Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day #13


Welcome to the Cornerstone Baptist church podcast. My name is Justin Wheeler, I am the preaching pastor for Cornerstone and today we are in week 13 of our journey through the Heidelberg Catechism and I will be talking to you today about questions 33 & 34.


Over the last couple of weeks, we have been working our way through the section that focuses on Jesus, which is one of the largest sections in the catechism. Questions 29-52 all deal with who Jesus is and what He has done. This section takes the statement on Jesus in the Apostles Creed and goes through it one section at a time to explain what we read in that creed. So, let’s refresh our memories as to what the AC said about Jesus.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary. He Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Last week, in questions 31 & 32, we looked at what it means that the Jesus is called the Christ and that we are called Christians. This week we will discuss what it means that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God and our Lord.

Lord’s Day Focus...

Question 33: Why is He called God’s “only son” when we are also God’s children?

Answer: Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God. We, however, are adopted children of God – adopted by grace through Christ.

The way that the Heidelberg answers this question has to do with the difference between Jesus as the natural Son of God, while we as believers are the adopted children of God. Of course, we know that there are great similarities between adopted and natural children. They are both part of the family, they are both loved, accepted and cared for, they are both entitled to family inheritance, and they both enjoy the relationship to their parents.

But there are also significant differences between the two. Adopted children were not always part of the family, they had to be made part of the family. By birth, they were part of another family and for one reason or another they are no longer part of that family. That’s where adoption comes in. Another family chooses to love them, to bring them home, to care for them and to make them part of the new family.

Let’s carry this analogy over as we think about the difference between Jesus’ status as the only natural Son of God and our status adopted children of God. Jesus has always been the Son of His Father. According to John 1, Philippians 2:5-10, Colossians 1:15-20, and Hebrews 1:1-3; Jesus has been the Son of God for eternity. There has never been a time in the history of…ever, that Jesus was not the Son of God.

The Sonship of Jesus Christ, then, is different from ours in that we became the children of God, whereas Jesus Christ has always been God’s Son. Jesus was not made the Son of God at His incarnation as if some new title or identity was conferred upon Him. The Son of God was the Son of the Father even before creation. His Sonship is eternal. Ours is not. That’s the difference.[1]

Jesus did not become the Son of God by being born to the Father by virtue of Mary. He was already the Son of God. The Father did not give Jesus life in the same sense in which our natural parents give us life at conception. It is mysterious, but the Bible nevertheless tells us that Jesus is One with God, co-eternal with God, united in essence yet unique in His person as the Son of the Father, the only Begotten Son of the Father.

We on the other hand, were not born as children of God, but were actually born in our sin as children of another father, the Devil. According to Ephesians 2:2-3, we are by nature children of wrath because of our sin and that is how we were born. In order to become children of God we must be adopted and in order for our adoption to be ratified we need a Savior.

Gal 4:4 When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

In order for us to be made the children of God we needed to be ransomed from our natural state of being an enemy of God. We needed a Redeemer to come and pay the price for our freedom, the price was His blood, and we needed a Father, The Father, to come and accept that ransom and receive us as adopted children.

That’s the difference. Jesus has always been the Only Begotten Son of God while we have become the ransomed, redeemed, and adopted children of God by faith in the work of Jesus.

Next question…

Question 34: Why do you call Him “Our Lord?”

Answer: Because – not with gold or silver, but with precious blood – He has set us free from sin and the tyranny of the devil, and has bought us, body and soul, to be His very own.

The Greek term kurios means master in most cases and it is often used to describe the master, in a master slave relationship. But this term is also used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament and it is used to refer to God Himself. In Exodus 34 when God descended in the cloud to stand before Moses and proclaimed His name to Moses we see this term used.

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…

In one sense, when we call Jesus our Lord, we are declaring Him to be God over us. He is our master and He has every right to that title because He gave His life to set us free. Jesus came to earth on a rescue mission, to save us, body and soul, and to make us His own. He accomplished our rescue when He laid down His life in our place. Therefore, not only is He lord in the sense that He is God in the flesh, but He is our Lord in the sense that He has purchased us with His blood.

Christ, according to Ursinus, can claim lordship over our lives for four reasons: by right of creation (He made us), by right of redemption (He saved us), by reason of preservation (He keeps us), and with respect to ordination and appointment (God has declared Him Lord over all).

Jesus right to rule us as our Lord is well-founded. But He also rules as Lord over all of creation. We may not see that rule in effect today, but one day we will.

Phil 2:9  God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Thanks for joining me today as I discuss the Heidelberg Catechism. I hope you’ll join me again next week as we look at Lord’s Day 14 together and discuss questions 35 & 36.


If you want to learn more about Cornerstone Baptist church, you can find us online at Cornerstonewylie.org. You can follow us on Twitter or Instagram @cbcwylie. You can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/cornerstonewylie. You can also subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or google play to stay up to date on all the new content.

Thanks for listening.

[1] Kevin DeYoung The Good News We Almost Forgot (Pg. 71)

Justin Wheeler

Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Wylie, TX.