Reference: Rom. 12:1
Life on earth is a challenge. It is always a challenge. Occasionally, God puts clear, difficult, specific challenges before us. They call for a strong faith and patience with one another.
We must remember the good news of the gospel is not just for “some day”; instead, the good news changes your life now. You can truly say you have been given a comfortable life… in which you experience the reality of the gospel’s good news.
How can we say such a comfortable life exists with all the difficulties in this world? We must consider the perspective from which we view life. The catechism gives us some direction as we come to the final statement in Heidelberg Q&A #1. Consider with me how we can truly live a life of comfort.
A living sacrifice
Now that we have all we need from God, regarding the work of redemption and its application by faith, now what? As we have said again and again… it is all about God.
So what about us? Where does that leave us? Do we just wait, passing time just to get to all the gifts? Do we have something yet to do?
When we start to say “now we must do our part,” we must take great care in understanding this. God has done His part, and we must now do ours, but there is no place in the entire scheme of things in which we are the active effectors of our own redemption.
We need to recognize that God’s work is effective in all He has done. Thus, you and I are no longer the same lost, hopeless, comfortless individuals. We are a new creation. We are not only back in the garden, enjoying life before God, and properly taking care of the creation for the glory of God, but even more, we are enjoying being used by God to advance His kingdom.
God saved you for a purpose. That purpose includes more than living with Him in eternity. It includes God’s using you to bring glory to His name and in the work of bringing His kingdom to its final victory.
This is what the Apostle Paul addresses in Romans 12 and in I Corinthians 12. See Romans 12:1 (ESV): “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
This is how Paul speaks of you, you who know the answer to the question, “What is my only comfort in life and in death?” He speaks of you as a living sacrifice.
Based on a restored relationship
Your heart now has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. You now are the adopted child of God. You now have been reconciled to God.
In light of that truth, then living according to the law, being a servant of Christ in all of life, giving of ourselves to the work of the church, and being excited to worship–these things are simply what a reconciled person with a regenerated heart loves to do.
It is what God’s people do, beginning with what was established with Seth, in whom the promise of the seed is continued, as we read in Genesis 4:26. It is the characteristic of God’s people.
A life lived in comfort
Remember our beginning question? “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” Here is our answer, our comfort, the reference to the good news of the gospel, providing us a life in comfort. It provides that we can face death in comfort.
All that is ours, which we have covered thus far — absolutely, fully accomplished for you when you look to Christ — all of that is the comfort by which you can now, here on earth, live your life, day in and day out.
When you deal with life and all its issues, when things are very troubling, when everything from health to wealth to politics, to law and order, are upside down and out of control, you can live your life and face all these troubles from a position of comfort. How? When the measure of comfort is not things in life, but your relationship with the covenant God.
That is not to make light of any problem. Some deal with great difficulty, but you are in a renewed relationship with God, the Ancient of Days. As the Psalmist said in 34, “The angel of the Lord encamped around all those who fear Him.” That literally means God has your life in the palm of his hands.
In Deut. 29, when Moses spoke to the people of God before they entered the promised land, he reminded them what God had promised. It is the covenantal formula: “I am your God, and you shall be My people.”
That is the blessing of being a recipient of God’s redemptive work. That means 2020 was a year in which you and I were blessed, and 2021 will be a year in which you and I will be blessed.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.