Saved from Misery
A few weeks ago in Sunday School, Pastor Matt made reference to this abrupt, beautiful turning point in the Shorter Catechism:
Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God, having out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.
As you probably know, this comes on the heels of several questions and answers outlining your and my major sin problem, culminating with Question 19, which really hammers the point home before you even get to the question’s answer: “What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?”
This turn – that God did not leave us where we deserve to be – is abrupt and beautiful (for believers) in the Shorter Catechism because it is abrupt and beautiful (for believers) in actual human history. We are in a desperate situation, and there is not a thing we can do about it. Rebellious and doomed to fail, all of us. “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Rom. 7:14, 15) Our heavenly Father, though – so rich in mercy – loved us. “[B]ut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)
I know this truth well and believe it as much as I have ever been capable of believing anything – and still, every time I read it, whether in the Catechisms or Romans or anywhere else inside or outside Scripture, I experience such a sense of wonder and even shock. We have waged war against the all-powerful Creator of the universe, and in response, he…sent a Redeemer, his own perfect Son, to pay our debts in full. It is so breathtakingly and gloriously unfair that none of us who have faith in Christ and repent of our sins are ever going to have to account for our own eternal debts!
This amazing work of God is not a new theological breakthrough, but it is a truth worth coming back to in humility and thankfulness again and again. May it be an encouragement to you this week.
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