This week we begin with Question 29 of the New City Catechism, found in Part 2 (questions 21-35), which focuses on Christ, redemption, and grace.
Question 29: How can we be saved?
Answer: Only by faith in Jesus Christ and in his substitutionary atoning death on the cross; so even though we are guilty of having disobeyed God and are still inclined to all evil, nevertheless, God, without any merit of our own but only by pure grace, imputes to us the perfect righteousness of Christ when we repent and believe in him.
The Bible teaches a doctrine known as “conversion,” which is a word that refers to turning from one direction to another. Whereas we can speak of God’s work in giving us new hearts as “regeneration,” it is important to recognize that we also must act in that process by turning away from sin and turning to Christ in faith.
Imagine you are facing a wall, and you turn around to face the wall on the opposite end of the room. The action of turning toward one is, at the same time, the action of turning against the other. You can’t have one without the other. Repentance and faith are the two aspects of conversion, and they are really inseparable from each other. You cannot turn away from sin unless you turn to Christ in faith. And you cannot turn to Christ in faith without turning your back on sin.
Suggested passage for family or personal reading: 1 Thessalonians 1. What does Paul say about what the Thessalonians had experienced? Do you see the idea of conversion in this passage? What does true conversion look like?