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Catechism Buzz: Your Safe Passage

01 March 2011 by David Regier


Q. 6. What do the Scriptures make known of God?
A. The Scriptures make known what God is, the persons in the Godhead, his decrees, and the execution of his decrees.

Q. 7. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.

You’ve been given an ancient map, on yellowed parchment with rough edges. It’s a map of all the waterways and the seas of the whole world. The map has lines and arrows that show you all the ways of safe passage to guide your ship in its travels. It has warnings: “Here there be dragons” and the like. And there’s a legend on the map that gives keys to understanding all the symbols and markings on it.

As you undertake to study the map for all its worth, you discover that it’s made of some kind of iParchment, so that when you brush your fingers against it, it zooms in to intense detail of the passage you’re attempting to sail. And it turns out that even in the safe channels there are great dangers that require the utmost care to navigate their passing.

You come to a narrow canal where the map shows that there are razor sharp, craggy rocks both to your left and to your right, hidden under the water. If you were to steer your ship anywhere but straight ahead, you could easily get wrecked on either side. You wonder why the map maker would consider this to be a safe passage at all. But a note from the legend pops up on the iParchment, explaining that the map maker cut this channel himself, and put in the sharp underwater rocks to keep your ship from sea serpents on one side and dragons on the other. Why? Because he’s interested in your safe passage.

The Larger Catechism’s sixth question asks us what the Scriptures make known of God. The first phrase of the answer says the Scriptures make known what God is. The proof text is Hebrews 11:6, which tells us that God is a rewarder of persons who diligently seek Him by faith. As we Reformed types navigate through these waters, we often tend to hang close to the side of the channel that speaks of our depravity and our utter inability, our worminess and wretchedness. And it’s easy to get shipwrecked clinging to our knowledge of our own depravity.

But what is God? God is a rewarder. The map says so, and the One who made the map, made the world.