In this most wretched kingdom of self, all men, without distinction, live by nature, and they live therein to the fullest. Only the elect, and thus only believers, are delivered from this kingdom by a wondrous work of God’s infinite wisdom, power, mercy, and grace in Jesus Christ. At the time of His choosing, they are delivered and translated into the kingdom of God and Christ. Initially, this happens by faith, regeneration, and conversion. This translation continues by ongoing “sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2.13), which culminates in glorification and the complete redemption of body and soul.
The great work of salvation and redemption to be accomplished in the elect and in all believers is to deliver and strip them of self, and to make them the complete property of God the Lord – or (which is, in essence, the same), the complete property of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ as mediator and redeemer. In this way, they are brought unto God.
From: The Christian’s Only Comfort in Life and Death: An Exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism by Theodorus VanderGroe; translated from the Dutch by Bartel Elshout; edited by Joel R. Beeke; 2 volumes (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books and Dutch Reformed Translation Society, 2016), 1:7.
Theodorus VanderGroe (1705-1784) was a Dutch Reformed pastor and author. This is the first translation of this two-volume work into English. It was originally published as a three-volume work, in Dutch, in VanderGroe’s lifetime. (The two-volume translation is complete and unabridged.)