Archive for June, 2018

Westminster Confession, week 26

June 30, 2018

Chapter 16: Of Good Works

5: We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins,[320]but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants:[321] and because, as they are good, they proceed from His Spirit,[322] and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment.[323]

6: Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in Him;[324] not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreproveable in God’s sight;[325] but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.[326]

7: Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands; and of good use both to themselves and others:[327] yet, because they proceed not from an heart purified by faith;[328] nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word;[329] nor to a right end, the glory of God,[330] they are therefore sinful and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God:[331] and yet, their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.[332]

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Canons of Dordt, week 26

June 29, 2018

The Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine: Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs

Article 4: The Inadequacy of the Light of Nature

There is, to be sure, a certain light of nature remaining in man after the fall, by virtue of which he retains some notions about God, natural things, and the difference between what is moral and immoral, and demonstrates a certain eagerness for virtue and for good outward behavior. But this light of nature is far from enabling man to come to a saving knowledge of God and conversion to him — so far, in fact, that man does not use it rightly even in matters of nature and society. Instead, in various ways he completely distorts this light, whatever its precise character, and suppresses it in unrighteousness. In doing so he renders himself without excuse before God.

Article 5: The Inadequacy of the Law

In this respect, what is true of the light of nature is true also of the Ten Commandments given by God through Moses specifically to the Jews. For man cannot obtain saving grace through the Decalogue, because, although it does expose the magnitude of his sin and increasingly convict him of his guilt, yet it does not offer a remedy or enable him to escape from his misery, and, indeed, weakened as it is by the flesh, leaves the offender under the curse.

Larger Catechism, week 26

June 28, 2018

Q. 107. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.[517]

Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his Word;[518] particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ;[519] the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word;[520] the administration and receiving of the sacraments;[521] church government and discipline;[522] the ministry and maintainance thereof;[523] religious fasting;[524] swearing by the name of God;[525] and vowing unto him;[526] as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship;[527] and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.[528]

Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising,[529] counselling,[530] commanding,[531] using,[532] and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself;[533] tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever;[534] all worshipping of it,[535] or God in it or by it;[536] the making of any representation of feigned deities,[537] and all worship of them, or service belonging to them,[538] all superstitious devices,[539] corrupting the worship of God,[540] adding to it, or taking from it,[541] whether invented and taken up of ourselves,[542] or received by tradition from others,[543] though under the title of antiquity,[544] custom,[545] devotion,[546] good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever;[547] simony;[548] sacrilege;[549] all neglect,[550] contempt,[551] hindering,[552] and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.[553].

Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments;[554] are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us,[555] his fervent zeal for his own worship,[556] and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom;[557] accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations;[558] and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.[559].

Belgic Confession, week 26

June 27, 2018

Article 37: The Last Judgment

Finally we believe, according to God’s Word, that when the time appointed by the Lord is come (which is unknown to all creatures) and the number of the elect is complete, our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, bodily and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty, to declare himself the judge of the living and the dead. He will burn this old world, in fire and flame, in order to cleanse it. Then all human creatures will appear in person before the great judge– men, women, and children, who have lived from the beginning until the end of the world. They will be summoned there by the voice of the archangel and by the sound of the divine trumpet.[79] For all those who died before that time will be raised from the earth, their spirits being joined and united with their own bodies in which they lived. And as for those who are still alive, they will not die like the others but will be changed “in the twinkling of an eye” from “corruptible to incorruptible.”[80] Then “the books” (that is, the consciences) will be opened, and the dead will be judged according to the things they did in the world,[81] whether good or evil. Indeed, all people will give account of all the idle words they have spoken,[82] which the world regards as only playing games. And then the secrets and hypocrisies of men will be publicly uncovered in the sight of all. Therefore, with good reason the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to wicked and evil people. But it is very pleasant and a great comfort to the righteous and elect, since their total redemption will then be accomplished. They will then receive the fruits of their labor and of the trouble they have suffered; their innocence will be openly recognized by all; and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring on the evil ones who tyrannized, oppressed, and tormented them in this world. The evil ones will be convicted by the witness of their own consciences, and shall be made immortal– but only to be tormented in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.[83] In contrast, the faithful and elect will be crowned with glory and honor. The Son of God will “confess their names”[84] before God his Father and the holy and elect angels; all tears will be “wiped from their eyes”;[85] and their cause– at present condemned as heretical and evil by many judges and civil officers– will be acknowledged as the “cause of the Son of God.” And as a gracious reward the Lord will make them possess a glory such as the heart of man could never imagine. So we look forward to that great day with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Shorter Catechism, week 26

June 26, 2018

Q. 37. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness,[105] and do immediately pass into glory;[106] and their bodies, being still united in Christ,[107] do rest in their graves, till the resurrection.[108]

Q. 38. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory,[109] shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment,[110] and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God[111] to all eternity.[112]

Children’s Catechism, week 26

June 25, 2018

Q. 82. What is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any things that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Q. 83. What does the second commandment teach us?
A. To worship God in a proper manner, and to avoid idolatry.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 25

June 24, 2018

25. Lord’s Day

Q. 65. Since then we are made partakers of Christ and all his benefits by faith only, whence does this faith proceed?
A. From the Holy Ghost, [a] who works faith in our hearts by the preaching of the gospel, and confirms it by the use of the sacraments. [b]

Q. 66. What are the sacraments?
A. The sacraments are holy visible signs and seals, appointed of God for this end, that by the use thereof, he may the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the gospel, viz., that he grants us freely the remission of sin, and life eternal, for the sake of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross. [a]

Q. 67. Are both word and sacraments, then, ordained and appointed for this end, that they may direct our faith to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, as the only ground of our salvation? [a]
A. Yes, indeed: for the Holy Ghost teaches us in the gospel, and assures us by the sacraments, that the whole of our salvation depends upon that one sacrifice of Christ which he offered for us on the cross.

Q. 68. How many sacraments has Christ instituted in the new covenant, or testament?
A. Two: namely, holy baptism, and the holy supper.

Westminster Confession, week 25

June 23, 2018

Chapter 16: Of Good Works

1: Good works are only such as God has commanded in His holy Word,[305] and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intention.[306]

2: These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith:[307] and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,[308] strengthen their assurance,[309] edify their brethren,[310] adorn the profession of the Gospel,[311] stop the mouths of the adversaries,[312] and glorify God,[313]whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto,[314]that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.[315]

3: Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.[316] And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of His good pleasure:[317] yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.[318]

4: They who, in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possibly in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.[319]

Canons of Dordt, week 25

June 22, 2018

The Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine: Human Corruption, Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs

Article 2: The Spread of Corruption

Man brought forth children of the same nature as himself after the fall. That is to say, being corrupt he brought forth corrupt children. The corruption spread, by God’s just judgment, from Adam to all his descendants — except for Christ alone — not by way of imitation (as in former times the Pelagians would have it) but by way of the propagation of his perverted nature.

Article 3: Total Inability

Therefore, all people are conceived in sin and are born children of wrath, unfit for any saving good, inclined to evil, dead in their sins, and slaves to sin; without the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit they are neither willing nor able to return to God, to reform their distorted nature, or even to dispose themselves to such reform.

Larger Catechism, week 25

June 21, 2018

Q. 103. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shall have no other gods before me.[445]

Q. 104. What are the duties required in the first commandment?
A. The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God;[446] and to worship and glorify him accordingly,[447] by thinking,[448] meditating,[449] remembering,[450] highly esteeming,[451] honouring,[452] adoring,[453] choosing,[454] loving,[455] desiring,[456] fearing of him;[457] believing him;[458] trusting[459] hoping,[460] delighting,[461] rejoicing in him;[462] being zealous for him;[463] calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks,[464] and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man;[465] being careful in all things to please him,[466] and sorrowful when in any thing he is offended;[467] and walking humbly with him.[468]

Q. 105. What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment are, atheism, in denying or not having a God;[469] idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God;[470] the not having and avouching him for God, and our God;[471] the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment;[472] ignorance,[473] forgetfulness,[474] misapprehensions,[475] false opinions,[476] unworthy and wicked thoughts of him;[477] bold and curious searching into his secrets;[478] all profaneness,[479] hatred of God;[480] self-love,[481] self-seeking,[482] and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part;[483] vain credulity,[484] unbelief,[485] heresy,[486] misbelief,[487] distrust,[488] despair,[489] incorrigibleness,[490] and insensibleness under judgments,[491] hardness of heart,[492] pride,[493] presumption,[494] carnal security,[495] tempting of God;[496] using unlawful means,[497] and trusting in lawful means;[498] carnal delights and joys;[499] corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal;[500] lukewarmness,[501] and deadness in the things of God;[502] estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God;[503] praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures;[504] all compacts and consulting with the devil,[505] and hearkening to his suggestions;[506] making men the lords of our faith and conscience;[507] slighting and despising God and his commands;[508] resisting and grieving of his Spirit,[509] discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us;[510] and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have or can do, to fortune,[511] idols,[512] ourselves,[513] or any other creature.[514]

Q. 106. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
A. These words before me or before my face, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh special notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God: that so it may be an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent provocation:[515] as also to persuade us to do as in his sight, whatever we do in his service.[516]