Christ’s Death And Ours (Isa 52:13–53:12; Heidelberg 40–44)

1st Edition of the Heidelberg Catechism (credit: Jon Payne)

Lord’s Day 16

40. Why was it necessary for Christ to suffer “death”?

Because the justice and truth1 of God required, that satisfaction for our sins could be made in no other way than by the death of the Son of God.2

1 Gen 2:17. 2 Heb 2:9. * Rom 6:23.

41. Why was He “buried”?

To show thereby that He was really dead.1

1 Matt  27:59,60. John 19:38-42. Acts 13:29.

42. Since then Christ died for us, why must we also die?

Our death is not a satisfaction for our sin, but only a dying to sin and an entering into eternal life.1

1 John 5:24. Phil 1:23. Rom 7:24, 25.

43. What further benefit do we receive from the sacrifice and death of Christ on the cross?

That thereby our old man is crucified, slain and buried1 with Him, that so the evil lusts of the flesh may no more reign in us,2 but that we may offer ourselves unto Him a sacrifice of thanksgiving.3

1 Rom 6:6-8. Col 2:12. 2 Rom 6:12. 3 Rom 12:1. * 2 Cor 5:15.

44. Why is it added: “He descended into hell”?

That in my greatest temptations I may be assured that Christ my lord, by His inexpressible anguish, pains and terrors, which He suffered in His soul on the cross and before, has redeemed me from the anguish and torment of hell.1

1 Isa 53:10. Matt  27:46. * Ps 18:5. * Ps 116:3.



    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. Excellent! And, by the way, the “justice and truth” (i.e., God’s alone) in the answer to Q. 40 have little to do with the “social justice” touted nowadays by critical theory advocates.

  2. I love this just as it is.

    But I think it’s beautiful to add Genesis 15:17 to the reference material for Q40.

    Yes, no one else’s death could have provided satisfaction. But also no one else was obliged by Covenant to provide satisfaction.


  3. Very helpful sermon at the last link. It is such a comfort to know our death pays for nothing and his pays for it all, and that Christian is all about 2 things—mortification and vivification.

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