Consider today how The Heidelberg Catechism begins.
Q.1 What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I, with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, wherefore by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.
Q.2 How many things are necessary for you to know, that you in this comfort may live and die happily?
A. Three; the first, how great my sins and misery are; the second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery; the third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance.
That is indeed the layout of this great, historic document. Part one deals with how great my sins and misery are. Without a doubt, I was a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). Part two describes how I was delivered from my sins and misery. The answer, of course, is found in one proper name–Jesus Christ. He is–as declared in the first answer of the catechism–”my faithful Savior”! The third and final part of this confession of faith exhorts me to be thankful to God for such deliverance. And–I am just that! I am thankful!
I cannot be more clear than this: I am not what I once was. I am not what I shall be. I am an imperfect child of God being perfected by the Spirit of God using the Word of God. Born a child of wrath, I have become a child of God (1 John 3:1). That’s why the past twenty-nine Thanksgiving Day celebrations have proven to be far more significant to me that the first nineteen of my life. I have been delivered. I am thankful.
And here’s a brief list–ten reasons for which I am grateful this Thanksgiving:
- Salvation–A gift I could not earn and can never lose
- A faithful, loving, productive wife who remains my best friend
- Four relatively happy and healthy children
- Full-time employment at a job I enjoy with a boss I respect
- The opportunity to teach God’s Word on several college campuses
- Results that my heart is healthy
- The opportunity to see one of my mentors suffer with authenticity and great trust
- The news that another baby is on the way
- Perhaps the best vacation of my life
- Reconnecting with “old friends” and a “new” church