I am currently reading Michael Horton’s Thanksgiving post at Out of the Horse’s Mouth (the White Horse Inn blog), “Joining the Thanksgiving Parade.” In his introduction, he brings up a famous quote–sort of a theological proverb. Here’s Horton’s words:
The Heidelberg Catechism, in fact, is structured in terms of Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude, leading G. C. Berkouwer to conclude, “The essence of theology is grace; the essence of ethics is gratitude.” Or, as we have say around here, duties (imperatives) are always grounded in gospel promise (indicatives). The appropriate response to a gift is thankfulness. (emphasis mine)
In light of this reminder, I simply have a question for students of Reformed theology in general, and the Heidelberg Catechism in particular:
- If grace is the essence of theology, and gratitude is the essence of ethics, then guilt is the essence of what?
Please submit your answers in the comments thread.
May the grace of God in Christ crucified and risen to atone for your guilt inspire much gratitude in you this Thanksgiving!