Archive for August, 2022

Belgic Confession, Week 9

August 31, 2022

Article 14: The Creation and Fall of Man

We believe that God created man from the dust of the earth and made and formed him in his image and likeness– good, just, and holy; able by his own will to conform in all things to the will of God. But when he was in honor he did not understand it[21] and did not recognize his excellence. But he subjected himself willingly to sin and consequently to death and the curse, lending his ear to the word of the devil. For he transgressed the commandment of life, which he had received, and by his sin he separated himself from God, who was his true life, having corrupted his entire nature. So he made himself guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways. He lost all his excellent gifts which he had received from God, and he retained none of them except for small traces which are enough to make him inexcusable. Moreover, all the light in us is turned to darkness, as the Scripture teaches us: “The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not receive it.”[22] Here John calls men “darkness.” Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man’s free will, since man is nothing but the slave of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is “given him from heaven.”[23] For who can boast of being able to do anything good by himself, since Christ says, “No one can come to me unless my Father who sent me draws him”?[24] Who can glory in his own will when he understands that “the mind of the flesh is enmity against God”?[25] Who can speak of his own knowledge in view of the fact that “the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit of God”?[26] In short, who can produce a single thought, since he knows that we are “not able to think a thing” about ourselves, by ourselves, but that “our ability is from God”?[27] And therefore, what the apostle says ought rightly to stand fixed and firm: “God works within us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure.”[28] For there is no understanding nor will conforming to God’s understanding and will apart from Christ’s involvement, as he teaches us when he says, “Without me you can do nothing.”[29]

Shorter Catechism, Week 35

August 30, 2022

Q. 63. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.[151]

Q. 64. What is required in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to everyone in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.[152]

Q. 65. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of, or doing anything against, the honor and duty which belongeth to everyone in their several places and relations.[153]

Q. 66. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is, a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.[154]

Children’s Catechism, Week 35

August 29, 2022

Q. 101. What is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Q. 102. What does the tenth commandment teach us?
A. To be content with our lot.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 35

August 28, 2022

35. Lord’s Day

Q. 96. What does God require in the second commandment?
A. That we in no wise represent God by images, [a] nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his word. [b]

Q. 97. Are images then not at all to be made?
A. God neither can, nor may be represented by any means: [a] but as to creatures; though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make, or have any resemblance of them, either in order to worship them or to serve God by them. [b]

Q. 98. But may not images be tolerated in the churches, as books to the laity?
A. No: for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have his people taught, not by dumb images, [a] but by the lively preaching of his word. [b]

Westminster Confession, Week 35

August 27, 2022

Chapter 21: Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day

4: Prayer is to be made for things lawful;[416] and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter:[417] but not for the dead,[418] nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.[419]

5: The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear,[420] the sound preaching[421] and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence,[422] singing of psalms with grace in the heart;[423] as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God:[424] beside religious oaths,[425] vows,[426] solemn fastings,[427] and thanksgivings upon special occasions,[428] which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.[429]

6: Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the Gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed:[430] but God is to be worshipped everywhere,[431] in spirit and truth;[432] as, in private families[433] daily,[434] and in secret, each one by himself;[435] so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or wilfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by His Word or providence, calls thereunto.[436]

Canons of Dordt, Week 34

August 26, 2022

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

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

III

Who teach that in spiritual death the spiritual gifts have not been separated from man’s will, since the will in itself has never been corrupted but only hindered by the darkness of the mind and the unruliness of the emotions, and since the will is able to exercise its innate free capacity once these hindrances are removed, which is to say, it is able of itself to will or choose whatever good is set before it — or else not to will or choose it.

This is a novel idea and an error and has the effect of elevating the power of free choice, contrary to the words of Jeremiah the prophet: The heart itself is deceitful above all things and wicked (Jer. 17:9); and of the words of the apostle: All of us also lived among them (the sons of disobedience) at one time in the passions of our flesh, following the will of our flesh and thoughts (Eph. 2:3).

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

IV

Who teach that unregenerate man is not strictly or totally dead in his sins or deprived of all capacity for spiritual good but is able to hunger and thirst for righteousness or life and to offer the sacrifice of a broken and contrite spirit which is pleasing to God.

For these views are opposed to the plain testimonies of Scripture: You were dead in your transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1, 5); The imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil all the time (Gen. 6:5; 8:21). Besides, to hunger and thirst for deliverance from misery and for life, and to offer God the sacrifice of a broken spirit is characteristic only of the regenerate and of those called blessed (Ps. 51:17; Matt. 5:6).

Larger Catechism, Week 34

August 25, 2022

Q. 140. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.[800]

Q. 141. What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?
A. The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man;[801] rendering to everyone his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof;[802] giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and the necessities of others;[803] moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections concerning worldly goods;[804] a provident care and study to get,[805] keep, use, and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition;[806] a lawful calling,[807] and diligence in it;[808] frugality;[809] avoiding unnecessary lawsuits,[810]. and suretiship, or other like engagements;[811] and an endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.[812]

Q. 142. What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,[813] are, theft,[814] robbery,[815] man-stealing,[816] and receiving any thing that is stolen;[817] fraudulent dealing,[818] false weights and measures,[819] removing landmarks,[820] injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man,[821] or in matters of trust;[822] oppression,[823] extortion,[824] usury,[825] bribery,[826] vexatious lawsuits,[827] unjust inclosures and depopulations;[828] ingrossing commodities to enhance the price;[829] unlawful callings,[830] and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbour what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves;[831] covetousness;[832] inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods;[833] distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them;[834] envying at the prosperity of others;[835] as likewise idleness,[836] prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate,[837] and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God hath given us.[838]

Belgic Confession, Week 8

August 24, 2022

Article 13: The Doctrine of God’s Providence

We believe that this good God, after he created all things, did not abandon them to chance or fortune but leads and governs them according to his holy will, in such a way that nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement. Yet God is not the author of, nor can he be charged with, the sin that occurs. For his power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible that he arranges and does his work very well and justly even when the devils and wicked men act unjustly. We do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what he does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend. But in all humility and reverence we adore the just judgments of God, which are hidden from us, being content to be Christ’s disciples, so as to learn only what he shows us in his Word, without going beyond those limits. This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father. He watches over us with fatherly care, keeping all creatures under his control, so that not one of the hairs on our heads (for they are all numbered) nor even a little bird can fall to the ground[20] without the will of our Father. In this thought we rest, knowing that he holds in check the devils and all our enemies, who cannot hurt us without his permission and will. For that reason we reject the damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God involves himself in nothing and leaves everything to chance.

Shorter Catechism, Week 34

August 23, 2022

Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days;[145] and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship,[146] except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.[147]

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission, or careless performance, of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.[148]

Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments,[149] his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.[150]

Children’s Catechism, Week 34

August 22, 2022

Q. 99. What is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Q. 100. What does the ninth commandment teach us?
A. To tell the truth.