References: Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1; John 1:29-34; Rom. 8:31-39
Reconciliation with God
We know the problem separating us from God is sin; we have inherited a heart of rebellion. God made it clear to Adam he and his wife would die the minute they disobeyed. When they sinned, Adam and Eve hid from God; they knew they were in trouble. But God came to Adam and said, “I will provide for you a remedy for this problem.” God promised a seed, pointing to the Son of God and His work as Savior.
All relationships require maintaining. Difficulties range from a minor tiff between children over a toy to business dealings to someone violating the law and receiving punishment from the civil authorities. Situations arise; people are at odds; they need to be brought back together; the issue needs to be resolved.
This is reconciliation. The sinner needs to be reconciled to God. Reconciliation normally involves finding a way to remove the issue so the two parties can come back together. If you received a ticket for speeding, you pay the fine, which resolves the issue. You are again okay with the authorities.
Some ask why God requires reconciliation. Isn’t that petty? Shouldn’t a loving God just be happy if someone comes to Him? Such thinking fails to understand who God really is, and fails to understand what sin really is.
A God who is truly a God of love does no one any good unless he deals with sin.
Thus, a remedy for the problem must be provided for reconciliation to occur. The announcement of “comfort” means, simply, that God will provide a remedy. He does not require you to fix about your problem, “and until you do I will not talk to you.” Rather, He says, “Though you created the problem—you sinned—yet I will provide for you the remedy.”
Resolving your issue with God cannot begin with you. It begins with God. That is the comfort: God will do it. You do not deserve it; you are not able to contribute; you are not able to provide any remedy.
God came to Adam and Eve.
Deliverance from sin—and its power
What is the remedy for sin? By the free grace of a loving God, He sent His Son to take your sins and pay for them. It is not complicated. It is that simple.
Romans 5 presents this process thoroughly. Paul begins the chapter saying, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God.” The gist of his argument is that while all are condemned through the sinful act of Adam, so believers are justified by Christ’s act of obedience.
The only remedy is Christ. By His life and death and resurrection, we are reconciled to God. The prohibiting issue, which removes all comfort, has been removed. Comfort is restored.
Note God’s double action: not only did He through Christ remove the problem of guilt before God for sin, He also overcame the power of sin for you. Similarly, God did not announce comfort to the captives in Babylon or the slaves in Egypt only to leave them in captivity and slavery. He brought them back.
This God-announced comfort removes not just the guilt of sin, but its power in your life. The lack of comfort carries a mirrored double burden: not only must you give an account when you stand before the judge, but you live a miserable life under the power of sin.
Let us be clear: to live apart from God, to live according to the desire of the sinful heart, means living in misery, as the catechism identifies it in question and answer 3.
Those things we clutch so tightly, that the world and our own flesh have convinced us will produce happiness, will in fact produce only misery. But again, that is the message of comfort: God has provided through the Son to remove that power of sin, so you can, in this life, know true comfort.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.