Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 20 December, 2009


"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and

things wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM

(cancelled because of snow)


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

God’s Purposes With Israel in the New Testament Age (9)

The Mystery of the Salvation of All Israel    [download]

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 59

Text: Romans 11:25-27

I. The Scriptural Meaning

II. The Old Testament Citations

III. The Pastoral Motivation

Psalms: 116:1-8; 46:1-6; 14:1-7; 32:5-9


Contact Sean Courtney ( for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services.


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube Site:


Quotes to Consider:

Herman Hoeksema: "Therefore, we must explain the fulness of the Gentiles in the same way as the fulness of the Jews. The fulness of something is the full measure of that thing. The fulness of the Gentiles is that which is filled with Gentiles. But the question is, what is the measure? The answer is that the measure is God’s election. When you put the last drop of water in a glass, you have the fulness. Likewise, when the last of the elect Gentiles is brought in, you have the fulness of the Gentiles" (Righteous By Faith Alone, pp. 558-559).

R. C. H. Lenski on Romans 11:25: "The contention is especially sharp regarding the temporal conjunction ‘until.’ Now it does at times mean that something lasts ‘until’ a certain time and then ceases to last, but it is also used with reference to a terminus merely, and nothing is implied as to what follows that terminus. Here it makes no difference as to which of these two meanings we prefer. For the Jewish petrifaction will most certainly cease forever when the fulness of the Gentiles has come in: the last judgment will then arrive (Matt. 24:14), there will be no more Jews on earth, no more gospel against which to set hearts of stone, no more salvation to reject with adamant opposition. The idea that ‘until’ means that the petrifaction will be converted into softness is untenable."

Herman Ridderbos: "The mystery (Rom. 11:25) is thus situated in the manner in which this fullness of Israel is to be saved: in the strange interdependence of the salvation of Israel and that of the gentiles. Israel, which was chosen from among the gentiles, must, contrary to every human expectation, first give way to the gentiles. But as Israel because of its disobedience has become a cause of salvation for the gentiles, so now the gentiles must provoke Israel to jealousy. There is thus an interaction. God grants no mercy to Israel without the gentiles, but neither does he do so to the gentiles without Israel" (Paul: An Outline of His Theology, pp. 359-360).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The December CR News and the sign-up sheet for the congregational dinner (8 January) are on the back table. A Bible reading programme for 2010 is also available.

John McAuley has requested and received membership in the CPRC. We welcome our brother back into our midst.

Standard Bearer subscriptions are due: $25 to RFPA or £15 to Rev. Stewart.


Monday, 7 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea Campbell at the manse

Tuesday, 7 PM - Jacob & Nathan at the Buchanans

Wednesday, 1 PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse

Midweek Bible study will not meet this week but will resume next week Wednesday, 30 December, 7:45 PM at the manse.

Ladies Bible study sheets on Chapter 3 of Keeping God's Covenant are available on the back table. We hope to meet again in the first week in January.

The Council will hold their monthly meeting on Monday, 4 January, 7:30 PM at the manse.

Martyn McGeown completes his internship on January 1. He will be in Lynden, Washington, 4-18 January, while Rev. R. Hanko visits family in Michigan.

Building Update: Almost all the windows are now fitted and the aluminium, seamless guttering has also been fitted. The plasterers have started and will be staying until the inside of the building is completed.

Upcoming Lectures in Limerick:

Friday, 15 January - "Dispensationalism: An Unbiblical View of the End of the World" (Prof. Dykstra)

Friday, 12 February - topic to be decided

Friday, 12 March - "The Real St. Patrick"

Offerings: General Fund: £589.70. Donations: £200 (building fund).

Website Additions: 1 German translation and 2 Indonesian links (to the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt) have been added.

PRC News: Rev. Eriks (Hudsonville, MI) declined the call to Trinity PRC. Rev. Key (Hull, IA) declined the call to Holland. Byron Center PRC called Rev. Eriks.

O. Palmer Robertson: "‘And so all Israel shall be saved’ (Rom. 11:26a). The question under consideration is whether ethnic Israel has a future that will be different from that which Israel experiences during the gospel era. Jews have been saved and will continue to be saved throughout the present dispensation. The question is whether verse 26 speaks of a distinctive conversion activity of God in ethnic Israel immediately prior to, or in conjunction with, the return of Christ.

First of all, common misconceptions of this verse must be removed. The passage is often read as though it were saying, ‘And then all Israel shall be saved.’ The phrase kai houtos [‘and so’] is interpreted as though it possessed a primarily temporal significance: hardening has happened to part of Israel ‘until’ the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; but then, after that, all Israel shall be saved.

Such a rendering of kai houtos [‘and so’] obviously answers the question at hand in favor of a distinctive future for ethnic Israel. The present ‘hardening’ contrasts sharply with a future salvation.

However, the phrase kai houtos [‘and so’] simply does not mean ‘and then.’ Instead, it means ‘and in this manner’ or ‘and in this way.’ Of the approximately 205 times in which the word houtos [‘so’] occurs in the New Testament, not once does it have a temporal significance. Paul easily enough could have said kai tote, ‘and then.’ But instead he says quite specifically kai houtos, ‘and in this manner.’ A dramatic recoloring of Romans 11:26 emerges as a result of this more precise rendering of Paul’s actual words: ‘And in this manner all Israel shall be saved.’ In such a manner, by such a process, thus, by this means, in the way described, Israel shall be saved.

By the phrase kai houtos in Romans 11:26, Paul does not look into the future beyond ‘the fullness of the Gentiles.’ Instead, he looks into the past. He recalls the fantastic processes of salvation among the Jewish people as he has just described them. In accordance with the pattern outlined in the previous verses of Romans 11, ‘and Israel shall be saved.’ First the promises and the Messiah were given to Israel. Then in God’s mysterious plan, Israel rejected its Messiah and was cut off from its position of distinctive privilege. As a result, the coming of the Messiah was announced to the Gentiles. The nations then obtained by faith what Israel could not find by seeking in the strength of their own flesh. Frustrated over seeing the blessings of their messianic kingdom heaped on the Gentiles, individual Jews are moved to jealousy. Consequently, they too repent, believe, and share in the promises originally made to them. ‘And in this manner’ (kai houtos), by such a fantastic process which shall continue throughout the present age ‘up to’ (achris hou) the point where the full number of the Gentiles is brought in, all Israel is saved" (The Israel of God, pp. 180-182).

This is part 3 of the 35th e-mail from Prof. Engelsma on justification.

James himself calls attention to the fact that regarding justification as the legal act of God forgiving his sins and rendering him righteous Abraham was justified by faith alone, without good works, that is, that he (James) is not contradicting Paul in Romans and Galatians. Right in the middle of his impassioned contention with the antinomian abusers of gracious justification, James quotes Genesis 15:6, the text that figures so importantly in Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith alone in Romans 4, "Abraham believed God, and it [i.e., faith] was imputed unto him for righteousness." Long before Isaac was born and therefore long before Abraham offered his son upon the altar, which work, James says in verse 21, demonstrated his justification, Abraham was justified by faith—by faith alone. Faith was imputed to Abraham for righteousness, faith with regard to faith’s object, namely, Christ and His righteousness, faith apart from any good work on Abraham’s part, including the awesome good work of offering his son on the altar.

James 2 teaches the same truth that Christ had earlier taught in Luke 7:47 concerning the sinful woman who loved Him, because He had forgiven her sins, and who anointed His feet with precious ointment. "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much." Jesus did not mean that her sins were forgiven, that is, that she was justified, on the ground of her great love, that is, good work. But He meant that her great love was proof and evidence of the forgiveness of her many sins. Her love was demonstration of her justification. That this is the meaning of Jesus’ word in Luke 7:47 is put beyond any doubt by the second part of the text: "but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." In addition, this is the teaching of the parable of the creditor and the two debtors illustrated by the behaviour of the sinful woman (vv. 41-42). One who is freely, or graciously, forgiven a great debt, that is, one who is justified graciously by faith alone, apart from any works, will show this justification by loving Christ much.

James does not contradict the gospel of grace in Romans 3 and 4. But James does teach, and warn, that the gospel of grace, particularly justification by faith alone, is no occasion for license. Rather, the full truth of justification is that the justified sinner will work—will work good works, will work works that are amazing, will do works of self-sacrifice and help of the true church, will do works that arise from a faith that trusts the promise of God, even when that promise seems impossible of fulfilment.

Our good works are not the conditions for justification, nor the basis of justification, nor the content of justification, but the fruit of justification.

This has always been the orthodox Protestant and Reformed explanation of James 2 and its harmony with Romans 3 and 4. In his commentary on James 2, Calvin wrote that justification by works in James 2 refers to the "proof [Abraham] gave of his justification." Peter Martyr Vermigli explained, "Faith justifies our Persons, and good works justify our Faith."

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma