We find our only comfort in the work God is doing with us through Jesus Christ Afrikaanse vertaling: Ons vind ons enigste troos in die werk wat God in ons doen deur Jesus Christus

Ds W den Hollander (Kanada)
Heidelbergse Kategismus 1
Preek Inhoud: 

Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ

     This afternoon we make a new beginning with a series of sermons on the HC. Of course, that means that we begin a series of sermons, in which we proclaim the Word of God. In the HC the church summarizes and confesses that Word! Also the Catechism preaching is proclamation of the Word of God.

     Sometimes you hear or read the comment that this first LD of the HC is too man-centered. Although it serves as an introduction to the Word of God, still it takes its startingpoint in ‘man,’ the pious man and his personal comfort. It seems that we begin with man, with man’s need for comfort, with his feelings of comfort, in order to end up in LD 52 with God, finally. Nothing is farther from the truth, though. LD 1 speaks about God, the God of all comfort. Just as LD 52, LD 1 finds the comfort of man in God’s promises. We say ‘amen’ to these promises right from the beginning.

     In LD 52 we confessed that our ‘amen’ is in the kingdom of God, in His power and glory. We said, we are certain of God’s promises, secure in God’s Word, much more than we feel in our heart that we desire this from Him. Here in LD 1 we do the same. Where do you have your comfort, the factors that make you strong? In your feelings? In the desire you feel in your heart? In the certainty you enjoy in yourself? No. No, LD 1 says, the certainty of my life is not a feeling of certainty, or the enjoyment of assurance (because those feelings go up and down with my circumstances); I am certain in God! My only comfort is outside of myself! My comfort, that is the security and the safety and the stability which I feel in circumstances of sadness, of sorrow, of anxiety, of uncertainty, that comfort I have in God, through Jesus Christ!

     So this LD is not man-centered at all, but it is focussed on God, our covenant God. He established a relationship of love with us, with me. He gave me Jesus Christ as the rock, the foundation, under that relationship. Hence, through Him I am comforted, in Him I’m safe! He sealed that relationship with me by baptism, when He said: “You are mine! I give you my Name! I take you up in my Divine family! I make you share in all the benefits of that position!” Then with LD 1 we respond to that, we confess, echoing that declaration, saying: “Indeed, we are not our own, we belong to God, through Jesus Christ.” That’s what LD 1 is all about, about that comforting position, that secure condition! Let’s hear some more about that when I proclaim the Word of God to you as follows:

We find our only comfort in the work God is doing with us through Jesus Christ

1. What He is doing for us;

2. what He is doing because of us;

3. what He is doing in us.

1. What God is doing for us

     In LD 1, brothers and sisters, we confess that our only comfort is, that I am not my own. I am not my own, but I belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. We call that our only comfort, that we are no boss in our own life! Is that not a strange kind of comfort, actually? Isn’t that strange that you find comfort, that is that you find security, compensation, strength, balance, and light in the fact that you are no boss in your own life? I mean, that’s what comfort is all about right, that you seek encouragement and strength and light in your life to compensate for all the darkness and difficulties you encounter; then what greater comfort could there be than that you are in control of your own happiness! Isn’t it so that most people find that the greatest: being their own boss, being in control of their own life? Then you can do what’s good in your own eyes, what you feel like doing, and do whatever will make you happy or what could make up for your misery. But no, now we say with LD 1 that we’re happy that we’re not boss in our own life, not in control? Why is that?

     That is, we confess, because we have learned from the Lord that that’s not a comforting or secure position at all. In His Word the LORD shows that it’s precisely in the way of taking control of our own life, that we brought the misery onto ourselves. In Paradise Adam said, never mind what God said, I’ll make my own decisions, my own choices, I’ll do my own thing. That miserable attitude, then, became man’s nature, and the Word also shows what it has led to: it led Cain to murder, mankind to the Flood, to the confusion of languages, Israel into exile, it drove Judas to suicide, it also drives people today to despair, to Aids, to massacres, you name it. Worse yet, the LORD has revealed that this being-your-own-boss ends up in the worst of miseries, namely eternal death! Why? Because it only seems as if you are your own boss, while in reality you are a slave of Satan and enslaved to sin, and sin and Satan are bound for hell!

     So it’s because the LORD has shown us in His Word that this is the most miserable situation into which man has plunged himself that we now joyously and thankfully confess: Thank God I am not my own! I belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ! Already in Paradise the LORD came to Adam to take him away from Satan to bind him to Himself again by the promise of salvation. We confess that so beautifully in the BC art. 17, that “our gracious God in His marvellous wisdom and goodness set out to seek man when he trembling fled from Him.” That’s what happens when you take your life into your own hand, then your life becomes one big escape, a fleeing from God in fear and trembling. Then we made ourselves completely miserable, as art. 17 puts it. That’s when God comforted him with the promise “that He would give him His Son, born of woman, to bruise the head of the serpent and to make man blessed.” [art. 17] That’s what became Adam’s only comfort: God, who in Christ would come to save him, to deliver him, to bring him to victory over the devil and his whole dominion. This comfort kept Adam going. It became the only basis for his marriage too: “Eve, he said, you are the woman, you’re going to be the mother of life, in the promise given to you we have eternal life!”

     Then God, beloved, worked out His promise in Adam’s generations, through His people Israel, etc. He is the only one who could bring true comfort to His people, who could bring salvation for His people. That’s what He says to His people too, “Hear o Israel, the LORD your God is God, your only One!” That’s what He has His prophet proclaim too, “Comfort, comfort, my people, tell them that her sins I cover, that her slavery is going to be over.” Then His people responded, collectively and individually, saying, “Whom do I have in heaven but Thee? Who shall on earth my refuge be? Since I have Thee as Rock and Saviour, I seek no further wealth or favour.” For He would save them! Yes, we sing it too, for He has saved us in Jesus Christ!

     Now that is my only comfort: God’s work in Jesus Christ! The HC takes us along to that glorious redemptive-historic moment of twenty centuries ago, that Good Friday on the year 33, at three o’clock in the afternoon. That’s when it happened! We can tell the date, the day and the hour, when the price was paid! What price it was: precious blood! What is dearer, more precious in God’s universe, than the blood of His own beloved Son? Then and in that way we were delivered, bought free, from the dominion of the devil! We don’t belong to him any more; we have nothing to do with him anymore! Nothing, absolutely nothing! He has no more claim on us; no longer need we be enslaved to him! For we belong to Jesus Christ! We are the Lord’s!

     Our Lord Jesus Christ took away the hold, which Satan had on you, beloved. A hold in what sense? Well, Satan kept reminding God of His justice, kept appealing to His own Word, saying that as it was God could not maintain you. That way Satan kept accusing you before God. [Rev. 12:10] For those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, however, the situation now is different. Now the question is: who will bring any charge against those who are in Christ Jesus? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condems? God’s justice is satisfied with the payment of Christ’s precious blood! That’s what comforts us, truly and totally! That’s the comfort we place over against the sorrow over sin, the fear for judgment, and the brokeness in this world due to sin!

     That’s what we confess in LD 1, brothers and sisters. That’s what Christ did for us, believers, and for our children. That’s what we must impress upon our children too, that they may learn to understand and fathom the greatness of this comfort and join in this same confession! Why? We are inclined to seek comfort in many different ways, in ourselves, in each other, in our possessions, in our worldly securities, yes even in our own obedience, our piety, our prayers. But you know, sometimes all these things fall away! It happens that we come to see ourselves standing in the sight of God, empty-handed, and then what do we think: My God, who can stand? That’s why God is coming to you this afternoon to tell you: don’t seek it in yourselves, don’t design your own ways of comfort, I took care of it! Leave it up to Christ Jesus: He paid for you; He intercedes for you!

     Do you? Is that your only comfort? Is that for you, you wonder? Can I say it that assuredly to my children, you ask? Well, if the truth of this comfort would depend on you, on your believing, on the decision of your child, sure then I can understand your question. No, beloved, you have to look at the way God works: He came to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to Israel, He came to you with the promise of His Son, the Saviour. He came to you through your parents, in the generations, or through His providence, in a friend, a neighbour, and in that way He gave you to Jesus Christ! He tells us that Christ shed His blood for all whom God has given Him! We became Christ’s, not when we accepted Christ or when we were baptized, but Christ came to us, claimed us with His Word and Holy Spirit and made us His own! He brought us into the congregation, of which He says the same as He said to the church of Corinth: “you are Christ’s!” By baptism you have been grafted into this congregation of Christ. You are God’s: God called you by your name and said, “You are mine!” [Is. 43:1] That’s why, in every sermon He is addressing you, personally, in order that you may echo His Word: “Amen, it’s true, I am not my own but I belong to Jesus Christ! I am Christ’s and Christ is God’s!”

2. What He is doing because of us (for our sake)

     Brothers and sisters, because the price, which was paid for us – Christ’s precious blood – was so high, He won’t let go of us anymore either. We know already that something you paid for dearly you preserve carefully. Well, that faith, too, beloved, is confessed in LD 1 in a very tender way: Christ also preserves me in such a way, that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head, indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.” Those two, God the Father and God the Son work together very closely for my salvation: God’s love in the Son and His care through the Father! That’s the basis for our only comfort in life and death, for body and soul.

     God wants to be the God of all comfort, beloved, not only in the hour of death, today also, whatever your circumstances! This only comfort is not only for old-agers, for teenagers also. When they encounter the brokeness of life, the attacks of evil one, or the passions of the flesh, they may comfort themselves with this promise: I am Christ’s! He sets me free! In Him we are more than conquerers. He preserves me! That’s true, not just for my soul, in my mind, no it’s true for soul and body both! Your whole being is His, in His love and care: your arms and legs, your ears and mouth and eyes, your lungs and your brains, yes completely! That’s because of the price paid for you!

     Then we hear the HC mention even the hairs of our head. That’s for our comfort too, as encouragement. In the mean time, however, we see children of this Father lose their hair, because of sorrow or due to medical treatment. Then it’s especially in those difficult circumstances that we may be comforted by this knowledge of the close cooperation between my heavenly Father and my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ! They’re both working out my salvation! Together they ensure that whatever befalls us serves our salvation! Christ assured us of that, saying, “Don’t be afraid, even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” [Mt. 10:30] Also in Lk. 21:18 he said it, “But not a hair of your head will perish.” You know in what context He says this? “You will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me.” Still, thanks to the Father’s preservation, such evil won’t do us harm any longer but is used or converted to serve our salvation!

     Brothers and sisters, how differently we feel about this at times. We see death coming near, we feel ourselves victimized by cancer, by a heart disease, a chronic illness, as if we belong to death, as if death or the power of death owns us to do with us what he wants. Then, still, Paul’s word to the Corinthians is true, “All things are yours, the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours, and you are Christ’s and Christ is of God.” Then by faith we may rise above the circumstances, above death too! Nothing and no one can maintain a grip on us. We are preserved, for we are Christ’s. Christ does not allow us to become victim to the circumstances. On the contrary! He delivered us and He keeps working for our salvation! We don’t get a chance to say, “O sure, He’s bought us and paid for us, that may be true, yet in the mean time we’re stuck in a lot of misery nonetheless. The one has this cross, the other has that thorn in the flesh, again another has a great sorrow in his heart and mind all the time. What good does the gospel of Golgotha do in our everyday experience of life….”

     My brother and sister, it does you all the good in the world! Thanks to the blood price paid for your life, the Father preserves you carefully, preciously! Through sorrow, anxiety, pain, or distress, the Father preserves you in His love and He uses all the powers of creation and of re-creation to convert them to your profit, to help you forsake all thing and find your salvation in Christ alone! “Behold both joy and light will dawn for the upright…, in His great Name rejoice and glory in His might!” That’s what Paul and Silas could sing in the dungeon, with scourged backs and aching limbs, yet comforted in Christ, “On His praise e’en in the night, I will ponder with delight, and in prayer transcending distance, seek the God of my existence.”

     That’s the gospel, beloved, which comforts and renews us. It renews our marriage, our family life, when we receive it in faith. It lays its radiance over our daily work, over our landscaping, our office work, our dish- and diaper washing. We’re not working ourselves to death, but for eternal life. This gospel gives light in the evening of our life and it gives sense and purpose to our life as children, teenagers, as young people. We’re not left to ourselves, but we belong to Jesus Christ, who by His Holy Spirit also assures me of all this! Yes, He makes me heartily willing and ready to leave this building again and live for Him!

3 What He is doing in us

     Beloved, when God is at work with us through Jesus Christ, He does His work completely. Thus we see Christ involve His Holy Spirit too. By His Holy Spirit He assures us, so that this comfort becomes our only comfort indeed! You don’t get that assurance naturally, or automatically, just because it’s promised us in the gospel. Even the best sermons or the strongest arguments from the Bible in and by themselves can’t give us this assurance. Christ uses the Holy Spirit for that! Through Him He enters our most inner life, our heart and mind and feelings, and so assures us, so gives us this assurance of eternal life. How the Spirit does this, is a mystery. Paul expresses it this way, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” [Rom. 8:16]

     Christ still works that way, brothers and sisters. That’s how we confess it: by His Spirit Christ assures us (present tense!) and makes us willing. He is doing so here and now, convincing you and me in our hearts that we are God’s children. As a result this comfort fills our deepest feelings and moves us to live in the joy of this comfort! So, He doesn’t just bring us to this joy, no He helps us live in this joy! He does so, that we should live in Him and for Him. What a deeply joyous and happy confessor this makes us, beloved! No not just here in church, also at home with your ailing wife, your suffering daughter, your strained relationship, your broken family. The Holy Spirit comes along to change your life, to cleanse your heart, to remove the doubt, to overcome the resistance.

     Christ works that way, brothers and sisters, boys and girls, with His Word and Holy Spirit to save you, to preserve you, and to assure you. If you turn away from Him, from His Word and Spirit you’ll not share in this comfort, this life, this eternal life. For ultimately it’s not you who is in the centre, it’s God! Remember, this LD is not man-centered, but God centered. The goal and purpose of this only comfort is not in that your tears are wiped away and you are made happy, but in this: that we live for God again! That’s our goal with LD 1.

     That’s the purpose of the LD’s that are following as well, to explain that, to work this out. The HC will help us to lead us through the Word of Christ to come to our ‘amen’ again in all the promises of the gospel. Christ wants me to know more and more surely, no, not just that I am a sinner, redeemed and thankful, but how great my sins and misery are, and in what way I am delivered, and how I am to be thankful. The gospel of the only comfort gives us much peace, indeed. However it also puts us to work, it stimulates and activates! I am the LORD’s, it proclaims, and I live my life through His Spirit!

     There is no life more beautiful than a spiritual life, beloved! That’s what we will learn, older and younger members alike. Is that worth going through the Catechism again for our older members, who have done this so many a time already? It sure is, for the Catechism keeps you young! Yes, it renews you unto your eternal youth! For this is eternal life, that we know Him, know Him more and more! Who? The God of all comfort who in Jesus Christ has given us the only comfort in life and death! Amen!


Sondag, 21 Januarie 2018 (Aanddiens)

Ds. W Den Hollander


Geliefde gemeente van ons HERE Jesus Christus

Vanaand begin ons aan ‘n nuwe reeks preke oor die Heidelbergse kategismus.  Dit beteken natuurlik dat ons ‘n reeks preke gaan begin waarin ons die Woord van God gaan verkondig.  In die Heidelbergse kategismus, som die kerk hierdie Woord op en bely dit.  Die kategismusprediking is ook Woordverkondiging van God.

Soms hoor ‘n mens, of lees ‘n mens kommentaar, wat beweer dat die eerste Sondag van die HK te mens-gesentreerd is.  Alhoewel dit as ‘n inleiding dien, neem dit steeds die vertrekpunt vanuit die mens, die vroom mens en sy persoonlike troos.  Dit lyk asof ons begin met die mens se behoefte na troos, met sy gevoelens oor troos om op die ou end op te eindig in Sondag 52 met God…uiteindelik.  Niks is egter verder weg van die waarheid nie.  Sondag 1 praat oor God, die God van alle troos.  Net soos Sondag 52, vind Sondag 1 ook troos in God se beloftes.  Ons sê “amen” op al hierdie beloftes reg van die begin af aan.

In Sondag 52 het ons bely dat ons “amen” in die koninkryk van God is, in sy mag en glorie.  Ons het gesê dat ons seker is van God se beloftes, verseker is in God se Woord, veel meer as wat ons voel dat ons dit in ons harte van Hom verlang.  Hier in Sondag 1 doen ons dieselfde.  Waar vind jy jou troos, waar voel jy jou sterk?  In jou gevoelens?  In die verlange van jou hart?  In die sekerheid wat jy in jouself geniet?  Nee.  Nee, Sondag 1 bely; die sekerheid van my lewe is nie ‘n gevoel van sekerheid nie, of die genot van versekering nie (want my gevoelens gaan altyd op en af onder omstandighede); Ek is seker in God!  My enigste troos lê buite myself!  My troos, dit is die sekuriteit en veiligheid wat ek voel te midde van omstandighede van terneergedruktheid, van droefheid, van angs, of onsekerheid, daardie troos het ek in God, deur Jesus Christus!

Hierdie Sondag is daarom geensins mens-gesentreerd nie, maar gefokus op God, ons Verbondsgod.  Hy het ‘n verhouding van liefde met ons vasgelê, met my.  Hy het aan my Jesus Christus as die rots en fondasie van daardie verhouding gegee.  Daarom is en word ek deur Hom getroos, is ek veilig!  Hy het daardie verhouding met my bevestig in my doop, toe Hy gesê het: “Jy is myne!  Ek gee jou my Naam!  Ek neem jou aan in my Heilige familie!  Ek laat jou deel in al die voordele van daardie posisie!”  Dan antwoord ons in Sondag 1 daarop deur te bely, deur daardie verklaring te eggo en te sê: “Ons behoort inderdaad nie aan onsself nie, ons behoort aan God, deur Jesus Christus.”  Dit is waaroor dit in Sondag 1 gaan, oor daardie vertroostende posisie, daardie veilige toestand!  Kom ons hoor meer daaroor wanneer ek aan u die Woord van God soos volg verkondig:

Tema: Ons vind ons enigste troos in die werk wat God in ons doen deur Jesus Christus.

  1. Wat doen Hy vir ons
  2. Wat doen Hy as gevolg van ons
  3. Wat doen Hy in ons

1. Wat doen Hy vir ons

In Sondag 1, broeders en susters, bely ons dat ons enigste troos is dat ek nie aan myself behoort nie.  Ek behoort nie aan myself nie, maar ek behoort aan my getroue Verlosser Jesus Christus.  Ons noem dit troos wanneer ons bely dat ons nie self in beheer van ons lewe is nie.  Is dit nie eintlik ‘n vreemde soort troos nie?  Is dit nie vreemd dat jy troos, dat jy sekuriteit, krag, balans, lig en vergoeding daarin vind dat jou lewe nie in jou eie hande is nie?  Ek bedoel; troos vind jy mos wanneer jy bemoediging, krag en lig in jou lewe vind om te kompenseer vir al die donkerheid en struikelblokke wat jy in jou lewe teëkom?  Watter groter troos kan daar dan wees as dat jy in beheer is van jou eie lewe?  Dan kan jy mos doen wat goed is in jou eie oë, jy kan doen wat jy wil, of doen wat jou gelukkig maak, of doen wat jou uit jou mismoedige situasie sal uithelp.  Maar nee, hier in Sondag 1 sê ons dat ons gelukkig is juis omdat ons nie in beheer is van ons eie lewe nie?  Hoekom?

Ons sê dit omdat ons van ons Here geleer het dat dit geensins troos of sekuriteit bring wanneer ek in beheer is van my eie lewe nie.  In sy Woord wys die Here ons juis hoe ons ellende oor ons eie lewe gebring het toe ons beheer in eie hande geneem het.  In die Paradys het Adam gesê, maak nie saak wat God gesê het nie, ek sal my eie besluite neem, my eie keuses maak, ek sal my eie ding doen.  Daardie mislike houding het toe ook die mens se natuur geword en die Woord wys ook dat dit gelei het tot die dood van Kain, die vloed oor die mensdom, die verwarring oor die tale by die toring van Babilon, Israel se ballingskap, dit het Judas tot selfmoord gedryf.  Dit dryf vandag ook mense tot dinge soos VIGS, massamoorde, uitsigloosheid, en so kan ons aangaan. Wat nog veel erger is, is dat die Here ons selfs gewys het wat die uiteinde van hierdie wil is om alles in eie hande te neem – dit loop uit op die ewige dood!  Hoekom?  Omdat dit net lyk asof jy in beheer is van alles, terwyl jy in feite ‘n slaaf is van die Satan en die sonde jou beheer en daarom is jou eindbestemming die hel!

Daarom, omdat die Here ons deur sy Woord wys dat ons sodoende onsself in die aakligste lewensituasie sal bring deur alles in eie hande te neem, kan ons nou in dankbaarheid en blydskap bely: Dankie Here dat ek nie aan myself behoort nie!  Ek behoort aan my troue Verlosser, Jesus Christus!  Die Here het in die Paradys reeds na Adam gekom om Hom van Satan af weg te neem en Adam aan Hom te verbind deur die belofte van verlossing.  Ons bely dit so mooi in die NGB artikel 17, dat “ons goeie God in sy uitnemende wysheid en goedheid die mens weer opgesoek het toe Hy gesien het dat die mens homself in die liggaamlike en geestelike dood gewerp en geheel en al ellendig gemaak en al bewende van Hom weggevlug het.”  Dis wat gebeur wanneer jy jou lewe in jou eie hande neem; dan word jou lewe een groot ontvlugting, ‘n wegvlug van God in vrees en bewing.  Dan het ons onsself totaal en al ellendig gemaak, soos artikel 17 dit stel.  Dit is hier waar God kom troos het met die belofte “om aan hom sy Seun te gee en hom salig te maak – sy Seun, wat uit ‘n vrou gebore sou word om die kop van die slang te vermorsel” (art 17).  Dit het Adam se enigste troos geword: God, wat in Christus hom sal kom red, hom sal kom verlos, om hom te bring tot heerskappy oor die Duiwel en sy hele ryk.  Hierdie troos het Adam staande gehou.  Dit het ook die enigste basis vir sy huwelik geword: “Eva, jy is die vrou, jy is die moeder van lewe, in die belofte wat aan jou gemaak is, het jy die ewige lewe!”

Toe het God, geliefdes, sy beloftes waar gemaak deur die generasies wat op Adam gevolg het, deur sy volk Israel.  Hy is die enigste wat ware troos aan sy mense kon bring, wat verlossing kon bring.  Dis wat Hy ook aan sy volk sê: “Hoor, Israel, die HERE onse God is ‘n enige HERE” (Deut. 6:4).  Dit is wat sy profeet ook bely: “Troos, troos my volk…roep haar toe dat haar stryd verby is, dat haar skuld betaal is, dat sy uit die hand van die HERE dubbel ontvang het vir al haar sondes” (Jes. 40).  Toe het sy volk gesamentlik en individueel gereageer deur te sê “Wie het ek buiten U in die hemel?  Buiten U begeer ek ook niks op die aarde nie….God is die rots van my hart en my deel tot in ewigheid…” (Ps. 73).  Want Hy sou hulle red!  Ja, ons sing dit ook, want Hy het ons gered in en deur Jesus Christus!

Dit is nou my enigste troos: God se werk in en deur Jesus Christus!  Die HK neem ons terug na hierdie wonderbaarlike verlossingsgeskiedenis-oomblik van twintig eeue gelede daardie  Goeie Vrydag van die jaar 33 AD om 3 uur in die middag.  Dis wanneer dit gebeur het!  Ons kan die presiese datum, die dag en die uur waarop ons verlossing plaasgevind het, aandui!  En watter prys was dit nie: kosbare bloed!  Wat is meer kosbaar in God se heelal as die bloed van sy eie geliefde Seun?  Toe en op daardie wyse is ons verlos, vrygekoop van die heerskappy van die duiwel!  Ons behoort nie meer aan hom nie; ons het niks meer met hom te doen nie!  Niks, absoluut niks!  Hy het geen houvas meer op ons nie; ons hoef nie meer slaaf van hom te wees nie!  Want ons behoort aan Jesus Christus!  Ons is die HERE se eiendom!

Ons Here Jesus Christus het die houvas wat Satan op jou gehad het, weggeneem, geliefde.  ‘n Houvas in watter opsig?  Wel, Satan het aangehou om God te wys op sy geregtigheid, hy het bly aandring op God se Woord self wat sê dat God jou nie meer as kind kan aanvaar as Hy ‘n regverdige Regter was nie.  Op daardie manier het Satan aangehou om jou te beskuldig voor God (Open. 12:10).  Vir die wat in die Here Jesus Christus glo, is die situasie egter nou anders.  Die vraag is nou: wie sal enige klagte inbring teen die kind van Christus Jesus?  Dit is God wat regverdig maak.  Wie is dit wat veroordeel?  God se geregtigheid is tevrede met die betaling van Christus se kosbare bloed!  Dit is wat ons werklik en geheel en al vertroos!  Dit is die troos wat ons plaas bo-oor die hartseer van die sonde, die vrees van veroordeling, en die gebrokenheid van die wêreld a.g.v. die sonde!

Dit is wat ons bely in Sondag 1, broeders en susters.  Dit is wat Christus vir ons gedoen het, gelowiges, vir ons en ons kinders.  Dit is ook wat ons by ons kinders moet benadruk, dat hulle mag leer verstaan en die diepte mag peil van hierdie belydenis en ons daarin mag navolg.  Hoekom?  Ons is geneig daartoe om troos in verskillende maniere te soek, in onsself, in mekaar, in ons besittings, in ons wêreldse sekuriteite, ja selfs in ons eie gehoorsaamheid, ons vroomheid, ons gebede.  Maar weet u, soms val al hierdie dinge weg  Dan gebeur dit dat ons onsself deur God se oë sien, met leë hande.  En wat dink ons dan:  Here, wie kan voor U staan?  Dit is daarom dat God vanaand na jou kom om vir jou te sê: moet dit nie in jouself soek nie, moenie jou eie maniere van vertroosting soek nie, Ek het reeds daarvoor gesorg!  Laat dit oor aan Christus Jesus; Hy het vir jou betaal, Hy tree vir jou in!

Sien u dit?  Is dit u enigste troos?  Is dit vir my ook bedoel?, wonder jy dalk.  Kan ek dit met soveel sekerheid aan my kinders sê? vra u dalk.  Wel, as die waarheid van hierdie troos van jou moet afhang, van jou geloof, op die besluit van jou kind, dan het ek begrip vir jou vraag.  Nee, geliefde, u moet kyk na hoe God werk: Hy kom na Adam, na Noag, na Abraham, na Israel, Hy kom na jou met die belofte van sy Seun, die Verlosser.  Hy kom na jou deur jou ouers, deur al die generasies, of deur sy voorsienigheid, deur ‘n vriend, ‘n buurman en op daardie manier gee Hy jou aan Jesus Christus!  Hy sê aan ons dat Christus sy bloed gestort het vir almal wat God aan Hom gegee het!  Ons het nie Christus se eiendom geword toe ons Hom aanvaar het of toe ons gedoop is nie, maar ons het syne geword toe Christus ons vir Homself kom opeis het met sy Woord en sy Heilige Gees.  Hy het ons in die gemeenskap gebring waarvan Hy dieselfde sê as wat Hy van die gemeenskap van Korinthe  gesê het: “julle is Christus se eiendom!”  Deur die doop is julle ingelyf in die gemeenskap van Christus.  Julle is God se eiendom: God het julle by die naam geroep en gesê: “Jy is myne” (Jes 43:1).  Dit is waarom Hy in elke Woordverkondiging jou aanspreek, jou persoonlik, sodat jy sy Woord kan eggo: “Amen, dit is waar en seker, ek behoort nie aan myself nie, maar ek behoort aan Jesus Christus.  Ek is Jesus Christus se eiendom en Christus behoort aan God!”


2.  Wat doen Hy as gevolg van ons

Broeders en susters, as gevolg daarvan dat die prys wat vir ons betaal is – Christus se kosbare bloed – so hoog was, sal Hy ons nooit laat vaar nie.  Ons almal weet dat ‘n mens iets waarvoor jy baie duur betaal het, baie mooi versorg en oppas.  Wel, daardie geloof, geliefde, word ook in Sondag 1 op ‘n teerdere wyse bely: “Hy bewaar my op so ‘n wyse dat, sonder die wil van my hemelse Vader, geen haar van my kop kan val nie.  Alles moet inderdaad tot my saligheid dien”.  Daardie twee, God die Vader en God die Seun werk nougeset saam vir my saligheid: God se liefde in die Seun en sy sorg deur die Vader.  Dit is die fondament vir ons enigste troos in lewe en in sterwe, vir liggaam en siel.

God wil die God van alle troos wees, geliefdes; nie net in ons uur van dood nie, vandag ook – wat ook al die omstandighede is!  Hierdie enigste troos is nie net bestem vir ou mense nie, maar vir jongmense of tieners ook.  Wanneer hulle te doen kry met die gebrokenheid van die lewe, die aanvalle van die duiwel, of die passies van die vlees; dan mag hulle hulself troos met die belofte: Ek behoort aan Christus!  Hy maak my vry!  In Hom is ons meer as oorwinnaars.  Hy behoed my!  Dit is nie net waar vir my siel nie, vir my gedagtes nie, dit geld ook vir my siel en liggaam beide!  Jou hele wese is sy eiendom, is in sy sorg; jou arms en bene, jou ore en mond, jou oë, jou longe en jou brein – ja alles in geheel.  Dit is as gevolg van die prys wat Hy vir jou betaal het!

Dan hoor ons dat die HK selfs die hare van my kop noem.  Dit is ook vir ons tot troos, as bemoediging.  In die tussentyd sien ons egter hoe kinders van hierdie Vader hul hare verloor as gevolg van droefheid of mediese behandeling.  Dit is juis in hierdie moeilike tye wat ons dan getroos mag word deur die kennis en wete van hierdie noue samewerking tussen my Hemelse Vader en my getroue Verlosser Jesus Christus!  Hulle werk albei saam aan my verlossing!  Saam verseker hulle dat wat daar ook met my mag gebeur, dit my verlossing en saligheid dien!  Christus het ons daarvan verseker toe Hy gesê het: “En van julle is selfs die hare van die hoof almal getel.  Wees dan nie bevrees nie…” (Matt. 10).  In Lukas 21:18 sê Hy ook: “En geen haar van julle hoof sal ooit verlore gaan nie.”  Weet u binne watter konteks Hy dit hier sê?  “Maar julle sal oorgelewer word ook deur ouers en broers en bloedverwante en vriende, en hulle sal van julle doodmaak.  En julle sal gehaat wees deur almal ter wille van my Naam” (Luk 21: 16-17).  Steeds, danksy die Vader se bewaring, sal hierdie kwaad gebruik word of verander word om ons saligheid te dien!

Broeders en susters, ons kan so verskillend hieroor voel by tye.  Ons sien die dood nader kom, ons sien onsself as slagoffers van kanker, van hartprobleme, van kroniese siektes, asof ons aan die dood behoort, asof die dood ons besit om met ons te maak wat dit wil.  Dan steeds is Paulus se woorde aan die Korinthiërs waar: “…want alles behoort aan julle…of die wêreld of lewe of dood of teenswoordige of toekomstige dinge – alles behoort aan julle; maar julle behoort aan Christus en Christus aan God” (1 Kor 3:21-23).  Dan mag ons deur geloof bo die omstandighede uitstyg, bo die dood ook!  Niks en niemand kan ‘n houvas op ons hê nie.  Ons word bewaar, omdat ons aan Christus behoort.  Christus laat nie toe dat ons die slagoffer word van omstandighede nie.  Inteendeel!  Hy het ons vrygemaak en Hy gaan voort om te werk vir ons verlossing!  Ons kry nie eers kans om te sê: “Dis waar, Hy het ons vrygekoop, dit mag waar wees, maar in die tussentyd sit ek steeds vas in my ellende.  Die een dra ‘n kruis, die ander een het ‘n doring in die vlees, ‘n ander het konstante groot hartseer in sy hart en verstand.  Watter nut het die evangelie van Golgota vir ons daaglikse ervaringe van die lewe?”

My broeder en my suster, dit doen u alle goed in die wêreld!  Danksy die bloedskuld wat vir jou lewe betaal is, bewaar die Vader jou versigtig en kosbaar!  Deur verdriet, angs, pyn of spanning, bewaar die Vader jou in sy liefde en gebruik Hy al die kragte van die skepping en herskepping om hierdie ervaringe te verander sodat hulle jou bevoordeel, om jou te help om alle ander dinge prys te gee en jou saligheid buite jouself in Christus alleen te vind!  “Dan sal jou lig deurbreek soos die dageraad en jou genesing skielik uitspruit; en jou geregtigheid sal voor jou uit gaan, die heerlikheid van die HERE jou agterhoede wees” (Jes 58:8) so het Paulus en Silas gesing in die tronk, met gegéselde rûe en pynende ledemate, steeds getroos in Christus.

Dit is die evangelie, geliefdes, wat ons vertroos en vernuwe.  Dit vernuwe ons huwelik, ons familielewe wanneer ons dit in geloof aanneem.  Dit plaas ‘n glans oor ons daaglikse werk, oor ons landskap, oor ons kantoorwerk, oor ons skottelgoed en doeke.  Ons werk onsself nie dood nie, maar tot die ewige lewe.  Hierdie Evangelie gee lig in die skemer van ons lewe en dit gee betekenis en rigting in ons lewe as kinders, as tieners en as jongmense.  Ons word nie aan onsself oorgelaat nie, maar ons behoort aan Jesus Christus, wat deur die Heilige Gees my ook van al hierdie dinge verseker!  Ja, Hy maak my heelhartiglik gewillig en reg om hierdie gebou te verlaat en vir Hom te lewe!


3. Wat doen Hy in ons

Geliefdes, wanneer God in ons besig is deur Jesus Christus, doen Hy sy werk volledig.  Daarom sien ons dat die Heilige Gees ook betrek word.  Deur sy Heilige Gees verseker Hy ons dat hierdie troos ons enigste troos word!  Jy kry nie natuurlik of outomaties daardie versekering omdat dit in die Woord aan ons beloof word nie.  Selfs die beste woordverkondiging of argumente uit die Skrif kan op hul eie nie daardie versekering bewerk nie.  Christus gebruik sy Heilige Gees daarvoor.  Deur Hom betree Hy ons binnelewe, ons hart en verstand en gevoelens, en verseker ons so van die ewige lewe.  Hoe die Gees dit doen, bly ‘n geheimenis.  Paulus gee so uitdrukking daaraan: “Die Gees self getuig saam met ons gees dat ons kinders van God is…” (Rom 8:16).

Christus werk steeds op daardie manier, broers en susters.  Dit is hoe ons dit bely: “Daarom verseker (teenwoordige tyd) Hy my ook deur sy Heilige Gees van die ewige lewe en maak Hy my van harte gewillig en bereid om voortaan vir Hom te lewe” (HK Sondag 1).  Hy doen dit hier en nou, terwyl Hy my en jou in ons harte daarvan oortuig dat ons kinders van Hom is.  As gevolg hiervan, vervul hierdie troos ons diepste emosies en stel dit ons in staat om in die blydskap van hierdie troos te lewe.  So, Hy bring ons nie net tot hierdie troos nie, maar Hy help ons ook om in hierdie troos en blydskap te lewe!  Hy doen dit sodat ons in Hom en tot Hom sal lewe.  Wat ‘n diepe blydskap gee dit nie vir ons as belyers nie!  Nie net hier in die kerk nie, ook tuis by my sterwende vrou, by jou lydende dogter, in jou gebroke verhouding, jou gebroke gesin.  Die Heilige Gees kom om jou lewe te verander, om jou hart te reinig, om die twyfel te verwyder, om die weerstand te oorkom.

Christus werk op daardie manier, broers en susters, seuns en dogters, met sy Woord en sy Heilige Gees om jou te red, te bewaar en jou te verseker.  As jy van Hom wegdraai, van sy Woord en sy Gees, sal jy nie in hierdie troos en in hierdie ewige lewe deel nie.  Want uiteindelik is dit dan nie jy wat in die middelpunt staan nie, maar God!  Onthou, hierdie Sondag is nie mens-gesentreerd nie, maar God-gesentreerd.  Die doel van hierdie enigste troos lê nie daarin dat al jou trane afgevee word en dat jy gelukkig gemaak word nie, maar dit lê hierin: ons lewe weer vir God!  Dit is ons doel met Sondag 1.

Dit is ook die doel van die daaropvolgende Sondae, om dit te verduidelik en dit uit te werk.  Die HK sal ons help deur ons te lei deur die Woord van Christus om te kom tot die Amen van al die beloftes in die Evangelie.  Christus wil hê dat ek met meer en meer sekerheid moet weet, nee nie net dat ek ‘n sondaar is nie, bekeer en dankbaar, maar ook hoe groot my sonde en ellende is en in watter opsig ek verlos is en hoe ek uitting moet gee aan my dankbaarheid.  Die Evangelie van die enigste troos gee ons inderdaad baie vrede.  Dit sit ons egter ook aan die werk, dit stimuleer en aktiveer!  Ek behoort aan die HERE, bely dit, en ek leef my lewe deur sy Gees!

Daar is geen lewe mooier as die geestelike lewe nie, geliefdes!  Dit is wat ons sal leer as ouer en jonger broeders en susters saam.  Is dit daarom nodig vir die ouer broeders en susters om weer deur die kategismusonderrig te gaan?  Dit is verseker!  Want die Kategismus hou jou jonk!  Ja, dit vernuwe jou tot ewige jonkheid!  Want dit is die ewige lewe, dat ons Hom ken, Hom meer en meer ken!  Wie?  Die God van ALLE troos wat in Jesus Christus ons die enigste troos in lewe en in sterwe gegee het!



Ps. 97: 5, 6, 7; Ps. 73: 10-12; Ps. 138: 1-4; Apostles Creed + SB 27; SB 65. Reading: 1 Peter 1: 13-2: 3; text: LD 1.