by Pastor Scott Henry
51. What does this glory of Christ, our Head, profit us?
First, that by His Holy Spirit He pours out heavenly gifts upon us, His members; then, that by His power He defends and preserves us against all enemies.
52. What comfort is it to you that Christ “shall come to judge the living and the dead”?
That in all my sorrows and persecutions, I, with uplifted head, look for the very One who offered Himself for me to the judgment of God, and removed all curse from me, to come as Judge from heaven, who shall cast all His and my enemies into everlasting condemnation, but shall take me with all His chosen ones to Himself into heavenly joy and glory.
As those redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, believers receive wondrous blessings from Christ, the Head of the church. Q&A 51 tells us that Jesus, by His Holy Spirit, pours out heavenly gifts upon each of His members. This is first seen in the upper room at Pentecost when the disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit who fills every believer with the love of God (Rom. 5), which enables one to love God and one’s neighbor. The Holy Spirit is the One who creates true faith in the heart, which causes the redeemed to believe the precious promises of the Gospel. He also grants true spiritual desires and abilities to every member of the body of Christ for the edification and growth of the entire body. Through His Spirit, Christ pours out the heavenly gifts of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23) upon His members so that they will have the same care and concern for each other (Rom. 12:10-15). It is also the Lord Jesus Christ who defends and preserves the sheep of His pasture so “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
In Q&A 52 we learn that even though the members of Christ’s body must endure heartache, difficulties, trials, and persecution in this troubled life, we have every hope in the Lord Jesus Christ that He took all curse from His people. As it is written, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us…” (Gal. 3:13). Christ, “the One who knew no sin, was made [by imputation] to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Therefore, every sheep of Christ’s pasture can know for certain, by the Word and Spirit of God, that his sorrows and persecutions in this life are not a punishment for sin, since Christ our Head, once for all time, offered Himself to the judgment of God to cover the sins of His members and remove all curse from them. On the cross Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). Christ was forsaken as He bore the curse for the sins of His people. This He did so that none of His members would ever be forsaken, but on the contrary would receive the blessing of God. Every believer has been washed in the blood of the Lamb, which makes us white as snow, and is covered with Christ’s perfect righteous robes, which make us eternally acceptable in the presence of God the Father. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Q&A 52 also tells us that there is an eternal judgment coming upon all who will not trust in Jesus Christ and bow to His lordship. Many in our day deny this truth, but the infallible, inerrant, inspired Word of the true and living God has declared it. We read in 2 Thess. 1:6-9, “…since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…” However, this Day is one of comfort, peace, joy and full reconciliation for the redeemed of Christ. This Day, as Article 37 of the Belgic Confession declares, is “most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and elect; because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne. Their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed, and tormented them in this world, and who shall be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences, and shall become immortal, but only to be tormented in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). What words are left to be said except, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).