Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church


Rev. Angus Stewart


Lord’s Day, 1 April, 2007


"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout

all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Thy Will Be Done

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 49; Prov. 15:8-16:9

I. Our Prayers and God’s Commands

II. Our Prayers and God’s Promises

III. Our Prayers and God’s Decree

Psalms: 111:1-6; 80:1-6; 119:33-40; 103:17-22


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

With Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (3)

Christ’s Failing Fellow Watchers

Luke 22:39-46

I. The Sin

II. The Rebuke

III. The Calling

Psalms: 113:1-9; 80:7-12; 142:1-7; 25:15-22

CPRC website:


Quotes to Consider:

F. W. Krummacher: "While in paradise the first Adam reposed in the lap of divine love, and, like a child at home, held peaceful converse with Jehovah and His holy angels, we see, in the garden of Gethsemane, the second Adam sinking in agony to the ground, under the oppressive burden of guilt, languishing, forsaken, and horrified in the company of dark and infernal spirits."

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The second offering taken this morning will be for the building fund.

A new C. R. News is on the back table.

Catechism: Monday, 5:00 PM at the Murrays, 6:30 PM with the Campbells (test!). Thursday, 7:00 PM at the Hamills.

The Council will hold their monthly meeting on Monday, 7:30 PM at the manse

Our Mid-Week Bible Study will be held Wednesday, at 7:45 PM at the manse. We will study I Thessalonians 2:16ff. on rejoicing in our fellow church members.

Membership Class: Friday, 7:30 PM at the Hallidays.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day, 8 April (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "I Am He That Liveth and Am Alive Forevermore" (Rev. 1:17-18).

Last Week’s Offerings: General Fund - £571.61. Donation: £3.50 (books).

CPRC Website: Additions to the "Languages" page include: 1 Tagalog/Filipino translation ("TULIP" by Prof. Gritters); 1 Russian translation (Rev. Hanko’s "One Covenant" [C. R. News, II:15]); 2 Italian translations (including Prof. Engelsma’s pamphlet "The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers"), and 9 Portuguese translation (including 2 pieces by Brian Crossett on baptism and Prof. Hanko’s article on Esther in the March C. R. News).

Advanced Notices: (1) Lecture in S. Wales, "A Plea for Creeds," Friday, 20 April (2) Lecture on "Homosexuality: What Does the Bible Teach?" Friday, 11 May, 8 PM, Ballymena Protestant Hall (3) The CPRC plans to have a stall at the agricultural shows in Ballymena on Sat. 26 May, and in Antrim on Sat. 28 July (4) Reformation Day Lecture, 7:30 PM, Friday, 26 October, Portadown Minor Town Hall

Rev. Stewart plans to preach and give reports of the work of the CPRC while in the U.S. this summer. His preaching schedule in the U.S. is as follows: 22 July - AM in Hudsonville, MI, and PM in South Holland, IL 29 July & 5 August - AM & PM in Redlands, CA 12 August - AM in Faith, MI, and PM in Georgetown, MI.

This is a continuation of the 9th e-mail from Prof. Engelsma on justification which was printed on the back of the bulletin 2 weeks ago.

But the confessions do not allow the truth of the "mystical union" to abolish imputation, as do the New Perspective on Paul (NPP) and the Federal Vision (FV).

For the Reformed faith, spiritual union with Christ by the individual child of God and by the church is founded on the cross as the imputation to Christ of the guilt of sin of all His elect. Apart from the cross as imputation there may be no union of anybody with Christ, which is the highest good and salvation itself. And the conscious enjoyment of union with Christ by the believer is grounded in the imputation to him of the righteousness of Christ. Apart from justification as imputation, there can be no experience of union with Christ, for all are and know themselves to be guilty before God.

One more evil aspect of the teaching of the NPP and FV concerning being righteous by union with Christ, apart from imputation, must be noted. According to the NPP and the FV, being righteous with God (which, in fact, is not a very important matter to them) is a mixture of forgiveness and the ability to live a righteous life. Thus, one’s righteousness with God consists in part of his own good works.

Justification is not a matter of being united to Christ spiritually, so that one receives the life of Christ as a branch receives the sap of the vine, although the believer is certainly united to Christ and although justification occurs only with regard to one who is united to Christ (no one is able to believe in Christ who is not united to Him).

But justification is imputation, a legal reckoning by God "in the heavenly accounting books," as in the consciousness of the one to whom sin or righteousness is imputed. God imputed Adam’s disobedience in the garden regarding the tree to every one of his descendants. This is the teaching of the apostle in Romans 5:12-21, particularly verse 19: "For as by one man’s disobedience many were constituted sinners" (my translation of the Greek).

God reckoned the sin of the elect church to Christ, throughout His life, but especially on the cross. This is Isaiah 53’s doctrine of the suffering of Christ (particularly vv. 4-6, 11-12). This is the teaching of Mark’s gospel, in connection with Jesus’ being crucified with evildoers: "He was numbered with the transgressors" (v. 28).

Imputation is the official, binding doctrine of the Reformed creeds. The Canons of Dordt explain the death of Christ as His suffering God’s punishment of our sins and thus making "satisfaction to divine justice on our behalf" (Canons, II:1-2). This is imputation of our guilt to Christ.

The confessions are explicit in explaining justification as the imputation of Christ’s obedience to us, that is, the act of a legal reckoning to our account of the perfect obedience of Christ. I demonstrated this in earlier communications and will content myself with one quotation only. In justification, "God . . . imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ" (Heid. Cat., Q. & A. 60).

A sound Reformed theology and gospel of the covenant will certainly proclaim that salvation is union with Christ, union with Christ as the highest good and the most delightful bliss.

But not at the expense, or to the exclusion, of imputation, particularly justification as imputation. The living, spiritual reality of salvation does not rule out the legal aspect of salvation. It rather magnifies the legal aspect. The church as the bride of Christ lives with Him in the intimacy of the real marriage, because He "gave himself for it" in the cross that was the imputation to Him of the church’s sins (Eph. 5:22ff.). In His communion with the elect believer, Christ graciously justifies the believer by imputing His own righteousness to the believer. And the believer lives, and can only live, in fellowship with Christ by the daily forgiveness of sins, which is God’s act of not imputing to the poor sinner his transgressions and depravity of nature (Heid. Cat., Q. & A. 126, explaining the fifth petition of the model prayer). By implication, daily forgiveness is God’s act of imputing to the poor sinner the obedience of Christ.

Justification is imputation—the act of legal reckoning.

It is not infusion of Christ’s righteousness, not even thought this heretical teaching tries to come into Reformed churches by appeal to the covenant as union with Christ.

The second matter I intended to treat, but will now postpone to next time, concerns the question, whether the righteousness of Christ imputed to the believer is only Christ’s suffering and death, or also His lifelong obedience to the law of God—the matter of Christ’s "active," as well as "passive," obedience.

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma