Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7 image

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7

[Of the many things I love about the Heidelberg Catechism, one of the most striking is how catholic it is. This week's questions could be summarised: if we cannot be saved without faith in Christ, then what is true faith? Clearly, as a Reformation document, Heidelberg is not going to pull its punches on the fact that salvation and righteousness are "freely granted" and "gifts of sheer grace, granted solely by Christ's merit." But when it comes to the content of Christian belief, Heidelberg's answer is beautifully universal: it's all in the Apostles' Creed. That blend of Protestantism and catholicity is something we could all learn from.]

Q20. Are all people then saved through Christ
just as they were lost through Adam?

A20. No.
Only those are saved
who through true faith
are grafted into Christ
and accept all his benefits.

Q21. What is true faith?

A21. True faith is
not only a sure knowledge by which I hold as true
all that God has revealed to us in Scripture;
it is also a wholehearted trust,
which the Holy Spirit creates in me by the gospel,
that God has freely granted,
not only to others but to me also,
forgiveness of sins,
eternal righteousness,
and salvation.
These are gifts of sheer grace,
granted solely by Christ’s merit.

Q22. What then must a Christian believe?

A22. All that is promised us in the gospel,
a summary of which is taught us
in the articles of our universal
and undisputed Christian faith.

Q23. What are these articles?

A23. I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

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