The first question of the Heidelberg Catechism closes with the affirmation that because Christ has done all this for me, this reality “makes me genuinely willing and ready to live for Him from this time onward.” And indeed, this principle guides the rest of the catechism. It is the guiding principle for the catechism so much so, that if you do not or cannot affirm this very principle, the rest of the catechism is little more than moralistic instruction.
The bottom line is that the most basic desire of a genuine Christian is to please God (2 Corinthians 5:9). True, there are times when we stumble into sin and disobedience, but at the very heart of repentance is the recognition that our actions have displeased our God and Savior and a desire to correct said behavior as we live from that point forward. This seeking to please God does nothing in the way of earning salvation — that has been bought for us entirely and fully by Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9) — but indeed, it is the expression of our gratitude for what Christ has done (Colossians 2:6-7) and out of a desire to live by faith (Galatians 2:20) so that we might please our God (Hebrews 11:6).
And that sounds all fine and great. But, how many confessing Christians seek to do this? Certainly, the last half of the catechism is designed to guide us in how we do it, but what is our intent? You see, living a life to please God is not something that just happens once you become a believer…it is something you must work at and it is something that you must do in an intentional way. So, let alone the nuts and bolts of how — are you genuinely willing and ready to live for Christ from this point forward? Are you willing to live for Christ no matter the cost? Are you willing to live for Christ no matter where God will take you? It can be certain that if you genuinely live like you are not your own but belong body and soul to your Lord Jesus Christ that he will stretch you and take you places you would never have dreamed of going otherwise.
My concern is for those who say that they are willing and ready to live for Jesus but make no effort to do so. They are indeed, much like that rich young ruler who came to Jesus and asked, “What must I do?” but was sent home unhappy because the thing that Christ demanded was the one thing he was unwilling to do. It is that way with many in the church, the real question at the moment is whether it will be that way with you? Are you ready and willing to live for Him? And if so, what does that look like in your life?