Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 18
"Unto him be
glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout
world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21)
Service - 11:00 AM
Election of the Church (3)
Rooted in God’s Eternal Love for His Church
146:1-8; 78:7-13; 33:10-17; 119:57-64
Service - 6:00 PM
Catechism, Lord’s Day 44; Romans 7
I. What is
II. What is
15:1-5; 78:14-21; 37:1-7; 119:65-72
cassettes of the worship services, contact Sean Courtney
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
Prof. Engelsma’s new book Trinity and Covenant
is now available from the CPRC bookstore for £9.
PM at the Murrays
Monday, 7 PM
with the Campbells
7:00 PM at the Hamills.
Membership Class: Tuesday, 7:30 PM at the
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 (http://cprf.co.uk/languages.htm)
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.
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
Let us, let every penitent sinner, who seeks
forgiveness and righteousness, believe only on Jesus Christ.
Cordially in Christ,