“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
(1 Corinthians 6:20)
What is your only comfort, in life and in death?
There are a lot of things that bring me comfort – many of them involve bacon and/or gravy. There’s the comfortable pair of jeans that I wear when I know I’m not going anywhere. There’s the comfy chair which is guaranteed to produce a nap if I sit in it too long. There’s a certain sense of comfort afforded by a 7 game post-season streak and a 3 game lead in the ALCS. There’s even the comfort of depositing my paycheck in bank and knowing that I’m able to provide for my family.
Yet with all of these “creature comforts,” there’s always this sense that something’s missing, that I’m wanting something more. As good as these things which bring me comfort may be, they do not truly satisfy the longing of my soul.
The human soul longs for meaning, for purpose, for satisfaction, for completion. We are social creatures because, deeply wired in our existence, we are meant to be fulfilled by something other than ourselves. We want to know we have made a difference, we want to leave a legacy. We want to know that we have been right, not just correct, but righteous – on the side all that is good and lasting. We want to know that we are secure, not just for today, but for eternity.
This is why the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism resonates with so many, it gets to the deepest longing – what is your only comfort, in life and in death? Kevin DeYoung, in his book, The Good News We Almost Forgot, gives a little insight into the makeup of that question:
“Comfort” translates the German word trost, which was, in turn, rendered consolatio in the first official Latin version. Trost is related to the English word “trust” and has the root meaning of “certainty” or “protection.” Heidelberg is asking, “What is your solace in life? What is your only real security?”
DeYoung, Kevin The Good News We Almost Forgot. (Moody Pub., Chicago, 2010) pg. 21.
The answer is this;
That I belong – body and soul, in life and in death – not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil; that he protects me so well that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that everything must fit his purpose for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
Our only – the Catechism says, only – sole, unique, lone – comfort is that we belong to Christ. More than bacon, more than the love of family, more than a healthy IRA – our belonging to Christ is the only thing which will bring us consolation, security, protection.
Christ has purchased us through the shedding of His blood. Acts 20:28 tells us that Christ obtained the church with His own blood; 1 Cor 6:20 teaches that we have been bought with a price. We were debtors to God’s glory, slaves to sin and death. But through His cross, Jesus ransomed and redeemed us, our sins have been atoned for – all through His blood. Our guilt, our shame, our debt has been covered. We belong to Christ Jesus, and this is for our comfort.
What’s more, I am safe, kept in him. Romans 8 tell us that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ, Jude 2 that we are kept in Him. We are not just saved from wrath and sin, we are kept for righteousness – that we might be kept blameless before Him at His coming. We are so preserved and protected by God’s grace in Jesus Christ that “not even a hair can fall from my head without His knowledge – and without it being for God’s purpose for my salvation.” In Christ, there is nothing that I face that is not ultimately for God’s glory and my drawing nearer to Him.
Belonging to Christ Jesus, I am assured of eternal life and I am willing and ready to live for him. Because He has saved and kept me unto salvation, I will live in His strength, His grace, His wisdom, joyfully serving and testifying to His goodness all my life. I know that it is His strength that makes my work successful; His love that empowers mine. I do not need to worry about tomorrow, or tomorrow’s tomorrow, for I know that, as Alpha and Omega, He holds all things in His hand.
What greater comfort is there than belonging to such a savior, of having your life hidden in His? This comfort is meant to be our foundation, our starting place. When you know that you belong, in life and in death, to Christ who purchased you, and that your life is secure in Him… well then I suppose you can face just about anything that comes your way!