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Catechism Class – H/C31A, Keys of the Kingdom

31/05/2020

Catechism Class –

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 31,

The Keys of the Kingdom

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Q 83. What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven?

A. The preaching of the holy gospel and church discipline. By these two the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers and closed to unbelievers.

Q 84 How is the kingdom of heaven opened and closed by the preaching of the gospel?

A. According to the command of Christ, the kingdom of heaven is opened when it is proclaimed and publicly testified to each and every believer that God has really forgiven all their sins for the sake of Christ’s merits, as often as they by true faith accept the promise of the gospel. The kingdom of heaven is closed when it is proclaimed and testified to all unbelievers and hypocrites that the wrath of God and eternal condemnation rest on them as long as they do not repent. According to this testimony of the gospel, God will judge both in this life and in the life to come

Our Instructor in the Catechism helps us to understand what Jesus meant by the ‘Keys of the Kingdom.’

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To listen to this Class as a PODCAST please click this link.

1 The Keys of the Kingdom is the Preaching of the Gospel.

The catechist tells us that entry to The Kingdom is both opened and closed by the preaching of the gospel.

The gospel declared to sinners admits them to heaven.

H/C According to the command of Christ, the kingdom of heaven is opened when it is proclaimed and publicly testified to each and every believer that God has really forgiven all their sins for the sake of Christ’s merits, as often as they by true faith accept the promise of the gospel.

When we declare the Good News that God has provided a way of salvation in Christ, when we offer the Gospel to sinners, we hold out the keys to the kingdom.

Only believers will receive the good news. Now we know from the Scriptures, that no-one can come to God for salvation without first being called by God. John 6:37 Even so, we proclaim the gospel to all mankind, for we do not know who the Lord’s people are, – yet only those who have been given to Christ by the Father will come, and will be saved.

Salvation is received by true faith. That saving faith is the gift of God,  Ephesians 2:1-10

So, when we preach and proclaim the Gospel, we open heaven to all those whom the Lord has chosen, and they will hear, and through the work of the Holy Spirit, they will respond, and come to Christ, holding on to the promise of full salvation and eternal life in Christ.

* The gospel declared to sinners restricts entry to heaven. Now our instructor gives us a more solemn side to this promise of the keys of the kingdom. He adds

The kingdom of heaven is closed when it is proclaimed and testified to all unbelievers and hypocrites. that the wrath of God and eternal condemnation rest on them as long as they do not repent.

The key word here is ‘REPENT.’ Hearing that they are sinners, and they must repent of their sins, some will refuse – they will believe that they are good enough to get to heaven. Why would someone NOT want to hear the good news that all of their sins can be forgiven and that they can have eternal life? Because they don’t want to repent of their sins, and as long as they will not repent, heaven is closed to them and the key to the kingdom has been firmly turned to exclude them.

So, every time the gospel is preached people will hear, and they will react in one of two ways. They will hear and repent and by faith, believe, or they will refuse to repent, and be excluded from God’s kingdom for ever and ever. It is in this way that the Gospel mirrors God’s judgement, in this life, as in the life to come.

The catechist adds,  According to this testimony of the gospel, God will judge both in this life and in the life to come.   Jesus restates this for us at the Great Commission, in John 20:21-23.

PART TWO TO FOLLOW

 

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