Canons of Dordt, week 44

October 31, 2014

The Fifth Head of Doctrine: The Perseverance of the Saints

Article 11: Doubts Concerning This Assurance

Meanwhile, Scripture testifies that believers have to contend in this life with various doubts of the flesh and that under severe temptation they do not always experience this full assurance of faith and certainty of perseverance. But God, the Father of all comfort, does not let them be tempted beyond what they can bear, but with the temptation he also provides a way out (1 Cor. 10:13), and by the Holy Spirit revives in them the assurance of their perseverance.

Article 12: This Assurance as an Incentive to Godliness

This assurance of perseverance, however, so far from making true believers proud and carnally self-assured, is rather the true root of humility, of childlike respect, of genuine godliness, of endurance in every conflict, of fervent prayers, of steadfastness in crossbearing and in confessing the truth, and of well-founded joy in God. Reflecting on this benefit provides an incentive to a serious and continual practice of thanksgiving and good works, as is evident from the testimonies of Scripture and the examples of the saints.


Larger Catechism, week 44

October 30, 2014

Q. 171. How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
A. They that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves[1088] of their being in Christ,[1089] of their sins and wants;[1090] of the truth and measure of their knowledge,[1091] faith,[1092] repentance;[1093] love to God and the brethren,[1094] charity to all men,[1095] forgiving those that have done them wrong;[1096] of their desires after Christ,[1097] and of their new obedience;[1098] and by renewing the exercise of these graces,[1099] by serious meditation,[1100] and fervent prayer.[1101]

Q. 172. May one who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s supper?
A. One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof;[1102] and in God’s account hath it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it,[1103] and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ,[1104] and to depart from iniquity:[1105] in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians[1106]) he is to bewail his unbelief,[1107] and labor to have his doubts resolved;[1108] and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s supper, that he may be further strengthened.[1109]

Q. 173. May any who profess the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, be kept from it?
A. Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, may and ought to be kept from that sacrament, by the power which Christ hath left in his church,[1110] until they receive instruction, and manifest their reformation.[1111]

Q. 174. What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?
A. It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance,[1112] diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions,[1113] heedfully discern the Lord’s body,[1114] and affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings,[1115] and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces;[1116] in judging themselves,[1117] and sorrowing for sin;[1118] in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ,[1119] feeding on him by faith,[1120] receiving of his fullness,[1121] trusting in his merits,[1122] rejoicing in his love,[1123] giving thanks for his grace;[1124] in renewing of their covenant with God,[1125] and love to all the saints.[1126]

Q. 175. What is the duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, is seriously to consider how they have behaved themselves therein, and with what success;[1127] if they find quickening and comfort, to bless God for it,[1128] beg the continuance of it,[1129] watch against relapses,[1130] fulfill their vows,[1131] and encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance:[1132] but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation to, and carriage at, the sacrament;[1133] in both which, if they can approve themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in due time:[1134] but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled,[1135] and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence.[1136]


Belgic Confession, week 18

October 29, 2014

Article 27: The Holy Catholic Church

We believe and confess one single catholic or universal church– a holy congregation and gathering of true Christian believers, awaiting their entire salvation in Jesus Christ being washed by his blood, and sanctified and sealed by the Holy Spirit. This church has existed from the beginning of the world and will last until the end, as appears from the fact that Christ is eternal King who cannot be without subjects. And this holy church is preserved by God against the rage of the whole world, even though for a time it may appear very small in the eyes of men– as though it were snuffed out. For example, during the very dangerous time of Ahab the Lord preserved for himself seven thousand men who did not bend their knees to Baal.[74] And so this holy church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or certain persons. But it is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world, though still joined and united in heart and will, in one and the same Spirit, by the power of faith.


Shorter Catechism, week 43

October 28, 2014

Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace,[178] whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.[179]

Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace,[180] whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ,[181] doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God,[182] with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.[183]

Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?
A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.[184]


Children’s Catechism, week 43

October 27, 2014

Q. 118. What is the fifth petition?
A. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Q. 119. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. That God would pardon our sins for Christ’s sake, and enable us to forgive those who have injured us.


Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 43

October 26, 2014

43. Lord’s Day

Q. 112. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. That I bear false witness against no man, [a] nor falsify any man’s words; [b] that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer; [c] that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly, or unheard; [d] but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit, as the proper works of the devil, [e] unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God; [f] likewise, that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; [g] also that I defend and promote, as much as I am able, the honor and good character of my neighbour. [h]


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.


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