1,21Pet. 2:5,9,10 [b]: Mat. 5:161Pet. 2:12 [c]: 2Pet. 1:10Gal. 5:6,24 [d]: 1Pet. 3:1,2Mat. 5:16Rom. 14:19 [e]: 1Cor. 6:9,10Eph. 5:5,61John 3:14,15Gal. 5:21

 XXXIII. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 88. Of how many parts doth the true conversion of man consist?

Answer. Of two parts; of [a] the mortification of the old, and the quickening of the new man.

 Question 89. What is the mortification of the old man?

Answer. It is a [b] sincere sorrow of heart, that we have provoked God by our sins; and more and more to hate and flee from them.

 Question 90. What is the quickening of the new man?

Answer. It is a sincere joy of heart in God, through Christ, [c] and with love and [d] delight to live according to the will of God in all good works.

 Question 91. But what are good works?

Answer. Only those which proceed from a true [e] faith, are performed according to the [f] law of God, and to his [g] glory; and not such as are [h] founded on our imaginations, or the institutions of men.

[a]: Rom. 6:4,5,6Eph. 4:22,23Col. 3:51Cor. 5:7 [b]: Psa. 51:3,8,17Luke 15:18Rom. 8:13Joel 1:12,13 [c]: Rom. 5:1,2Rom. 14:17Isa. 57:15 [d]: Rom. 6:10,111Pet. 4:2Gal. 2:20 [e]: Rom. 14:23 [f]: 1Sam. 15:22Eph. 2:2,10 [g]: 1Cor. 10:31 [h]: Deut. 12:32Ezek. 20:18Mat. 15:9

 XXXIV. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 92. What is the law of God?

Answer. God spake all these words, Exodus 20Deut. 5, saying: I am the Lord thy God, which hath brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless, that taketh his name in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy; six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man servant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
  5. Honor thy father and they mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord they God giveth thee.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man servant, nor his maid servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

 Question 93. How are these commandments divided?

Answer. Into two [a] tables; the [b] first of which teaches us how we must behave towards God; the second, what duties we owe to our neighbor.

 Question 94. What doth God enjoin in the first commandment?

Answer. That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, [c] sorcery, [d] soothsaying, superstition, [e] invocation of saints, or any other creatures; and learn [f] rightly to know the only true God; [g] trust in him alone, with humility [h] and patience [i] submit to him; [j] expect all good things from him only; [k] love, [l] fear, and [m] glorify him with my whole heart; so that I renounce [n] and forsake all creatures, rather than [o] commit even the least thing contrary to his will.

 Question 95. What is idolatry?

Answer. Idolatry is, instead of, or besides that one true God, who has manifested himself in his word, to contrive, or have any other object, in which men place their trust. [p]

[a]: Ex. 34:28,29 [b]: Deut. 4:13Deut. 10:3,4 [c]: 1Cor. 6:9,101Cor 10:7,14 [d]: Lev. 18:21Deut. 18:10,11,12 [e]: Mat. 4:10Rev. 19:10 [f]: John 17:3 [g]: Jer. 17:5,7 [h]: Heb. 10:36Col. 1:11Rom. 5:3,4Phil. 2:14 [i]: 1Pet. 5:5,6 [j]: Psa. 104:27Isa. 45:7James 1:17 [k]: Deut. 6:5Mat. 22:37
[l]: Deut. 6:5Mat. 10:28 [m]: Mat. 4:10 [n]: Mat. 5:29,30Acts 5:29Mat. 10:37 [o]: Mat. 5:19 [p]: 2Chron. 16:12Phil. 3:18,19Gal. 4:8Eph. 2:12

 XXXV. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 96. What doth God require in the second commandment?

Answer. That we in no wise [a] represent God by images, nor worship [b] him in any other way than he has commanded in his word.

 Question 97. Are images then not at all to be made?

Answer. God neither can, nor [c] may be represented by any means: but as to creatures; though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make, or have any resemblance of them, either in order to worship them [d] or to serve God by them.

 Question 98. But may not images be tolerated in the churches, as books to the laity?

Answer. No: for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have his people [e] taught, not by dumb images, [f] but by the lively preaching of his word.

[a]: Deut. 4:15Isa. 40:18Rom. 1:23ffActs 17:29 [b]: 1Sam. 15:23Deut. 12:30 [c]: Deut. 4:15,16Isa. 46:5Rom. 1:23 [d]: Ex. 23:24Ex. 34:13,14Numb. 33:52Deut. 7:5 [e]: 2Tim. 3:162Pet. 1:19 [f]: Jer. 10:1ffHab. 2:18,19

 XXXVI. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 99. What is required in the third commandment?

Answer. That we, not only by cursing or [a] perjury, but also by [b] rash swearing, must not profane or abuse the name of [c] God; nor by silence or connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in others; and, briefly, that we use the holy name of God no otherwise than with fear and reverence; so that he may be rightly [d] confessed and [e] worshipped by us, and be glorified in all our words and works.

 Question 100. Is then the profaning of God’s name, by swearing and cursing, so heinous a sin, that his wrath is kindled against those who do not endeavor, as much as in them lies, to prevent and forbid such cursing and swearing?

Answer. It undoubtedly is, [f] for there is no sin greater or more provoking to God, than the profaning of his name; and therefore he has commanded this [g] sin to be punished with death.

[a]: Lev. 24:11Lev. 19:12Mat. 5:37Lev. 5:4 [b]: Isa. 45:23,24 [c]: Mat. 10:32 [d]: 1Tim. 2:8 [e]: 1Cor. 3:16,17 [f]: Lev. 5:1 [g]: Lev. 24:15

 XXXVII. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 101. May we then swear religiously by the name of God?

Answer. Yes: either when the magistrates demand it of the subjects; or when necessity requires us thereby to confirm [a] fidelity and truth to the glory of God, and the safety of our neighbor: for such an oath is [b] founded on God’s word, and therefore was justly [c] used by the saints, both in the Old and New Testament.

 Question 102. May we also swear by saints or any other creatures?

Answer. No; for a lawful oath is calling upon God, as the only one who knows the heart, that he will bear witness to the truth, and punish me if I swear [d] falsely; which honor is [e] due to no creature.

[a]: Ex. 22:11Neh. 13:25 [b]: Deut. 6:13Heb. 6:16 [c]: Gen. 21:24Jos. 9:15,191Sam. 24:222Cor. 1:23Rom. 1:9 [d]: 2Cor. 1:23 [e]: Mat. 5:34,35

 XXXVIII. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 103. What doth God require in the fourth commandment?

Answer. First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be [a] maintained; and that I, especially on the sabbath, [b] that is, on the day of rest, [c] diligently frequent [d] the church of God, to hear his word, to use the sacraments, [e] publicly to call upon the Lord, and contribute to the relief of the [f] poor, as becomes a christian. Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by his Holy Spirit in me: and thus [g] begin in this life the eternal sabbath.

[a]: Deut. 12:19Tit. 1:51Tim. 3:14,151Cor. 9:112Tim. 2:21Tim. 3:15 [b]: Lev. 23:3 [c]: Acts 2:42,461Cor. 14:19,29,31 [d]: 1Cor. 11:33 [e]: 1Tim. 2:1 [f]: 1Cor. 16:2 [g]: Isa. 66:23


XXXIX. LORD’S DAY.

 Question 104. What doth God require in the fifth commandment?

Answer. That I show all honor, love and fidelity, to my father and mother, and all in authority over me, and [a] submit myself to their good instruction and correction, with due obedience; and also patiently bear with their [b] weaknesses and infirmities, since it pleases [c] God to govern us by their hand.

[a]: Eph. 6:1ffCol. 3:18,20Eph. 5:22Rom. 1:31 [b]: Prov. 23:22 [c]: Eph. 6:5,6Col. 3:19,21Rom. 13:1-8Mat. 22:21

Lord’s Days 1-13 14-26 27-38 40-52