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Canons of Dordt, week 12

March 23, 2018

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Having set forth the orthodox teaching concerning election and reprobation, the Synod rejects the errors of those


Who teach that God’s good pleasure and purpose, which Scripture mentions in its teaching of election, does not involve God’s choosing certain particular people rather than others, but involves God’s choosing, out of all possible conditions (including the works of the law) or out of the whole order of things, the intrinsically unworthy act of faith, as well as the imperfect obedience of faith, to be a condition of salvation; and it involves his graciously wishing to count this as perfect obedience and to look upon it as worthy of the reward of eternal life.

For by this pernicious error the good pleasure of God and the merit of Christ are robbed of their effectiveness and people are drawn away, by unprofitable inquiries, from the truth of undeserved justification and from the simplicity of the Scriptures. It also gives the lie to these words of the apostle: God called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of works, but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Tim. 1:9).

Having set forth the orthodox teaching concerning election and reprobation, the Synod rejects the errors of those


Who teach that in election to faith a prerequisite condition is that man should rightly use the light of nature, be upright, unassuming, humble, and disposed to eternal life, as though election depended to some extent on these factors.

For this smacks of Pelagius, and it clearly calls into question the words of the apostle: We lived at one time in the passions of our flesh, following the will of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in transgressions, made us alive with Christ, by whose grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with him and seated us with him in heaven in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages we might show the surpassing riches of his grace, according to his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith (and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God) not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:3-9).


Larger Catechism, week 12

March 22, 2018

Q. 51. What was the estate of Christ’s exaltation?
A. The estate of Christ’s exaltation comprehendeth his resurrection,[202] ascension,[203] sitting at the right hand of the Father,[204] and his coming again to judge the world.[205]

Q. 52. How was Christ exalted in his resurrection?
A. Christ was exalted in his resurrection, in that, not having seen corruption in death, (of which it was not possible for him to be held,)[206] and having the very same body in which he suffered, with the essential properties thereof,[207] (but without mortality, and other common infirmities belonging to this life,) really united to his soul,[208] he rose again from the dead the third day by his own power;[209] whereby he declared himself to be the Son of God,[210] to have satisfied divine justice,[211] to have vanquished death, and him that had the power of it,[212] and to be Lord of quick and dead:[213] all which he did as a public person,[214] the head of his church,[215] for their justification,[216] quickening in grace,[217] support against enemies,[218] and to assure them of their resurrection from the dead at the last day.[219]

Q. 53. How was Christ exalted in his ascension?
A. Christ was exalted in his ascension, in that having after his resurrection often appeared unto and conversed with his apostles, speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God,[220] and giving them commission to preach the gospel to all nations,[221] forty days after his resurrection, he, in our nature, and as our head,[222] triumphing over enemies,[223] visibly went up into the highest heavens, there to receive gifts for men,[224] to raise up our affections thither,[225] and to prepare a place for us,[226] where he himself is, and shall continue till his second coming at the end of the world.[227]

Q. 54. How is Christ exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God?
A. Christ is exalted in his sitting at the right hand of God, in that as God-man he is advanced to the highest favour with God the Father,[228] with all fulness of joy,[229] glory,[230] and power over all things in heaven and earth;[231] and does gather and defend his church, and subdue their enemies; furnisheth his ministers and people with gifts and graces,[232] and maketh intercession for them.[233]

Q. 55. How doeth Christ make intercession?
A. Christ maketh intercession, by his appearing in our nature continually before the Father in heaven,[234] in the merit of his obedience and sacrifice on earth,[235] declaring his will to have it applied to all believers;[236] answering all accusations against them,[237] and procuring for them quiet of conscience, notwithstanding daily failings,[238] access with boldness to the throne of grace,[239] and acceptance of their persons[240] and services.[241]

Q. 56. How is Christ to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world?
A. Christ is to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world, in that he, who was unjustly judged and condemned by wicked men,[242] shall come again at the last day in great power,[243] and in the full manifestation of his own glory, and of his Father’s, with all his holy angels,[244] with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God,[245] to judge the world in righteousness.[246]

Belgic Confession, week 12

March 21, 2018

Article 19: The Two Natures of Christ

We believe that by being thus conceived the person of the Son has been inseparably united and joined together with human nature, in such a way that there are not two Sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in a single person, with each nature retaining its own distinct properties. Thus his divine nature has always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life,[44] filling heaven and earth. His human nature has not lost its properties but continues to have those of a creature– it has a beginning of days; it is of a finite nature and retains all that belongs to a real body. And even though he, by his resurrection, gave it immortality, that nonetheless did not change the reality of his human nature; for our salvation and resurrection depend also on the reality of his body. But these two natures are so united together in one person that they are not even separated by his death. So then, what he committed to his Father when he died was a real human spirit which left his body. But meanwhile his divine nature remained united with his human nature even when he was lying in the grave; and his deity never ceased to be in him, just as it was in him when he was a little child, though for a while it did not show itself as such. These are the reasons why we confess him to be true God and true man– true God in order to conquer death by his power, and true man that he might die for us in the weakness of his flesh.

Shorter Catechism, week 12

March 20, 2018

Q. 21. Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A. The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ,[55] who, being the eternal Son of God,[56] became man,[57] and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.[58]

Children’s Catechism, week 12

March 19, 2018

Q. 41. Can any one be saved through the covenant of works?
A. None can be saved through the covenant of works.

Q. 42. Why can none be saved through the covenant of works?
A. Because all have broken it, and are condemned by it

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 11

March 18, 2018

11. Lord’s Day

Q. 29. Why is the Son of God called “Jesus”, that is a Saviour?
A. Because he saveth us, and delivereth us from our sins; [a] and likewise, because we ought not to seek, neither can find salvation in any other. [b]

Q. 30. Do such then believe in Jesus the only Saviour, who seek their salvation and welfare of saints, of themselves, or anywhere else?
A. They do not; for though they boast of him in words, yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Saviour; [a] for one of these two things must be true, that either Jesus is not a complete Saviour; or that they, who by a true faith receive this Saviour, must find all things in him necessary to their salvation. [b]

Westminster Confession, week 11

March 17, 2018

Chapter 7: Of God’s Covenant with Man

1: The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He has been pleased to express by way of covenant.[143]

2: The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works,[144] wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity,[145] upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.[146]

3: Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second,[147] commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein He freely offers unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved,[148] and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.[149]

Canons of Dordt, week 11

March 16, 2018

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

Having set forth the orthodox teaching concerning election and reprobation, the Synod rejects the errors of those


Who teach that the will of God to save those who would believe and persevere in faith and in the obedience of faith is the whole and entire decision of election to salvation, and that nothing else concerning this decision has been revealed in God’s Word.

For they deceive the simple and plainly contradict Holy Scripture in its testimony that God does not only wish to save those who would believe, but that he has also from eternity chosen certain particular people to whom, rather than to others, he would within time grant faith in Christ and perseverance. As Scripture says, I have revealed your name to those whom you gave me (John 17:6). Likewise, All who were appointed for eternal life believed (Acts 13:48), and He chose us before the foundation of the world so that we should be holy… (Eph. 1:4).

Having set forth the orthodox teaching concerning election and reprobation, the Synod rejects the errors of those


Who teach that God’s election to eternal life is of many kinds: one general and indefinite, the other particular and definite; and the latter in turn either incomplete, revocable, nonperemptory (or conditional), or else complete, irrevocable, and peremptory (or absolute). Likewise, who teach that there is one election to faith and another to salvation, so that there can be an election to justifying faith apart from a peremptory election to salvation.

For this is an invention of the human brain, devised apart from the Scriptures, which distorts the teaching concerning election and breaks up this golden chain of salvation: Those whom he predestined, he also called; and those whom he called, he also justified; and those whom he justified, he also glorified (Rom. 8:30).

Larger Catechism, week 11

March 15, 2018

Q. 46. What was the estate of Christ’s humiliation?
A. The estate of Christ’s humiliation was that low condition, wherein he for our sakes, emptying himself of his glory, took upon him the form of a servant, in his conception and birth, life, death, and after his death, until his resurrection.[186]

Q. 47. How did Christ humble himself in his conception and birth?
A. Christ humbled himself in his conception and birth, in that, being from all eternity the Son of God, in the bosom of the Father, he was pleased in the fulness of time to become the son of man, made of a woman of low estate, and to be born of her; with divers circumstances of more than ordinary abasement.[187]

Q. 48. How did Christ humble himself in his life?
A. Christ humbled himself in his life, by subjecting himself to the law,[188] which he perfectly fulfilled;[189] and by conflicting with the indignities of the world,[190] temptations of Satan,[191] and infirmities in his flesh, whether common to the nature of man, or particularly accompanying that his low condition.[192]

Q. 49. How did Christ humble himself in his death?
A. Christ humbled himself in his death, in that having been betrayed by Judas,[193] forsaken by his disciples,[194] scorned and rejected by the world,[195] condemned by Pilate, and tormented by his persecutors;[196] having also conflicted with the terrors of death, and the powers of darkness, felt and borne the weight of God’s wrath,[197] he laid down his life an offering for sin,[198] enduring the painful, shameful, and cursed death of the cross.[199]

Q. 50. Wherein consisted Christ’s humiliation after his death?
A. Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried,[200] and continuing in the state of the dead, and under the power of death till the third day;[201] which hath been otherwise expressed in these words, He descended into hell.

Belgic Confession, week 11

March 14, 2018

Article 17: The Recovery of Fallen Man

We believe that our good God, by his marvelous wisdom and goodness, seeing that man had plunged himself in this manner into both physical and spiritual death and made himself completely miserable, set out to find him, though man, trembling all over, was fleeing from him. And he comforted him, promising to give him his Son, “born of a woman,”[31] to crush the head of the serpent,[32] and to make him blessed.

Article 18: The Incarnation

So then we confess that God fulfilled the promise which he had made to the early fathers by the mouth of his holy prophets when he sent his only and eternal Son into the world at the time set by him. The Son took the “form of a servant” and was made in the “likeness of man,”[33] truly assuming a real human nature, with all its weaknesses, except for sin; being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, without male participation. And he not only assumed human nature as far as the body is concerned but also a real human soul, in order that he might be a real human being. For since the soul had been lost as well as the body he had to assume them both to save them both together. Therefore we confess, against the heresy of the Anabaptists who deny that Christ assumed human flesh from his mother, that he “shared the very flesh and blood of children”;[34] that he is “fruit of the loins of David” according to the flesh;[35] “born of the seed of David” according to the flesh;[36] “fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary”;[37] “born of a woman”;[38] “the seed of David”;[39] “a shoot from the root of Jesse”;[40] “the offspring of Judah,”[41] having descended from the Jews according to the flesh; “from the seed of Abraham”– for he “assumed Abraham’s seed” and was “made like his brothers except for sin.”[42] In this way he is truly our Immanuel– that is: “God with us.”[43]