References: Rom. 14:7-9; 8:12-30
From last week’s post: Now as we carefully, step by step study the message of the Gospel presented here, remember we are talking about a relationship with God.
In Life and in Death
The separation of soul and body is not natural. Man, in body and soul, bears the image of God. The soul is separated from the body because of sin, and salvation remains incomplete after death until they are reunited. It is a great day when a believer goes to be with the Lord with their soul, but it is also a great day when the body of that believer is reunited with their soul.
As you face the reality of death in all its ugliness, thanks to the full salvation accomplished by God, you face it with hope, not just to immediately be in the presence of Christ by means of the soul, but with the full restoration of the human person in the presence of Christ. There we will sing, drink of the river of life, and delight in fellowship with Christ and all His people–all activities involving the person. Also, there we will no longer deal with the effects of sin on the body.
Christ was nailed to the cross by means of the body, and He rose again in the body. Paul speaks of the implication in II Cor. 4:10: “—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body…” Paul points to the salvation Christ earned for you, that is, a salvation of body and soul, which becomes real for you in your lives. In this connection Paul points to his own life: suffering, giving himself for the work of the gospel, sacrificing for the kingdom of Christ. He can endure and continue because he has the benefits of a salvation obtained for him which is both body and soul. His full life is a sacrifice to Christ.
The commitment by God
I have emphasized that the authors of the Heidelberg Catechism penned these words to make known the full message of the Gospel to you. You need to read it and receive it as a statement to you of what God has done for you. Q&A 1 is the gospel in a nutshell. Remember, the good news is not what you can do for yourself, but what God has done for you, calling upon you to believe it.
Now we turn to examine a very small portion, but an important portion, of the commitment which God has made to you.
What God says to you
Paul speaks about that at length in Romans 8, one of the most comforting passages in all of Scripture. This truth is displayed in 14:7-9 (ESV): “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”
How can this be true? How can you live your life 110% for the Lord? Paul says the believer’s life is defined by the Lord. Well, let’s be absolutely clear. It cannot be, unless the Lord has made it so. Behind this statement stands the commitment God made to you. God’s commitment is the underlying reality to “body and soul, in life and in death.”
God always fulfills His commitments, just as he said to Abraham’s descendants in Egypt, “I will bring you out of Egypt, from under the slavery imposed upon you by Pharaoh,” and then He did just that. The salvation which God has promised, beginning with Adam and Eve, the salvation which God has accomplished for you by the work of His Son on the cross–is a complete and total salvation.
Before we talk about what this means for you and your salvation, it is necessary to underscore again the basis out of which any kind of response or application can take place. I want to put this as plainly as I possibly can. The gospel message is not a message given by God as a plan for you to come to faith and have salvation. That is the popular evangelical understanding of “what must I do to be saved.”
Rather, God says to you, here is what I have done for you, and here is how it will be applied to you by means of the Word and Spirit. I will take your dead heart and regenerate it, and I am going to work faith in you (see Eph. 2). Further in Eph. 2, God explains whatever service you do in response, it will be, again, my work through you to extol my name.
Our salvation is planned, carried out, and applied by God and God alone. This is why the message is one of comfort. It does not depended upon man.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.