Larger Catechism, Week 17

April 25, 2019

Q. 74. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of the free grace of God,[307] in and for his only Son Jesus Christ,[308] whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children,[309] have his name put upon them,[310] the Spirit of his Son given to them,[311] are under his fatherly care and dispensations,[312] admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory.[313]

Q. 75. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit[314] applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them,[315] renewed in their whole man after the image of God;[316] having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts,[317] and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened,[318] as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life.[319]

Q. 76. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace,[320] wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit[321] and Word of God,[322] whereby, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger,[323] but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins,[324] and upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ to such as are penitent,[325] he so grieves for[326] and hates his sins,[327] as that he turns from them all to God,[328] purposing and endeavouring constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience.[329]

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Belgic Confession, Week 17

April 24, 2019

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 17

April 23, 2019

Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us,[71] and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.[72]


Children’s Catechism, Week 16

April 22, 2019

Q. 52. For whom did Christ obey and suffer?
A. For those whom the Father had given him.

Q. 53. What kind of life did Christ live on earth?
A. A life of poverty and suffering.

Q. 54. What kind of death did Christ die?
A. The painful and shameful death of the cross.


Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 16

April 21, 2019

16. Lord’s Day

Q. 40. Why was it necessary for Christ to humble himself even “unto death”?
A. Because with respect to the justice and truth of God, [a] satisfaction for our sins could be made no otherwise, than by the death of the Son of God. [b]

Q. 41. Why was he also “buried”?
A. Thereby to prove that he was really dead. [a]

Q. 42. Since then Christ died for us, why must we also die?
A. Our death is not a satisfaction for our sins, [a] but only an abolishing of sin, and a passage into eternal life. [b]

Q. 43. What further benefit do we receive from the sacrifice and death of Christ on the cross?
A. That by virtue thereof, our old man is crucified, dead and buried with him; [a] that so the corrupt inclinations of the flesh may no more reign in us; [b] but that we may offer ourselves unto him a sacrifice of thanksgiving. [c]

Q. 44. Why is there added, “he descended into hell”?
A. That in my greatest temptations, I may be assured, and wholly comfort myself in this, that my Lord Jesus Christ, by his inexpressible anguish, pains, terrors, and hellish agonies, in which he was plunged during all his sufferings, [a] but especially on the cross, has delivered me from the anguish and torments of hell. [b]


Westminster Confession, Week 16

April 20, 2019

Chapter 9: Of Free Will

1: God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined good, or evil.[204]

2: Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God;[205] but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.[206]

3: Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation:[207] so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good,[208] and dead in sin,[209] is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.[210]

4: When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin;[211] and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;[212] yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he does not perfectly, or only, will that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.[213]

5: The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only.[214]


Canons of Dordt, Week 16

April 19, 2019

The Second Head of Doctrine: Christ’s Death and Human Redemption Through It

Article 1: The Punishment Which God’s Justice Requires

God is not only supremely merciful, but also supremely just. His justice requires (as he has revealed himself in the Word) that the sins we have committed against his infinite majesty be punished with both temporal and eternal punishments, of soul as well as body. We cannot escape these punishments unless satisfaction is given to God’s justice.

Article 2: The Satisfaction Made by Christ

Since, however, we ourselves cannot give this satisfaction or deliver ourselves from God’s anger, God in his boundless mercy has given us as a guarantee his only begotten Son, who was made to be sin and a curse for us, in our place, on the cross, in order that he might give satisfaction for us.


Larger Catechism, Week 16

April 18, 2019

Q. 70. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners,[286] in which he pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight;[287] not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them,[288] but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them,[289] and received by faith alone.[290]

Q. 71. How is justification an act of God’s free grace?
A. Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified;[291] yet in as much as God accepteth the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son,[292] imputing his righteousness to them,[293] and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith,[294] which also is his gift,[295] their justification is to them of free grace.[296]

Q. 72. What is justifying faith?
A. Justifying faith is a saving grace,[297] wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit[298] and Word of God,[299] whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition,[300] not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel,[301] but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin,[302] and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.[303]

Q. 73. How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?
A. Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it,[304] nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification;[305] but only as it is an instrument by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and his righteousness.[306]


Belgic Confession, Week 16

April 17, 2019

Article 24: The Sanctification of Sinners

We believe that this true faith, produced in man by the hearing of God’s Word and by the work of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a “new man,”[57] causing him to live the “new life”[58] and freeing him from the slavery of sin. Therefore, far from making people cold toward living in a pious and holy way, this justifying faith, quite to the contrary, so works within them that apart from it they will never do a thing out of love for God but only out of love for themselves and fear of being condemned. So then, it is impossible for this holy faith to be unfruitful in a human being, seeing that we do not speak of an empty faith but of what Scripture calls “faith working through love,”[59] which leads a man to do by himself the works that God has commanded in his Word. These works, proceeding from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable to God, since they are all sanctified by his grace. Yet they do not count toward our justification– for by faith in Christ we are justified, even before we do good works. Otherwise they could not be good, any more than the fruit of a tree could be good if the tree is not good in the first place. So then, we do good works, but nor for merit– for what would we merit? Rather, we are indebted to God for the good works we do, and not he to us, since it is he who “works in us both to will and do according to his good pleasure” [60]— thus keeping in mind what is written: “When you have done all that is commanded you, then you shall say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have done what it was our duty to do.’ “[61] Yet we do not wish to deny that God rewards good works– but it is by his grace that he crowns his gifts. Moreover, although we do good works we do not base our salvation on them; for we cannot do any work that is not defiled by our flesh and also worthy of punishment. And even if we could point to one, memory of a single sin is enough for God to reject that work. So we would always be in doubt, tossed back and forth without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be tormented constantly if they did not rest on the merit of the suffering and death of our Savior.

Article 25: The Fulfillment of the Law

We believe that the ceremonies and symbols of the law have ended with the coming of Christ, and that all foreshadowings have come to an end, so that the use of them ought to be abolished among Christians. Yet the truth and substance of these things remain for us in Jesus Christ, in whom they have been fulfilled. Nevertheless, we continue to use the witnesses drawn from the law and prophets to confirm us in the gospel and to regulate our lives with full integrity for the glory of God, according to his will.


Shorter Catechism, Week 16

April 16, 2019

Q. 25. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice,[68] and reconcile us to God,[69] and in making continual intercession for us.[70]