Read: Philippians 1:21-23
What a wonderful possession we would have if in this world of sorrow we had something truly comforting!
Something that is truly comforting is some truth that changes every sorrow, every pain, everydisappointment in life into something very, very glorious. It is a truth that explains everything that happens to us and causes every experience in life to glow with joy. It is some proposition that erases all grief and suffering.
Comfort is, therefore, something that is able to bring peace to the heart of the child of God; it is something that can change his tears to laughter; It is something that brings hope in a hopeless world. It is a truth that we can carry with us to the cemetery when we bury a loved one; that can bring happiness in the hospital when we face surgery; that can strengthen us in our weariness when the burdens of life seem too heavy to carry. Above all, comfort is something that can take completely away these terrible sins which are an impossible burden to us in life.
It is true that the whole world needs comfort, for the whole world is plunged into misery and grief. Wars, diseases, death, tornados, sicknesses of every sort fill the hospitals and nursing homes, soak the battlefields with the blood of thousands of a nation’s youth, force the building of prisons and houses of correction and bring always greater grief.
But the Heidelberg Catechism does not address the wicked world, and its discussion of an only comfort is not intended for them. That is the beauty of its personal approach. What is thy only comfort? The question is asked of the believing child of God.
The world would not accept the one truth that does bring comfort, for the world hates the truth of God and despises the Christ preached in the gospel. The assemblies of the nations would laugh in scorn if the believer would tell them where their true comfort was to be found. They prefer to trust in their bank accounts, their pensions, their insurance policies, their own health and strength, their confidence in the goodness of man that will some day make this world a better place to live. So they live and die in misery, trusting in themselves and bitterly disappointed when their treasures turn to ashes before their eyes.
The believer is one in whom God works by his Holy Spirit, and who has the gift of faith. He is asked by the Catechism to give an account of his comfort.
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
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