by Lee Johnson
33. Why is He called God’s “only begotten Son,” since we also are the children of God?
Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God, but we are children of God by adoption, through grace, for His sake.
34. Why do you call Him “our Lord”?
Because not with silver or gold, but with His precious blood, He has redeemed and purchased us, body and soul, from sin and from all the power of the devil, to be His own.
These questions in the Heidelberg Catechism are short, but powerful. And they need to be understood side by side. Because this is a blog I don’t have time to dig into all the meat that is here. Know that Question 33 reminds us that we are not sons of God like Jesus is. He is God in his nature, and we are not. Instead, I want to focus on how Q.33 and 34 fit together.
Question 34 discusses why we call Jesus our Lord. And it is because Jesus has bought us. He paid a price for us to redeem us from the power of the devil and to take away the guilty stains of our own sins. This price was not something like silver or gold. No, such things could never get the job done. Those things are corruptible and temporary as Peter tells us (I Peter 1:18-19). Jesus paid the price of His own blood. He died to buy us back and redeem us. It is not a minor price. And thus as those he purchased, we rightly call Him, Lord. He is our Lord and we His servants, slaves of righteousness.
Yet, it must be said that often people fall into this view of God without the right understanding. They see God as this master who is never happy with them. They cannot please this great and high ruler. The Lord Tyrant is how they see Jesus and the Father in heaven. This is why it is so important to have these two questions side by side. Jesus is not some overseer whipping us in fields of cotton. We are not bought from one evil slave owner to simply be slaves in a better place. He is our Lord. We are bought. But we are also children of God by adoption. The Father in heaven, thanks to the work of the Son, has adopted us. Question 33 is not just about the difference between us and Jesus, the begotten Son, but about the fact that we are children of God. By grace, we have become children of God. So, Jesus is our Lord, but He is more than that, He is our co-heir. God is our Father too. We are sons and daughters of the Almighty, not just servants in His house, but family members.
Go read 2 Samuel 9. What a beautiful picture! Just like Mephibosheth we are sons now in our Father’s house. We have been promised a place at His table for all eternity. Just like Mephibosheth, we are dead dogs who deserve to die the traitors death, but have been given everything by being brought into the family of God and set at His table and made one His own. As we are told in Ephesians 2:12-19, we were once strangers and aliens separated from the life that is in God, but now by the blood of Christ Jesus, for no other price would do, we have been made fellow citizens and members of the household of God.
Go forth today praising Jesus as your Lord and thanking Him for the adoption you have been extended by grace and the power of Christ’s precious blood. You are a son and daughter of God, if you believe in Jesus Christ as your savior.