The Shorter Catechism, 7
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Q20: Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A: God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.
Mankind had thrown himself in an estate of sin and misery, and would have perished there for an eternity, of not God had saved them. Did God leave all mankind in their own chosen estate? They had chosen against God, and had followed the advice of Satan through the serpent. Though mankind chose against God, did God leave them in their estate? The answer is: No. God chose to save some. Out of His mere good pleasure, He chose to elect some to everlasting life, that they might be saved from perishing eternally. He did so "according as he hath chosen us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world." (Eph.1:4) Before the world was founded, God already had chosen some. And after the fall, He did enter into a covenant of grace with them, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation. And that all, by the intervention of a Redeemer.
Q21: Who is the Redeemer of Godís elect?
A: The only Redeemer of Godís elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, for ever.
The Redeemer, Who came to save Godís elect, is our Lord Jesus Christ. Of Christ are said several things.
1. Christ is the only Redeemer of Godís elect.
2. Christ is the eternal Son of God.
3. Christ became man.
4. Christ is God and man in two distinct natures.
5. Christ is God and man in one person.
6. Christ continues to be God and man forever.
1. Christ is the only Redeemer of Godís elect. Except Christ Jesus, there is no other means for the people to be redeemed. The law, though it is perfect in itself, cannot help us because of the weakness of our flesh. The law is perfect, but we are imperfect. So, the law does not save us. The only Saviour is Jesus Christ. "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Tim.2:5)
2. Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Father Himself declared that from heaven. The people, when they stood by, heard "a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)
3. Christ became man. To save His elect, it was necessary that Christ, though being God, became man. To that purpose He descended from heaven, and came on earth. He was the eternal Word of God, "and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (Joh.1:14)
4. Christ is God and man in two distinct natures. Formerly, Christ was only God, but next He had become flesh, He was both God and man. His Godhead was not mixed with His human nature, but He remained pure God. His human nature also was not mixed with the Godhead, but remained pure man.
5. Christ is God and man in one person. We read in the Scriptures, that Christ descended from the father, according the flesh, but the same Christ is at the same time God blessed forever. Read it in Rom.9:5, "Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever." The same person Christ is at the same time both God and man, in one person.
6. Christ continues to be God and man forever. There will be no end to Christís human nature, as is written of Him: "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood." (Hebr.7:24) Note, that Christ continues to be God and man forever; there is no end to that.
Q22: How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A: Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.
Christ was and is the Son of God, but became man. How did He do that? He did so by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul. Because a man consists of a body and a soul, it was necessary that also Jesus, to become a real and true man, should take those to himself. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. (Hebr.2:14) Because the people consist of flesh and blood, also Jesus likewise took part of those. That He also had a soul, appears from His Own words: "Then saith he (Jesus) unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. (Matt.26:38) So, Jesus took to himself a body and a soul. By what way? He did so by being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, and by being born of her. "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. - The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." (Luk.1:31,35) Then one might ask: Arenít all people born of Adam defiled with sin? The answer is, yes, they are. But Jesus, is He then also defiled by that same sin? The answer is, no. With Him, it was different. Scripture says that Christ "is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." (Hebr.7:26)