February 18 – LD 7, Day 7: Truth of the Gospel Summarized in the Articles of Faith
Sunday the 18th of February
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
Matthew 28:19,20, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations….teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
The great commission which our Lord Jesus gave His disciples, was to teach and baptize with the assurance that He would be with them always, even to the end of the world.
The catechism instructs us to believe all things promised us in the gospel.
Now it adds, “which the articles of our catholic undoubted Christian faith briefly teach us.”
A summary of faith is useful. It sounds very pious to say that we believe the Bible and refuse to accept any creed or statement of faith which summarizes what the Bible teaches. In fact it is impossible to refuse to summarize one’s faith; proof is that every church and every group that professes to be Christian has a statement of faith.
The early Christian church also saw the need for such a summary statement. Today we call this summary the Apostles' Creed, not because the apostles wrote it, but rather it was written in the early centuries of the church to summarize the teachings of the apostles. In our catechism, it is called, “our catholic undoubted Christian faith”. It contains twelve articles and has been recited and quoted by the church of all ages, hence it is called “catholic”, which is not a reference to the Roman Catholic, but “catholic” is used in the proper sense of universal, a statement of faith expressed from the days of the apostles until the present. It is also described as “Christian” faith because it expresses the truth which every Christian has professed. Christians take the Bible very seriously and realize that it is not up to every individual to determine the content of his or her faith, but to do it in common together and to involve the church in officially adopting such a statement. It also is “undoubted”, that is, it is an expression of faith which every Christian holds to be true without any reservation.
It is sad that many churches today pay lip service to these twelve articles but put different meaning into them. The church that apostatizes uses the same terminology but changes the meaning. We are thankful that the catechism professes that these articles summarize the truth of the gospel, which is essential for faith.
We trust your heart is open to meditate upon these articles and embrace them by faith.