Archive for January, 2022

Canons of Dordt, Week 3

January 21, 2022

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Article 5: The Sources of Unbelief and of Faith

The cause or blame for this unbelief, as well as for all other sins, is not at all in God, but in man. Faith in Jesus Christ, however, and salvation through him is a free gift of God. As Scripture says, It is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Likewise: It has been freely given to you to believe in Christ (Phil. 1:29).

Article 6: God’s Eternal Decision

The fact that some receive from God the gift of faith within time, and that others do not, stems from his eternal decision. For all his works are known to God from eternity (Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:11). In accordance with this decision he graciously softens the hearts, however hard, of his chosen ones and inclines them to believe, but by his just judgment he leaves in their wickedness and hardness of heart those who have not been chosen. And in this especially is disclosed to us his act — unfathomable, and as merciful as it is just — of distinguishing between people equally lost. This is the well-known decision of election and reprobation revealed in God’s Word. This decision the wicked, impure, and unstable distort to their own ruin, but it provides holy and godly souls with comfort beyond words.

Larger Catechism, Week 3

January 20, 2022

Q. 12. What are the decrees of God?
A. God’s decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his will,[43] whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time,[44] especially concerning angels and men.

Q. 13. What hath God especially decreed concerning angels and men?
A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, hath elected some angels to glory;[45] and in Christ hath chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof:[46] and also, according to his sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will, (whereby he extendeth or withholdeth favor as he pleaseth,) hath passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice.[47]

Q. 14. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.[48]

Belgic Confession, Week 3

January 19, 2022

Article 7: The Sufficiency of Scripture

We believe that this Holy Scripture contains the will of God completely and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it. For since the entire manner of service which God requires of us is described in it at great length, no one– even an apostle or an angel from heaven, as Paul says–[2] ought to teach other than what the Holy Scriptures have already taught us. For since it is forbidden to add to or subtract from the Word of God,[3] this plainly demonstrates that the teaching is perfect and complete in all respects. Therefore we must not consider human writings– no matter how holy their authors may have been– equal to the divine writings; nor may we put custom, nor the majority, nor age, nor the passage of time or persons, nor councils, decrees, or official decisions above the truth of God, for truth is above everything else. For all human beings are liars by nature and more vain than vanity itself. Therefore we reject with all our hearts everything that does not agree with this infallible rule, as we are taught to do by the apostles when they say, “Test the spirits to see if they are of God,”[4] and also, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house.”[5]

Shorter Catechism, Week 3

January 18, 2022

Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.[22]

Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.[23]

Children’s Catechism, Week 3

January 17, 2022

Q. 9. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, and has not a body like men.

Q. 10. Where is God?
A. God is everywhere.

Q. 11. Can you see God?
A. No; I cannot see God, but he always sees me.

Q. 12. Does God know all things?
A. Yes; nothing can be hid from God.

Q. 13. Can God do all things?
A. Yes; God can do all his holy will.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 3

January 16, 2022

3. Lord’s Day

Q. 6. Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?
A. By no means; but God created man good, [a] and after his own image, [b] in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him and live with him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise him. [c]

Q. 7. Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?
A. From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise; [a] hence our nature is become so corrupt, that we are all conceived and born in sin. [b]

Q. 8. Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?
A. Indeed we are; [a] except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. [b]

Westminster Confession, Week 3

January 15, 2022

Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scripture

8: The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by His singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical;[17] so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them.[18] But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them,[19] therefore they are to be translated in to the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come,[20] that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner;[21] and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.[22]

9: The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.[23]

10: The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.[24]

Canons of Dordt, Week 2

January 14, 2022

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Article 3: The Preaching of the Gospel

In order that people may be brought to faith, God mercifully sends proclaimers of this very joyful message to the people he wishes and at the time he wishes. By this ministry people are called to repentance and faith in Christ crucified. For how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without someone preaching? And how shall they preach unless they have been sent? (Rom. 10:14-15).

Article 4: A Twofold Response to the Gospel

God’s anger remains on those who do not believe this gospel. But those who do accept it and embrace Jesus the Savior with a true and living faith are delivered through him from God’s anger and from destruction, and receive the gift of eternal life.

Larger Catechism, Week 2

January 13, 2022

Q. 6. What do the Scriptures make known of God?
A. The Scriptures make known what God is,[14] the persons in the Godhead,[15] his decrees,[16] and the execution of his decrees.[17]

Q. 7. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit,[18] in and of himself infinite in being,[19] glory,[20] blessedness,[21] and perfection;[22] all-sufficient,[23] eternal,[24] unchangeable,[25] incomprehensible,[26] every where present,[27] almighty,[28] knowing all things,[29] most wise,[30] most holy,[31] most just,[32] most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.[33]

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.[34]

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.[35]

Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?
A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son,[36] and to the Son to be begotten of the Father,[37] and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.[38]

Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?
A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names,[39] attributes,[40] works,[41] and worship,[42] as are proper to God only.

Belgic Confession, Week 2

January 12, 2022

Article 4: The Canonical Books

We include in the Holy Scripture the two volumes of the Old and New Testaments. They are canonical books with which there can be no quarrel at all. In the church of God the list is as follows: In the Old Testament, the five books of Moses– Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth; the two books of Samuel, and two of Kings; the two books of Chronicles, called Paralipomenon; the first book of Ezra; Nehemiah, Esther, Job; the Psalms of David; the three books of Solomon– Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song; the four major prophets– Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel; and then the other twelve minor prophets– Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. In the New Testament, the four gospels– Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles; the fourteen letters of Paul– to the Romans; the two letters to the Corinthians; to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians; the two letters to the Thessalonians; the two letters to Timothy; to Titus, Philemon, and to the Hebrews; the seven letters of the other apostles– one of James; two of Peter; three of John; one of Jude; and the Revelation of the apostle John.

Article 5: The Authority of Scripture

We receive all these books and these only as holy and canonical, for the regulating, founding, and establishing of our faith. And we believe without a doubt all things contained in them– not so much because the church receives and approves them as such but above all because the Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that they are from God, and also because they prove themselves to be from God. For even the blind themselves are able to see that the things predicted in them do happen.

Article 6: The Difference Between Canonical and Apocryphal Books

We distinguish between these holy books and the apocryphal ones, which are the third and fourth books of Esdras; the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Sirach, Baruch; what was added to the Story of Esther; the Song of the Three Children in the Furnace; the Story of Susannah; the Story of Bell and the Dragon; the Prayer of Manasseh; and the two books of Maccabees. The church may certainly read these books and learn from them as far as they agree with the canonical books. But they do not have such power and virtue that one could confirm from their testimony any point of faith or of the Christian religion. Much less can they detract from the authority of the other holy books.