Westminster Confession, week 1

January 6, 2018

Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scripture

1: Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable;[1] yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation.[2] Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church;[3] and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing;[4] which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary;[5] those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.[6]

2: Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, which are these:

  • Of the Old Testament:
    • Genesis
    • Exodus
    • Leviticus
    • Numbers
    • Deuteronomy
    • Joshua
    • Judges
    • Ruth
    • I Samuel
    • II Samuel
    • I Kings
    • II Kings
    • I Chronicles
    • II Chronicles
    • Ezra
    • Nehemiah
    • Esther
    • Job
    • Psalms
    • Proverbs
    • Ecclesiastes
    • The Song of Songs
    • Isaiah
    • Jeremiah
    • Lamentations
    • Ezekiel
    • Daniel
    • Hosea
    • Joel
    • Amos
    • Obadiah
    • Jonah
    • Micah
    • Nahum
    • Habakkuk
    • Zephaniah
    • Haggai
    • Zechariah
    • Malachi
  • Of the New Testament:
    • The Gospels according to
      • Matthew
      • Mark
      • Luke
      • John
    • The Acts of the Apostles
    • Paul’s Epistles to the
      • Romans
      • Corinthians I
      • Corinthians II
      • Galatians
      • Ephesians
      • Philippians
      • Colossians
      • Thessalonians I
      • Thessalonians II
      • To Timothy I
      • To Timothy II
      • To Titus
      • To Philemon
    • The Epistle to the Hebrews
    • The Epistle of James
    • The first and second Epistles of Peter
    • The first, second, and third Epistles of John
    • The Epistle of Jude
    • The Revelation of John

All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.[7]

3: The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.[8]

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Canons of Dordt, week 1

January 5, 2018

The First Head of Doctrine: Divine Election and Reprobation

The Judgment Concerning Divine Predestination Which the Synod Declares to Be in Agreement with the Word of God and Accepted Till Now in the Reformed Churches, Set Forth in Several Articles

Article 1: God’s Right to Condemn All People

Since all people have sinned in Adam and have come under the sentence of the curse and eternal death, God would have done no one an injustice if it had been his will to leave the entire human race in sin and under the curse, and to condemn them on account of their sin. As the apostle says: The whole world is liable to the condemnation of God (Rom. 3:19), All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

Article 2: The Manifestation of God’s Love

But this is how God showed his love: he sent his only begotten Son into the world, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


Larger Catechism, week 1

January 4, 2018

Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God,[1] and fully to enjoy him forever.[2]

Q. 2. How doth it appear that there is a God?
A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God;[3] but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.[4]

Q. 3. What is the Word of God?
A. The holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God,[5] the only rule of faith and obedience.[6]

Q. 4. How doth it appear that the Scriptures are of the Word of God?
A. The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty[7] and purity;[8] by the consent of all the parts,[9] and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God;[10] by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation:[11] but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very word of God.[12]

Q. 5. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.[13]


Belgic Confession, week 1

January 3, 2018

Article 1: The Only God

We all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that there is a single and simple spiritual being, whom we call God — eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, unchangeable, infinite, almighty; completely wise, just, and good, and the overflowing source of all good.

Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God

We know him by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God: his eternal power and his divinity, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20. All these things are enough to convict men and to leave them without excuse. Second, he makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need in this life, for his glory and for the salvation of his own.

Article 3: The Written Word of God

We confess that this Word of God was not sent nor delivered by the will of men, but that holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit, as Peter says.[1] Afterwards our God– because of the special care he has for us and our salvation– commanded his servants, the prophets and apostles, to commit this revealed Word to writing. He himself wrote with his own finger the two tables of the law. Therefore we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.


Shorter Catechism, week 1

January 2, 2018

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him forever.[2]

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments,[3] is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.[4]

Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God,[5] and what duty God requires of man.[6]


Children’s Catechism, week 1

January 1, 2018

Q. 1. Who made you?
A. God.

Q. 2. What else did God make?
A. God made all things.

Q. 3. Why did God make you and all things ?
A. For his own glory.

Q. 4. How can you glorify God?
A. By loving him and doing what he commands.

Q. 5. Why ought you to glorify God?
A. Because he made me and takes care of me.


Westminster Confession, week 52

December 30, 2017

Chapter 33: Of the Last Judgment

1: God has appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ,[572] to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father.[573] In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged,[574] but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.[575]

2: The end of God’s appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of His mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of His justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.[576]

3: As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin; and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity:[577] so will He have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.[578]


Canons of Dordt, week 52

December 29, 2017

Conclusion: Rejection of False Accusations

And so this is the clear, simple, and straightforward explanation of the orthodox teaching on the five articles in dispute in the Netherlands, as well as the rejection of the errors by which the Dutch churches have for some time been disturbed. This explanation and rejection the Synod declares to be derived from God’s Word and in agreement with the confessions of the Reformed churches. Hence it clearly appears that those of whom one could hardly expect it have shown no truth, equity, and charity at all in wishing to make the public believe:

  • that the teaching of the Reformed churches on predestination and on the points associated with it by its very nature and tendency draws the minds of people away from all godliness and religion, is an opiate of the flesh and the devil, and is a stronghold of Satan where he lies in wait for all people, wounds most of them, and fatally pierces many of them with the arrows of both despair and self-assurance;
  • that this teaching makes God the author of sin, unjust, a tyrant, and a hypocrite; and is nothing but a refurbished Stoicism, Manicheism, Libertinism, and Mohammedanism;
  • that this teaching makes people carnally self-assured, since it persuades them that nothing endangers the salvation of the chosen, no matter how they live, so that they may commit the most outrageous crimes with self-assurance; and that on the other hand nothing is of use to the reprobate for salvation even if they have truly performed all the works of the saints;
  • that this teaching means that God predestined and created, by the bare and unqualified choice of his will, without the least regard or consideration of any sin, the greatest part of the world to eternal condemnation; that in the same manner in which election is the source and cause of faith and good works, reprobation is the cause of unbelief and ungodliness; that many infant children of believers are snatched in their innocence from their mothers’ breasts and cruelly cast into hell so that neither the blood of Christ nor their baptism nor the prayers of the church at their baptism can be of any use to them; and very many other slanderous accusations of this kind which the Reformed churches not only disavow but even denounce with their whole heart.

Therefore this Synod of Dort in the name of the Lord pleads with all who devoutly call on the name of our Savior Jesus Christ to form their judgment about the faith of the Reformed churches, not on the basis of false accusations gathered from here or there, or even on the basis of the personal statements of a number of ancient and modern authorities — statements which are also often either quoted out of context or misquoted and twisted to convey a different meaning — but on the basis of the churches’ own official confessions and of the present explanation of the orthodox teaching which has been endorsed by the unanimous consent of the members of the whole Synod, one and all.

Moreover, the Synod earnestly warns the false accusers themselves to consider how heavy a judgment of God awaits those who give false testimony against so many churches and their confessions, trouble the consciences of the weak, and seek to prejudice the minds of many against the fellowship of true believers.

Finally, this Synod urges all fellow ministers in the gospel of Christ to deal with this teaching in a godly and reverent manner, in the academic institutions as well as in the churches; to do so, both in their speaking and writing, with a view to the glory of God’s name, holiness of life, and the comfort of anxious souls; to think and also speak with Scripture according to the analogy of faith; and, finally, to refrain from all those ways of speaking which go beyond the bounds set for us by the genuine sense of the Holy Scriptures and which could give impertinent sophists a just occasion to scoff at the teaching of the Reformed churches or even to bring false accusations against it.

May God’s Son Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God and gives gifts to men, sanctify us in the truth, lead to the truth those who err, silence the mouths of those who lay false accusations against sound teaching, and equip faithful ministers of his Word with a spirit of wisdom and discretion, that all they say may be to the glory of God and the building up of their hearers. Amen


Larger Catechism, week 52

December 28, 2017

Q. 195. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition, (which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,[1273]) acknowledging, that the most wise, righteous, and gracious God, for divers holy and just ends, may so order things, that we may be assaulted, foiled, and for a time led captive by temptations;[1274] that Satan,[1275] the world,[1276] and the flesh, are ready powerfully to draw us aside, and ensnare us;[1277] and that we, even after the pardon of our sins, by reason of our corruption,[1278] weakness, and want of watchfulness,[1279] are not only subject to be tempted, and forward to expose ourselves unto temptations,[1280] but also of ourselves unable and unwilling to resist them, to recover out of them, and to improve them;[1281] and worthy to be left under the power of them:[1282] we pray, that God would so overrule the world and all in it,[1283] subdue the flesh,[1284] and restrain Satan,[1285] order all things,[1286] bestow and bless all means of grace,[1287] and quicken us to watchfulness in the use of them, that we and all his people may by his providence be kept from being tempted to sin;[1288] or, if tempted, that by his Spirit we may be powerfully supported and enabled to stand in the hour of temptation;[1289] or when fallen, raised again and recovered out of it,[1290] and have a sanctified use and improvement thereof:[1291] that our sanctification and salvation may be perfected,[1292] Satan trodden under our feet,[1293] and we fully freed from sin, temptation, and all evil, forever.[1294]

Q. 196. What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach us?
A. The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, (which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.[1295]) teacheth us to enforce our petitions with arguments,[1296] which are to be taken, not from any worthiness in ourselves, or in any other creature, but from God;[1297] and with our prayers to join praises,[1298] ascribing to God alone eternal sovereignty, omnipotency, and glorious excellency;[1299] in regard whereof, as he is able and willing to help us,[1300] so we by faith are emboldened to plead with him that he would,[1301] and quietly to rely upon him, that he will fulfil our requests.[1302] And, to testify this our desire and assurance, we say, Amen.[1303]


Belgic Confession, week 26

December 27, 2017

Article 37: The Last Judgment

Finally we believe, according to God’s Word, that when the time appointed by the Lord is come (which is unknown to all creatures) and the number of the elect is complete, our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, bodily and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty, to declare himself the judge of the living and the dead. He will burn this old world, in fire and flame, in order to cleanse it. Then all human creatures will appear in person before the great judge– men, women, and children, who have lived from the beginning until the end of the world. They will be summoned there by the voice of the archangel and by the sound of the divine trumpet.[79] For all those who died before that time will be raised from the earth, their spirits being joined and united with their own bodies in which they lived. And as for those who are still alive, they will not die like the others but will be changed “in the twinkling of an eye” from “corruptible to incorruptible.”[80] Then “the books” (that is, the consciences) will be opened, and the dead will be judged according to the things they did in the world,[81] whether good or evil. Indeed, all people will give account of all the idle words they have spoken,[82] which the world regards as only playing games. And then the secrets and hypocrisies of men will be publicly uncovered in the sight of all. Therefore, with good reason the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to wicked and evil people. But it is very pleasant and a great comfort to the righteous and elect, since their total redemption will then be accomplished. They will then receive the fruits of their labor and of the trouble they have suffered; their innocence will be openly recognized by all; and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring on the evil ones who tyrannized, oppressed, and tormented them in this world. The evil ones will be convicted by the witness of their own consciences, and shall be made immortal– but only to be tormented in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.[83] In contrast, the faithful and elect will be crowned with glory and honor. The Son of God will “confess their names”[84] before God his Father and the holy and elect angels; all tears will be “wiped from their eyes”;[85] and their cause– at present condemned as heretical and evil by many judges and civil officers– will be acknowledged as the “cause of the Son of God.” And as a gracious reward the Lord will make them possess a glory such as the heart of man could never imagine. So we look forward to that great day with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.