Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 37

September 16, 2018

37. Lord’s Day

Q. 101. May we then swear religiously by the name of God?
A. Yes: either when the magistrates demand it of the subjects; or when necessity requires us thereby to confirm a fidelity and truth to the glory of God, and the safety of our neighbour: for such an oath is founded on God’s word, [a] and therefore was justly used by the saints, both in the Old and New Testament. [b]

Q. 102. May we also swear by saints or any other creatures?
A. No; for a lawful oath is calling upon God, as the only one who knows the heart, that he will bear witness to the truth, and punish me if I swear falsely; [a] which honour is due to no creature. [b]

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Westminster Confession, Week 37

September 15, 2018

Chapter 22: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

1: A lawful oath is part of religious worship,[443] wherein, upon just occasion, the person swearing solemnly calls God to witness what he asserts, or promises, and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he swears.[444]

2: The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear, and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and reverence.[445]Therefore, to swear vainly, or rashly, by that glorious and dreadful Name; or, to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred.[446] Yet, as in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the Word of God, under the New Testament as well as under the old;[447] so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters, ought to be taken.[448]

3: Whosoever takes an oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth:[449] neither may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and just, and what he believes so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform.[450]


Canons of Dordt, Week 37

September 14, 2018

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

VII

Who teach that the grace by which we are converted to God is nothing but a gentle persuasion, or (as others explain it) that the way of God’s acting in man’s conversion that is most noble and suited to human nature is that which happens by persuasion, and that nothing prevents this grace of moral suasion even by itself from making natural men spiritual; indeed, that God does not produce the assent of the will except in this manner of moral suasion, and that the effectiveness of God’s work by which it surpasses the work of Satan consists in the fact that God promises eternal benefits while Satan promises temporal ones.

For this teaching is entirely Pelagian and contrary to the whole of Scripture, which recognizes besides this persuasion also another, far more effective and divine way in which the Holy Spirit acts in man’s conversion. As Ezekiel 36:26 puts it: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; and I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh….

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

VIII

Who teach that God in regenerating man does not bring to bear that power of his omnipotence whereby he may powerfully and unfailingly bend man’s will to faith and conversion, but that even when God has accomplished all the works of grace which he uses for man’s conversion, man nevertheless can, and in actual fact often does, so resist God and the Spirit in their intent and will to regenerate him, that man completely thwarts his own rebirth; and, indeed, that it remains in his own power whether or not to be reborn.

For this does away with all effective functioning of God’s grace in our conversion and subjects the activity of Almighty God to the will of man; it is contrary to the apostles, who teach that we believe by virtue of the effective working of God’s mighty strength (Eph. 1:19), and that God fulfills the undeserved good will of his kindness and the work of faith in us with power (2 Thess. 1:11), and likewise that his divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3).


Larger Catechism, Week 37

September 13, 2018

Q. 149. Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A. No man is able, either of himself,[917] or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God;[918] but doth daily break them in thought,[919] word, and deed.[920]

Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
A. All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.[921]

Q. 151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,

1. From the persons offending[922] if they be of riper age,[923] greater experience or grace,[924] eminent for profession,[925] gifts,[926] place,[927] office,[928] guides to others,[929] and whose example is likely to be followed by others.[930]

2. From the parties offended:[931] if immediately against God,[932] his attributes,[933] and worship;[934] against Christ, and his grace;[935] the Holy Spirit,[936] his witness,[937] and workings[938] against superiors, men of eminency,[939] and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto;[940] against any of the saints,[941] particularly weak brethren,[942] the souls of them, or any other,[943] and the common good of all or many.[944]

3. From the nature and quality of the offense:[945] if it be against the express letter of the law,[946] break many commandments, contain in it many sins:[947] if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions,[948] scandalize others,[949] and admit of no reparation:[950] if against means,[951] mercies,[952] judgments,[953] light of nature,[954] conviction of conscience,[955] public or private admonition,[956] censures of the church,[957] civil punishments;[958] and our prayers, purposes, promises,[959] vows,[960] covenants,[961] and engagements to God or men:[962] if done deliberately,[963] wilfully,[964] presumptuously,[965] impudently,[966] boastingly,[967] maliciously,[968] frequently,[969] obstinately,[970] with delight,[971] continuance,[972] or relapsing after repentance.[973]

4. From circumstances of time[974] and place:[975] if on the Lord’s day,[976] or other times of divine worship;[977] or immediately before[978] or after these,[979] or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages;[980] if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled[981].


Belgic Confession, Week 11

September 12, 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]


Shorter Catechism, Week 37

September 11, 2018

Q. 70. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.[158]

Q. 71. What is required in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech, and behavior.[159]

Q. 72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment forbiddeth all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.[160]


Children’s Catechism, Week 37

September 10, 2018

Q. 105. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is asking God for things which he has promised to give.

Q. 106. In whose name should we pray?
A. Only in the name of Christ.

Q. 107. What has Christ given us to teach us how to pray?
A. The Lord’s Prayer.


Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 36

September 9, 2018

36. Lord’s Day

Q. 99. What is required in the third commandment?
A. That we, not only by cursing [a] or perjury, [b] but also by rash swearing, [c] must not profane or abuse the name of God; nor by silence or connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in others; [d] and, briefly, that we use the holy name of God no otherwise than with fear and reverence; [e] so that he may be rightly confessed [f] and worshipped by us, [g] and be glorified in all our words and works. [h]

Q. 100. Is then the profaning of God’s name, by swearing and cursing, so heinous a sin, that his wrath is kindled against those who do not endeavour, as much as in them lies, to prevent and forbid such cursing and swearing?
A. It undoubtedly is, [a] for there is no sin greater or more provoking to God, than the profaning of his name; and therefore he has commanded this sin to be punished with death. [b]


Westminster Confession, Week 36

September 8, 2018

Chapter 21: Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day

7: As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in His Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, He has particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him:[437] which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week: and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week,[438] which, in Scripture, is called the Lord’s Day,[439] and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.[440]

8: This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations,[441] but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.[442]


Canons of Dordt, Week 36

September 7, 2018

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

VI

Who teach that in the true conversion of man new qualities, dispositions, or gifts cannot be infused or poured into his will by God, and indeed that the faith [or believing] by which we first come to conversion and from which we receive the name “believers” is not a quality or gift infused by God, but only an act of man, and that it cannot be called a gift except in respect to the power of attaining faith.

For these views contradict the Holy Scriptures, which testify that God does infuse or pour into our hearts the new qualities of faith, obedience, and the experiencing of his love: I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts (Jer. 31:33); I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring (Isa. 44:3); The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Rom. 5:5). They also conflict with the continuous practice of the Church, which prays with the prophet: Convert me, Lord, and I shall be converted (Jer. 31:18).