Westminster Confession, week 43

October 25, 2014

Chapter 26: Of the Communion of Saints

1: All saints, that are united to Jesus Christ their Head, by His Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with Him in His grace, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory:[503] and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces,[504] and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.[505]

2: Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification;[506] as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, as God offers opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.[507]

3: This communion which the saints have with Christ, does not make them in any wise partakers of the substance of His Godhead; or to be equal with Christ in any respect: either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous.[508] Nor does their communion one with another, as saints, take away, or infringe the title or propriety which each man has in his goods and possessions.[509]


Canons of Dordt, week 43

October 24, 2014

The Fifth Head of Doctrine: The Perseverance of the Saints

Article 9: The Assurance of This Preservation

Concerning this preservation of those chosen to salvation and concerning the perseverance of true believers in faith, believers themselves can and do become assured in accordance with the measure of their faith, by which they firmly believe that they are and always will remain true and living members of the church, and that they have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Article 10: The Ground of This Assurance

Accordingly, this assurance does not derive from some private revelation beyond or outside the Word, but from faith in the promises of God which he has very plentifully revealed in his Word for our comfort, from the testimony of the Holy Spirit testifying with our spirit that we are God’s children and heirs (Rom. 8:16-17), and finally from a serious and holy pursuit of a clear conscience and of good works. And if God’s chosen ones in this world did not have this well-founded comfort that the victory will be theirs and this reliable guarantee of eternal glory, they would be of all people most miserable.


Larger Catechism, week 43

October 23, 2014

Q. 168. What is the Lord’s supper?
A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament of the New Testament,[1077] wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace;[1078] have their union and communion with him confirmed;[1079] testify and renew their thankfulness,[1080] and engagement to God,[1081] and their mutual love and fellowship each with the other, as members of the same mystical body.[1082]

Q. 169. How hath Christ appointed bread and wine to be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. Christ hath appointed the ministers of his Word, in the administration of this sacrament of the Lord’s supper, to set apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving, and prayer; to take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the communicants: who are, by the same appointment, to take and eat the bread, and to drink the wine, in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was broken and given, and his blood shed, for them.[1083]

Q. 170. How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord’s supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?
A. As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord’s supper,[1084] and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses;[1085] so they that worthily communicate in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a spiritual manner; yet truly and really,[1086] while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death.[1087]


Belgic Confession, week 17

October 22, 2014

Article 26: The Intercession of Christ

We believe that we have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor: Jesus Christ the Righteous.[62] He therefore was made man, uniting together the divine and human natures, so that we human beings might have access to the divine Majesty. Otherwise we would have no access. But this Mediator, whom the Father has appointed between himself and us, ought not terrify us by his greatness, so that we have to look for another one, according to our fancy. For neither in heaven nor among the creatures on earth is there anyone who loves us more than Jesus Christ does. Although he was “in the form of God,” he nevertheless “emptied himself,” taking the form of “a man” and “a servant” for us;[63] and he made himself “completely like his brothers.”[64] Suppose we had to find another intercessor. Who would love us more than he who gave his life for us, even though “we were his enemies”?[65] And suppose we had to find one who has prestige and power. Who has as much of these as he who is seated “at the right hand of the Father,”[66] and who has all power “in heaven and on earth”?[67] And who will be heard more readily than God’s own dearly beloved Son? So then, sheer unbelief has led to the practice of dishonoring the saints, instead of honoring them. That was something the saints never did nor asked for, but which in keeping with their duty, as appears from their writings, they consistently refused. We should not plead here that we are unworthy– for it is not a question of offering our prayers on the basis of our own dignity but only on the basis of the excellence and dignity of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith. Since the apostle for good reason wants us to get rid of this foolish fear– or rather, this unbelief– he says to us that Jesus Christ was “made like his brothers in all things,” that he might be a high priest who is merciful and faithful to purify the sins of the people.[68] For since he suffered, being tempted, he is also able to help those who are tempted.[69] And further, to encourage us more to approach him he says, “Since we have a high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has entered into heaven, we maintain our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to have compassion for our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in all things, just as we are, except for sin. Let us go then with confidence to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace, in order to be helped.”[70] The same apostle says that we “have liberty to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus. Let us go, then, in the assurance of faith….”[71] Likewise, “Christ’s priesthood is forever. By this he is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him who always lives to intercede for them.”[72] What more do we need? For Christ himself declares: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to my Father but by me.”[73] Why should we seek another intercessor? Since it has pleased God to give us his Son as our Intercessor, let us not leave him for another– or rather seek, without ever finding. For when God gave him to us he knew well that we were sinners. Therefore, in following the command of Christ we call on the heavenly Father through Christ, our only Mediator, as we are taught by the Lord’s Prayer, being assured that we shall obtain all we ask of the Father in his name.


Shorter Catechism, week 42

October 21, 2014

Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.[175]

Q. 85. What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse, due to us for sin?
A. To escape the wrath and curse of God, due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life,[176] with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.[177]


Children’s Catechism, week 42

October 20, 2014

Q. 116. What is the fourth petition?
A. “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Q. 117. What do we pray for in the fourth petition?
A. That God would give us all things needful for our bodies and souls.


Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 42

October 19, 2014

42. Lord’s Day

Q. 110. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?
A. God forbids not only those thefts, [a] and robberies, [b] which are punishable by the magistrate; but he comprehends under the name of theft all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we design to appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbour: [c] whether it be by force, or under the appearance of right, as by unjust weights, ells, measures, fraudulent merchandise, [d] false coins, usury, [e] or by any other way forbidden by God; as also all covetousness, [f] all abuse and waste of his gifts. [g]

Q. 111. But what does God require in this commandment?
A. That I promote the advantage of my neighbour in every instance I can or may; and deal with him as I desire to be dealt with by others: [a] further also that I faithfully labour, so that I may be able to relieve the needy. [b]


Westminster Confession, week 42

October 18, 2014

Chapter 25: Of the Church

4: This catholic Church has been sometimes more, sometimes less visible.[496] And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.[497]

5: The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error;[498] and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.[499] Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth to worship God according to His will.[500]

6: There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ.[501] Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof.


Canons of Dordt, week 42

October 17, 2014

The Fifth Head of Doctrine: The Perseverance of the Saints

Article 7: Renewal to Repentance

For, in the first place, God preserves in those saints when they fall his imperishable seed from which they have been born again, lest it perish or be dislodged. Secondly, by his Word and Spirit he certainly and effectively renews them to repentance so that they have a heartfelt and godly sorrow for the sins they have committed; seek and obtain, through faith and with a contrite heart, forgiveness in the blood of the Mediator; experience again the grace of a reconciled God; through faith adore his mercies; and from then on more eagerly work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

Article 8: The Certainty of This Preservation

So it is not by their own merits or strength but by God’s undeserved mercy that they neither forfeit faith and grace totally nor remain in their downfalls to the end and are lost. With respect to themselves this not only easily could happen, but also undoubtedly would happen; but with respect to God it cannot possibly happen, since his plan cannot be changed, his promise cannot fail, the calling according to his purpose cannot be revoked, the merit of Christ as well as his interceding and preserving cannot be nullified, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit can neither be invalidated nor wiped out.


Larger Catechism, week 42

October 16, 2014

Q. 165. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein Christ hath ordained the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,[1058] to be a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself,[1059] of remission of sins by his blood,[1060] and regeneration by his Spirit;[1061] of adoption,[1062] and resurrection unto everlasting life;[1063] and whereby the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible church,[1064] and enter into an open and professed engagement to be wholly and only the Lord’s.[1065]

Q. 166. Unto whom is baptism to be administered?
A. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him,[1066] but infants descending from parents, either both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obedience to him, are in that respect within the covenant, and to be baptized.[1067]

Q. 167. How is our baptism to be improved by us?
A. The needful but much neglected duty of improving our baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others;[1068] by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein;[1069] by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements;[1070] by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament;[1071] by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace;[1072] and by endeavoring to live by faith,[1073] to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness,[1074] as those that have therein given up their names to Christ;[1075] and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.[1076]


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