Archive for November, 2018

Canons of Dordt, Week 48

November 30, 2018

The Fifth Head of Doctrine: The Perseverance of the Saints

Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those

III

Who teach that those who truly believe and have been born again not only can forfeit justifying faith as well as grace and salvation totally and to the end, but also in actual fact do often forfeit them and are lost forever.

For this opinion nullifies the very grace of justification and regeneration as well as the continual preservation by Christ, contrary to the plain words of the apostle Paul: If Christ died for us while we were still sinners, we will therefore much more be saved from God’s wrath through him, since we have now been justified by his blood (Rom. 5:8-9); and contrary to the apostle John: No one who is born of God is intent on sin, because God’s seed remains in him, nor can he sin, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:9); also contrary to the words of Jesus Christ: I give eternal life to my sheep, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand (John 10: 28-29).

Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those

IV

Who teach that those who truly believe and have been born again can commit the sin that leads to death (the sin against the Holy Spirit).

For the same apostle John, after making mention of those who commit the sin that leads to death and forbidding prayer for them (1 John 5: 16-17), immediately adds: We know that anyone born of God does not commit sin (that is, that kind of sin), but the one who was born of God keeps himself safe, and the evil one does not touch him (v. 18).

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Larger Catechism, Week 48

November 29, 2018

Q. 186. What rule hath God given for our direction in the duty of prayer?
A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in the duty of prayer;[1198] but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which our Savior Christ taught his disciples, commonly called The Lord’s Prayer.[1199]

Q. 187. How is the Lord’s Prayer to be used?
A. The Lord’s Prayer is not only for direction, as a pattern, according to which we are to make other prayers; but may also be used as a prayer, so that it be done with understanding, faith, reverence, and other graces necessary to the right performance of the duty of prayer.[1200]

Q. 188. Of how many parts doth the Lord’s Prayer consist?
A. The Lord’s Prayer consists of three parts; a preface, petitions, and a conclusion.

Belgic Confession, Week 22

November 28, 2018

Article 33: The Sacraments

We believe that our good God, mindful of our crudeness and weakness, has ordained sacraments for us to seal his promises in us, to pledge his good will and grace toward us, and also to nourish and sustain our faith. He has added these to the Word of the gospel to represent better to our external senses both what he enables us to understand by his Word and what he does inwardly in our hearts, confirming in us the salvation he imparts to us. For they are visible signs and seals of something internal and invisible, by means of which God works in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. So they are not empty and hollow signs to fool and deceive us, for their truth is Jesus Christ, without whom they would be nothing. Moreover, we are satisfied with the number of sacraments that Christ our Master has ordained for us. There are only two: the sacrament of baptism and the Holy Supper of Jesus Christ.

Shorter Catechism, Week 48

November 27, 2018

Q. 98. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God,[200] for things agreeable to his will,[201] in the name of Christ,[202] with confession of our sins,[203] and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.[204]

Q. 99. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?
A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer;[205] but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer which Christ taught his disciples, commonly called the Lord’s Prayer.[206]

Children’s Catechism, Week 48

November 26, 2018

Q. 133. What is the Lord’s Supper?
A. The eating of bread and drinking of wine in remembrance of the sufferings and death of Christ.

Q. 134. What does the bread represent?
A. The body of Christ, broken for our sins.

Q. 135. What does the wine represent?
A. The blood of Christ, shed for our salvation.

Q. 136. Who should partake of the Lord’s Supper?
A. Only those who repent of their sins, believe in Christ for salvation, and love their fellow men.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 47

November 25, 2018

47. Lord’s Day

Q. 122. Which is the first petition?
A. “Hallowed be thy name”; that is, grant us, first, rightly to know thee, [a] and to sanctify, glorify and praise thee, [b] in all thy works, in which thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth, are clearly displayed; and further also, that we may so order and direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words and actions, that thy name may never be blasphemed, but rather honoured and praised on our account. [c]

Westminster Confession, Week 47

November 24, 2018

Chapter 29: Of the Lord’s Supper

1: Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein He was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of His body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in His Church, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of Himself in His death; the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in Him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto Him; and, to be a bond and pledge of their communion with Him, and with each other, as members of His mystical body.[539]

2: In this sacrament, Christ is not offered up to His Father; nor any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sins of the quick or dead;[540] but only a commemoration of that one offering up of Himself, by Himself, upon the cross, once for all: and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God, for the same:[541] so that the popish sacrifice of the mass (as they call it) is most abominably injurious to Christ’s one, only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of His elect.[542]

3: The Lord Jesus has, in this ordinance, appointed His ministers to declare His word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants;[543] but to none who are not then present in the congregation.[544]

4: Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other alone;[545] as likewise, the denial of the cup to the people,[546] worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about, for adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious use; are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.[547]

Canons of Dordt, Week 47

November 23, 2018

The Fifth Head of Doctrine: The Perseverance of the Saints

Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those

I

Who teach that the perseverance of true believers is not an effect of election or a gift of God produced by Christ’s death, but a condition of the new covenant which man, before what they call his “peremptory” election and justification, must fulfill by his free will.

For Holy Scripture testifies that perseverance follows from election and is granted to the chosen by virtue of Christ’s death, resurrection, and intercession: The chosen obtained it; the others were hardened (Rom. 11:7); likewise, He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not, along with him, grant us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised — who also sits at the right hand of God, and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom. 8:32-35).

Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those

II

Who teach that God does provide the believer with sufficient strength to persevere and is ready to preserve this strength in him if he performs his duty, but that even with all those things in place which are necessary to persevere in faith and which God is pleased to use to preserve faith, it still always depends on the choice of man’s will whether or not he perseveres.

For this view is obviously Pelagian; and though it intends to make men free it makes them sacrilegious. It is against the enduring consensus of evangelical teaching which takes from man all cause for boasting and ascribes the praise for this benefit only to God’s grace. It is also against the testimony of the apostle: It is God who keeps us strong to the end, so that we will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:8).

Larger Catechism, Week 47

November 22, 2018

Q. 182. How doth the Spirit help us to pray?
A. We not knowing what to pray for as we ought, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, by enabling us to understand both for whom, and what, and how prayer is to be made; and by working and quickening in our hearts (although not in all persons, nor at all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions, affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of that duty.[1167]

Q. 183. For whom are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth;[1168] for magistrates,[1169] and ministers;[1170] for ourselves,[1171] our brethren,[1172] yea, our enemies;[1173] and for all sorts of men living,[1174] or that shall live hereafter;[1175] but not for the dead,[1176] nor for those that are known to have sinned the sin unto death.[1177]

Q. 184. For what things are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of God,[1178] the welfare of the church,[1179] our own[1180] or others, good;[1181] but not for anything that is unlawful.[1182]

Q. 185. How are we to pray?
A. We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the majesty of God,[1183] and deep sense of our own unworthiness,[1184] necessities,[1185] and sins;[1186] with penitent,[1187] thankful,[1188] and enlarged hearts;[1189] with understanding,[1190] faith,[1191] sincerity,[1192] fervency,[1193] love,[1194] and perseverance,[1195] waiting upon him,[1196] with humble submission to his will.[1197]

Belgic Confession, Week 21

November 21, 2018

Article 30: The Government of the Church

We believe that this true church ought to be governed according to the spiritual order that our Lord has taught us in his Word. There should be ministers or pastors to preach the Word of God and adminster the sacraments. There should also be elders and deacons, along with the pastors, to make up the council of the church. By this means true religion is preserved; true doctrine is able to take its course; and evil men are corrected spiritually and held in check, so that also the poor and all the afflicted may be helped and comforted according to their need. By this means everything will be done well and in good order in the church, when such persons are elected who are faithful and are chosen according to the rule that Paul gave to Timothy.[75]

Article 31: The Officers of the Church

We believe that ministers of the Word of God, elders, and deacons ought to be chosen to their offices by a legitimate election of the church, with prayer in the name of the Lord, and in good order, as the Word of God teaches. So everyone must be careful not to push himself forward improperly, but he must wait for God’s call, so that he may be assured of his calling and be certain that he is chosen by the Lord. As for the ministers of the Word, they all have the same power and authority, no matter where they may be, since they are all servants of Jesus Christ, the only universal bishop, and the only head of the church. Moreover, to keep God’s holy order from being violated or despised, we say that everyone ought, as much as possible, to hold the ministers of the Word and elders of the church in special esteem, because of the work they do, and be at peace with them, without grumbling, quarreling, or fighting.

Article 32: The Order and Discipline of the Church

We also believe that although it is useful and good for those who govern the churches to establish and set up a certain order among themselves for maintaining the body of the church, they ought always to guard against deviating from what Christ, our only Master, has ordained for us. Therefore we reject all human innovations and all laws imposed on us, in our worship of God, which bind and force our consciences in any way. So we accept only what is proper to maintain harmony and unity and to keep all in obedience to God. To that end excommunication, with all it involves, according to the Word of God, is required.