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Belgic Confession, week 4

July 26, 2017

Article 8: The Trinity

In keeping with this truth and Word of God we believe in one God, who is one single essence, in whom there are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties– namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is the cause, origin, and source of all things, visible as well as invisible. The Son is the Word, the Wisdom, and the image of the Father. The Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son. Nevertheless, this distinction does not divide God into three, since Scripture teaches us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each has his own subsistence distinguished by characteristics– yet in such a way that these three persons are only one God. It is evident then that the Father is not the Son and that the Son is not the Father, and that likewise the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless, these persons, thus distinct, are neither divided nor fused or mixed together. For the Father did not take on flesh, nor did the Spirit, but only the Son. The Father was never without his Son, nor without his Holy Spirit, since all these are equal from eternity, in one and the same essence. There is neither a first nor a last, for all three are one in truth and power, in goodness and mercy.

Shorter Catechism, week 30

July 25, 2017

Q. 45. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.[119]

Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly.[120]

Q. 47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbiddeth the denying,[121] or not worshiping and glorifying, the true God as God,[122] and our God;[123] and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.[124]

Q. 48. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
A. These words before me in the first commandment teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God.[125]

Children’s Catechism, week 30

July 24, 2017

Q. 91. What 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.

Q. 92. What does the fifth commandment teach me?
A. To love and obey our parents and teachers.

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 30

July 23, 2017

30. Lord’s Day

Q. 80. What difference is there between the Lord’s supper and the popish mass?
A. The Lord’s supper testifies to us, that we have a full pardon of all sin by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself has once accomplished on the cross; [a] and, that we by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted into Christ, [b] who, according to his human nature is now not on earth, but in heaven, at the right hand of God his Father, [c] and will there be worshipped by us. [d] But the mass teaches, that the living and dead have not the pardon of sins through the sufferings of Christ, unless Christ is also daily offered for them by the priests; and further, that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine, and therefore is to be worshipped in them; so that the mass, at bottom, is nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ, and an accursed idolatry. [e]

Q. 81. For whom is the Lord’s supper instituted?
A. For those who are truly sorrowful for their sins, and yet trust that these are forgiven them for the sake of Christ; and that their remaining infirmities are covered by his passion and death; and who also earnestly desire to have their faith more and more strengthened, and their lives more holy; but hypocrites, and such as turn not to God with sincere hearts, eat and drink judgment to themselves. [a]

Q. 82. Are they also to be admitted to this supper, who, by confession and life, declare themselves unbelieving and ungodly?
A. No; for by this, the covenant of God would be profaned, and his wrath kindled against the whole congregation; [a] therefore it is the duty of the christian church, according to the appointment of Christ and his apostles, to exclude such persons, by the keys of the kingdom of heaven, till they show amendment of life.

Westminster Confession, week 29

July 22, 2017

Chapter 18: Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation

3: This infallible assurance does not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be partaker of it:[357] yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto.[358] And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure,[359] that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience,[360]the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.[361]

4: True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light:[362] yet are they never so utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived;[363] and by the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair.[364]

Canons of Dordt, week 29

July 21, 2017

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

Article 11: The Holy Spirit’s Work in Conversion

Moreover, when God carries out this good pleasure in his chosen ones, or works true conversion in them, he not only sees to it that the gospel is proclaimed to them outwardly, and enlightens their minds powerfully by the Holy Spirit so that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God, but, by the effective operation of the same regenerating Spirit, he also penetrates into the inmost being of man, opens the closed heart, softens the hard heart, and circumcises the heart that is uncircumcised. He infuses new qualities into the will, making the dead will alive, the evil one good, the unwilling one willing, and the stubborn one compliant; he activates and strengthens the will so that, like a good tree, it may be enabled to produce the fruits of good deeds.

Article 12: Regeneration a Supernatural Work

And this is the regeneration, the new creation, the raising from the dead, and the making alive so clearly proclaimed in the Scriptures, which God works in us without our help. But this certainly does not happen only by outward teaching, by moral persuasion, or by such a way of working that, after God has done his work, it remains in man’s power whether or not to be reborn or converted. Rather, it is an entirely supernatural work, one that is at the same time most powerful and most pleasing, a marvelous, hidden, and inexpressible work, which is not lesser than or inferior in power to that of creation or of raising the dead, as Scripture (inspired by the author of this work) teaches. As a result, all those in whose hearts God works in this marvelous way are certainly, unfailingly, and effectively reborn and do actually believe. And then the will, now renewed, is not only activated and motivated by God but in being activated by God is also itself active. For this reason, man himself, by that grace which he has received, is also rightly said to believe and to repent.

Larger Catechism, week 29

July 20, 2017

Q. 119. What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required,[630] all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them;[631] all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful;[632] and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.[633]

Q. 120. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself in these words, Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:[634] from God’s challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:[635] from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it; Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.[636]

Q. 121. Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?
A. The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment,[637] partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it,[638] and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments,[639] and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion;[640] and partly, because we are very ready to forget it,[641] for that there is less light of nature for it,[642] and yet it restraineth our natural liberty in things at other times lawful;[643] that it cometh but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it;[644] and that Satan with his instruments labours much to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.[645]

Belgic Confession, week 3

July 19, 2017

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 29

July 18, 2017

Q. 43. What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.[117]

Q. 44. What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
A. The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.[118]

Children’s Catechism, week 29

July 17, 2017

Q. 88. What day of the week is the Christian Sabbath?
A. The first day of the week, called the Lord’s day.

Q. 89. Why is it called the Lord’s day?
A. Because on that day Christ rose from the dead.

Q. 90. How should the Sabbath be spent?
A. In prayer and praise, in hearing and reading God’s Word, and in doing good to our fellow men.