Archive for April, 2017

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 18

April 30, 2017

18. Lord’s Day

Q. 46. How dost thou understand these words, “he ascended into heaven”?
A. That Christ, in sight of his disciples, was taken up from earth into heaven; [a] and that he continues there for our interest, [b] until he comes again to judge the quick and the dead. [c]

Q. 47. Is not Christ then with us even to the end of the world, as he has promised?
A. Christ is very man and very God; with respect to his human nature, he is no more on earth; but with respect to his Godhead, majesty, grace and spirit, he is at no time absent from us [a].

Q. 48. But if his human nature is not present, wherever his Godhead is, are not then these two natures in Christ separated from one another?
A. Not as all, for since the Godhead is illimitable and omnipresent, [a] it must necessarily follow that the same is beyond the limits of the human nature he assumed, [b] and yet is nevertheless in this human nature, and remains personally united to it.

Q. 49. Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension into heaven?
A. First, that he is our advocate in the presence of his Father in heaven; [a] secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that he, as the head, will also take up to himself, us, his members; [b] thirdly, that he sends us his Spirit as an earnest, [c] by whose power we “seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth.” [d]

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Westminster Confession, week 17

April 29, 2017

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

1: All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call,[215] by His Word and Spirit,[216] out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ;[217] enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God,[218] taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh;[219] renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good,[220] and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ:[221] yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.[222]

2: This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man,[223] who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit,[224] he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.[225]

3: Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit,[226] who works when, and where, and how He pleases:[227] so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.[228]

4: Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word,[229] and may have some common operations of the Spirit,[230] yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved:[231] much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess.[232] And to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.[233]

Canons of Dordt, week 17

April 28, 2017

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

Article 3: The Infinite Value of Christ’s Death

This death of God’s Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.

Article 4: Reasons for This Infinite Value

This death is of such great value and worth for the reason that the person who suffered it is — as was necessary to be our Savior — not only a true and perfectly holy man, but also the only begotten Son of God, of the same eternal and infinite essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Another reason is that this death was accompanied by the experience of God’s anger and curse, which we by our sins had fully deserved.

Larger Catechism, week 17

April 27, 2017

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]

Belgic Confession, week 17

April 26, 2017

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 25, 2017

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 17

April 24, 2017

Q. 55. Who will be saved?
A. Only those who repent of sin, believe in Christ, and lead holy lives.

Q. 56. What is it to repent?
A. To be sorry for sin, and to hate and forsake it because it is displeasing to God.

Q. 57. What is it to believe or have faith in Christ?
A. To trust in Christ alone for salvation.

Q. 58. Can you repent and believe in Christ by your own power?
A. No; I can do nothing good without the help of God’s Holy Spirit.

Q. 59. How can you get the help of the Holy Spirit?
A. God has told us that we must pray to him for the Holy Spirit.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 17

April 23, 2017

17. Lord’s Day

Q. 45. What does the “resurrection” of Christ profit us?
A. First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death; [a] secondly, we are also by his power raised up to a new life; [b] and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection. [c]

Westminster Confession, week 16

April 22, 2017

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 21, 2017

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.