Canons of Dordt, week 45

November 10, 2017

The Fifth Head of Doctrine: The Perseverance of the Saints

Article 13: Assurance No Inducement to Carelessness

Neither does the renewed confidence of perseverance produce immorality or lack of concern for godliness in those put back on their feet after a fall, but it produces a much greater concern to observe carefully the ways of the Lord which he prepared in advance. They observe these ways in order that by walking in them they may maintain the assurance of their perseverance, lest, by their abuse of his fatherly goodness, the face of the gracious God (for the godly, looking upon his face is sweeter than life, but its withdrawal is more bitter than death) turn away from them again, with the result that they fall into greater anguish of spirit.

Article 14: God’s Use of Means in Perseverance

And, just as it has pleased God to begin this work of grace in us by the proclamation of the gospel, so he preserves, continues, and completes his work by the hearing and reading of the gospel, by meditation on it, by its exhortations, threats, and promises, and also by the use of the sacraments.

Advertisements

Larger Catechism, week 45

November 9, 2017

Q. 176. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree?
A. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper agree, in that the author of both is God;[1137] the spiritual part of both is Christ and his benefits;[1138] both are seals of the same covenant,[1139] are to be dispensed by ministers of the gospel, and by none other;[1140] and to be continued in the church of Christ until his second coming.[1141]

Q. 177. Wherein do the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper differ?
A. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper differ, in that baptism is to be administered but once, with water, to be a sign and seal of our regeneration and ingrafting into Christ,[1142] and that even to infants;[1143] whereas the Lord’s supper is to be administered often, in the elements of bread and wine, to represent and exhibit Christ as spiritual nourishment to the soul,[1144] and to confirm our continuance and growth in him,[1145] and that only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves.[1146]


Belgic Confession, week 19

November 8, 2017

Article 28: The Obligations of Church Members

We believe that since this holy assembly and congregation is the gathering of those who are saved and there is no salvation apart from it, no one ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself, regardless of his status or condition. But all people are obliged to join and unite with it, keeping the unity of the church by submitting to its instruction and discipline, by bending their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ, and by serving to build up one another, according to the gifts God has given them as members of each other in the same body. And to preserve this unity more effectively, it is the duty of all believers, according to God’s Word, to separate themselves from those who do not belong to the church, in order to join this assembly wherever God has established it, even if civil authorities and royal decrees forbid and death and physical punishment result. And so, all who withdraw from the church or do not join it act contrary to God’s ordinance.


Shorter Catechism, week 45

November 7, 2017

Q. 91. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
A. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.[188]

Q. 92. What is a sacrament?
A. A sacrament is a holy ordinance instituted by Christ;[189] wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers.[190]

Q. 93. Which are the sacraments of the New Testament?
A. The sacraments of the New Testament are, baptism,[191] and the Lord’s Supper.[192]


Children’s Catechism, week 45

November 6, 2017

Q. 122. How many sacraments are there?
A. Two.

Q. 123. What are they?
A. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Q. 124. Who appointed these sacraments?
A. The Lord Jesus Christ.

Q. 125. Why did Christ appoint these sacraments?
A. To distinguish his disciples from the world, and to comfort and strengthen them.


Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 45

November 5, 2017

45. Lord’s Day

Q. 116. Why is prayer necessary for christians?
A. Because it is the chief part of thankfulness which God requires of us: [a] and also, because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desires continually ask them of him, and are thankful for them. [b]

Q. 117. What are the requisites of that prayer, which is acceptable to God, and which he will hear?
A. First, that we from the heart pray [a] to the one true God only, who has manifested himself in his word, [b] for all things, he has commanded us to ask of him; [c] secondly, that we rightly and thoroughly know our need and misery, [d] that so we may deeply humble ourselves in the presence of his divine majesty; [e] thirdly, that we be fully persuaded that he, notwithstanding that we are unworthy of it, will, for the sake of Christ our Lord, certainly hear our prayer, [f] as he has promised us in his word. [g]

Q. 118. What has God commanded us to ask of him?
A. All things necessary for soul and body; which Christ our Lord has comprised in that prayer he himself has taught us. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Matt.6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Q. 119. What are the words of that prayer? [a]
A. Our Father which art in heaven, 1 Hallowed be thy name. 2 Thy kingdom come. 3 Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 4 Give us this day our daily bread. 5 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 6 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


Westminster Confession, week 44

November 4, 2017

Chapter 27: Of the Sacraments

1: Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace,[510]immediately instituted by God,[511] to represent Christ and His benefits; and to confirm our interest in Him:[512] as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church and the rest of the world;[513] and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word.[514]

2: There is, in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.[515]

3: The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither does the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that does administer it:[516] but upon the work of the Spirit,[517] and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.[518]

4: There are only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.[519]

5: The sacraments of the Old Testament in regard to the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the new.[520]


Canons of Dordt, week 44

November 3, 2017

The Fifth Head of Doctrine: The Perseverance of the Saints

Article 11: Doubts Concerning This Assurance

Meanwhile, Scripture testifies that believers have to contend in this life with various doubts of the flesh and that under severe temptation they do not always experience this full assurance of faith and certainty of perseverance. But God, the Father of all comfort, does not let them be tempted beyond what they can bear, but with the temptation he also provides a way out (1 Cor. 10:13), and by the Holy Spirit revives in them the assurance of their perseverance.

Article 12: This Assurance as an Incentive to Godliness

This assurance of perseverance, however, so far from making true believers proud and carnally self-assured, is rather the true root of humility, of childlike respect, of genuine godliness, of endurance in every conflict, of fervent prayers, of steadfastness in crossbearing and in confessing the truth, and of well-founded joy in God. Reflecting on this benefit provides an incentive to a serious and continual practice of thanksgiving and good works, as is evident from the testimonies of Scripture and the examples of the saints.


Larger Catechism, week 44

November 2, 2017

Q. 171. How are they that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper to prepare themselves before they come unto it?
A. They that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves[1088] of their being in Christ,[1089] of their sins and wants;[1090] of the truth and measure of their knowledge,[1091] faith,[1092] repentance;[1093] love to God and the brethren,[1094] charity to all men,[1095] forgiving those that have done them wrong;[1096] of their desires after Christ,[1097] and of their new obedience;[1098] and by renewing the exercise of these graces,[1099] by serious meditation,[1100] and fervent prayer.[1101]

Q. 172. May one who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s supper?
A. One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof;[1102] and in God’s account hath it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it,[1103] and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ,[1104] and to depart from iniquity:[1105] in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians[1106]) he is to bewail his unbelief,[1107] and labor to have his doubts resolved;[1108] and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s supper, that he may be further strengthened.[1109]

Q. 173. May any who profess the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, be kept from it?
A. Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s supper, may and ought to be kept from that sacrament, by the power which Christ hath left in his church,[1110] until they receive instruction, and manifest their reformation.[1111]

Q. 174. What is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the time of the administration of it?
A. It is required of them that receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, that, during the time of the administration of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait upon God in that ordinance,[1112] diligently observe the sacramental elements and actions,[1113] heedfully discern the Lord’s body,[1114] and affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings,[1115] and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces;[1116] in judging themselves,[1117] and sorrowing for sin;[1118] in earnest hungering and thirsting after Christ,[1119] feeding on him by faith,[1120] receiving of his fullness,[1121] trusting in his merits,[1122] rejoicing in his love,[1123] giving thanks for his grace;[1124] in renewing of their covenant with God,[1125] and love to all the saints.[1126]

Q. 175. What is the duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
A. The duty of Christians, after they have received the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, is seriously to consider how they have behaved themselves therein, and with what success;[1127] if they find quickening and comfort, to bless God for it,[1128] beg the continuance of it,[1129] watch against relapses,[1130] fulfill their vows,[1131] and encourage themselves to a frequent attendance on that ordinance:[1132] but if they find no present benefit, more exactly to review their preparation to, and carriage at, the sacrament;[1133] in both which, if they can approve themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to wait for the fruit of it in due time:[1134] but, if they see they have failed in either, they are to be humbled,[1135] and to attend upon it afterwards with more care and diligence.[1136]


Belgic Confession, week 18

November 1, 2017

Article 27: The Holy Catholic Church

We believe and confess one single catholic or universal church– a holy congregation and gathering of true Christian believers, awaiting their entire salvation in Jesus Christ being washed by his blood, and sanctified and sealed by the Holy Spirit. This church has existed from the beginning of the world and will last until the end, as appears from the fact that Christ is eternal King who cannot be without subjects. And this holy church is preserved by God against the rage of the whole world, even though for a time it may appear very small in the eyes of men– as though it were snuffed out. For example, during the very dangerous time of Ahab the Lord preserved for himself seven thousand men who did not bend their knees to Baal.[74] And so this holy church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or certain persons. But it is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world, though still joined and united in heart and will, in one and the same Spirit, by the power of faith.