Scripture reference: Genesis 1:26-2:25
Implied in the question
As we look specifically at the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism—What is your only comfort in life and in death?—I trust that we have some context. As believers, we understand the need for the question, and where it takes us for an answer.
As mentioned in the introduction, history is filled with different ideas posing as answers; it is also filled with the reality that none of the proposed answers really provide any hope.
The reality, as Cain understood at the very beginning, is that separation from God is too much to bear. Yet because of the loss of the relationship with God, man refuses to see his sad state. Paul makes this willful denial clear in Romans 1. The answer is there, but the blinding effect of sin leads man to refuse to see it. Rom. 1:20-23.
I don’t have to tell you how much man chases after: vain things of this world, fame, status, material things, and the list goes on. Let me be clear: apart from Christ, anything else provides no comfort.
There is an issue
I trust it has become clear that the background to this question reveals man is in trouble.
The question is not asked as something special or extra for those who might want to do better. The question is asked because there is an ultimate need, an utter hopelessness which all must face. This is the most important question because everyone must face it. All will someday stand before the judge, even as they do not realize now the depth of their current misery.
There is an answer to the issue
I certainly do not want to leave you hanging with the reality of hopelessness. There is, of course, a real answer, which comes with considerable detail.
For now, simply looking at the question, not only does it expose the hopelessness in man’s situation, but since the question is presented—the fact that it can be posed—also sets before you the reality of an answer. If there were absolutely no answer from any source, the question would never come up. But when God sought out Adam and Eve after the fall, He did provide an answer. Simply asking the question presupposes the existence of an answer. It is the word of God revealed in the Scripture, which leads us to know to ask, but it is also based on the fact that God gives an answer.
The answer is simply that which comes from God, specifically the promise of the Savior. The Creator who made man is the only one who can and does recreate man and restore you to once again be whom God made and to serve as God intended.
I do not raise the question to leave you hanging. I raise it to understand its reality and subsequently the importance of all involved in the answer. The answer is completely and only in the promise of the seed of the woman, pointing to the Savior sent by the Father to redeem the lost.
I trust that you have all considered in some fashion this question and understand the answer is found only in Christ, as revealed in the word of God. If not, I do call you to do so.
But your concern for this question ought not to just be with you. It is a question everyone needs to face, and there is only one answer. We have that answer. Unless the unbeliever is presented with the answer, the Gospel, they will not find it. What will you do with this question? I trust you will readily say I know the answer, thus I know comfort. And I equally trust that you will desire to provide the answer to those who need it.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.