Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 5 December, 2010


"One generation shall praise thy works to another,

and shall declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Christian Discipleship (6)

The Salt That Lost Its Savour   [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 6:1-12; 10:19-34

Text: Luke 14:34-35

I. The Meaning

II. The Warning

III. The Exhortation

Psalms: 111:1-6; 81:1-8; 78:5-11; 94:5-13


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

The Believer’s Only Comfort   [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: I Corinthians 6

Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1

I. I Am Not My Own!

II. I Belong to Christ!

Psalms: 63:1-8; 81:9-16; 25:1-7; 23:1-6


Contact Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services.


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quotes to Consider

Heinrich Bullinger (Swiss Reformer) on the Heidelberg Catechism: "I have read with great eagerness the Catechism that was produced with the encouragement of the eminent Elector Frederick III of the Palatinate, and while reading it I sincerely thanked God, who initiated and prospered this work. The structure of this book is clear, its content pure truth; everything is very easy to follow, devout and effective. In succinct conciseness it contains the fullness of the most important doctrines. I consider it to be the best catechism that has ever been published. Thanks be to God! May He crown it with His blessing" (The Church’s Book of Comfort, p. 252).

Martin Luther: "Let us act with humility, cast ourselves at one another’s feet, join hands with each other, and help one another. For here we battle not against pope or emperor, but against the devil, and do you imagine that he is asleep?"

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

On the back table are new Standard Bearers, the December Covenant Reformed News, and a Reformed Perspectives on "Behold He Cometh" (1).

The second offering this morning is for our building fund.

The council received and granted a request from Cherith Carmichael to have her two sons, Taylor and Joshua, baptized. Baptism is scheduled for next Lord’s Day morning, 12 December, weather permitting.

Next Lord’s Day evening, we will have preparatory with a view to celebrating the Lord’s Supper on 19 December.

Catechism classes:

Monday, 6:00 PM - Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex

Monday, 6:45 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea

Tuesday, 12:15 AM - Beginners NT Class

Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM. We will study II Thess. 2:3f. on "the man of sin."

Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We will continue our study of Article 7 on the sufficiency of Scripture.

Membership class: Thursday, 8 PM on Canons of Dordt III/IV:10f.

Ladies Discussion Group will meet this Friday, 10 December, at 11 AM to discuss "Teaching Our Children to Pray."

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Blessing Upon Ruth’s Seed" (Ruth 4:11-12) by Rev. Bruinsma.

Please reserve Friday, 14 January, for our annual congregational dinner.

Offerings: General Fund - £494.40.

PRC News: Edgerton PRC called Rev. Spronk (Peace, IL).

This is part 2 of Prof. Engelsma’s 43rd e-mail on justification:

It belongs to this consciousness of his election that the justified sinner realizes that his justification is due to electing love that was (and is) particular and discriminating. The election that is the eternal source of the faith and justification of some sovereignly rejects the others, appointing them to perish in their unbelief and other sins, unforgiven and unrighteous. This illumines to the justified sinner the sheer grace of the election that accounts for his faith and righteousness, humbles him and increases his gratitude to the electing God.

No confessing Christian can avoid this aspect of the relation of justification and election, although many try to do so. If, in fact, justification depends solely upon election, if election is the source of justification, if the explanation of the forgiveness of some sinners is God’s election of them, then that some humans do not believe and are not justified proceeds from God’s counsel. God has not elected them, but reprobated them. God has decided that He will not give them faith and, by that faith, the righteousness of Christ. This is the reality—the "awesome" reality, as Calvin expressed it—of eternal reprobation.

The only possible way to deny eternal reprobation is by affirming that faith lies within the ability of every sinner and that justification does depend upon something in the sinner himself who is forgiven, whether his work of believing or his other works. Denial of reprobation necessarily implies a teaching of justification by works.

A second way in which justification is related to election is that justification magnifies the grace of election. God Himself has bound justification to election in such a way that election is the source of justification in order that the true church in preaching justification and the believer in experiencing justification will declare, proclaim, extol and defend eternal election.

God wills that the church do more than faithfully proclaim justification by faith alone. God wills that forgiven sinners do more than praise His justifying grace. God wills that church and believer do more than glory in the cross of Christ, which is the basis of justification, important as this is. God wills that church and justified believer know, confess and magnify His election as the fountain of faith, justification and cross.

God did not stop the inspiration of Romans after chapter 5, or even after chapter 7. He inspired chapters 8-11 so that church and believer would know and confess that justification is the benefit of predestination. He wills that the believer ask, not, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of the believer?" true as this question may be, but, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?"

Only when justification is traced to God’s eternal election is the grace of God in the salvation of His people fully, thoroughly and solidly confessed and celebrated, to the glory of the gracious God.

Regardless that a church or confessing believer begins by affirming justification by faith alone, if this church or confessing believer refuses or fails to preach and confess election as the source of justification, that church or confessing believer will in the end be unable to maintain justification by faith alone. They will in time fall into the heresy of justification by faith and works. Reluctant for whatever reason, boldly and continually to preach and confess justification by faith of which the source and fountain and explanation is God’s eternal election, they will eventually preach and confess that the source and fountain and explanation of justification is the sinner himself—his work of believing and his other good works.

Although the main doctrine of the Reformation, for Calvin as for Luther, was justification by faith alone, the deepest concern of the Reformation, for Luther as for Calvin, was not justification by faith alone, but salvation in Christ by the sovereign grace of God having its source in eternal election, accompanied by eternal reprobation.

The reason for the heresy of the Roman Catholic and Arminian doctrines of justification is their detestation of sovereign grace having its source only in the eternal election of God.

The reason for the contemporary heresy of the Federal (Covenant) Vision teaching justification on the basis of faith and the possibility of losing the grace of justification is its opposition to biblical and creedal predestination.

The reason why the covenant doctrine of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands ("liberated") implies justification by faith and works and is, therefore, presently being developed by the Federal (Covenant) Vision into an open, bold denial of justification by faith alone is the aversion of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands ("liberated") and their daughter churches, including the Canadian Reformed Churches and the Free Reformed Churches (in Australia) to predestination, especially predestination as the source of justification in the covenant.

The reason why many reputedly conservative Reformed and Presbyterian churches are wide open to the teaching of the Federal (Covenant) Vision about justification is that they too have long been uneasy about election, have long been almost entirely silent about election, have long viewed election (mind you!) as a dangerous doctrine to Reformed Christians.

I say once more: no church can maintain justification by faith alone that does not see, and embrace and preach, the close, necessary and significant relation of justification and election.

Election is indeed a dangerous doctrine, even fatal. But it is dangerous, indeed fatal, to justification on the basis of faith and (what is the same) justification by faith and works.

There is one thing more that lives in the consciousness of the justified sinner who knows with amazement, gratitude and certainty that his justification comes to him from the election of God: God did not choose him because God had justified him or because God foresaw that he would be justified; rather, God chose him to be justified. That is, election did not depend upon justification but justification depends squarely upon election.

What grace is the grace of election! Not only does God justify the ungodly (Rom. 4:5) and not only does God commend his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8), but also the grace of election is that God chose in love us who did not appear before Him as righteous when He chose, but as unrighteous, that is, as those who had to be justified at the cost of the deliverance of His own Son to the death of the cross.

This examination of the relation of justification and election does not exhaust the subject. The question remains: Is the relation of election and justification such that God justified the elect in eternity? This is the controversial question of eternal justification. I will take this issue up in the instalment, God willing.

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma