Archive for February, 2010

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9

February 28, 2010

9. Lord’s Day

Q. 26. What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?
A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them; [a] who likewise upholds and governs the same by his eternal counsel and providence) [b] is for the sake of Christ his Son, my God and my Father; [c] on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt, but he will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body [d] and further, that he will make whatever evils he sends upon me, in this valley of tears turn out to my advantage; [e] for he is able to do it, being Almighty God, [f] and willing, being a faithful Father. [g]

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Westminster Confession, week 9

February 27, 2010

Chapter 5: Of Providence

5: The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does oftentimes leave, for a season, His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled;[114] and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.[115]

6: As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, does blind and harden,[116] from them He not only withholds His grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts;[117] but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which they had,[118] and exposes them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin;[119] and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan,[120] whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God uses for the softening of others.[121]

7: As the providence of God does, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it takes care of His Church, and disposes all things to the good thereof.[122]

Canons of Dordt, week 9

February 26, 2010

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Article 15: Reprobation

Moreover, Holy Scripture most especially highlights this eternal and undeserved grace of our election and brings it out more clearly for us, in that it further bears witness that not all people have been chosen but that some have not been chosen or have been passed by in God’s eternal election — those, that is, concerning whom God, on the basis of his entirely free, most just, irreproachable, and unchangeable good pleasure, made the following decision: to leave them in the common misery into which, by their own fault, they have plunged themselves; not to grant them saving faith and the grace of conversion; but finally to condemn and eternally punish them (having been left in their own ways and under his just judgment), not only for their unbelief but also for all their other sins, in order to display his justice.

And this is the decision of reprobation, which does not at all make God the author of sin (a blasphemous thought!) but rather its fearful, irreproachable, just judge and avenger.

Article 16: Responses to the Teaching of Reprobation

Those who do not yet actively experience within themselves a living faith in Christ or an assured confidence of heart, peace of conscience, a zeal for childlike obedience, and a glorying in God through Christ, but who nevertheless use the means by which God has promised to work these things in us — such people ought not to be alarmed at the mention of reprobation, nor to count themselves among the reprobate; rather they ought to continue diligently in the use of the means, to desire fervently a time of more abundant grace, and to wait for it in reverence and humility. On the other hand, those who seriously desire to turn to God, to be pleasing to him alone, and to be delivered from the body of death, but are not yet able to make such progress along the way of godliness and faith as they would like — such people ought much less to stand in fear of the teaching concerning reprobation, since our merciful God has promised that he will not snuff out a smoldering wick and that he will not break a bruised reed. However, those who have forgotten God and their Savior Jesus Christ and have abandoned themselves wholly to the cares of the world and the pleasures of the flesh — such people have every reason to stand in fear of this teaching, as long as they do not seriously turn to God.

Larger Catechism, week 8

February 25, 2010

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 24, 2010

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 23, 2010

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 8

February 22, 2010

Q. 28. What is Sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of the law of God.

Q. 29. What is meant by want of conformity?
A. Not being or doing what God requires.

Q. 30. What is meant by transgression?
A. Doing what God forbids.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 8

February 21, 2010

8. Lord’s Day

Q. 24. How are these articles divided?
A. Into three parts; the first is of God the Father, and our creation; the second of God the Son, and our redemption; the third of God the Holy Ghost, and our sanctification.

Q. 25. Since there is but one only divine essence, [a] why speakest thou of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
A. Because God has so revealed himself in his word, [b] that these three distinct persons are the one only true and eternal God.

Westminster Confession, week 8

February 20, 2010

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]

Canons of Dordt, week 8

February 19, 2010

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.