Canons of Dordt, Week 26

June 25, 2021

The Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine: Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs

Article 4: The Inadequacy of the Light of Nature

There is, to be sure, a certain light of nature remaining in man after the fall, by virtue of which he retains some notions about God, natural things, and the difference between what is moral and immoral, and demonstrates a certain eagerness for virtue and for good outward behavior. But this light of nature is far from enabling man to come to a saving knowledge of God and conversion to him — so far, in fact, that man does not use it rightly even in matters of nature and society. Instead, in various ways he completely distorts this light, whatever its precise character, and suppresses it in unrighteousness. In doing so he renders himself without excuse before God.

Article 5: The Inadequacy of the Law

In this respect, what is true of the light of nature is true also of the Ten Commandments given by God through Moses specifically to the Jews. For man cannot obtain saving grace through the Decalogue, because, although it does expose the magnitude of his sin and increasingly convict him of his guilt, yet it does not offer a remedy or enable him to escape from his misery, and, indeed, weakened as it is by the flesh, leaves the offender under the curse.


Larger Catechism, Week 25

June 24, 2021

Q. 103. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shall have no other gods before me.[445]

Q. 104. What are the duties required in the first commandment?
A. The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God;[446] and to worship and glorify him accordingly,[447] by thinking,[448] meditating,[449] remembering,[450] highly esteeming,[451] honouring,[452] adoring,[453] choosing,[454] loving,[455] desiring,[456] fearing of him;[457] believing him;[458] trusting[459] hoping,[460] delighting,[461] rejoicing in him;[462] being zealous for him;[463] calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks,[464] and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man;[465] being careful in all things to please him,[466] and sorrowful when in any thing he is offended;[467] and walking humbly with him.[468]

Q. 105. What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment are, atheism, in denying or not having a God;[469] idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God;[470] the not having and avouching him for God, and our God;[471] the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment;[472] ignorance,[473] forgetfulness,[474] misapprehensions,[475] false opinions,[476] unworthy and wicked thoughts of him;[477] bold and curious searching into his secrets;[478] all profaneness,[479] hatred of God;[480] self-love,[481] self-seeking,[482] and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part;[483] vain credulity,[484] unbelief,[485] heresy,[486] misbelief,[487] distrust,[488] despair,[489] incorrigibleness,[490] and insensibleness under judgments,[491] hardness of heart,[492] pride,[493] presumption,[494] carnal security,[495] tempting of God;[496] using unlawful means,[497] and trusting in lawful means;[498] carnal delights and joys;[499] corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal;[500] lukewarmness,[501] and deadness in the things of God;[502] estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God;[503] praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures;[504] all compacts and consulting with the devil,[505] and hearkening to his suggestions;[506] making men the lords of our faith and conscience;[507] slighting and despising God and his commands;[508] resisting and grieving of his Spirit,[509] discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us;[510] and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have or can do, to fortune,[511] idols,[512] ourselves,[513] or any other creature.[514]

Q. 106. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
A. These words before me or before my face, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh special notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God: that so it may be an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent provocation:[515] as also to persuade us to do as in his sight, whatever we do in his service.[516]


Belgic Confession, Week 25

June 23, 2021

Article 36: The Civil Government

We believe that
because of the depravity of the human race
our good God has ordained kings, princes, and civil officers.
He wants the world to be governed by laws and policies
so that human lawlessness may be restrained
and that everything may be conducted in good order
among human beings.
For that purpose he has placed the sword
in the hands of the government,
to punish evil people
and protect the good.
And being called in this manner
to contribute to the advancement of a society
that is pleasing to God,
the civil rulers have the task,
subject to God’s law,
of removing every obstacle
to the preaching of the gospel
and to every aspect of divine worship.
They should do this
while completely refraining from every tendency
toward exercising absolute authority,
and while functioning in the sphere entrusted to them,
with the means belonging to them.
They should do it in order that
the Word of God may have free course;
the kingdom of Jesus Christ may make progress;
and every anti-Christian power may be resisted.1
Moreover everyone,
regardless of status, condition, or rank,
must be subject to the government,
and pay taxes,
and hold its representatives in honor and respect,
and obey them in all things that are not in conflict
with God’s Word,
praying for them
that the Lord may be willing to lead them
in all their ways
and that we may live a peaceful and quiet life
in all piety and decency.2

1The Synod of 1958, in line with 1910 and 1938, substituted the above
statement for the following (which it judged unbiblical):
And the government’s task is not limited
to caring for and watching over the public domain
but extends also to upholding the sacred ministry,
with a view to removing and destroying
all idolatry and false worship of the Antichrist;
to promoting the kingdom of Jesus Christ;
and to furthering the preaching of the gospel everywhere;
to the end that God may be honored and served by everyone,
as he requires in his Word.

2The Synod of 1985 directed that the following paragraph be taken from the
body of the text and be placed in a footnote:
And on this matter we denounce the Anabaptists, other anarchists,
and in general all those who want
to reject the authorities and civil officers
and to subvert justice
by introducing common ownership of goods
and corrupting the moral order
that God has established among human beings.


Shorter Catechism, Week 25

June 22, 2021

Q. 36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love,[100] peace of conscience,[101] joy in the Holy Ghost,[102] increase of grace,[103] and perseverance therein to the end.[104]


Children’s Catechism, Week 25

June 21, 2021

Q. 80. What is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Q. 81. What does the first commandment teach us?
A. To worship God alone.


Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 25

June 20, 2021

25. Lord’s Day

Q. 65. Since then we are made partakers of Christ and all his benefits by faith only, whence does this faith proceed?
A. From the Holy Ghost, [a] who works faith in our hearts by the preaching of the gospel, and confirms it by the use of the sacraments. [b]

Q. 66. What are the sacraments?
A. The sacraments are holy visible signs and seals, appointed of God for this end, that by the use thereof, he may the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the gospel, viz., that he grants us freely the remission of sin, and life eternal, for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross. [a]

Q. 67. Are both word and sacraments, then, ordained and appointed for this end, that they may direct our faith to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, as the only ground of our salvation? [a]
A. Yes, indeed: for the Holy Ghost teaches us in the gospel, and assures us by the sacraments, that the whole of our salvation depends upon that one sacrifice of Christ which he offered for us on the cross.

Q. 68. How many sacraments has Christ instituted in the new covenant, or testament?
A. Two: namely, holy baptism, and the holy supper.


Westminster Confession, Week 25

June 19, 2021

Chapter 16: Of Good Works

1: Good works are only such as God has commanded in His holy Word,[305] and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intention.[306]

2: These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith:[307] and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,[308] strengthen their assurance,[309] edify their brethren,[310] adorn the profession of the Gospel,[311] stop the mouths of the adversaries,[312] and glorify God,[313]whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto,[314]that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.[315]

3: Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.[316] And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of His good pleasure:[317] yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.[318]

4: They who, in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possibly in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.[319]


Canons of Dordt, Week 25

June 18, 2021

The Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine: Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs

Article 2: The Spread of Corruption

Man brought forth children of the same nature as himself after the fall. That is to say, being corrupt he brought forth corrupt children. The corruption spread, by God’s just judgment, from Adam to all his descendants — except for Christ alone — not by way of imitation (as in former times the Pelagians would have it) but by way of the propagation of his perverted nature.

Article 3: Total Inability

Therefore, all people are conceived in sin and are born children of wrath, unfit for any saving good, inclined to evil, dead in their sins, and slaves to sin; without the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit they are neither willing nor able to return to God, to reform their distorted nature, or even to dispose themselves to such reform.


Larger Catechism, Week 24

June 17, 2021

Q. 101. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A. The preface to the ten commandments is contained in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.[436] Wherein God manifesteth his sovereignty, as being JEHOVAH, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God;[437] having his being in and of himself,[438] and giving being to all his words[439] and works:[440] and that he is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people;[441] who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivereth us from our spiritual thraldom;[442] and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.[443]

Q. 102. What is the sum of the four commandments which contain our duty to God?
A. The sum of the four commandments containing our duty to God is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind.[444]


Belgic Confession, Week 24

June 16, 2021

Article 35: The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

We believe and confess that our Savior Jesus Christ has ordained and instituted the sacrament of the Holy Supper to nourish and sustain those who are already born again and ingrafted into his family: his church. Now those who are born again have two lives in them. The one is physical and temporal– they have it from the moment of their first birth, and it is common to all. The other is spiritual and heavenly, and is given them in their second birth; it comes through the Word of the gospel in the communion of the body of Christ; and this life is common to God’s elect only. Thus, to support the physical and earthly life God has prescribed for us an appropriate earthly and material bread, which is as common to all as life itself also is. But to maintain the spiritual and heavenly life that belongs to believers he has sent a living bread that came down from heaven: namely Jesus Christ, who nourishes and maintains the spiritual life of believers when eaten– that is, when appropriated and received spiritually by faith. To represent to us this spiritual and heavenly bread Christ has instituted an earthly and visible bread as the sacrament of his body and wine as the sacrament of his blood. He did this to testify to us that just as truly as we take and hold the sacraments in our hands and eat and drink it in our mouths, by which our life is then sustained, so truly we receive into our souls, for our spiritual life, the true body and true blood of Christ, our only Savior. We receive these by faith, which is the hand and mouth of our souls. Now it is certain that Jesus Christ did not prescribe his sacraments for us in vain, since he works in us all he represents by these holy signs, although the manner in which he does it goes beyond our understanding and is uncomprehensible to us, just as the operation of God’s Spirit is hidden and incomprehensible. Yet we do not go wrong when we say that what is eaten is Christ’s own natural body and what is drunk is his own blood– but the manner in which we eat it is not by the mouth but by the Spirit, through faith. In that way Jesus Christ remains always seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven– but he never refrains on that account to communicate himself to us through faith. This banquet is a spiritual table at which Christ communicates himself to us with all his benefits. At that table he makes us enjoy himself as much as the merits of his suffering and death, as he nourishes, strengthens, and comforts our poor, desolate souls by the eating of his flesh, and relieves and renews them by the drinking of his blood. Moreover, though the sacraments and thing signified are joined together, not all receive both of them. The wicked person certainly takes the sacrament, to his condemnation, but does not receive the truth of the sacrament, just as Judas and Simon the Sorcerer both indeed received the sacrament, but not Christ, who was signified by it. He is communicated only to believers. Finally, with humility and reverence we receive the holy sacrament in the gathering of God’s people, as we engage together, with thanksgiving, in a holy remembrance of the death of Christ our Savior, and as we thus confess our faith and Christian religion. Therefore no one should come to this table without examining himself carefully, lest “by eating this bread and drinking this cup he eat and drink to his own judgment.”[78] In short, by the use of this holy sacrament we are moved to a fervent love of God and our neighbors. Therefore we reject as desecrations of the sacraments all the muddled ideas and damnable inventions that men have added and mixed in with them. And we say that we should be content with the procedure that Christ and the apostles have taught us and speak of these things as they have spoken of them.