Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 13
therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and
wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19)
- 11:00 AM
Administration of the Lord’s Supper
Christ’s Glorious Headship [download]
Reading: Ephesians 1
I. Over the
II. Over the
148:1-10; 45:7-12; 139:7-14; 8:1-9
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
The Exaltation of the Humble [download]
Reading: Luke 14:1-35
I. Table Manners
45:13-17; 113:1-9; 131:1-3
Courtney (firstname.lastname@example.org) for CDs of the sermons
and DVDs of the worship services.
(subject to God’s will):
We welcome Manuel Kuhs and Sam Watterson from
the Limerick Reformed
Fellowship to our services today.
After a week of self-examination, confessing members
in good standing are called to partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s
Supper. Your participation in the Lord’s Supper is in part a witness
that you repent of your sins, believe that Jesus Christ is your
righteousness, and desire to live a new and godly life. As this heavenly
food can be taken to one’s judgment (I Cor. 11:28-30) and as the common
reception of this food is a confession of doctrinal unity (Acts 2:42),
the elders supervise the partaking of the sacrament. Visitors from other
denominations must request permission from the Council.
The sign-up sheet for the congregational dinner
(8 January) and a letter from Rev. Brummel in Sioux Falls are
available on the back table.
Standard Bearer subscriptions are due: $25 to
RFPA or £15 to Rev. Stewart.
PM - Jacob & Nathan Buchanan at the manse
Monday, 7 PM
- Zoe, Amy & Lea Campbell at the manse
Tuesday, 8 PM
- Mark & Lauren at the Hamills
PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse
Midweek Bible study meets on Wednesday at 7:45 PM
at the manse. We will consider I Peter 3:15-17 on "Be ready always to
give an answer."
Ladies Bible study meets this Thursday at 10:30
AM at the Murrays to study Lesson 2, question 2ff. of the Keeping
God’s Covenant study sheets.
Building Update: 3/4 of the roof is slated.
Tuesday and Wednesday should complete first fix electrical work. The
plasterers come in on Monday to put a scratch coat in the main body of
the church and the outside of the building, weather permitting.
Lectures in Limerick:
15 January - "Dispensationalism: An Unbiblical View of the End of the
World" (Prof. Dykstra)
February - topic to be decided
March - "The Real St. Patrick"
Offerings: General Fund: £408.87. Building Fund:
£376.08. Donations: £200 (DVDs), £300, £200 (building fund), £10
Website Additions: With recent additions by
Stephen Murray, there are now 67 sermons, lectures, etc. on the CPRC
YouTube website. One German and one Portuguese translations were
added, as was a
"Justification" resources page.
PRC News: Rev. Slopsema declined the call to Cornerstone PRC.
Rev. Daniel & Sharon Kleyn leave the US this week to take up their
labours in the Philippines.
This is part 2 of the 35th e-mail from Prof.
Engelsma on justification.
In addition, in Romans 4 the Holy Spirit excludes all
works and every kind of working from justification. First, absolutely no
limitation or specification of the works and working excluded from
justification is stated or suggested in the passage, as though the
Spirit had only certain kinds of works and workings in view. The passage
simply excludes all works and workings of the sinner from justification:
"to him that worketh not" (v. 5); "without works" (v. 6).
Second, the argument of the apostle demands
understanding works and working in Romans 4 of any and all works and
working of the sinner himself, including works done with the help of
grace and working performed by the power of the Spirit, that is,
genuinely good works and truly commendable working. For the argument is
that if even a regenerated and sanctified child of God is justified by
works "he hath whereof to glory" (v. 2). Regardless that the works are
done with the help of grace, justification by these good works puts the
sinner in a position to boast. Not only works of obedience to the
ceremonial law, or works done with the intention to merit, but any work,
if it is the ground and content of justification, necessarily puts the
sinner in a position of boasting in himself.
Similarly, verse 4 notes that the reward for working,
in this case, eternal life, is not of grace, but of debt. God owes the
one who has worked for righteousness, upon which eternal life depends,
eternal life. This is true, not only if the working in order to become
righteous is strenuous effort to obey the ceremonial law, or arduous
effort to merit, but also if the working is hard labour to obey the
moral law out of gratitude and with the help of grace.
In verse 5, the apostle does not say, "But to him
that worketh not in obedience to the ceremonial law, his faith and his
good works done in obedience to the moral law are counted for
righteousness." But he says simply and absolutely, "But to him that
worketh not," that is, in order to become righteous with God.
The contrast in Romans 4:1ff. is not between working
done to obey the ceremonial law and working done to obey the moral law;
between works done in one’s own strength and works done with the help of
the Spirit; between works performed with the intention to merit and
works done out of gratitude. But the contrast is between works and
faith; between working for righteousness and believing in Christ for
righteousness. "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that
justifieth the ungodly [one devoid therefore of any good works at all
that could be righteousness with God, possessing only sinful works that
condemn him], his faith is counted for righteousness" (v. 5).
With regard to justification as the legal act of God
forgiving sins and reckoning one to be in perfect conformity with the
law of God and having in mind any and all kinds of works, including
those done with the help of grace, Paul declares in Romans 4:2
specifically concerning Abraham that Abraham was not justified by works:
"For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but
not before God." Rather, concerning Abraham specifically (father and
exemplar of all the children of God) the apostle states that Abraham was
justified by faith: "For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God,
and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (v. 3).
James 2 cannot and does not contradict this clear
teaching of Paul concerning justification. That is, the Spirit of Christ
who inspired both Romans 3 and 4 and James 2 cannot contradict Himself,
teaching in James 2 the opposite of that which He teaches in Romans.
When James 2:21 says that "Abraham our father [was] justified by works,"
it cannot be contradicting Romans 4:2-3, which teaches that Abraham was
not justified by works, but by faith only. James cannot be speaking of
justification in the same sense as Paul does in Romans and Galatians.
Or, to say it differently, James describes a different aspect of
justification from that which Paul describes in Romans and Galatians,
namely, the legal act of forgiving sins and imputing to one the
obedience of Christ.
James is describing the believer’s proof and
demonstration of his free justification by faith alone. One who has
been justified by faith alone will show this justification. He will show
it to other men. He will prove this justification to himself. He will
also show this justification to God his judge. He will show, or
demonstrate, his justification by the good works that are always the
fruit of justification. By his good works, the justified sinner is not
justified legally, as though these works were the ground of forgiveness,
the content of his right standing before God the judge, or his
worthiness to inherit eternal life, but demonstratively, that is,
showing the reality of his justification by faith alone.
That James has a different aspect of justification in
mind than that which Paul describes in Romans and Galatians the passage
in James 2 itself indicates. James is contending with church members
who, although they profess to have faith—faith which justifies—in fact
have a "dead" faith (vv. 17, 20, 26), a faith that produces no good
works at all, but is content to live impenitently in sin. James
challenges this kind of church member: "shew me thy faith without thy
works [which is impossible], and I will shew thee my faith by my works"
(v. 18). The great subject in James 2 is the demonstration of faith and
therefore also the demonstration of justification.
James doctrine is that the faith which alone
justifies also always works, for justifying faith is not a dead faith,
but a living faith. True, living, justifying faith is union with Christ,
and union with Christ does and must bear fruit in good works of
obedience to the law of God.
Taking Paul and James together, the full truth of
justifying faith is this: The elect believer is justified by faith
alone, altogether apart from any and all works of his own, but the faith
that justifies is never alone, but is always accompanied by a life of
good works (which good works, however, are not part of his righteousness
with God). to be concluded ...