Archive for the ‘Westminster Shorter Catechism’ Category

Leithart Asks – on Justification and Baptism

December 3, 2014

Peter Leithart has a question that every child who has memorized the Westminster Shorter Catechism should be able to answer: “If baptism is not a public declaration of justification, where and when does that public declaration take place?” (link)

Westminster Shorter Catechism #38
Q: What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A: At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory,1 shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment,2 and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God,3 to all eternity.4

[1] 1 Corinthians 15:42-43. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
[2] Matthew 25:33-34. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Matthew 10:32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
[3] Psalm 16:11. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
1 Corinthians 2:9. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
[4] 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [See preceding context.]

As Matthew Henry puts it:

4. Shall they be openly acknowledged in the day of judgment? Yes: Him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven, Matt. 10:32. Will God own them as his own? Yes: They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels, Mal. 3:17. And will that be their honour? Yes: If any man serve me, him will my Father honour, John 12:26. Shall they be openly acquitted? Yes: for their sins shall be blotted out when the times of refreshing come, Acts 3:19.

Westminster Larger Catechism

Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?

A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds,[389] shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted,[390] shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men,[391] and shall be received into heaven,[392] where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery;[393] filled with inconceivable joys,[394] made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels,[395] but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity.[396] And this is the perfect and full communion, which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.

[390] Matthew 25:33. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Matthew 10:32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

[391] 1 Corinthians 6:2-3. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

[392] Matthew 25:34, 46. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

[393] Ephesians 5:27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Revelation 14:13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

[394] Psalm 16:11. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

[395] Hebrews 12:22-23. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.

[396] 1 John 3:2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 Corinthians 13:12. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Advertisements

Thomas Vincent’s "The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture" on the Second Commandment

August 28, 2010

The following is an excerpt from Thomas Vincent’s “The Shorter Catechism Explained” (Question 49)(Question 50)(Question 51)(Question 52)

XLIX. Ques. What is the second commandment?
Ans. The second commandment is, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath% or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

Vincent had no specific comment on this question.

L. Ques. What is required in the second commandment?
Ans. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

Q. 1. How doth the worship required in this second commandment differ from the worship required in the first commandment?

A. The worship required in the first commandment hath a respect unto the object of worship, whereby we are bound to worship the true God, and none else: the worship required in the second commandment hath a respect unto the means of worship, whereby we are bound to worship God according to the way and means of his own appointment, and no other.

Q. 2. What is the way and means which God hath appointed for his worship?

A. The only way and means which God hath appointed for his worship, are his ordinances, which he hath prescribed in his Word.

Q. 3. What are the ordinances which God hath appointed in his Word, to be the means of worship, and to be observed by his people?

A. The ordinances which God hath appointed in his Word, to be the means of his worship, and to be observed by his people, are —

  1. Prayer unto God with thanksgiving, and that publicly in assemblies, privately in families, and secretly in closets. “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.”— Philippians 4:6. “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”— Ephesians 5:20. “And the whole multitude of people were praying.” — Luke 1:10. “Pour out thy fury upon the families which call not upon thy name.”— Jeremiah 10:25. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which. is in secret, and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” — Matthew 6:6.
  2. Reading and searching the Scriptures. “For Moses is read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day.”— Acts 15:21. “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.”— John 5:39.
  3. Preaching and hearing of the word. “Preach the word; be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine.”— 2 Timothy 4:2. “Hear, and your soul shall live.”— Isaiah 55:3.
  4. Singing of psalms. “Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.”— Psalm 149:1. “Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” — James 5:13.
  5. Administration and receiving of the sacraments, both of baptism and the Lord’s supper. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”— Matthew 28:19. “For I have received of the Lord that which also I have delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which lie was betrayed, took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”— 1 Corinthians 11:23-25.
  6. Fasting. “But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”— Luke 5:35.
  7. Instructing of children and household in the laws of the Lord. “For I know him, that he will command his children, and his house-hold after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.” — Genesis 18:19. “And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.”— Deuteronomy 6:6, 7. “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”— Ephesians 6:4.
  8. Conference and discourse of the things of God. “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it.”— Malachi 3:16. “Thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”— Deuteronomy 6:7.
  9. Meditation. “I will meditate of all thy works.”— Psalm 77:12. “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear unto all.”— 1 Timothy 4:15.
  10. Vows to the Lord. “Vow and pay unto the Lord.”— Psalm 76:11.
  11. Swearing by the name of the Lord, when lawfully called. “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.— Deuteronomy 6:13.
  12. Exercise of Church discipline. “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.”— Matthew 18:15-17.

Q. 4. What doth God require in the second commandment, in reference to his ordinances and means of worship?

A. God, in the second commandment, doth require, in reference to his ordinances and means of worship —

  1. The receiving of them.
  2. Observing of them.
  3. The keeping them pure and entire.

Q. 5. What is it to receive God’s ordinances?

A. The receiving God’s ordinances implieth an approving of them with the mind, and embracement of them with the will.

Q. 6. What is it to observe God’s ordinances?

A. The observing God’s ordinances, implieth a doing what is required in them, a making use of them, and attending upon God in them.

Q. 7. What is it to keep pure and entire God’s ordinances?

A. The keeping pure and entire God’s ordinances implieth a doing what in us lieth to preserve the ordinances from corruption, not suffering any thing to be added to them, or taken away from them. “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”— Deuteronomy 12:32.

Q. 8. How doth it appear that the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed, is required in the second commandment, when it doth only forbid: “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image,” &c?

A. God’s forbidding the making of any graven image, and worshiping it, doth clearly imply—

  1. That God must be worshiped by some means.
  2. That it is a sin to worship God by graven images.
  3. That, by consequence, it is a sin to worship God by the means which he hath not appointed.
  4. That therefore it is a duty to worship God by the means which he hath appointed, which being his ordinances, they must be received, observed, and kept pure and entire.

LI. Quest. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
Ans. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed ill his word.

Q. 1. What is the first great sin forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The first great sin forbidden in the second commandment, is the sin of idolatry

Q. 2. How doth the idolatry forbidden in the first commandment differ from the idolatry forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The idolatry forbidden in the first commandment hath a respect to the object, when we give that worship and honor, which arc due only to God, unto another; the idolatry forbidden in the second commandment hath a respect unto the means, when we worship God by images.

Q. 3. How many ways may persons be guilty of idolatry in their worshiping of God by images?

A. Persons are guilty of idolatry in worshiping of God by images—

  1. When they worship feigned and false gods (apprehending them to be true) by images and representations. Such was the heathen’s idolatry in worshiping Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Diana, and other feigned gods and goddesses, by their images in their idolatrous temples.
  2. When they worship the true God in or by any image or representation of him, whether it be any thing in heaven, or the earth, or the waters, as in the commandment: “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, or the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them.” “Take ye heed, therefore, to yourselves (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb), lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image.” — Deuteronomy 4:15, 16. “They have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it; and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”— Exodus 32:8.
  3. When they have in their worship carnal imaginations, and representations of God in their minds; as if he were an old man sitting in heaven, or the like.

Q. 4. Why may we not make use of images for a help in our worship of God?

A.

  1. Because God has absolutely forbidden it.
  2. Because images are not a real help, but a hindrance of devotion, they tending to lessen God in our esteem, who, being the living God, and superlatively excellent, and infinitely removed above all his creatures, cannot, without great reflection of dishonor upon him, be represented by a dead image.

Q. 5. Is it not lawful to have images or pictures of God by us, so we do not worship them, nor God by them?

A. The images or pictures of God are an abomination, and utterly unlawful, because they do debase God, and may be a cause of idolatrous worship.

Q. 6. Is it not lawful to have pictures of Jesus Christ, he being a man as well as God?

A. It is not lawful to have pictures of Jesus Christ, because his divine nature cannot be pictured at all; and because his body, as it is now glorified, cannot be pictured as it is; and because, if it do not stir up devotion, it is in vain—if it do stir up devotion, it is a worshiping by an image or picture, and so a palpable breach of the second commandment.

Q. 7. What is the second great sin against this second commandment?

A. The second great sin against this second commandment is superstition.

Q. 8. What is the superstition forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The superstition forbidden in the second commandment, is the worshiping of God in any other way, or by any other means, than what he hath appointed in his Word, and thus adding human inventions unto God’s institutions; which is will-worship, and condemned by the apostle. “Why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (touch not, taste not, handle not, which all are to perish with the using), after the commandments and doctrines of men? which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship.”— Colossians 2:20-23.

Q. 9. May nothing be added in the worship of God but what is prescribed in the Word of God?

A. Nothing may be added in the worship of God, as parts of worship, but what is prescribed or appointed in the Word of God; because, without divine institution, it is but vain worship, neither pleasing to God nor profitable unto them that worship. “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” — Matthew 15:9.

Q. 10. Are not significant ceremonies allowable, that the dull minds of men may be quickened unto the more devotion?

A.

  1. The ceremonies which God himself did appoint under the law are not lawful, much less the ceremonies of men’s appointment, which are parts of worship.
  2. Significant teaching ceremonies, were they appointed by God, would be the parts of true worship therefore, such significant teaching ceremonies as are not appointed by God are parts of false worship, or of worship so far corrupted as they are used.
  3. The significance of teaching ceremonies without God’s institution, which carries with it God’s blessing, is insignificant and ineffectual to convey and confer any grace.

Q. 11. May not the Church, by virtue of that command, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40), appoint ceremonies for decency and order’s sake?

A. The Church may and ought, by virtue of this command; to see that there is no indecency and disorder in the worship of God; that is, they may order that things appointed by God be done decently and in order, in reference to convenience of time and place, and the like, which the Word of God doth virtually include in appointing worship itself, which, without such circumstances, cannot be performed; but here is no liberty given unto the Church to introduce and appoint new parts of worship, as significant teaching ceremonies are proved to be; neither may such things be called decent in God’s worship which the idolatrous Church of Rome use, without any warrant from the Word of God.

Q. 12. What is the idolatry and superstition of the Church of Rome in the worship of God?

A. The idolatry and superstition of the Church of Rome in the worship of God, is their idolatrous kneeling at the sacrament, asserting that the bread is turned into the real body of Christ; their idolatrous worshiping of Christ by the crucifix; their idolatrous pictures and images of God, which they bow before; their idolatrous bowing at the altars and towards the east; their idolatrous praying to angels and saints, especially to the Virgin Mary; their offering up the unbloody sacrifice of the host; their superstitious fastings and abstaining from flesh in Lent; their superstitious holidays; their superstitious priests’ surplice.; their adding cream, oil, and spittle to the wafer, and signing with the cross in baptism; their baptizing of bells; their praying upon beads; and many more superstitious customs, for which there is not the least command in the Scripture.

Q. 13. How may we further offend and sin against the second commandment?

A. We offend and sin against the second commandment, not only by idolatry and superstition, but also when we are not zealous for pure worship, according to God’s institution, not endeavoring what in us lieth, in our places, the reformation of worship, according to the pattern in the Word; as also, when we disuse and neglect, especially when we contemn and oppose, any of those ordinances which God hath appointed to be the means of worship. “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” — John 11.17. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.”— Hebrews 10:25. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites I for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”— Matthew 23:13. “Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved, filling up their sins alway.” — 1 Thessalonians 2:16. “And the next Sabbath-day came almost the whole city together, to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”— Acts 13:44-46.

LII. Ques. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
Ans. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.

Q. 1. What is the first reason annexed unto the second commandment?

A. The first reason annexed unto the second commandment is, God’s sovereignty over us, in these words, “I the Lord.”

Q. 2. What is the force of this first reason?

A. The force of this first reason is, because God is the great sovereign King over us, and hath the sole or only authority to make laws for the way of his worship, therefore we ought, by virtue of our allegiance, as we are his subjects, to observe his laws and ordinances, and to worship him no other way than he hath appointed in his Word. “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.”— Psalm 95:2, 3.

Q. 3. What is the second reason annexed unto the second commandment?

A. The second reason annexed unto the second commandment is, God’s propriety in us, in these words, “Thy God” — ” I the Lord, thy God.”

Q. 4. What is the force of this second reason?

A. The force of this second reason is, that because we belong unto the Lord, therefore we ought to keep close unto him and his appointments, and take heed especially of idolatry and superstition, which do alienate the heart from him. “O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”— Psalm 95:6, .7. “They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. They forgat God their Saviour.”— Psalm 106:19, 21

Q. 5. What is the third reason annexed unto the second commandment?

A. The zeal which God hath to his own worship, is his jealousy, whereby, out of love to his own worship and institutions, he is highly offended with those that turn aside from them unto their own inventions. “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” “Thou shalt worship no other God; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”— Exodus 34:14.

Q. 6. Wherein doth this zeal and jealousy of God for his own worship show itself?

A. The zeal or jealousy of God for his own worship doth show itself—

  1. In his accounting the breakers of this commandment those that hate him, and threatening to punish them unto the third and fourth generation: “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”
  2. In his esteeming the keepers of this commandment such as love him, and promising mercies unto thousands of them: ” Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

Q. 7. How can God in justice visit the iniquity of the fathers upon their children?

A.

  1. If children do not walk in the steps of the same sins with their parents, God doth not punish them for their sins. ” If he beget a son that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, lie shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.”— Ezekiel 18:14, 17.
  2. If God doth visit the iniquity of the fathers upon their children, it is when the children are guilty of the same iniquity, and so fill up the measure, and the punishment of them is most equal and righteous. “Are not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal ?”— Ezekiel 18:25.

Fisher’s Catechism on the Second Commandment

August 16, 2010

James Fisher, Ralph Erskine, and Ebenezer Erskine produced a meta-catechism, a catechism designed to explain and explicate the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It was originally released in 1753, though it was revised and ultimately released in the form below by James Fisher in 1765. As explained in the introduction, while these three men were involved, they were not alone in preparing the materials that ultimately were compiled into what has become known as “Fisher’s Catechism” (link to intro). Without further ado, here’s Fisher’s Catechism on the Second Commandment:

QUESTION 49. Which is the Second Commandment?

ANSWER: The Second Commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

QUESTION 50. What is required in the Second Commandment?

ANSWER: The Second Commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

Q. 1. What is the opinion of the Papists respecting this commandment?

A. They allege that it is not a distinct precept from the first, but only an appendix, or supplement to it, by way of illustration.

Q. 2. What is their practice, in consequence of this opinion?

A. They constantly leave it out in their mass books and other liturgies of their church, lest the people should observe the manifest contrariety of their image worship, to what is here so expressly forbidden.

Q. 3. In what then does the Second Commandment differ from the first?

A. The First Commandment respects the object, and requires that we worship the true God for our God, and no other: the second respects the means of worship, and requires that the true God be worshipped in such a way only, and by such ordinances as he has appointed in his word, in opposition to all human inventions.

Q. 4. What is meant by religious worship?

A. That homage and respect we owe to a gracious God, as a God of infinite perfection; by which we profess subjection to, and confidence in him, as our God in Christ, for the supply of all our wants; and ascribe the praise and glory that is due to him, as our chief good, and only happiness, Psalm 95:6, 7.

Q. 5. What are these religious ordinances, which God has appointed in his word?

A. They are “prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word, the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God; and vowing to him.”[59]

Q. 6. Is prayer a moral duty founded in the law of nature?

A. It certainly is; the necessary dependence of the rational creature upon its Creator, plainly proves it to be so. Hence we find the very Heathens practising it, when reduced to straits, Jonah 1:14.

Q. 7. How does it appear to be an instituted means of worship?

A. From a variety of scripture texts enjoining the practice of it, in all cases and circumstances, Psalm 50:15; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17.

Q. 8. What is acceptable prayer?

A. It is an asking in Christ’s name, what God has promised to give, John 14:13; with a full persuasion that he hears, and will answer, Mark 11:24; James 1:6.

Q. 9. How manifold is religious thanksgiving?

A. TWOFOLD; stated and occasional.

Q. 10. What is stated thanksgiving?

A. It is not only the thankful acknowledgment of mercies daily received, which is a branch of prayer; but likewise the singing the praises of God with the voice, which is a stated act of worship, distinct from prayer, though ejaculatory prayer ought always to be joined with it, Psalm 57:7.

Q. 11. How do you prove that singing with the voice is a stated act of worship appointed under the New Testament?

A. From the example of Christ and his apostles, who, after the first supper, sang a hymn, (or psalm, as on the margin,) Matt. 26:30; and from the injunction laid upon all Christians to be employed in this exercise, as a stated duty, Eph. 5:18, 19; James 5:13.

Q. 12. What should be the subject matter of our praises to God?[60]

A. The psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, which are dictated by the Spirit of God in scripture; and not any human composure whatever, Eph. 5:19.

Q. 13. In what manner should these be sung?

A. “With grace in our hearts to the Lord,” Col. 3:16.

Q. 14. What is it to sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord?

A. It is to have our hearts going along with our voice, in suitable acts of faith, and elevated affections, Psalm 57:7.

Q. 15. Are not the Psalms of David, as we sing them in our language, of human composure?

A. The translation in metre is human, but the sense and meaning are the same as the original.

Q. 16. What is occasional thanksgiving?

A. It is the setting some time apart for giving thanks to God, on account of some remarkable mercy and deliverance, respecting either churches and nations in general, Neh. 12:27; or ourselves and families in particular, Eph. 5:20.

Q. 17. How ought we to engage in this duty?

A. With an humble sense of our utter unworthiness of the least of all God’s favours, 2 Sam. 7:18.

Q. 18. Are reading, hearing, and preaching of the word, acts of worship?

A. Although they are not acts of such immediate worship as prayer and praise, in which God is immediately addressed; yet being the instituted and ordinary means of salvation, they ought to be practised and attended with that reverence and regard which is due to the great God our Saviour, who is present in them, Matt. 28:20; Acts 10:33.

Q. 19. How are the administration and receiving of the sacraments acts of worship?

A. As in them, by the sensible signs of divine appointment, Christ, and his benefits, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers, Gal. 3:26; 1 Cor. 11:26.

Q. 20. In what sense are church government and discipline to be ranked among the ordinances of divine worship?

A. In as far as they are exercised in the name of the Lord Jesus, the alone head of the church, according to the rule of his word, by church judicatories lawfully constituted, Matt. 18:20.

Q. 21. Why are the ministry and the maintenance of it placed among religious ordinances?

A. Because, as a standing ministry in the church, till the end of time, is of express divine institution, Eph. 4:11-13; so the suitable and comfortable maintenance of it, is as expressly appointed, not only in the Old Testament, Num. 18:21, 24; but likewise in the New, 1 Cor. 9:13, 14 — “Do ye not know, that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”

Q. 22. What is religious fasting?

A. “A religious fast requires total abstinence, not only from all food, (unless bodily weakness do manifestly disable from holding out, till the fast be ended,) but also from all worldly labour, discourses, and thoughts, and from all bodily delights.”[61] Josh. 7:6; Judges 20:26.

Q. 23. Is bodily fasting, or bare abstinence from food, any part of religious worship?

A. Not properly in itself; but as it is a mean of divine appointment, for fitting and disposing us for more spiritual and solemn exercises.

Q. 24. How does fasting appear to be a mean of divine appointment?

A. From the practice of the saints under the Old Testament, Esth. 4:16; Dan. 10:2, 3; from the testimony of Christ, Matt. 6:17, 18, and 17:21; and the example of his apostles under the New, Acts 13:3; and 14:23.

Q. 25. What are those spiritual and solemn exercises for which fasting is designed to dispose us?

A. Deep humiliation of soul before the Lord on account of sin, Ezra 9:6; free confession of it, Dan. 9:20, and turning from it, Joel 2:12, as the genuine fruits of our taking hold of God’s covenant, Jer. 50:4, 5; together with an importunate requesting of our gracious God, for that which is the particular occasion of the fast, Psalm 35:13.

Q. 26. Is religious fasting an occasional or a stated duty?

A. It is merely occasional and extraordinary, to be observed as the call of Providence may require and direct.

Q. 27. What are the occurrences in providence, which are a call to this extraordinary duty?

A. “When some great and notable judgments are either inflicted upon a people,” Dan. 9:3, 12-14, “or apparently imminent,” 2 Chron. 20:2-4; “or, by some extraordinary provocations notoriously deserved,” 1 Sam. 7:3, 6; “as also when some special blessing is to be sought and obtained,”[62] ver. 5, 8, 10.

Q. 28. Is swearing by the name of God an act of immediate and instituted worship?

A. It is undoubtedly: and that either when we devote ourselves to God in a covenant of duties, Deut. 6:13, or declare the truth upon oath, when called thereto: because, in both cases the name of God is solemnly interposed and invoked, Jer. 4:2.

Q. 29. To whom are vows to be made?

A. To God alone, as the only party and witness in the making and performing of them, Psalm 76:11 — “Vow and pay unto the LORD your GOD.”

Q. 30. What should be the subject matter of our vows to God?

A. Nothing except what may tend either to promote the practice of commanded duty, Psalm 119:57, or prevent the commission of any sin to which we are more ordinarily inclined and addicted, verse 106.

Q. 31. What does this commandment require, with respect to all those ordinances, and parts of worship, which God has appointed in his word?

A. The receiving and observing them; and keeping them pure and entire.

Q. 32. What is it to receive God’s ordinances?

A. It is to approve of, and embrace them, as bearing the stamp of his authority upon them, Psalm 84:1, 2.

Q. 33. What is it to observe them?

A. It is to set about the practice of them, or to be actually employed in them, Psalm 55:17, and 119:164; Luke 2:37.

Q. 34. What is it to keep the ordinances of God pure?

A. It is to contribute our utmost endeavour to preserve them from all mixture of human invention, Deut. 12:32.

Q. 35. What is it to keep them entire?

A. It is, in the exercise of faith, to attend upon each of them in its proper season, so as that one duty may not jostle out another, Luke 1:6.

Q. 36. What does God require of us in this command, with reference to all false worship?

A. He requires “the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship, Psalm 16:4; and according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry, Deut. 7:5.”[63]

QUESTION 51. What is forbidden in the Second Commandment?

ANSWER: The Second Commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.

Q. 1. What are the leading sins forbidden in this commandment?

A. Idolatry and will-worship.

Q. 2. What is the idolatry here condemned?

A. The worshipping of God by images: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,” &c.

Q. 3. What is an image?

A. It is a statue, picture, or likeness of any creature whatever.

Q. 4. Is it lawful to have images or pictures of mere creatures?

A. Yes, provided they be only for ornament; or the design be merely historical, to transmit the memory of persons and their actions to posterity.

Q. 5. Can any image or representation be made of God?

A. No; it is absolutely impossible; he being an infinite, incomprehensible Spirit, Isa. 40:18 — “To whom will ye liken God? or, what likeness will ye compare unto him?” If we cannot delineate our own souls, much less the infinite God; Acts 17:29 — “We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.”

Q. 6. What judgment should we form of those who have devised images of God, or of the persons of the adorable Trinity?

A. We should adjudge their practice to be both unlawful and abominable.

Q. 7. Why unlawful?

A. Because directly contrary to the express letter of the law in this commandment, and many other scriptures, such as, Jer. 10:14, 15; Hos. 13:2, and particularly Deut. 4:15-19, 23 — “Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, (for ye saw NO MANNER of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire,) lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,” &c.

Q. 8. How is it abominable?

A. As debasing the Creator of heaven and earth to the rank of his own creatures; and a practical denial of all his infinite perfections, Psalm 50:21.

Q. 9. May we not have a picture of Christ, who has a true body?

A. By no means; because, though he has a true body and a reasonable soul, John 1:14, yet his human nature subsists in his divine person, which no picture can represent, Psalm 45:2.

Q. 10. Why ought all pictures of Christ to be abominated by Christians?

A. Because they are downright lies, representing no more than the picture of a mere man: whereas, the true Christ is God-man; “Immanuel, God with us,” 1 Tim. 3:16; Matt. 1:23.

Q. 11. Is it lawful to form any inward representation of God, or of Christ, upon our fancy, bearing a resemblance to any creature whatever?

A. By no means; because this is the very inlet to gross outward idolatry: for, when once the Heathens “became vain in their imaginations, they presently changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things,” Rom. 1:21, 23.

Q. 12. What is it to worship God by images, according to the idolatrous practice of Papists?

A. It is either to make use of images, as pretended helps to devotion; or, to worship God before the images of saints, as intercessors with him.

Q. 13. Can any feigned image of God, or of Christ, be helpful in devotion?

A. No; it is the Spirit only who helpeth our infirmities in all acts of spiritual devotion, Rom. 8:26; and that faith which is necessary for acceptance in duty, fixes upon the word of the living God, as its sole foundation, and not upon dead images, Luke 16:31.

Q. 14. Will it excuse any from the charge of idolatry, that they pretend to worship the true God before images, or by them, as means of worship, and not the very images themselves?

A. Not at all; because this is a mean of worship expressly forbidden in this commandment, which prohibits all bowing down before images, upon whatever pretext it be — “Thou shalt not BOW DOWN thyself to them, nor serve them.”

Q. 15. Do they worship images who bow down before them, even though it be the true God they intend to worship by them?

A. In scripture reckoning they do; Isa. 2:8, 9 — “Their land is full of idols: they worship the work of their own hands. The mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself.”

Q. 16. Was it the ultimate intention of the Israelites in the wilderness to pay divine worship to the golden calf itself; or, to JEHOVAH, by it, and before it?

A. It was undoubtedly their ultimate intention to worship JEHOVAH, the true God, before that image; as appears from Ex. 32:5 — “When Aaron saw it, he built an altar BEFORE IT; — and said, “To-morrow is a feast to the Lord,” (or JEHOVAH, as it is in the original.) And yet, because they did this, so directly contrary to the very letter of this commandment, they are charged with worshipping the image itself, verse 8:– “They have made them a golden calf, and have worshipped IT,” &c.

Q. 17. Do not they who honour the picture of a prince, honour the prince himself?

A. If the prince forbid the making of his picture, it is a contempt of his authority to have it. God has strictly prohibited all images for religious purposes, and therefore it is impious to have or use them for these ends, Lev. 26:1, 30.

Q. 18. May images be worshipped at all, upon their own account?

A. No; because they are the work of man’s hands: far inferior in dignity to man himself, Isa. 45:9-18.

Q. 19. May they be worshipped on account of their ORIGINALS; or those whom they are designed to represent?

A. They may not; whether designed to represent God, or the saints.

Q. 20. Why may they not be worshipped as they are designed to represent God?

A. Because he never put his name in them; but declares his greatest hatred and detestation of them, Jer. 44:2-9.

Q. 21. Why may they not be worshipped as they are designed to represent eminent saints?

A. Because saints, however eminent, are only mere creatures; and therefore cannot be the objects of worship, either in themselves, or by their images, Acts 14:14, 15.

Q. 22. Can saints in heaven be intercessors for sinners on earth?

A. No; because intercession being founded on satisfaction, none but CHRIST can be the intercessor, as none but he is the propitiation for our sins, 1 John 2:1, 2.

Q. 23. Is it lawful, as some plead, to have images or pictures in churches, though not for worship, yet for instruction, and raising the affections?

A. No; because God has expressly prohibited not only the worshipping but the MAKING of any image whatever on a religious account; and the setting them up in churches, cannot but have a natural tendency to beget a sacred veneration for them; and therefore ought to be abstained from, as having at least an “appearance of evil,” Isa. 45:9-18. 1 Thess. 5:22.

Q. 24. May they not be placed in churches for beauty and ornament?

A. No; the proper ornament of churches is the sound preaching of the gospel, and the pure dispensation of the sacraments, and other ordinances of divine institution.

Q. 25. Were not the images of the cherubims placed in the tabernacle and temple, by the command of God himself?

A. Yes; but out of all hazard of any abuse, being placed in the holy of holies, where none of the people ever came: they were instituted by God himself, which images are not; and they belonged to the typical and ceremonial worship, which is now quite abolished.

Q. 26. Are our forefathers to be blamed for pulling down altars, images, and other monuments of idolatry, from places of public worship at the Reformation?

A. No; they had Scripture precept and warrant for what they did, Num. 33:52, and Deut. 7:5 — “Ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.”

Q. 27. What do you understand by will-worship, the other leading sin forbidden in this command?

A. It is the worshipping God in any other way not appointed in his word.

Q. 28. Should there be an express appointment in the word for every part of divine worship in which we engage?

A. Undoubtedly there should; otherwise we are guilty of innovating upon the worship of God, and prescribing rules to the Almighty, which is both displeasing to him, and unprofitable to ourselves, Matt. 15:9.

Q. 29. Who are they that are guilty of innovating upon the worship of God?

A. All they who presumptuously annex their own superstitious inventions to the divine institutions, under pretence of their being teaching significant ceremonies; as they of the Popish and Episcopal persuasions do.

Q. 30. What are these significant ceremonies which they add to the instituted ordinances of God’s worship?

A. The sign of the cross in baptism; kneeling at receiving the sacrament of the supper; erecting altars in churches; and bowing at the name of Jesus, are a few of many.

Q. 31. Why may not such ceremonies be used, when they are designed for exciting devotion, and beautifying the worship of God?

A. Because God has expressly forbidden the least addition to or abatement from the order and directions he himself has given in his word concerning his own worship, Deut. 12:30-32 — “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not ADD thereunto, nor DIMINISH from it.”

Q. 32. Were there not significant ceremonies in the Jewish worship, under the Old Testament?

A. Yes; but they were of express divine appointment; and by the same appointment abolished in the death and resurrection of Christ, Heb. 9:1-15.

Q. 33. May not significant ceremonies be founded on 1 Cor. 14:40 — “Let all things be done decently and in order?”

A. No; because that text speaks only of the decent and orderly observance of the ordinances of God already instituted, and not in the least of any thing new to be added as a part of worship.

Q. 34. Is reading of sermons or discourses from the pulpit an ordinance of God appointed in his word?

A. So far from it, that we find the contrary practised by our Lord while he was here upon earth, Luke 4:16, 23; where, after reading his text out of the prophet Esaias, it is said, he CLOSED the book, and “began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears,” &c.

Q. 35. How may we be further guilty of a breach of his commandment, than by idolatry and will-worship?

A. When we neglect, Heb. 10:25, contemn, Matt. 22:5, hinder, chap. 23:13, or oppose the worship and ordinances which God has appointed in his word, 1 Thess. 2:16; or tolerate those who publish and maintain erroneous opinions or practices, Rev. 2:14, 15, 20.

Q. 36. What is the doctrine of our Confession concerning the tolerating of those who publish and maintain erroneous opinions or practices?

A. That “for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation, or to the power of godliness, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church, and by the power of the civil magistrates.”[64]

[59] See Larger Catechism, Question 108.

[60] It is scarcely necessary to say that the Presbyterian Church in the United States, under the sanction of the General Assembly, celebrate the praises of God in hymns of human composure, expressing evangelical sentiments, and there are convincing arguments in favour of this practice and against the restricted one recommended in the following answer.

[61] Directory for the public worship of God, in the article, Concerning public solemn Fasting.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Larger Catechism, Question 108.

[64] See Confession of Faith, chapter 20 § 4, and the Scriptures there quoted.

Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms on the Second Commandment

August 15, 2010

From the Westminster Shorter Catechism

Q. 49. Which is the second commandment?
A. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.[126]

Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word.[127]

Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshiping of God by images,[128] or any other way not appointed in his Word.[129]

Q. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us,[130] his propriety in us,[131] and the zeal he hath to his own worship.[132]

[126] Exodus 20:4-6. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Deuteronomy 5:8-10. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

[127] Deuteronomy 12:32. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Matthew 28:20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

[128] Deuteronomy 4:15-19. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. Romans 1:22-23. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

[129] Leviticus 10:1-2. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Jeremiah 19:4-5. Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Colossians 2:18-23. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

[130] Psalm 95:2-3, 6-7. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods…. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Psalm 96:9-10. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

[131] Exodus 19:5. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: Psalm 45:11. So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. Isaiah 54:5. For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

[132] Exodus 34:14. For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 1 Corinthians 10:22. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?


From the Westminster Larger Catechism

Q. 107. Which is the second commandment?

A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.[517]

Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?

A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his Word;[518] particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ;[519] the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word;[520] the administration and receiving of the sacraments;[521] church government and discipline;[522] the ministry and maintainance thereof;[523] religious fasting;[524] swearing by the name of God;[525] and vowing unto him;[526] as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship;[527] and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.[528]

Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising,[529] counselling,[530] commanding,[531] using,[532] and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself;[533] tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever;[534] all worshipping of it,[535] or God in it or by it;[536] the making of any representation of feigned deities,[537] and all worship of them, or service belonging to them,[538] all superstitious devices,[539] corrupting the worship of God,[540] adding to it, or taking from it,[541] whether invented and taken up of ourselves,[542] or received by tradition from others,[543] though under the title of antiquity,[544] custom,[545] devotion,[546] good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever;[547] simony;[548] sacrilege;[549] all neglect,[550] contempt,[551] hindering,[552] and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.[553].

Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?

A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments;[554] are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us,[555] his fervent zeal for his own worship,[556] and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom;[557] accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations;[558] and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.[559].

[517] Exodus 20:4-6. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

[518] Deuteronomy 32:46-47. And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. Matthew 28:20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 1 Timothy 6:13-14. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[519] Philippians 4:6. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Ephesians 5:20. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[520] Deuteronomy 17:18-19. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them. Acts 15:21. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 2 Timothy 4:2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. James 1:21-22. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. Acts 10:33. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

[521] Matthew 28:19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 11:23-30. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

[522] Matthew 18:15-17. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Matthew 16:19. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 1 Corinthians 5 (entire). 1 Corinthians 12:28. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

[523] Ephesians 4:11-12. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 1 Timothy 5:17-18. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. 1 Corinthians 9:7-15. Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

[524] Joel 2:12, 18. Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning…. Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 1 Corinthians 7:5. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

[525] Deuteronomy 6:13. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

[526] Psalm 76:11. Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.

[527] Acts 17:16-17. Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Psalm 16:4. Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

[528] Deuteronomy 7:5. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. Isaiah 30:22. Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.

[529] Numbers 15:39. And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring.

[530] Deuteronomy 13:6-8. If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him.

[531] Hosea 5:11. Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment. Micah 6:16. For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall bear the reproach of my people.

[532] 1 Kings 11:33. Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. 1 Kings 12:33. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

[533] Deuteronomy 12:30-32. Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

[534] Deuteronomy 4:15-19. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. Acts 17:29. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. Romans 1:21-23, 25. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things…. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

[535] Daniel 3:18. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Galatians 4:8. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

[536] Exodus 32:5. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.

[537] Exodus 32:8. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

[538] 1 Kings 18:26, 28. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made…. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. Isaiah 65:11. But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.

[539] Acts 17:22. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. Colossians 2:21-23 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

[540] Malachi 1:7-8, 14. Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts….But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.

[541] Deuteronomy 4:2. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

[542] Psalm 106:39. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.

[543] Matthew 15:9. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

[544] 1 Peter 1:18. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.

[545] Jeremiah 44:17. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

[546] Isaiah 65:3-5. A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. Galatians 1:13-14. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

[547] 1 Samuel 13:11-12. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. 1 Samuel 15:21. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.

[548] Acts 8:18. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money.

[549] Romans 2:22. Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Malachi 3:8. Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

[550] Exodus 4:24-26. And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

[551] Matthew 22:5. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise. Malachi 1:7, 13. Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible…. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.

[552] Matthew 23:13. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

[553] Acts 13:44-45. And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16. Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

[554] Exodus 20:5-6. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

[555] Psalm 45:11. So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. Revelation 15:3-4. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

[556] Exodus 34:13-14. But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

[557] 1 Corinthians 10:20-22. But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? Deuteronomy 32:16-20. They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.

[558] Hosea 2:2-4. Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.

[559] Deuteronomy 5:29. O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

Piper Answers WSC #1

August 26, 2008

In the following video, Piper both in effect answers the first question to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and also reminds us that Missions is a means to an end, not an end in itself:

May God bring in a rich harvest of worshipers,

-TurretinFan

Justification – Part III

July 28, 2008

We now continue our consideration of Justification by examining some of the Reformed catechisms and their discussion on justification. Part I of this series (link) dealt with some of the major Reformed creedal statements, and Part II of this series (link) addressed the Helvetic Consensus. I have omitted many catechisms that could be added, which would mostly repeat (with minor variation) one or more of the following (especially the Catechism for Young Children and the Westminster Shorter Catechism).

Catechism for Young Children
Q. 50. What is justification?
A. It is God’s forgiving sinners, and treating them as if they had never sinned.

Catechism of the Church of Geneva
M. As we understand the foundation on which faith ought to rest, it will be easy to extract from it a true definition of faith.

S. It will. It may be defined — a sure and steadfast knowledge of the paternal goodwill of God toward us, as he declares in the gospel that for the sake of Christ he will be our Father and Savior.

M. Do we conceive faith of ourselves, or do we receive it from God

S. Scripture teaches that it is the special gift of God, and this experience confirms.

M. What experience do you mean?

S. Our mind is too rude to be able to comprehend the spiritual wisdom of God which is revealed to us by faith, and our hearts are too prone; either to diffidence or to a perverse confidence in ourselves or creatures, to rest in God of their own accord. But the Holy Spirit by his illumination makes us capable of understanding those things which would otherwise far exceed our capacity, and forms us to a firm persuasion, by sealing the promises of salvation on our hearts.

M. What good accrues to us from this faith, when we have once obtained it?

S. It justifies us before God, and this justification makes us the heirs of everlasting life.

M. What! are not men justified by good works when they study to approve themselves to God, by living innocently and holily?

S. Could any one be found so perfect, he might justly be deemed righteous, but as we are all sinners, guilty before God in many ways, we must seek elsewhere for a worthiness which may reconcile us to him.

M. But are all the works of men so vile and valueless that they cannot merit favor with God?

S. First, all the works which proceed from us, so as properly to be called our own, are vicious, and therefore they can do nothing but displease God, and be rejected by him.

M. You say then that before we are born again and formed anew by the Spirit of God, we can do nothing but sin, just as a bad tree can only produce bad fruit? (Matthew 7:18.)

S. Altogether so. For whatever semblance works may have in the eyes of men:. they are nevertheless evil, as long as the heart to which God chiefly looks is depraved.

M. Hence you conclude, that we cannot by any merits anticipate God or call forth his beneficence; or rather that all the works which we try or engage in, subject us to his anger and condemnation?

S. I understand so; and therefore mere mercy, without any respect to works, (Titus 3:5,) embraces and accepts us freely in Christ, by attributing his righteousness to us as if it were our own, and not imputing our sins to us.

M. In what way, then, do you say that we are justified by faith?

S. Because, while we embrace the promises of the gospel with sure heartfelt confidence, we in a manner obtain possession of the righteousness of which I speak.

M. This then is your meaning — that as righteousness is offered to us by the gospel, so we receive it by faith?

S. It is so.

M. But after we have once been embraced by God, are not the works which we do under the direction of his Holy Spirit accepted by him?

S. They please him, not however in virtue of their own worthiness, but as he liberally honors them with his favor.

M. But seeing they proceed from the Holy Spirit, do they not merit favor?

S. They are always mixed up with some defilement from the weakness of the flesh, and thereby vitiated.

M. Whence then or how can it be that they please God?

S. It is faith alone which procures favor for them, as we rest with assured confidence on this — that God wills not to try them by his strict rule, but covering their defects and impurities as buried in the purity of Christ, he regards them in the same light as if they’ were absolutely perfect.

M. But can we infer from this that a Christian man is justified by works after he has been called by God, or that by the merit of works he makes himself loved by God, whose love is eternal life to us?

S. By no means. We rather hold what is written — that no man can be justified in his sight, and we therefore pray, “Enter not into judgment with us.” (Psalm 143:2)

M. We are not therefore to think that the good works of believers are useless?

S. Certainly not. For not in vain does God promise them reward both in this life and in the future. But this reward springs from the free love of God as its source; for he first embraces us as sons, and then burying the remembrance of the vices which proceed from us, he visits us with his favor.

M. But can this righteousness be separated from good works, so that he who has it; may be void of them?

S. That cannot be. For when by faith we receive Christ as he is offered to us, he not only promises :us deliverance from death and reconciliation with God, but also the gift of the Holy Spirit, by which we are regenerated to newness of life; these things midst necessarily be conjoined so as not to divide ,Christ from himself.

M. Hence it follows that; faith is the root from which all good works spring, so far is it from taking us off from the study of them?

S. So indeed it is; and hence the whole doctrine of the gospel is comprehended! under the two branches, faith and repentance.

James Boyce’s Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine
1. What is Justification?

It is an act of God, by which He fully acquits us of all sin.

2. Is it based upon any works of our own?

It is not; by our own works we could never secure it.

3. Is it not, however, intimately connected with some act of ours?

Yes, with the exercise of faith.

4. Is it due to our faith in Christ?

It is not; that faith becomes the instrument only, not the cause of our justification.

5. To what, then, is it due?

Simply to the merits and sufferings of Christ, which are accounted by God as ours.

6. What do the Scriptures mean when they say that we are justified by faith?

In part, they are teaching that our justification is not by works.

7. What else do they mean?

They also speak thus, because in the act of faith the believer takes hold of the meritorious work of Christ, which is the ‘true ground of justification.

8. Why does the Apostle James say that we are justified by works and not by faith only?

He refers to the fact that every one that has true faith also performs good works.

A Catechism of Bible Teaching (1892)
1. What is meant in the Bible by justification?
A. God justifies a sinner in treating him as just, for Christ’s sake.

2. Can any person be justified by his own works
A. By works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Rom. 3:20)

3. How are we justified by path?
A. Believing in Christ our Savior, we ask and receive justification for His sake alone. (Rom. 3:24; 5:1)

4. Has this faith that justifies any connection with our works?
A. The faith that justifies will be sure to produce good works. (Gal. 5:6; James 2:17)

5. What is meant by sanctification
A. To sanctify is to make holy in heart and life.

6. What connection is there between sanctification and regeneration?
A. The new birth is the beginning of a new and holy life.

7. Is justification complete at once?
A. Yes, the moment a sinner really believes in Christ he is completely justified.

8. Is sanctification complete at once?
A. No, sanctification is gradual, and ought to go on increasing to the end of the earthly life. (Phil. 3:13; 14)

9. Is it certain that a true believer in Christ will be finally saved?
A. Yes, God will preserve a true believer in Christ to the end. (John 10:28; Phil. 1:6)

10. What is the sure proof of being a true believer?
A. The only sure proof of being a true believer is growing in holiness and in usefulness, even to the end. (2 Pet. 1:10)

11. To what will justification and sanctification lead at last?
A. Justification and sanctification will lead at last to glorification in heaven. (Rom. 5:2; 8:30; Matt. 25:21)

Q. A. How can it be right for God to treat a believing sinner as just, when he has only began a holy life?
A. God treats a believing sinner as just for Christ’s sake, and God will be sure to make him completely holy in the end. (Rom. 3:26)

Q. B. Does faith in Christ procure justification by deserving it?
A. No, faith does not deserve justification; it only brings us into union with Christ, for whose sake we are justified. (Rom. 8:1)

Compend of Christian Doctrines Held by Baptists
Q. (26) What is justification?
A. Pardoning the believer and accepting him as righteous through the name and righteousness of Christ. Rom. iii: 24 and v: 1; Gal. ii: 16; 1 Cor. v: 11; Tit. iii: 7.

Philadelphia Baptist Catechism
Q. 98. What immediately follows when we believe the Gospel?
A. Justification
Scr. “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law — Romans 3:28 See also Romans 5:1

Q. 99. What does it mean to be justified?
A. To be justified is to be counted just, or righteous, before God.
Scr. “To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.” — Romans 3:26

Q. 100. How can sinful men be counted just before God?
A. Only when he appears before God in the righteousness of Christ
Scr. “not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith :“ — Philippians 3:9 See also Roman5 3:25; 5:17

Q. 101. Is this righteousn~55 of Christ poured into the saints so that they become Personally righteous before God?
A. No, for if they were Personally righteous they would not live by faith.
Scr. “The just shall live by faith.” — Galatians 3:11 See also Philippians 3:9; Galatians 5:5; Romans 4:5-8

Q. 102. Then how can a man ever be Clothed with the righteousne55 of Christ?
A. Christ Jesus took our nature that He might live and die for His people, and be able to present them before God clothed in His righteousness
Scr. “And again, Behold I and the children which God has given Me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. — Hebrews 2:13, 14 See also verse17; Romans 4:25; 1 Peter 2:24

Q. 103. How does God justify the elect by the righteousness of Christ?
A. By crediting them with the righteousnc55 of Christ’s life while Lie was on earth.
Scr. “For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” — 2 Corinthians 5:21 See also Romans 4:22-25; 8:1, 2, 4; 5:21

Q. 104. When is a man actually justified?
A. Immediately when he has believed in Christ.
Scr. “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other:” — Luke 18:14

Q. 105. What is the instrument by which we receive justification?
A. Faith
Scr. “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law Romans 3:28

Q. 106. If a man is once justified before God, can he ever be counted unrighteous again?
A. No, because God accepts the righteousness of Christ for ever.
Scr. “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” — Romans 8:30 See also verses 33, 34

Q. 107. Can a man justify his sin because he is eternally justified before God.
A. No, in no way, but he must humble himself, confess his sin, repent, and renew his faith.
Scr. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all urighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His ward is not in us.” — 1 John 1:8-10 See also Romans 6:1, 2; Psalm 32:5

Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 33. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace,[91] wherein he pardoneth all our sins,[92] and accepteth us as righteous in His sight,[93] only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us,[94] and received by faith alone.[95]

[91] Romans 3:24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

[92] Romans 4:6-8. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 2 Corinthians 5:19. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

[93] 2 Corinthians 5:21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

[94] Romans 4:6, 11. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works…. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: Romans 5:19. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

[95] Galatians 2:16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Philippians 3:9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

Westminster Larger Catechism
Q. 70. What is justification?

A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners,[286] in which he pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight;[287] not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them,[288] but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them,[289] and received by faith alone.[290]

Q. 71. How is justification an act of God’s free grace?

A. Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified;[291] yet in as much as God accepteth the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son,[292] imputing his righteousness to them,[293] and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith,[294] which also is his gift,[295] their justification is to them of free grace.[296]

Q. 72. What is justifying faith?

A. Justifying faith is a saving grace,[297] wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit[298] and Word of God,[299] whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition,[300] not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel,[301] but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin,[302] and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.[303]

Q. 73. How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?

A. Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it,[304] nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification;[305] but only as it is an instrument by which he receiveth and applieth Christ and his righteousness.[306]

[287] 2 Corinthians 5:19, 21. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation…. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Romans 3:22, 24-25, 27-28. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference…. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God…. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

[288] Titus 3:5, 7. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost…. That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Ephesians 1:7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

[289] Romans 5:17-19. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Romans 4:6-8. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

[290] Acts 10:43. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. Galatians 2:16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Philippians 3:9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

[291] Romans 5:8-10, 19. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life…. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

[292] 1 Timothy 2:5-6. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Hebrews 10:10. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Matthew 20:28. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Daniel 9:24, 26. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy…. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. Isaiah 53:4-6, 10-12. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all…. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Hebrews 7:22. By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. Romans 8:32. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 1 Peter 1:18-19. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

[293] 2 Corinthians 5:21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

[294] Romans 3:24-25. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

[295] Ephesians 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

[296] Ephesians 1:17. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.

[297] Hebrews 10:39. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

[298] 2 Corinthians 4:13. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak. Ephesians 1:17-19. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.

[299] Romans 10:14-17. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

[300] Acts 2:37. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Acts 16:30. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? John 16:8-9. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me. Romans 6:6. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Ephesians 2:1. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

[301] Ephesians 1:13. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.

[302] John 1:12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Acts 16:31. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 10:43. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

[303] Philippians 3:9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Acts 15:11. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

[304] Galatians 3:11. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. Romans 3:28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

[305] Romans 4:5. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 10:10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

[306] John 1:12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Philippians 3:9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Galatians 1:16. To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.

-TurretinFan

The real Turretin on: the Misery of that Estate whereunto man Fell

February 17, 2008

Standing Solus Christus has kindly transcribed a very brief (three paragraphs or so) portion of the real Turretin’s thoughts on the misery of fallen man (link). Those who have been catechized in the Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) will recall the important difference between the sinfulness and misery of fallen man.


%d bloggers like this: