Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 26
after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep
of thy mouth" (Ps. 119:88)
Morning Service -
The Two Mountains (2)
Mount Sion [download]
I. What It is to Come to
II. The Reality to Which We
Psalms: 46:1-7; 24:1-5;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
What is True Faith? [download]
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s
Day 7; II Timothy 1:12
I. The Knowledge of Faith
II. The Assurance of Faith
III. The Object of Faith
Psalms: 122:1-9; 24:6-10;
Contact Sean Courtney
(email@example.com) for CDs of the sermons and
DVDs of the worship services.
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
Quote to Consider:
John Owen: "But to know the true reason why the
apostle calls the state of believers under the new testament by the name
of Sion, we may consider some of the things that are spoken of Sion in
the Scripture. And I shall instance in a few only, because they are
multiplied throughout the whole Book of God; as, (1) It is the place of
God’s habitation, where he dwells for ever, Ps. 9:11; 76:2; Joel
3:21, etc. (2) It is the seat of the throne, reign, and kingdom of
Christ, Ps. 2:6; Isa. 24:23; Micah 4:7. (3) It is the object of
divine promises innumerable, Ps. 69:35; Isa. 1:27; of Christ
himself, Isa. 59:20. (4) Thence did the gospel proceed, and the
law of Christ come forth, Isa. 40:9; Micah 4:2. (5) It was the object
of God’s especial love, and the place of the birth of the elect, Ps.
87:2, 5. (6) The joy of the whole earth, Ps. 48:21. (7)
Salvation, and all blessings came forth out of Sion, Ps. 14:7;
110:2; 128:5; with sundry other things alike glorious" (Hebrews,
vol. 7, p. 331).
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
The April issue of the
Covenant Reformed News is on the back table today.
Catechism: Tuesday, 7:00 PM - Hamills
Midweek Bible Study meets on Wednesday, 7:45 PM
at the manse. We will consider I Peter 2:18-25 on submission to one’s
employer and Christ’s sufferings. This will be our last meeting of the
Nuno & Alina Pinheiro from Portugal arrive this
Thursday and will be with us until Monday, 4 May. Everyone is invited to
the manse this Friday, 1 May, at 6:30 PM or as soon as you can make it
thereafter, for a barbecue and fellowship with the Pinheiros. Please
tell the Stewarts today if you plan to come.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "Strengthen Each Others
Hand in God" (I Sam. 23:16-18).
Family visitation will be done in the month of
Thurs., 7 May, 7:15 PM - Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation (II)
Saturday, 30 May, 7:30 PM - Calvin’s Doctrine of Justification
Town Hall, Fri., 12 June, 8:15 PM - Calvin vs. Darwin
Fri., 19 June, 7:30 PM - Calvin vs. Darwin
Fri., 10 July, 8 PM - Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation (I)
Fri., 17 July, 8 PM - Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation (II)
Offerings: General Fund - £425.20. Donations:
£50 (CR News), £23 (books), £12 (Limerick).
Website Additions: 1 Irish ("Free
Will: Does Salvation Depend on a Person’s Choice?") and 3 Italian
translations were added.
This is part 1 of the 32nd e-mail by Prof. Engelsma on
Dear European Forum,
In the previous instalment in this study of
justification in light of the present-day apostasy in reputedly
conservative Reformed and Presbyterian churches, I traced the basis of
justification to the covenant headship of Christ. Christ obeyed and died
in our stead as our substitute before God the judge. He could be our
substitute because God appointed Him our covenant head in the covenant
of grace in the eternal decree, as God had also appointed and created
Adam as head of the human race in the covenant of creation. This is the
clear teaching of Romans 5:12ff.: as by Adam, condemnation, so by
Basic to the Reformation and biblical doctrine of
justification by faith alone, therefore, is the truth of the headship of
Christ in the covenant of grace. If Christ is not head in and of the
covenant of grace, He may not die as the substitute and representative
of others. And if He may not die as substitute and representative of
others, there is no basis in His cross for the justifying verdict of God
in the gospel.
An integral and important aspect of Christ’s headship
of the covenant of grace is that the covenant of grace is made by God
with the elect church, and with the elect church only. God establishes
His covenant with Christ as the head and, necessarily, with those who
are in Christ by election, and with them only. Only if Christ is not the
head in the covenant of grace can the covenant be made by God with
others than the elect.
That God establishes His covenant of grace with
Christ as the head and, in Him, with the elect body and bride of Christ,
and them only, is the teaching of Scripture and the confessions. As we
have seen, this is the teaching of Romans 5:12ff., even though the word
"covenant" does not occur in the chapter. Adam and Christ are set forth
as legal representatives of the human race, so that their disobedience
and obedience respectively are reckoned, or imputed, or accounted to the
race they represent. Adam was the legal representative of the entire
human race that descended from him physically, Christ only excepted
(since He is a divine, not a human, person); Christ is the
representative of the new human race of the elect out of all nations and
"Legal representative" of the race with regard to
condemnation and death, on the one hand, and with regard to
justification and life, on the other hand, consists of, indeed is,
covenant headship. Romans 5:12ff. teaches the "federal headship" of Adam
and the "federal headship" of Christ. And "federal," deriving from the
Latin "foedus," means "covenant." The passage teaches that as Adam was
the covenant head of the covenant of creation (more commonly, but
erroneously, known as the "covenant of works"), so Christ is the head of
the covenant of grace.
Also I Corinthians 15:21-22 teaches the headship of
Christ in the covenant of grace, analogous to the headship of Adam. "For
since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." The
dying of all men without exception is due to their relation to Adam. Men
do not die on their own; they die in Adam. Since death is the divine
punishment of the guilty sinner, not merely a natural phenomenon, men
die because Adam rendered them all guilty before God. Adam did, and
could only do, this inasmuch as he was their "federal head."
So it is with the "all" who shall be made alive.
Their living does not happen because of them themselves. It is entirely
due to their being "in Christ." Since life (which here, in the great
chapter on bodily resurrection, is the heavenly, immortal, everlasting
life of the risen Christ) must be merited for these sinners, who deserve
the opposite of it, Christ must have rendered the "all" who shall be
made alive righteous before God. He did this as their covenant head.
Galatians 3:16, 29 teaches that Christ is head of the
covenant of grace. With regard to the covenant promise God made to
Abraham in Genesis 17:7 and other places, the apostle says in verse 16
that "to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And
to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."
The "seed" of Abraham to whom the promise of the covenant was made and
with whom, therefore, the covenant of grace was established was Jesus
Christ. The "seed" was not all the physical children of Abraham, just as
the word used in Genesis 17:7 is not the plural, "seeds," but the
singular, "seed." The covenant promise was not directed to "many," but
to "one." This one is Christ. To Him was the covenant promise made.
Galatians 3:19 reaffirms this: "till the seed should come to whom the
promise was made." Thus, the covenant was established with Him, inasmuch
as God had appointed Him head of the covenant.
Verse 29 indicates that the "Christ," to whom the
covenant promise was made and with whom the covenant of grace is
established, includes all those men and women who are "Christ’s." These
are those, but those only, who believe (vv. 22, 26). Elsewhere Scripture
teaches that faith is the gift of God to the elect (Acts 13:48). The
full reality of the "Christ" with whom the covenant of grace is
established, therefore, is Jesus Himself and all the elect, whom the
Father has given Him in eternity to be His own (see John 6:37, 39;
17:1ff.). The head is never without the body and all its members.
Scripture’s teaching that Christ is head of the
covenant of grace is made confessional for Reformed and Presbyterian
Christians in our creeds.
The headship of Christ in, of, and over the covenant
of grace is implied wherever the creeds teach the accomplishment of the
salvation of the elect believer by the work of Christ as our legal
representative and substitute, regardless that the word "covenant" is
not used. Only one who is "federal, " that is, covenant head, may redeem
others, even as only one who was federal head could have rendered the
race guilty and therefore plunged them into death.
But I limit myself to passages in the creeds that
explicitly teach that Christ is head of the covenant of grace.
Even though the Canons of Dordt do not
emphasize, or develop, the truth of the covenant, they teach that Christ
was the head of the covenant. They teach this at the critically
important place: the main article on the death of Christ as limited,
effectual atonement. "For this was the sovereign counsel and most
gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and
saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to
all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying
faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation; that is, it was
the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby He
confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every
people, tribe, nation, and language all those, and those only, who were
from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father; that
He should confer upon them faith, which, together with all the other
saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, He purchased for them by His death ..."
The article does not only teach that Christ died for
the elect and for them only. But it also teaches that Christ’s death for
the elect, and for them only, was Christ’s confirmation on their behalf
of the "new covenant," the covenant of grace. Christ’s death was a
covenant death. It was the death of the covenant head on behalf of the
covenant people, identified by the article as the elect, "and those
only." No doubt, the Canons have their eye on Daniel 9:27, where
the great Messianic prophecy of the "seventy weeks" affirms that
"Messiah the Prince" will "confirm the covenant."
to be continued ...