Annotations to the Heidelberg Catechism - Lord's Day 11
Lord's Day 11
Why is the Son of God called Jesus,
that is, Saviour?
Because He saves us from all our sins,
and because salvation is not to be sought or found
in anyone else.
Do those believe in the only Saviour Jesus
who seek their salvation and well‑being
from saints, in themselves, or anywhere else?
Though they boast of Him in words,
they in fact deny the only Saviour Jesus.
For one of two things must be true:
either Jesus is not a complete Saviour,
or those who by true faith accept this Saviour
must find in Him all that is necessary
for their salvation.
Q. & A. 29 He Saves
- The names of the Mediator are so important because we know Him by these names. The name “Jesus” was given him at God's command. Thus, Mt 1:21 says: ". . . you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (Cf. Lk 1:31).
- “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name, Joshua, which means, “the Lord saves.” It was a very common name in Israel (see Acts 13:6; Col 4:11). We are familiar with the following from the OT: Joshua the son of Nun, the “successor” to Moses, who led Israel into Canaan after their forty years of wandering; and Joshua, the high priest, the son of Jehozadak, who, together with Zerubbabel, led Israel back to Canaan after the exile. Thus, the Lord granted deliverance to Israel through both of them. However, they were able to effect only an earthly and temporal deliverance.
- Jesus, the son of God, truly saves. He does not merely deliver people from the desert, or from exile, but from sin! To save or deliver means:
a. to redeem from the power of sin (“escape the punishment” [see LD 5, Q. 12]). Jesus brought this about by paying for our sins with his blood (passive and active obedience).
b. to deliver to the service of God (“again be received into favour” [see LD 5, Q. 12]). Jesus brings this about by regenerating us through his Word and Spirit.
Thus, he removes both the guilt and the pollution of sin. He saves us completely from sin.
His priesthood is permanent; it cannot pass to another person (Heb 7:24). Nor is it necessary for another to come after him. Heb 7:25 says: ". . . he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them."
- Just as he is the complete Saviour, so also is he the only Saviour. Salvation is to be sought or found in none other. Acts 4:12 says:"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Our service to God (our conversion) rests solely in our bond with Christ.
In Jn 15:5, Christ says: "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.''
Q. & A. 30 Jesus Alone!
- Originally this Answer was directed against the Roman sect. Roman Catholics are taught that salvation is to be sought:
a. from saints (Maria; apostles; church fathers, etc.);
b.in themselves (one's good works are said to be meritorious before God); or
c. anywhere else (relics, indulgences, pilgrimages, etc.).
It is true that Roman Catholics do not say that Jesus is not the only Saviour. But they make their belief known by what they do and refrain from doing. For although they dare not say that Jesus is not a complete Saviour, in fact they seek their salvation not only with Jesus, but also elsewhere.
- Although this Answer was framed against Rome, it obviously applies also to all who, although not Roman Catholic, are guilty of the same fundamental error. Also in Christ's church there are people who seek their salvation from others (a minister, a deceased theological savant), in themselves (in their faith, their prayer, their conversion, etc.), or anywhere else (e.g., those who seek their well-being in the power of organizations and who allow reason to rule them during the week, rather than Jesus).
It must be said of all of these: They deny Jesus in their actions!
B. Cross References
- The BC also constantly states that Jesus saves completely. Thus, art. 21 states:
We find comfort in His wounds and have no need to seek or invent any other means of reconciliation with God. . . .
Art. 22 follows the same method as is used in Answer 30 to demonstrate the complete satisfaction of Christ.
Art. 23 confesses that Christ's work is: ". . . sufficient to cover all our iniquities and to give us confidence in drawing near to God. . . .''
Art. 26 describes the sufficiency of Christ in a persuasive manner and sings a paean to it.
- Since only Jesus redeems us, the name “Jesuit” is an insult to him.
- The idea that we must first be converted before we may abandon ourselves to Christ.
- Arminianism (Remonstrantism).
- Every attempt to seek one's salvation or well-being in the state or society instead of in faith in Jesus.
E. Questions (Introduction; Q&A 29 & 30)
- What do LD 11-19 deal with? Which topics do they discuss? Which names, states, offices and natures of the Mediator do you know?
- Why are the Mediator's names so important? Who gave him the name, Jesus?
- What was the OT equivalent of this name? How many persons who bore the name, Joshua, do you know? What did they do? What kind of deliverance did they effect?
- From what does Jesus save? What does this encompass? How does he do it?
- What do Mt 1:21 and Acts 4:12, respectively, say? Is our conversion something that we add to Jesus' work?
- Against whom was Answer 30 originally directed? With whom do they seek their salvation? How do they deny Jesus?
- To whom does Answer 30 also apply? How do persons who are not Roman Catholic sometimes seek their salvation or well-being from others, in themselves, or anywhere else?