Westminster Confession, Week 8

February 23, 2019

Chapter 5: Of Providence

1: God the great Creator of all things does uphold,[96] direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things,[97] from the greatest even to the least,[98] by His most wise and holy providence,[99] according to His infallible foreknowledge,[100] and the free and immutable counsel of His own will,[101] to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.[102]

2: Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly;[103] yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.[104]

3: God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means,[105] yet is free to work without,[106] above,[107] and against them,[108] at His pleasure.

4: The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men;[109] and that not by a bare permission,[110] but such as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,[111] and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends;[112] yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.[113]

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Canons of Dordt, Week 8

February 22, 2019

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Article 14: Teaching Election Properly

Just as, by God’s wise plan, this teaching concerning divine election has been proclaimed through the prophets, Christ himself, and the apostles, in Old and New Testament times, and has subsequently been committed to writing in the Holy Scriptures, so also today in God’s church, for which it was specifically intended, this teaching must be set forth — with a spirit of discretion, in a godly and holy manner, at the appropriate time and place, without inquisitive searching into the ways of the Most High. This must be done for the glory of God’s most holy name, and for the lively comfort of his people.


Larger Catechism, Week 8

February 21, 2019

Q. 30. Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God doth not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery,[111] into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the covenant of works;[112] but of his mere love and mercy delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the covenant of grace.[113]

Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.[114]

Q. 32. How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?
A. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provideth and offereth to sinners a Mediator,[115] and life and salvation by him;[116] and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him,[117] promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit[118] to all his elect, to work in them that faith,[119] with all other saving graces;[120] and to enable them unto all holy obedience,[121] as the evidence of the truth of their faith[122] and thankfulness to God,[123] and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation.[124]

Q. 33. Was the covenant of grace always administered after one and the same manner?
A. The covenant of grace was not always administered after the same manner, but the administrations of it under the Old Testament were different from those under the New.[125]

Q. 34. How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament?
A. The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament, by promises,[126] prophecies,[127] sacrifices,[128] circumcision,[129] the passover,[130] and other types and ordinances, which did all fore-signify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah,[131] by whom they then had full remission of sin, and eternal salvation.[132]

Q. 35. How is the covenant of grace administered under the New Testament?
A. Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the preaching of the Word,[133] and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism[134] and the Lord’s Supper;[135] in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fulness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.[136]

Q. 36. Who is the Mediator of the covenant of grace?
A. The only Mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ,[137] who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father,[138] in the fulness of time became man,[139] and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever.[140]


Belgic Confession, Week 8

February 20, 2019

Article 13: The Doctrine of God’s Providence

We believe that this good God, after he created all things, did not abandon them to chance or fortune but leads and governs them according to his holy will, in such a way that nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement. Yet God is not the author of, nor can he be charged with, the sin that occurs. For his power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible that he arranges and does his work very well and justly even when the devils and wicked men act unjustly. We do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what he does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend. But in all humility and reverence we adore the just judgments of God, which are hidden from us, being content to be Christ’s disciples, so as to learn only what he shows us in his Word, without going beyond those limits. This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father. He watches over us with fatherly care, keeping all creatures under his control, so that not one of the hairs on our heads (for they are all numbered) nor even a little bird can fall to the ground[20] without the will of our Father. In this thought we rest, knowing that he holds in check the devils and all our enemies, who cannot hurt us without his permission and will. For that reason we reject the damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God involves himself in nothing and leaves everything to chance.


Shorter Catechism, Week 8

February 19, 2019

Q. 14. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.[38]


Children’s Catechism, Week 7

February 18, 2019

Q. 25. What did God promise in the covenant of works?
A. To reward Adam with life if he obeyed him.

Q. 26. What did God threaten in the covenant of works?
A. To punish Adam with death if he disobeyed.

Q. 27. Did Adam keep the covenant of works?
A. No; he sinned against God.


Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7

February 17, 2019

7. Lord’s Day

Q. 20. Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?
A. No; [a] only those who are ingrafted into him, and, receive all his benefits, by a true faith. [b]

Q. 21. What is true faith?
A. True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word, [a] but also an assured confidence, [b] which the Holy Ghost [c] works by the gospel in my heart; [d] that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, [e] are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits. [f]

Q. 22. What is then necessary for a christian to believe?
A. All things promised us in the gospel, [a] which the articles of our catholic undoubted christian faith briefly teach us.

Q. 23. What are these articles?
A. 1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: 2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord: 3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary: 4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell: 5. The third day he rose again from the dead: 6. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty: 7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead: 8. I believe in the Holy Ghost: 9. I believe a holy catholic church: the communion of saints: 10. The forgiveness of sins: 11. The resurrection of the body: 12. And the life everlasting.


Westminster Confession, Week 7

February 16, 2019

Chapter 4: Of Creation

1: It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,[85] for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness,[86] in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.[87]

2: After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female,[88] with reasonable and immortal souls,[89] endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after His own image;[90] having the law of God written in their hearts,[91] and power to fulfil it;[92] and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.[93] Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;[94] which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.[95]


Canons of Dordt, Week 7

February 15, 2019

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Article 12: The Assurance of Election

Assurance of this their eternal and unchangeable election to salvation is given to the chosen in due time, though by various stages and in differing measure. Such assurance comes not by inquisitive searching into the hidden and deep things of God, but by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God’s Word — such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on.

Article 13: The Fruit of This Assurance

In their awareness and assurance of this election God’s children daily find greater cause to humble themselves before God, to adore the fathomless depth of his mercies, to cleanse themselves, and to give fervent love in return to him who first so greatly loved them. This is far from saying that this teaching concerning election, and reflection upon it, make God’s children lax in observing his commandments or carnally self-assured. By God’s just judgment this does usually happen to those who casually take for granted the grace of election or engage in idle and brazen talk about it but are unwilling to walk in the ways of the chosen.


Larger Catechism, Week 7

February 14, 2019

Q. 24. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.[92]

Q. 25. Wherein consisteth the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin,[93] the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually;[94] which is commonly called original sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.[95]

Q. 26. How is original sin conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity?
A. Original sin is conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity by natural generation, so as all that proceed from them in that way are conceived and born in sin.[96]

Q. 27. What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?
A. The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God,[97] his displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath,[98] bond slaves to Satan,[99] and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.[100]

Q. 28. What are the punishments of sin in this world?
A. The punishments of sin in this world are either inward, as blindness of mind,[101] a reprobate sense,[102] strong delusions,[103] hardness of heart,[104] horror of conscience,[105] and vile affections;[106] or outward, as the curse of God upon the creatures for our sakes,[107] and all other evils that befall us in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments;[108] together with death itself.[109]

Q. 29. What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?
A. The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell-fire forever.[110]