Heidelberg 94 and 95: What Does God Require In The First Commandment?

On one level it’s easy to tell the difference between idols and the God who is. We did not fabricate him and we cannot change or kill him. He just is (Gen 1:1; Exodus 3:14). Idols, on the other hand, are not necessarily. An idol might exist or it might not exist. Its existence, as such, is contingent upon the will of its human creator. Of course, we confess with the Apostle Paul that “an idol has no real existence” (1 Cor 8:4). Whether we fabricate them with our hands, in our minds, or in our hearts, idols change. They come and go. When they disappoint us, we chuck them and make another hoping for a better outcome. Continue reading →

Heidelberg 99–100: Sanctifying The Lord’s Name

In 2013 there was a court case in Miami in which a teen-ager was sentenced to 30 days for showing disrespect to a judge and to the court. The defendant did not seem to be able to comprehend that she was in . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 103: The Christian Sabbath (1)

If there was a time when the church needed to stop its business, to rest, to worship, and to set aside time for the care of the poor in their midst, that time is now. At no time in its history has . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 103: The Christian Sabbath (2)

There are three parts to the Christian faith: theology, piety, and practice. Theology is what we confess and teach the Scriptures to reveal. Piety is our relation to God and practice is the practical outworking of those things. There is a Reformed . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 104: Authority And Submission

In the fall Adam chose to exercise autonomy, to rebel against God.  Since the fall humans have carried on Adam’s ignominious tradition. Cain rebelled against worshiping God truly and, in a jealous rage, murdered his brother who did worship God truly. We, . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 104: Authority And Submission (2)

In the first part we considered the most basic teaching of the fifth commandment. There are, however, several implications of this commandment on which the New Testament reflects explicitly. For example, the Apostle Paul spoke directly to the relationship between employers and . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 108–109: You Were Bought With A Price (1)

In reaction to the latest phase of the sexual revolution, in response to the discovery by a 5–4 majority of the Supreme Court of the United States of “right” to same-sex marriage, in reaction to the rise of a militant “transgender” (transsexual) movement and the normalization of homosexuality generally, it has become accepted wisdom in some quarters that sexual sin is no different than any other sin. Continue reading →

Heidelberg 110–111: You Shall Not Steal

The eighth commandment says: “You shall not steal” (Exod 20:15). I recall following Mom down the grocery aisle and picking grapes as a I went. I was probably 5 or 6. I saw the grapes. They looked good and I wanted some. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 112: Your Speech Shall Accord With Objective Reality

In  the garden the Evil One began by questioning the veracity of God’s Word: “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Gen 3:1b). The woman collaborated with the Evil One by adding to the Lord’s . . . Continue reading →

Ursinus Contra The Anabaptists On Oaths

Objection: 1. But Christ says, “Swear not at all;” and James says, “Nor by any other oath…”. Therefore Christians are not allowed to swear [oaths] under any form. Answer: There is here a fallacy of composition; for when Christ says, swear not . . . Continue reading →

William Perkins On General Equity

But touching other nations and specially Christian Commonwealths in these days, the case is otherwise. Some are of the opinion that the whole judicial law is wholly abolished and some again run to the other extreme, holding that the judicial laws bind . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast Series: God’s Holy Law

Heidelcast

The historic, confessional, Reformed understanding of Scripture is that it contains two kinds of words, law and gospel. The law promised eternal life to Adam on condition of perfect obedience on behalf of all humanity. Adam sinned, transgressed God’s holy law, and . . . Continue reading →

The Law Of Christ Is The Moral Law

In his provocative March (2020) essay, Matt Smethurst asked “Why Don’t Christians Keep the Jewish Law?” He reminds us that the “Bible is a thoroughly Jewish document,” a note that has been regularly (and properly) sounded in modern biblical studies. From this premise, he asks the provocative question before us. He notes that “God’s people kept it for centuries in the Old Testament. What happened?” He answers by observing that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God kept and completed “the law of God in his people’s place. Jesus embodied in himself everything the law demanded.” Smethurst recognizes two functions of the “Jewish law:”  “God designed the law both to instruct and guide his people and also to expose their sin and need for a Savior.” In the magisterial Protestant traditions we have spoken of these as the normative (third use) and the pedagogical use. Historically there was also a “civil use,” the function of which, according to Louis Berkhof, is to restrain sin and to serve “the purposes of God’s common grace in the world at large.” According to Smethurst, the “Jewish law” is a signpost that is no longer needed now that the “new covenant and new age ushered in by a new king” has arrived. As he puts it, “The signage of the law, therefore, can be taken down. It served its purpose.” Continue reading →