Archive for January, 2018

Belgic Confession, week 5

January 31, 2018

Article 9: The Scriptural Witness on the Trinity

All these things we know from the testimonies of Holy Scripture as well as from the effects of the persons, especially from those we feel within ourselves. The testimonies of the Holy Scriptures, which teach us to believe in this Holy Trinity, are written in many places of the Old Testament, which need not be enumerated but only chosen with discretion. In the book of Genesis God says, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” So “God created man in his own image”– indeed, “male and female he created them.”[6] “Behold, man has become like one of us.”[7] It appears from this that there is a plurality of persons within the Deity, when he says, “Let us make man in our image”– and afterwards he indicates the unity when he says, “God created.” It is true that he does not say here how many persons there are– but what is somewhat obscure to us in the Old Testament is very clear in the New. For when our Lord was baptized in the Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard saying, “This is my dear Son”;[8] the Son was seen in the water; and the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove. So, in the baptism of all believers this form was prescribed by Christ: “Baptize all people in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”[9] In the Gospel according to Luke the angel Gabriel says to Mary, the mother of our Lord: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and therefore that holy one to be born of you shall be called the Son of God.”[10] And in another place it says: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.”[11] “There are three who bear witness in heaven– the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit– and these three are one.”[12] In all these passages we are fully taught that there are three persons in the one and only divine essence. And although this doctrine surpasses human understanding, we nevertheless believe it now, through the Word, waiting to know and enjoy it fully in heaven. Furthermore, we must note the particular works and activities of these three persons in relation to us. The Father is called our Creator, by reason of his power. The Son is our Savior and Redeemer, by his blood. The Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier, by his living in our hearts. This doctrine of the holy Trinity has always been maintained in the true church, from the time of the apostles until the present, against Jews, Muslims, and certain false Christians and heretics, such as Marcion, Mani, Praxeas, Sabellius, Paul of Samosata, Arius, and others like them, who were rightly condemned by the holy fathers. And so, in this matter we willingly accept the three ecumenical creeds– the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian– as well as what the ancient fathers decided in agreement with them.

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Shorter Catechism, week 5

January 30, 2018

Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are, his most holy,[30] wise,[31] and powerful[32] preserving[33] and governing[34] all his creatures, and all their actions.[35]

Children’s Catechism, week 5

January 29, 2018

Q. 18. What did God give Adam and Eve besides bodies?
A. He gave them souls that could never die.

Q. 19. Have you a soul as well as a body?
A. Yes; I have a soul that can never die.

Q. 20. How do you know that you have a soul?
A. Because the Bible tells me so.

Q. 21. In what condition did God make Adam and Eve?
A. He made them holy and happy.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 4

January 28, 2018

4. Lord’s Day

Q. 9. Does not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in his law, that which he cannot perform?
A. Not at all; [a] for God made man capable of performing it; but man, by the instigation of the devil, [b] and his own wilful disobedience, [c] deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.

Q. 10. Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?
A. By no means; but is terribly displeased [a] with our original as well as actual sins; and will punish them in his just judgment temporally and eternally, [b] as he has declared, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” [c]

Q. 11. Is not God then also merciful?
A. God is indeed merciful, [a] but also just; [b] therefore his justice requires, that sin which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be also punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting punishment of body and soul.

Westminster Confession, week 4

January 27, 2018

Chapter 2: Of God, and of the Holy Trinity

1: There is but one only,[25] living, and true God,[26] who is infinite in being and perfection,[27] a most pure spirit,[28] invisible,[29] without body, parts,[30] or passions;[31] immutable,[32] immense,[33] eternal,[34] incomprehensible,[35] almighty,[36] most wise,[37] most holy,[38] most free,[39] most absolute;[40] working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will,[41] for His own glory;[42] most loving,[43] gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin;[44] the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him;[45] and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments,[46] hating all sin,[47] and who will by no means clear the guilty.[48]

2: God has all life,[49] glory,[50] goodness,[51] blessedness,[52] in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made,[53] nor deriving any glory from them,[54] but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things;[55] and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases.[56] In His sight all things are open and manifest,[57] His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature,[58] so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain.[59] He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands.[60] To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.[61]

3: In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost:[62] the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;[63] the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.[64]

Canons of Dordt, week 4

January 26, 2018

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Article 7: Election

Election [or choosing] is God’s unchangeable purpose by which he did the following:

Before the foundation of the world, by sheer grace, according to the free good pleasure of his will, he chose in Christ to salvation a definite number of particular people out of the entire human race, which had fallen by its own fault from its original innocence into sin and ruin. Those chosen were neither better nor more deserving than the others, but lay with them in the common misery. He did this in Christ, whom he also appointed from eternity to be the mediator, the head of all those chosen, and the foundation of their salvation. And so he decided to give the chosen ones to Christ to be saved, and to call and draw them effectively into Christ’s fellowship through his Word and Spirit. In other words, he decided to grant them true faith in Christ, to justify them, to sanctify them, and finally, after powerfully preserving them in the fellowship of his Son, to glorify them.

God did all this in order to demonstrate his mercy, to the praise of the riches of his glorious grace.

As Scripture says, God chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world, so that we should be holy and blameless before him with love; he predestined us whom he adopted as his children through Jesus Christ, in himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, by which he freely made us pleasing to himself in his beloved (Eph. 1:4-6). And elsewhere, Those whom he predestined, he also called; and those whom he called, he also justified; and those whom he justified, he also glorified (Rom. 8:30).

Larger Catechism, week 4

January 25, 2018

Q. 15. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.[49]

Q. 16. How did God create angels?
A. God created all the angels[50] spirits,[51] immortal,[52] holy,[53] excelling in knowledge,[54] mighty in power,[55] to execute his commandments, and to praise his name,[56] yet subject to change.[57]

Q. 17. How did God create man?
A. After God had made all other creatures, he created man male and female;[58] formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground,[59] and the woman of the rib of the man,[60] endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls;[61] made them after his own image,[62] in knowledge,[63] righteousness, and holiness;[64] having the law of God written in their hearts,[65] and power to fulfill it,[66] and dominion over the creatures;[67] yet subject to fall.[68]

Belgic Confession, week 4

January 24, 2018

Article 8: The Trinity

In keeping with this truth and Word of God we believe in one God, who is one single essence, in whom there are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties– namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is the cause, origin, and source of all things, visible as well as invisible. The Son is the Word, the Wisdom, and the image of the Father. The Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son. Nevertheless, this distinction does not divide God into three, since Scripture teaches us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each has his own subsistence distinguished by characteristics– yet in such a way that these three persons are only one God. It is evident then that the Father is not the Son and that the Son is not the Father, and that likewise the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless, these persons, thus distinct, are neither divided nor fused or mixed together. For the Father did not take on flesh, nor did the Spirit, but only the Son. The Father was never without his Son, nor without his Holy Spirit, since all these are equal from eternity, in one and the same essence. There is neither a first nor a last, for all three are one in truth and power, in goodness and mercy.

Shorter Catechism, week 4

January 23, 2018

Q. 9. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power,[24] in the space of six days, and all very good.[25]

Q. 10. How did God create man?
A. God created man male and female, after his own image,[26] in knowledge,[27] righteousness, and holiness,[28] with dominion over the creatures.[29]

Children’s Catechism, week 4

January 22, 2018

Q. 14. Where do you learn how to love and obey God?
A. In the Bible alone.

Q. 15. Who wrote the Bible?
A. Holy men who were taught by the Holy Spirit.

Q. 16. Who were our first parents?
A. Adam and Eve.

Q. 17. Of what were our first parents made?
A. God made the body of Adam out of the ground, and formed Eve from the body of Adam.