Heidelberg Catechism Meditations (366)

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January 29 - LD 5, Day 1: We Deserve Temporal and Eternal Punishment

Wednesday the 29th of January

in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations

Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

As our catechism turns the page to the great subject, “Of Man’s Deliverance” it does so by reminding us that deliverance must not be separated from “The Misery of Man”. Upon careful examination of ourselves in light of the Word of God, a conclusion was formed, fallen man is, “incapable of doing any good and inclined to all wickedness”. This bears consequences, “God is terribly displeased with our original as well as actual sins and will punish them temporally and eternally.”

If we are going to understand the truth of the gospel, God’s great love in giving us His own Son, we must dwell a little bit more on the horrible character of our sin against God. It is ugly in that it comes forth out of a heart that hates God and all He represents. God responds to such action by fallen man in that he places a price on disobedience. In one word, that price is PUNISHMENT for sin. The catechism describes it as temporal and eternal punishment.

Think upon temporal punishment for a moment. It is God’s response to man’s daily sin. That response is that He is righteously offended by such conduct and moves to destroy the sinner. It may be that God destroys a man through pride so that he self-destructs; he thinks he can do much more than he can and makes a terrible fiasco of his life. Other times, God may move to bring great sufferings, diseases, wars, and all sorts of calamities. This is not a pleasant thing to consider, but it is real. Look about you and consider the evidence you can see for yourself.

Then there is eternal punishment, that is even worse. This is described as everlasting torment of body and soul in the lake of fire. There is no escape from hell and there is no relief for those who reside there. The thought is terrifying.

Why must we consider temporal and eternal punishment?

It is because of the righteous judgment of God.

It is judgment because God examines every fallen man, woman, and child and renders just verdict of guilt. The guilty sinner must experience the punishment God reserves for such.

It is appointed unto men once to die (temporal punishment) and after that the judgment (eternal punishment).

How can such a sinner be saved?


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