My wife and I have a chalkboard in our home where we write “Sermon Truth Bombs.” Putting these truths in writing in a visible location helps us to “call to mind” truth that gives our hearts hope (Lam. 3:21). A couple months ago, our pastor, Mark Vroegop, preached a sermon in which he encouraged us to—when our feet hit the floor in the morning—call to mind the truth, “I belong to Jesus. I belong to Jesus.” That was a worthy “Sermon Truth Bomb!”
Because it’s been on our chalkboard, I have called this truth to mind many times since.
One Way to “Call to Mind”
The truth that “I belong to Jesus” is a truth that many Christians throughout the last 450+ years have called to mind, ever since the penning of the beautifully worded answer to the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism.
Catechisms are formative questions and answers built to rehearse (or call to mind) both the truth of the gospel and other truths from Scripture. Most often, they were used both in the life of the church and in the life of the family. Mothers and fathers would ask the catechetical questions and the children would joyfully recite the answers. Pastors would also ask the questions and the children were thrilled to rehearse the answers for their pastor.
Heidelberg Catechism #1
So what is the first question of this Catechism? It goes like this: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
What a helpfully relevant question to ask in such an uncertain season—and to think that the question was written more than 450 years ago! I wonder how many of us have already asked this to our own hearts already:
- What comfort do I have while social-distancing from others?
- What hope can I run to if I contract the virus?
- What if I’m on a hospital bed in a couple weeks?
- What is my comfort in life and in death?
The catechism answers this question like this: That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. Belonging to Jesus, our faithful Savior, in both our living and our dying, is our only source of comfort in the good times and bad.
How do we know that we belong to Jesus, though? What has he done and what is he doing right now to bring comfort in my living and my dying? The catechism’s answer goes on:
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has delivered me from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
We can better understand this answer’s relevance to our current circumstances in this way: he is watching over you in such a way that not one germ can enter your body without the will of your Father in heaven; in fact, all germs must work together for your salvation.
What a comforting answer!
Because I belong to Jesus, he has redeemed me and cares for me in an intricately personal way. If you belong to Jesus, he does the same for you.
Sophie & the Heidelberg Cat
In Andrew Wilson’s children’s book, Sophie and the Heidelberg Cat, the author explains this catechism question and answer through the story of Sophie. The book begins with Sophie’s anger at her sister. Sophie feels bad she was angry but doesn’t know what to do. The Heidelberg family’s cat explains to Sophie that no one can be good all the time, which left Sophie hopeless. The cat comforts her by telling her that she is not her own:
The same goes for you. You’ve been rescued by Jesus,
So he is your Master from now till you die.
He’ll love you, protect you, and never neglect you–
But you’re not your own, Sophie. Neither am I. (28)
There is a great final sentence to the catechism’s answer, but I’ll let you read that on your own.
For now, I encourage you to memorize and meditate on both Ephesians 1:7-8 and the Heidelberg Catechism #1. Memorize these so that you can call them to mind, and therefore have hope during this season. And meditate on how you can live every day in the truth “I belong to Jesus.”