Larger Catechism, week 41

October 8, 2015

Q. 161. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not by any power in themselves, or any virtue derived from the piety or intention of him by whom they are administered, but only by the working of the Holy Ghost, and the blessing of Christ, by whom they are instituted[1047].

Q. 162. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ in his church,[1048] to signify, seal, and exhibit[1049] unto those that are within the covenant of grace,[1050] the benefits of his mediation;[1051] to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other graces;[1052] to oblige them to obedience;[1053] to testify and cherish their love and communion one with another;[1054] and to distinguish them from those that are without.[1055]

Q. 163. What are the parts of a sacrament?
A. The parts of the sacrament are two; the one an outward and sensible sign, used according to Christ’s own appointment; the other an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified.[1056]

Q. 164. How many sacraments hath Christ instituted in his church under the New Testament?
A. Under the New Testament Christ hath instituted in his church only two sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s supper.[1057]

Belgic Confession, week 14

October 7, 2015

Article 22: The Righteousness of Faith

We believe that for us to acquire the true knowledge of this great mystery the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith that embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, and makes him its own, and no longer looks for anything apart from him. For it must necessarily follow that either all that is required for our salvation is not in Christ or, if all is in him, then he who has Christ by faith has his salvation entirely. Therefore, to say that Christ is not enough but that something else is needed as well is a most enormous blasphemy against God– for it then would follow that Jesus Christ is only half a Savior. And therefore we justly say with Paul that we are justified “by faith alone” or by faith “apart from works.”[53] However, we do not mean, properly speaking, that it is faith itself that justifies us– for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ, our righteousness. But Jesus Christ is our righteousness in making available to us all his merits and all the holy works he has done for us and in our place. And faith is the instrument that keeps us in communion with him and with all his benefits. When those benefits are made ours they are more than enough to absolve us of our sins.

Shorter Catechism, week 40

October 6, 2015

Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.[168]

Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition,[169] with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.[170]

Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate,[171] envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.[172]

Children’s Catechism, week 40

October 5, 2015

Q. 112. What is the second petition?
A. “Thy kingdom come.”

Q. 113. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. That the gospel may be preached in all the world, and believed and obeyed by us and all men.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 40

October 4, 2015

40. Lord’s Day

Q. 105. What does God require in the sixth commandment?
A. That neither in thoughts, nor words, nor gestures, much less in deeds, I dishonour, hate, wound, or kill my neighbour, by myself or by another: [a] but that I lay aside all desire of revenge: [b] also, that I hurt not myself, nor wilfully expose myself to any danger. [c] Wherefore also the magistrate is armed with the sword, to prevent murder. [d]

Q. 106. But this commandment seems only to speak of murder?
A. In forbidding murder, God teaches us, that he abhors the causes thereof, such as envy, [a] hatred, [b] anger, [c] and desire of revenge; and that he accounts all these as murder. [d]

Q. 107. But is it enough that we do not kill any man in the manner mentioned above?
A. No: for when God forbids envy, hatred, and anger, he commands us to love our neighbour as ourselves; [a] to show patience, peace, meekness, mercy, and all kindness, towards him, [b] and prevent his hurt as much as in us lies; [c] and that we do good, even to our enemies. [d]

Westminster Confession, week 40

October 3, 2015

Chapter 24: Of Marriage and Divorce

1: Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at the same time.[474]

2: Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife,[475] for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed;[476] and for preventing of uncleanness.[477]

3: It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent.[478] Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord.[479] And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.[480]

4: Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word.[481] Nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.[482]

5: Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, gives just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.[484] In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce and, after the divorce,[485] to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.[486]

6: Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God has joined together in marriage: yet, nothing but adultery, or such wilful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church, or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage:[487] wherein, a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wills, and discretion, in their own case.[488]

Canons of Dordt, week 40

October 2, 2015

The Fifth Head of Doctrine: The Perseverance of the Saints

Article 3: God’s Preservation of the Converted

Because of these remnants of sin dwelling in them and also because of the temptations of the world and Satan, those who have been converted could not remain standing in this grace if left to their own resources. But God is faithful, mercifully strengthening them in the grace once conferred on them and powerfully preserving them in it to the end.

Article 4: The Danger of True Believers’ Falling into Serious Sins

Although that power of God strengthening and preserving true believers in grace is more than a match for the flesh, yet those converted are not always so activated and motivated by God that in certain specific actions they cannot by their own fault depart from the leading of grace, be led astray by the desires of the flesh, and give in to them. For this reason they must constantly watch and pray that they may not be led into temptations. When they fail to do this, not only can they be carried away by the flesh, the world, and Satan into sins, even serious and outrageous ones, but also by God’s just permission they sometimes are so carried away — witness the sad cases, described in Scripture, of David, Peter, and other saints falling into sins.

Larger Catechism, week 40

October 1, 2015

Q. 156. Is the Word of God to be read by all?
A. Although all are not to be permitted to read the Word publicly to the congregation,[1001] yet all sorts of people are bound to read it apart by themselves,[1002] and with their families:[1003] to which end, the holy scriptures are to be translated out of the original into vulgar languages.[1004]

Q. 157. How is the Word of God to be read?
A. The holy Scriptures are to be read with an high and reverent esteem of them;[1005] with a firm persuasion that they are the very Word of God,[1006] and that he only can enable us to understand them;[1007] with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them;[1008] with diligence,[1009] and attention to the matter and scope of them;[1010] with meditation,[1011] application,[1012] self-denial,[1013] and prayer.[1014]

Q. 158. By whom is the Word of God to be preached?
A. The Word of God is to be preached only by such as are sufficiently gifted,[1015] and also duly approved and called to that office.[1016]

Q. 159. How is the Word of God to be preached by those that are called thereunto?
A. They that are called to labour in the ministry of the Word, are to preach sound doctrine,[1017] diligently,[1018] in season and out of season;[1019] plainly,[1020] not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power;[1021] faithfully,[1022] making known the whole counsel of God;[1023] wisely,[1024] applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers;[1025] zealously,[1026] with fervent love to God[1027] and the souls of his people;[1028] sincerely,[1029] aiming at his glory,[1030] and their conversion,[1031] edification,[1032] and salvation.[1033]

Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the Word preached?
A. It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence,[1034] preparation,[1035] and prayer;[1036] examine what they hear by the Scriptures;[1037] receive the truth with faith,[1038] love,[1039] meekness,[1040] and readiness of mind,[1041] as the Word of God;[1042] meditate,[1043] and confer of it;[1044] hide it in their hearts,[1045] and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives[1046].

Belgic Confession, week 13

September 30, 2015

Article 20: The Justice and Mercy of God in Christ

We believe that God– who is perfectly merciful and also very just– sent his Son to assume the nature in which the disobedience had been committed, in order to bear in it the punishment of sin by his most bitter passion and death. So God made known his justice toward his Son, who was charged with our sin, and he poured out his goodness and mercy on us, who are guilty and worthy of damnation, giving to us his Son to die, by a most perfect love, and raising him to life for our justification, in order that by him we might have immortality and eternal life.

Article 21: The Atonement

We believe that Jesus Christ is a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek– made such by an oath– and that he presented himself in our name before his Father, to appease his wrath with full satisfaction by offering himself on the tree of the cross and pouring out his precious blood for the cleansing of our sins, as the prophets had predicted. For it is written that “the chastisement of our peace” was placed on the Son of God and that “we are healed by his wounds.” He was “led to death as a lamb”; he was “numbered among sinners”[45] and condemned as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, though Pilate had declared that he was innocent. So he paid back what he had not stolen,[46] and he suffered– the “just for the unjust,”[47] in both his body and his soul– in such a way that when he senses the horrible punishment required by our sins his sweat became like “big drops of blood falling on the ground.”[48] He cried, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[49] And he endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore we rightly say with Paul that we “know nothing but Jesus and him crucified”;[50] we consider all things as “dung for the excellence of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”[51] We find all comforts in his wounds and have no need to seek or invent any other means to reconcile ourselves with God than this one and only sacrifice, once made, which renders believers perfect forever. This is also why the angel of God called him Jesus– that is, “Savior”– because he would save his people from their sins.[52]

Shorter Catechism, week 39

September 29, 2015

Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.[164]

Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name,[165] especially in witness-bearing.[166]

Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbor’s, good name.[167]


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