Part II: The Sacraments
Lord's Day 25
The Sacraments
Q & A 65
Q. It is by faith alone
that we share in Christ and all his blessings:
where then does that faith come from?
A. The Holy Spirit produces it in our hearts^1
by the preaching of the holy gospel,^2
and confirms it
through our use of the holy sacraments.^3
^1 John 3:5; 1 Cor. 2:10-14; Eph. 2:8
^2 Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23-25
^3 Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 10:16

Q & A 66
Q. What are sacraments?

A. Sacraments are holy signs and seals for us to see.
They were instituted by God so that
by our use of them
he might make us understand more clearly
the promise of the gospel,
and might put his seal on that promise.^1
And this is God's gospel promise:
to forgive our sins and give us eternal life
by grace alone
because of Christ's one sacrifice
finished on the cross.^2
^1 Gen. 17:11; Deut. 30:6; Rom. 4:11
^2 Matt. 26:27-28; Acts 2:38; Heb. 10:10

Q & A 67
Q. Are both the word and the sacraments then
intended to focus our faith
on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross
as the only ground of our salvation?

A. Right!
In the gospel the Holy Spirit teaches us
and through the holy sacraments he assures us
that our entire salvation
rests on Christ's one sacrifice for us on the cross.^1
^1 Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 11:26; Gal. 3:27

Q & A 68
Q. How many sacraments
did Christ institute in the New Testament?

A. Two: baptism and the Lord's Supper.^1
^1 Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26

Part II: The Sacraments: Baptism
Lord's Day 26 (Q & A 69 70 71)
Lord's Day 27 (Q & A 72 73 74)
Lord's Day 26
Baptism
Q & A 69
Q. How does baptism
remind you and assure you
that Christ's one sacrifice on the cross
is for you personally?

A. In this way:
Christ instituted this outward washing^1
and with it gave the promise that,
as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body,
so certainly his blood and his Spirit
wash away my soul's impurity,
in other words, all my sins.^2
^1 Acts 2:38
^2 Matt. 3:11; Rom. 6:3-10; 1 Pet. 3:21

Q & A 70
Q. What does it mean
to be washed with Christ's blood and Spirit?

A. To be washed with Christ's blood means
that God, by grace, has forgiven my sins
because of Christ's blood
poured out for me in his sacrifice on the cross.^1
To be washed with Christ's Spirit means
that the Holy Spirit has renewed me
and set me apart to be a member of Christ
so that more and more I become dead to sin
and increasingly live a holy and blameless life.^2
^1 Zech. 13:1; Eph. 1:7-8; Heb. 12:24; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:5
^2 Ezek. 36:25-27; John 3:5-8; Rom. 6:4; 1 Cor. 6:11; Col. 2:11-12

Q & A 71
Q. Where does Christ promise
that we are washed with his blood and Spirit
as surely as we are washed
with the water of baptism?

A. In the institution of baptism where he says:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit."^1
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,
but whoever does not believe will be condemned."^2*
This promise is repeated when Scripture calls baptism
the washing of rebirth^3 and
the washing away of sins.^4
^1 Matt. 28:19
^2 Mark 16:16
^3 Tit. 3:5
^4 Acts 22:16
*Earlier and better manuscripts of Mark 16 omit the words "Whoever believes and is baptized . . . condemned."


Lord's Day 27
Q & A 72
Q. Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins?

A. No, only Jesus Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit
cleanse us from all sins.^1
^1 Matt. 3:11; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 John 1:7

Q & A 73
Q. Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism
the washing of rebirth and
the washing away of sins?

A. God has good reason for these words.
He wants to teach us that
the blood and Spirit of Christ wash away our sins
just as water washes away dirt from our bodies.^1
But more important,
he wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign,
that the washing away of our sins spiritually
is as real as physical washing with water.^2
^1 1 Cor. 6:11; Rev. 1:5; 7:14
^2 Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27

Q & A 74
Q. Should infants, too, be baptized?

A. Yes.
Infants as well as adults
are in God's covenant and are his people.^1
They, no less than adults, are promised
the forgiveness of sin through Christ's blood
and the Holy Spirit who produces faith.^2
Therefore, by baptism, the mark of the covenant,
infants should be received into the Christian church
and should be distinguished from the children
of unbelievers.^3
This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision,^4
which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.^5
^1 Gen. 17:7; Matt. 19:14
^2 Isa. 44:1-3; Acts 2:38-39; 16:31
^3 Acts 10:47; 1 Cor. 7:14
^4 Gen. 17:9-14
^5 Col. 2:11-13

Part II: The Sacraments: The Lord's Supper
Lord's Day 28 (Q & A 75 76 77)
Lord's Day 29 (Q & A 78 79)
Lord's Day 30 (Q & A 80 81 82)
Lord's Day 31 (Q & A 83 84 85)

Lord's Day 28

The Lord's Supper
Q & A 75
Q. How does the Lord's Supper
remind you and assure you
that you share in
Christ's one sacrifice on the cross
and in all his gifts?

A. In this way:
Christ has commanded me and all believers
to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup.
With this command he gave this promise:^1
First,
as surely as I see with my eyes
the bread of the Lord broken for me
and the cup given to me,
so surely
his body was offered and broken for me
and his blood poured out for me
on the cross.
Second,
as surely as
I receive from the hand of the one who serves,
and taste with my mouth
the bread and cup of the Lord,
given me as sure signs of Christ's body and blood,
so surely
he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life
with his crucified body and poured-out blood.
^1 Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25

Q & A 76
Q. What does it mean
to eat the crucified body of Christ
and to drink his poured-out blood?

A. It means
to accept with a believing heart
the entire suffering and death of Christ
and by believing
to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.^1
But it means more.
Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us,
we are united more and more to Christ's blessed body.^2
And so, although he is in heaven^3 and we are on earth,
we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.^4
And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit,
as members of our body are by one soul.^5
^1 John 6:35, 40, 50-54
^2 John 6:55-56; 1 Cor. 12:13
^3 Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 3:1
^4 1 Cor. 6:15-17; Eph. 5:29-30; 1 John 4:13
^5 John 6:56-58; 15:1-6; Eph. 4:15-16; 1 John 3:24

Q & A 77
Q. Where does Christ promise
to nourish and refresh believers
with his body and blood
as surely as
they eat this broken bread
and drink this cup?

A. In the institution of the Lord's Supper:
"The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed,
took bread, and when he had given thanks,
he broke it and said,
'This is my body, which is for you;
do this in remembrance of me.'
In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,
'This cup is the new covenant in my blood;
do this, whenever you drink it,
in remembrance of me.'
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup,
you proclaim the Lord's death
until he comes."^1
This promise is repeated by Paul in these words:
"Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks
a participation in the blood of Christ?
And is not the bread that we break
a participation in the body of Christ?
Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body,
for we all partake of the one loaf."^2
^1 1 Cor. 11:23-26
^2 1 Cor. 10:16-17

Lord's Day 29
Q & A 78
Q. Are the bread and wine changed into
the real body and blood of Christ?

A. No.
Just as the water of baptism
is not changed into Christ's blood
and does not itself wash away sins
but is simply God's sign and assurance,^1
so too the bread of the Lord's Supper
is not changed into the actual body of Christ^2
even though it is called the body of Christ^3
in keeping with the nature and language of sacraments.^4
^1 Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5
^2 Matt. 26:26-29
^3 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26-28
^4 Gen. 17:10-11; Ex. 12:11, 13; 1 Cor. 10:1-4

Q & A 79
Q. Why then does Christ call
the bread his body
and the cup his blood,
or the new covenant in his blood?
(Paul uses the words,
a participation in Christ's body and blood.)

A. Christ has good reason for these words.
He wants to teach us that
as bread and wine nourish our temporal life,
so too his crucified body and poured-out blood
truly nourish our souls for eternal life.^1
But more important,
he wants to assure us, by this visible sign and pledge,
that we, through the Holy Spirit's work,
share in his true body and blood
as surely as our mouths
receive these holy signs in his remembrance,^2
and that all of his suffering and obedience
are as definitely ours
as if we personally
had suffered and paid for our sins.^3
^1 John 6:51, 55
^2 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26
^3 Rom. 6:5-11

Lord's Day 30
Q & A 80*
Q. How does the Lord's Supper
differ from the Roman Catholic Mass?

A. The Lord's Supper declares to us
that our sins have been completely forgiven
through the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ
which he himself finished on the cross once for all.^1
It also declares to us
that the Holy Spirit grafts us into Christ,^2
who with his very body
is now in heaven at the right hand of the Father^3
where he wants us to worship him.^4
[But the Mass teaches
that the living and the dead
do not have their sins forgiven
through the suffering of Christ
unless Christ is still offered for them daily by the priests.
It also teaches
that Christ is bodily present
in the form of bread and wine
where Christ is therefore to be worshiped.
Thus the Mass is basically
nothing but a denial
of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ
and a condemnable idolatry.]
^1 John 19:30; Heb. 7:27; 9:12, 25-26; 10:10-18
^2 1 Cor. 6:17; 10:16-17
^3 Acts 7:55-56; Heb. 1:3; 8:1
^4 Matt. 6:20-21; John 4:21-24; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1-3

*Footnote:
Q. and A. 80 was altogether absent from the first German edition of the Heidelberg Catechism (January 1563) but
appeared in a shorter form in the second German edition (March 1563). The translation above is of the expanded text of
the third German edition (ca. April 1563). Its strong tone reflects the setting in which the Catechism was written.

In response to a mandate from Synod 1998, the Christian Reformed Church’s Interchurch Relations Committee
conducted a study of Q. and A. 80 and the Roman Catholic Mass. Based on this study, Synod 2004 declared that “Q.
and A. 80 can no longer be held in its current form as part of our confession.” Synod 2006 directed that Q. and A. 80
remain in the CRC’s text of the Heidelberg Catechism but that the last three paragraphs be placed in brackets to
indicate that they do not accurately reflect the official teaching and practice of today’s Roman Catholic Church and are
no longer confessionally binding on members of the CRC.

Q & A 81
Q. Who are 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 and more
to strengthen their faith
and to lead a better life.
Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however,
eat and drink judgment on themselves.^1
^1 1 Cor. 10:19-22; 11:26-32

Q & A 82
Q. Are those to be admitted
to the Lord's Supper
who show by what they say and do
that they are unbelieving and ungodly?

A. No, that would dishonor God's covenant
and bring down God's anger upon the entire congregation.^1
Therefore, according to the instruction of Christ
and his apostles,
the Christian church is duty-bound to exclude such people,
by the official use of the keys of the kingdom,
until they reform their lives.
^1 1 Cor. 11:17-32; Ps. 50:14-16; Isa. 1:11-17

Lord's Day 31
Q & A 83
Q. What are the keys of the kingdom?

A. The preaching of the holy gospel
and Christian discipline toward repentance.
Both preaching and discipline
open the kingdom of heaven to believers
and close it to unbelievers.^1
^1 Matt. 16:19; John 20:22-23

Q & A 84
Q. How does preaching the gospel
open and close the kingdom of heaven?

A. According to the command of Christ:
The kingdom of heaven is opened
by proclaiming and publicly declaring
to all believers, each and every one, that,
as often as they accept the gospel promise in true faith,
God, because of what Christ has done,
truly forgives all their sins.
The kingdom of heaven is closed, however,
by proclaiming and publicly declaring
to unbelievers and hypocrites that,
as long as they do not repent,
the anger of God and eternal condemnation
rest on them.
God's judgment, both in this life and in the life to come,
is based on this gospel testimony.^1
^1 Matt. 16:19; John 3:31-36; 20:21-23

Q & A 85
Q. How is the kingdom of heaven
closed and opened by Christian discipline?

A. According to the command of Christ:
Those who, though called Christians,
profess unchristian teachings or live unchristian lives,
and after repeated and loving counsel
refuse to abandon their errors and wickedness,
and after being reported to the church, that is, to its officers,
fail to respond also to their admonition—
such persons the officers exclude
from the Christian fellowship
by withholding the sacraments from them,
and God himself excludes them from the kingdom of Christ.^1
Such persons,
when promising and demonstrating genuine reform,
are received again
as members of Christ
and of his church.^2

The Heidelberg Catechism
Lord's Day 32 (Q & A 86 87)
Lord's Day 33 (Q & A 88 89 90 91)
Part III: Gratitude

Lord's Day 32
Q & A 86
Q. We have been delivered
from our misery
by God's grace alone through Christ
and not because we have earned it:
why then must we still do good?

A. To be sure, Christ has redeemed us by his blood.
But we do good because
Christ by his Spirit is also renewing us to be like himself,
so that in all our living
we may show that we are thankful to God
for all he has done for us,^1
and so that he may be praised through us.^2
And we do good
so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits,^3
and so that by our godly living
our neighbors may be won over to Christ.^4
^1 Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:5-10
^2 Matt. 5:16; 1 Cor. 6:19-20
^3 Matt. 7:17-18; Gal. 5:22-24; 2 Pet. 1:10-11
^4 Matt. 5:14-16; Rom. 14:17-19; 1 Pet. 2:12; 3:1-2

Q & A 87
Q. Can those be saved
who do not turn to God
from their ungrateful
and impenitent ways?
A. By no means.

Scripture tells us that
no unchaste person,
no idolater, adulterer, thief,
no covetous person,
no drunkard, slanderer, robber,
or the like
is going to inherit the kingdom of God.^1
^1 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:1-20; 1 John 3:14

Lord's Day 33
Q & A 88
Q. What is involved
in genuine repentance or conversion?

A. Two things:
the dying-away of the old self,
and the coming-to-life of the new.^1
^1 Rom. 6:1-11; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:5-10

Q & A 89
Q. What is the dying-away of the old self?

A. It is to be genuinely sorry for sin,
to hate it more and more,
and to run away from it.^1
^1 Ps. 51:3-4, 17; Joel 2:12-13; Rom. 8:12-13; 2 Cor. 7:10

Q & A 90
Q. What is the coming-to-life of the new self?

A. It is wholehearted joy in God through Christ^1
and a delight to do every kind of good
as God wants us to.^2
^1 Ps. 51:8, 12; Isa.57:15; Rom. 5:1; 14:17
^2 Rom. 6:10-11; Gal. 2:20

Q & A 91
Q. What do we do that is good?
A. Only that which
arises out of true faith,^1
conforms to God's law,^2
and is done for his glory;^3
and not that which is based
on what we think is right
or on established human tradition.^