I worked for AT&T Wireless back when internet on your cell phone just started to be a big deal. Everyone wanted the new and faster 3G (3rd generation) technology.
As the technology improved, internet speeds got faster. Now, however, when you see 3G, you may get frustrated because it means download speeds are roughly 10 times slower than 4G. But I have a 3G you can get excited about again. It’s based on a 16th century Heidelberg Catechism written in a place called the Electorate of the Palatinate (modern day Germany) in the city of Heidelberg. I prefer the “immersed” version Baptist preacher, Hercules Collins revised called the Orthodox Catechism.
The answers to the first two questions provide an outline for the whole catechism. “What is your only comfort in life and in death” and, “what must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?” Answer: “First, how great my sins and misery are; second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance.” This is also an outline of the book of Romans, and where we get the better 3G’s.
Guilt. “You must know how great your sin truly is.” In the first 3 ½ chapters of the book of Romans, Paul proves, “all have sinned.” We are guilty before God and have no hope of being justified before the law. Doesn’t sound very hopeful, especially when we want to know the answer to question one, “what is your only comfort in life and death?” That leads us to the second G.
Grace. ”You must know how you are set free from you sin and misery.” Starting at the end of chapter three, through chapter 11, Paul instructs us on the grace of God. We cannot be saved by the law since in only condemns us, but we are saved by Grace. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, died for our sins as the perfect sin sacrifice, the just and justifier. He took the sins of his people, paid their debt, and graciously, imputes His righteousness to our account. Not by our works of righteousness, but by grace and His righteousness. Which leads us to the third G.
Gratitude. “You must know how you are to thank God for your deliverance.” Must we keep the law to be saved? Of course not, but how can a person be saved from their wicked, Hell deserving sins, rescued from an eternity in the Lake of Fire and given eternal life not be grateful and live a life of “reasonable service?” We do not keep the law to be saved, but a child of God, with a heart of gratitude, lives a life that is pleasing to God, giving our bodies as a living sacrifice, out of love for God saving us.
Next time your phone is slow, and you’ve got the dreaded 3G, praise God, and think of your guilt, His grace, and your gratitude.