Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 14 image

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 14

[It is painfully easy to describe the incarnation as if it is "God minus", with Jesus appearing as a quasi-godlike being, divested of his divine glory, and no longer possessing divine attributes. Heidelberg takes a different path, without getting into knotty detail; the incarnation is more "God plus" than "God minus", with "the eternal Son of God taking to himself a truly human nature." Because the incarnation is about Christ putting something on, rather than putting something off, he is "like his brothers and sisters in every way except for sin," and therefore able to "cover with innocence and perfect holiness my sinfulness."

For the church history nerds, this trajectory has fascinating implications for the communicatio idiomatum, and the political aims of the Heidelberg Catechism in bringing together Reformed and Philippist factions in the Palatinate. This will come to a head later on, when we reach the Lord's Supper.]

Q35. What does it mean that he
“was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary”?

A35. That the eternal Son of God,
who is and remains
true and eternal God,
took to himself,
through the working of the Holy Spirit,
from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary,
a truly human nature
so that he might also become David’s true descendant,
like his brothers and sisters in every way
except for sin.

Q36. How does the holy conception and birth of Christ
benefit you?

A36. He is our mediator
and, in God’s sight,
he covers with his innocence and perfect holiness
my sinfulness in which I was conceived.

← Prev article
Next article →