Archive for March, 2018

Westminster Confession, week 13

March 31, 2018

Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator

1: It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man,[161] the Prophet,[162] Priest,[163] and King,[164] the Head and Savior of His Church,[165] the Heir of all things,[166] and Judge of the world:[167] unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed,[168] and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.[169]

2: The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature,[170] with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;[171] being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance.[172] So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.[173] Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.[174]

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Canons of Dordt, week 13

March 30, 2018

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Having set forth the orthodox teaching concerning election and reprobation, the Synod rejects the errors of those

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Who teach that the incomplete and nonperemptory election of particular persons to salvation occurred on the basis of a foreseen faith, repentance, holiness, and godliness, which has just begun or continued for some time; but that complete and peremptory election occurred on the basis of a foreseen perseverance to the end in faith, repentance, holiness, and godliness. And that this is the gracious and evangelical worthiness, on account of which the one who is chosen is more worthy than the one who is not chosen. And therefore that faith, the obedience of faith, holiness, godliness, and perseverance are not fruits or effects of an unchangeable election to glory, but indispensable conditions and causes, which are prerequisite in those who are to be chosen in the complete election, and which are foreseen as achieved in them.

This runs counter to the entire Scripture, which throughout impresses upon our ears and hearts these sayings among others: Election is not by works, but by him who calls (Rom. 9:11-12); All who were appointed for eternal life believed (Acts 13:48); He chose us in himself so that we should be holy (Eph. 1:4); You did not choose me, but I chose you (John 15:16); If by grace, not by works (Rom. 11:6); In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son (1 John 4:10).

Larger Catechism, week 13

March 29, 2018

Q. 57. What benefits hath Christ procured by his mediation?
A. Christ, by his mediation, hath procured redemption,[247] with all other benefits of the covenant of grace.[248]

Q. 58. How do we come to be made partakers of the benefits which Christ hath procured?
A. We are made partakers of the benefits which Christ hath procured, by the application of them unto us,[249] which is the work especially of God the Holy Ghost.[250]

Q. 59. Who are made partakers of redemption through Christ?
A. Redemption is certainly applied, and effectually communicated, to all those for whom Christ hath purchased it;[251] who are in time by the Holy Ghost enabled to believe in Christ according to the gospel.[252]

Q. 60. Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?
A. They who, having never heard the gospel,[253] know not Jesus Christ,[254] and believe not in him, cannot be saved,[255] be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature,[256] or the laws of that religion which they profess;[257] neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone,[258] who is the Savior only of his body the church.[259]

Belgic Confession, week 13

March 28, 2018

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 13

March 27, 2018

Q. 22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul,[59] being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, and born of her,[60] yet without sin.[61]

Children’s Catechism, week 13

March 26, 2018

Q. 43. With whom did God the Father make the covenant of grace?
A. With Christ, his eternal Son.

Q. 44. Whom did Christ represent in the covenant of grace?
A. His elect people.

Q. 45. What did Christ undertake in the covenant of grace?
A. To keep the whole law for his people, and to suffer the punishment due to their sins.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 12

March 25, 2018

12. Lord’s Day

Q. 31. Why is he called “Christ”, that is anointed?
A. Because he is ordained of God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Ghost, [a] to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, [b] who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; [c] and to be our only High Priest, [d] who by the one sacrifice of his body, has redeemed us, [e] and makes continual intercession with the Father for us; [f] and also to be our eternal King, who governs us by his word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in that salvation, he has purchased for us. [g]

Q. 32. But why art thou called a Christian? [a]
A. Because I am a member of Christ by faith, [b] and thus am partaker of his anointing; [c] that so I may confess his name, [d] and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him: [e] and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life [f] and afterwards I reign with him eternally, over all creatures. [g]

Westminster Confession, week 12

March 24, 2018

Chapter 7: Of God’s Covenant with Man

4: This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.[150]

5: This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the Gospel:[151] under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come;[152] which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah,[153] by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament.[154]

6: Under the Gospel, when Christ, the substance,[155] was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper:[156] which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory, yet, in them, it is held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy,[157] to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles;[158] and is called the New Testament.[159] There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.[160]

Canons of Dordt, week 12

March 23, 2018

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Having set forth the orthodox teaching concerning election and reprobation, the Synod rejects the errors of those

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Who teach that God’s good pleasure and purpose, which Scripture mentions in its teaching of election, does not involve God’s choosing certain particular people rather than others, but involves God’s choosing, out of all possible conditions (including the works of the law) or out of the whole order of things, the intrinsically unworthy act of faith, as well as the imperfect obedience of faith, to be a condition of salvation; and it involves his graciously wishing to count this as perfect obedience and to look upon it as worthy of the reward of eternal life.

For by this pernicious error the good pleasure of God and the merit of Christ are robbed of their effectiveness and people are drawn away, by unprofitable inquiries, from the truth of undeserved justification and from the simplicity of the Scriptures. It also gives the lie to these words of the apostle: God called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of works, but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Tim. 1:9).

Having set forth the orthodox teaching concerning election and reprobation, the Synod rejects the errors of those

IV

Who teach that in election to faith a prerequisite condition is that man should rightly use the light of nature, be upright, unassuming, humble, and disposed to eternal life, as though election depended to some extent on these factors.

For this smacks of Pelagius, and it clearly calls into question the words of the apostle: We lived at one time in the passions of our flesh, following the will of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in transgressions, made us alive with Christ, by whose grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with him and seated us with him in heaven in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages we might show the surpassing riches of his grace, according to his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith (and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God) not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:3-9).

Larger Catechism, week 12

March 22, 2018

Q. 51. What was the estate of Christ’s exaltation?
A. The estate of Christ’s exaltation comprehendeth his resurrection,[202] ascension,[203] sitting at the right hand of the Father,[204] and his coming again to judge the world.[205]

Q. 52. How was Christ exalted in his resurrection?
A. Christ was exalted in his resurrection, in that, not having seen corruption in death, (of which it was not possible for him to be held,)[206] and having the very same body in which he suffered, with the essential properties thereof,[207] (but without mortality, and other common infirmities belonging to this life,) really united to his soul,[208] he rose again from the dead the third day by his own power;[209] whereby he declared himself to be the Son of God,[210] to have satisfied divine justice,[211] to have vanquished death, and him that had the power of it,[212] and to be Lord of quick and dead:[213] all which he did as a public person,[214] the head of his church,[215] for their justification,[216] quickening in grace,[217] support against enemies,[218] and to assure them of their resurrection from the dead at the last day.[219]

Q. 53. How was Christ exalted in his ascension?
A. Christ was exalted in his ascension, in that having after his resurrection often appeared unto and conversed with his apostles, speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God,[220] and giving them commission to preach the gospel to all nations,[221] forty days after his resurrection, he, in our nature, and as our head,[222] triumphing over enemies,[223] visibly went up into the highest heavens, there to receive gifts for men,[224] to raise up our affections thither,[225] and to prepare a place for us,[226] where he himself is, and shall continue till his second coming at the end of the world.[227]

Q. 54. How is Christ exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God?
A. Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favour with God the Father,[228] with all fulness of joy,[229] glory,[230] and power over all things in heaven and earth;[231] and does gather and defend his church, and subdue their enemies; furnisheth his ministers and people with gifts and graces,[232] and maketh intercession for them.[233]

Q. 55. How doeth Christ make intercession?
A. Christ maketh intercession, by his appearing in our nature continually before the Father in heaven,[234] in the merit of his obedience and sacrifice on earth,[235] declaring his will to have it applied to all believers;[236] answering all accusations against them,[237] and procuring for them quiet of conscience, notwithstanding daily failings,[238] access with boldness to the throne of grace,[239] and acceptance of their persons[240] and services.[241]

Q. 56. How is Christ to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world?
A. Christ is to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world, in that he, who was unjustly judged and condemned by wicked men,[242] shall come again at the last day in great power,[243] and in the full manifestation of his own glory, and of his Father’s, with all his holy angels,[244] with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God,[245] to judge the world in righteousness.[246]