Question 81

Question 81 from the Heidelberg Catechism

Q: Who may to come to the Lord’s Table?

A:  Those who are displeased with themselves because of their sins, but who nevertheless trust that their sins are pardoned and that their continuing weakness is covered by the suffering and death of Christ, and who also desire more to strengthen their faith and to lead a better life.  Hypocrite and those who are unrepentant, however, eat, and drink judgement on themselves.

I question quite often the worth of my life in regard to that which I have been called to.  When i hear “hypocrite” my mind turns on itself in judgement.  Who am I to judge others, let alone think I am worthy enough to take part in the Table.

But a hypocrite is not what I am.  I live worse than I profess, because I am a sinner in my very depths.  My heart will always pursue evil, though I know I am called and loved.  I am not a hypocrite because I “live worse than I profess.”  I come to the Table because I hate my sin, and I am thankful for the One who loves me.  I am sure His work is complete.

A hypocrite is someone who coddles their sin, or excuses them or “makes no effort to turn from them.”  A hypocrite is someone who comes to the Table and only cares about the Table at that moment.  A hypocrite is someone who leaves the Table and thinks its sufficient… not the Christ who instigated the meal, or the community.

We take hypocrite at its simplest meaning, and we apply to ourselves at the wrong junction.  Of course, we are all hypocrites, but only as far as we are unwilling to change, unwilling to see the beauty of Christ.  That doesn’t make us unrighteous, or unable to judge others within our community.  Instead, it should humble us before the Throne and Table.  The hypocrite is the one who only gains from the advantages of Christ and not share in His suffering.

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