Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 7 February, 2010


"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

The Outrage at Gibeah (3)

A Whole Tribe Put Under Discipline!    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Judges 20:1-25

Text: Judges 20:1-17

I. The Levite’s Selective Report

II. Israel’s Correct Decision

III. The Benjamites’ Wicked Refusal

Psalms: 33:3-9; 50:7-15; 101:3-8; 75:2-8


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Believers’ Children and Their Baptism   [download]    [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Genesis 17

Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 27

I. The Baptist View of Believers’ Children

II. The Reformed View of Believers’ Children

III. The Baptism of Believers’ Children

Psalms: 102:21-22, 25-28; 50:16-23; 127:1-5; 128:1-6


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

CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube Site:

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

Mr. Callender returned home from the hospital this past week.


Monday, 7:00 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea Campbell at the manse 

Tuesday, 7 PM - Jacob & Nathan at the Buchanans 

Tuesday, 8 PM - Mark & Lauren at the Hamills 

Wednesday, 1 PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse

Midweek Bible study meets this Wednesday at 7:45 PM at the manse. We will be studying I Peter 4:2-6 on wasting one’s life with worldly parties.

Stephen Rushton arrives this Friday. He will be worshiping with us next Lord’s Day and returning home again on Monday, 15 February.

The Stewarts and Stephen Rushton will be travelling to Limerick on Friday where Rev. Stewart will give a lecture on "Preaching: The Voice of Christ."

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Husbands, Love Your Wives" (Song 1:9-11) by Rev. R. Kleyn.

Ladies Bible study meets next week Thursday, 18 February, at 10:30 AM at the Murrays to study Lesson 4 of Keeping God’s Covenant.

Lectures in Limerick: Friday, 12 March - "The Real St. Patrick"

Elder Brian Crossett is to go to Grand Rapids for Martyn McGeown’s graduation (DV) and to attend the PR Synod in June.

The official opening of our church building is on Thursday, 5 August, with Prof. Hanko bringing the Word. This date will enable some PRC members in the British Isles for the BRF Conference (7-14 August) to attend the dedication.

The Council has written a letter to the PR Theological School Committee recommending Francesco De Lucia for the PR Seminary to start studies in September.

Offerings: General Fund: £743.60. Donations: £5 (DVDs), £100 (CR News), £100, £10 (CR News).

An audio version of the Standard Bearer is now available on-line (

From Doon PRC Council: "On behalf of the Berean Protestant Reformed Church in the Philippines (BPRCP), we thank you for your donation to the Berean Benevolence Fund. Due to the overwhelming response of the PR denomination, including your donation, the disaster relief needs have been met and all of the affected members of the Berean PRC and their contacts have been cared for. We ask for your continued prayers for the BPRCP and our missionaries as they continue in their labours."

PRC News: Rev Koole declined Holland. Rev. J. Laning declined Cornerstone; their new trio is Revs. Bruinsma, A. Lanning and Spriensma.

This is part 1 of the 37th e-mail from Prof. Engelsma on justification.

Dear European Forum,

In this instalment of our study of the biblical and Reformed doctrine of justification, we conclude our consideration of the important relationship between James and Paul on justification—a consideration begun in instalment 34.

As I indicated at the end of the previous instalment, I now respond to the fear, or charge, of those who oppose justification by faith alone that this doctrine fails to motivate church people to live energetic holy lives of good works, if it does not lead them to be careless and profane. It is this fear, evidently, that underlies, not only the open teaching of justification by faith and works by Rome, Arminians and the men of the Federal (Covenant) Vision (hereafter, FV), but also the more subtle form of justification by works consisting of the teaching of a conditional covenant (that is, that the covenant, the covenant promise and final covenant salvation depend on the child’s performing the works of faith and obedience as conditions.

This fear, or charge, as the case may be, is the attack on justification by faith alone by the Roman Catholic Church (hereafter, RCC) to which the Heidelberg Catechism is responding in Q. & A. 64: "But doth not this doctrine [of justification by faith alone, set forth and defended in Q. & A. 60-63] make men careless and profane?"

The fear, if fear it is, or charge, that justification by faith alone makes people careless or even profane, so that, in order to achieve godly living and good works, the church must teach justification by faith and works and a conditional (covenant) salvation, is an utterly mistaken and wicked fear. It is the fear of Uzzah that without his help the ark of the Lord would fall and be broken, so that he laid his unclean hands on that holy thing, for which sin the punishment was instant death and damnation (II Sam. 6:1ff.).

It is the fear of unbelief. Unbelief does not trust grace to save the elect believer to the uttermost, that is, to sanctify, as well as justify, to deliver from the power of sin as well as from the guilt and shame of sin. And unbelief does not trust grace to save, because it does not know the grace of God.

The "fear" that justification by faith alone is essentially the same as the "fear" that the certain knowledge of one’s own unconditional election and sure perseverance unto eternal life and glory must lead to a life of disobedience to the law, since one "will be saved anyway."

Underlying the fear of salvation by grace alone is the notion that the real motivation to holiness and a zeal for good works must be the conviction that one must himself earn his salvation or that his salvation depends upon his own good works or that failure to work means hell. The result in those who are driven by this foolish and wicked fear is that they live the Christian life like a slave or in terror. And such motivations make all their supposed Christian life obnoxious to God.

The Reformed and biblical response to the fear, or charge, that justification by faith alone makes people careless and profane is that this is impossible. The teaching of the doctrine has never made one person careless and profane, although it certainly has exposed the profanity of many and even hardened them in their profanity, as they seized on this doctrine to excuse their careless lives and abused the doctrine. But these are reprobate, ungodly persons in the audience, whom God wills to harden with the preaching of this grand gospel truth (Rom. 9:18). These are persons who abuse all the doctrines of the Christian faith. The fault is not in the doctrine of justification but in themselves.

Nor has the great act of God of justifying ungodly persons by faith alone ever made one of them careless and profane. Rather, it has made every one of them careful to obey the commandments of the law and holy, that is, devoted to God their justifier in love.

This is not to say that none of the justified has ever been tempted to abuse (not: rightly use) the doctrine by living a careless life on the basis of the truth that he is justified by faith alone. The warning of James 2 makes clear that there were those in the Christian church already in its earliest days who were tempted to make the doctrine of justification by faith alone an excuse, if not a reason, for failing to sacrifice greatly for God’s sake, when called to do so like Abraham, or for refusing to help the people of God in their need like Rahab. But this is not right knowledge of the doctrine; rather, it is misunderstanding. Nor is this lackadaisical attitude and life the product of justification by faith alone; rather, it is the warring of the depraved nature against the act of justification.

The explanation why the fear is wrong, that is, why justification by faith alone does not make men careless, the Heidelberg Catechism gives in its answer to Question 64, quoted above: "By no means; for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by a true faith should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness."

It is impossible that the divine act of the justifying of the elect ungodly by faith alone, apart from all his own works, should bring about or lead to or allow carelessness of life.

First, the true faith by which one is justified is spiritual union with Christ. Spiritual union with Christ brings the life of Christ into the justified sinner’s heart, so that this sin-overcoming life of the risen Christ rules in the justified sinner, producing love for God and love for the neighbour. One can no more be united to Christ by the faith that justifies and not bring forth the fruits of good works than a branch can be grafted into a tree and not bring forth, by the life of the tree, leaves, blossoms and fruit.

The faith that is the means of justification, therefore, is always also the faith that is the means of sanctification (God’s work of making the elect sinner holy, so that he obeys the law and performs good works). At the great Jerusalem synod, where the issue was exactly that which concerns us now, namely, whether Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith alone, that is, by grace alone, is not a dangerous doctrine regarding the Christian life of holiness, so that the converts, especially the loose-living Gentile converts, should have the law imposed upon them for righteousness and some conditions unto salvation added to the gospel, Peter distinctly declared that men are sanctified by faith alone, as they are justified by faith alone: "purifying their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:15).

The same Christ who justifies us by faith alone sanctifies by His Holy Spirit those whom He justifies. He is a complete Saviour. This is the answer of the Heidelberg Catechism to a question very much like that which it asks in Q. 64. Question 86 is: "Since then we are delivered from our misery merely of grace, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?" The mention of merit indicates that the Catechism again confronts Rome’s fear, or charge, that unless the church puts the members on the footing with God of earning their salvation by their own good works, the members will not feel it necessary to do good works. The answer of the Catechism is, "Because Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit."

Christ is not half a Saviour, delivering sinners from guilt, but leaving them under the ruling power of sin in their lives. Having justified, He will also always and at once sanctify. He showed this in His word to the adulterous woman in John 8: "Neither do I condemn thee" (free justification consisting of and based on nothing in the woman); "Go, and sin no more" (an effective word making her holy, following her free justification, and accompanying it).    ... to be continued