Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 18 February, 2007


"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout

all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Election of the Church (3)

Election Rooted in God’s Eternal Love for His Church

Deuteronomy 7:1-8

I. The Wonderful Truth

II. The Antithetical Calling

Psalms: 146:1-8; 78:7-13; 33:10-17; 119:57-64


Evening Service - 6:00 PM


Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 44; Romans 7

I. What is Forbidden

II. What is Required

Psalms: 15:1-5; 78:14-21; 37:1-7; 119:65-72


For audio cassettes of the worship services, contact Sean Courtney (


CPRC website:

Quotes to Consider:

Herman Hoeksema: "Man cannot help to covet as long as he is man. But the question is: what is the object of his coveting? On what does he set the desire of his heart? He must covet the right things ... The sin of covetousness is the desire to possess anything apart from God, against His will; anything that He does not give me and that evidently He does not want me to have. Moreover, in close connection with this, the sin of covetousness implies the longing for mere material things, apart and divorced from things spiritual. It implies that we set our hearts not on the things of the kingdom of God, not on heavenly things, on things that are above, but on earthy things, on things that are below, on the things of this world" (The Triple Knowledge, vol. 3, pp. 435-437).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

To help parents with small children and to enable the congregation to concentrate for worship, Mary will be in the cry room to look after the little ones this morning. The CPRC Council urges parents with small children to bring them to the cry room, either before the service or as soon as they begin to disturb the congregation’s worship.

Prof. Engelsma’s new book Trinity and Covenant is now available from the CPRC bookstore for £9.


Monday, 5:30 PM at the Murrays

Monday, 7 PM with the Campbells

Thursday, 7:00 PM at the Hamills.

Membership Class: Tuesday, 7:30 PM at the Hallidays.

Our Mid-Week Bible Study will be held Wednesday, at 7:45 PM at the manse. We will continue with I Thessalonians 1:4ff and look at election, assurance, and a godly life.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day, 25 Feb. (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "I Am the Door of the Sheepfold" (John 10:9).

Last Week’s Offerings: General Fund - £592.30. Donations: £140 (tapes), £20 (CR News).

To the foreign languages page ( of our website were added this week 17 Portuguese, 1 Italian, and 1 Dutch translation, as well as 14 ecumenical creeds in various languages and the original Latin edition of the Canons of Dordt.

Lecture: S. Wales, Friday, 2 March, "Homosexuality: What Does the Bible Teach?"

PRC News: The new trio for the Philippines is Revs. K. Koole, R. Kleyn, and J. Laning.

This is a continuation from last week’s e-mail from Prof. Engelsma.

The Reformation rejected the explanation of justification as partly the infusing of righteousness because this explanation makes the sinner’s own good works his righteousness with God and the basis of his judgment by God, whether as worthy of eternal life in heaven or worthy of eternal death in hell.

But it is impossible that the sinner’s own good works be his righteousness with God, and the basis of his being judged worthy of eternal life, for even the good works of the sinner are imperfect and defiled by sin. God the judge in His awesome holiness demands a perfect righteousness, not only the righteousness of the perfect love of God and the neighbour in every work, every thought, every word, and every desire, but also a complete righteousness that does not include the least imperfection, the least sin, not even in one work, or one thought, or one desire.

The Heidelberg Catechism expresses the conviction of the Reformation, as well as the conviction of every true child of God as long as he lives concerning the absolute impossibility that our own works, even our good works, indeed, our very best works, should be our righteousness with God. 

"Why cannot our good works be the whole or part of our righteousness before God? Because that the righteousness which can be approved of before the tribunal of God must be absolutely perfect, and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin" (Q. & A. 62).

The Reformation knew the high righteousness of God. It also knew the abiding and permeating corruption of the regenerated children of God in this life.

The biblical proof of the corruption of the converted Christian, defiling all his works, making necessary that justification be strictly the imputation of the obedience of Another in a strictly legal act, is Romans 7:7ff. The apostle Paul, holiest of saints, speaking as a regenerated child of God, toward the very end of his life, knew himself as "carnal, sold under sin," saw that he always did what he hated, namely, the evil, and cried out about himself, "O wretched man that I am!"

The obedience that is a sinner’s righteousness with God in justification, the basis of his inheritance of eternal life, must be the perfect, spotless obedience of Jesus Christ in his stead and on his behalf. With this, God and His law are satisfied. And since God Himself sent His own Son into the world to accomplish righteousness for sinners, who could not justify themselves, He honours the righteousness of Christ when by faith alone in Christ the sinner pleads that righteousness of Christ.

God therefore always justifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). This description of the one who is justified is significant. Always we appear before God as ungodly in the matter of justification. Even though in fact we are regenerated and sanctified, so that we do in fact perform good works by the renewing Spirit within us, we appear before God as the ungodly in the matter of justification. We appear before Him only as ungodly—ungodly and nothing else. And this is how we are consciously to come before Him, in the matter of justification. Tonight, when I pray ere I retire for forgiveness and righteousness, I will come before God as an ungodly man, and only as an ungodly man. I will say so, in all truth: "God, an ungodly man boldly appears in the heavenly courtroom with the plea that you justify him, forgiving all his sins and reckoning to him the righteousness of Christ on the basis of the cross of Christ."

For I have many sins of all kinds, in addition to a sinful nature. And although I certainly have done good works of all kinds today, by the grace of God, all of them are defiled with sin. In none of them have I loved God with all my being perfectly, and my neighbour as myself. With regard to justification, none is righteousness with God, or can possibly be. In the matter of deserving heaven or hell, all are sins. All my good works need justification. In justification, I am an ungodly man.

And here is a warning to us all. Take your stand before God in the judgment as a godly man, even though you ascribe your godly works to grace, and you never will be justified. God only justifies the ungodly. He condemns all those who come into the courtroom professing to be godly and appealing to their godliness as the righteousness that He ought to be impressed with as Judge.

Was not the publican in Jesus’ parable a regenerated, converted, godly man? Humble? believing? trusting? confessing? repenting? Why, these are the evidences of the renewing work of the Spirit. Why, these are the works that God loves. But how did the publican view himself and present himself before the tribunal, in the heavenly courtroom, before God as Judge? "Sinner!" "The sinner!" "Only a sinner!" And he was right.

To the classic Roman Catholic and federal vision attempt to evade the charge that they make their own works their righteousness with God ("self-righteousness") by pointing out that they do these their good works only by the grace of God within them, the fact remains that their good works that they do only by the grace of God are their own good works. They themselves do them. They stack their little pile of good works alongside the big pile, or atop the pile, of the good work of Jesus Christ the Son of God in the flesh all His life long and especially on the cross.

There is an element in the prayer of the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable that is sometimes overlooked. It is almost a frightening element. It certainly makes us examine ourselves very closely. The Pharisee began, "I thank thee, O God," He gave God the credit for his goodness, for his holiness, for his obedience to the law, for the works that he regarded as his righteousness with God. But according to the judgment of Christ, he was guilty of the enormous sin of trusting for righteousness in himself (Luke 18:9) and exalting himself, that is, spiritual pride (v. 14).

Such is Rome. Such are the men of the federal vision. "I thank thee, O God." But their trusting for righteousness in their own good works is sinful, proud self-righteousness, nevertheless. And the Pharisee was not justified.

Justification is the act of imputation, not infusion. The works that are the righteousness of the justified sinner are not at all his own, only Christ’s.

Thus, God is glorified in justification.

His justification of sinners is gracious.

He magnifies His Son, Jesus Christ, and His obedience.

Let us, let every penitent sinner, who seeks forgiveness and righteousness, believe only on Jesus Christ.

Cordially in Christ, 

Prof. Engelsma