Last night in family Bible study, we came to question 44 in the Heidelberg Catechism which asks:
Why is it added: “He descended into hell?”
After a good and humorous (Note: the topic is not humorous but the answers given by my kids were; you have to have a sense of humor when doing Bible study with children!) discussion with my kids on the meaning of this phrase in The Apostles’ Creed, my son asked me, “Daddy will I go to hell?”
This is quite a sobering question for me as a parent to entertain and yet at the same time a great opportunity to share the Good News with my children and to offer them great assurance for their faith.
The answer given in the catechism is very reassuring, which states:
That in my greatest temptations I may be assured that Christ my Lord, by His inexpressible anguish, pains, and terrors, which He suffered in His soul on the cross and before, has redeemed me from the anguish and torment of hell.
 Ps. 18:5; 116:3; Isa. 53; Mt. 26:36-46; 27:46; Heb. 5:7-10
The Gospel gives us assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation and deliverance from the anguish and torment of hell is one of the chief pillars of our faith.
Having this Cross-centered assurance is absolutely essential and necessary in order for the believer to obey God’s law and pursue holiness of life.
Thus it is critical for the believer to be pointed to God’s firm, Cross-centered promise again and again.
“The Gospel gives us assurance of salvation.”
The Gospel promises you and me that God is pleased to give Christ and His salvation to us, to bring us into a state of grace and favor with Him even though we were previously ungodly, deserving of hell, living in a state of sin and death and were by nature children of wrath, living under the curse of God’s law.
Yet in grace and mercy, Christ descended for us on the cross and bore for us in his body and soul the anguish and torments that await the ungodly in hell so that we do not have to fear hell’s anguish and torments.
Because of Christ’s agonies and pain, we now have the blessed assurance that we will ascend with him to heaven where there will be fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore!
Praise God for this Cross-centered Assurance!