Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 25 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

Prayer and Thankfulness

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 45, Luke 11:1-28

I. Both Are Required

II. Both Are Parts of Each Other

III. Both Flow From Each Other

Psalms: 145:15-21; 78:22-29; 34:11-18; 50:9-16


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Burning the Word of God

Jeremiah 36

I. The Reading of the Word

II. The Burning of the Word

III. The Rewriting of the Word

Psalms: 48:1-9; 78:30-35; 36:1-7; 119:89-96


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


CPRC website:

Quote to Consider:

C. H. Spurgeon: "The more we pray, the more we shall want to pray. The more we pray, the more we can pray. The more we pray, the more we shall pray. He who prays little will pray less, but he who prays much will pray more. And he who prays more, will desire to pray more abundantly."

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

We welcome Andrea Lenting to our worship services today.

The February Covenant Reformed News is on the back table. The Standard Bearers available today include an excellent article by Rev. A. Brummel on "Bringing Forth Children in an Age of Selfishness."

Catechism: Monday, 5:30 PM at the Murrays, 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 1:5-10 and discuss assurance and being a good witness.

Rev. & Mary Stewart travel to S. Wales this Friday. Rev. Stewart will give a lecture on "Homosexuality, What Does the Bible Teach?"

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day, 4 March (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "I Am the Resurrection and the Life" (John 10:9).

Next Lord’s Day morning, the second offering will be for our Building Fund.

Last Week’s Offerings: General Fund - £474.92. Donations: £100 (tapes).

CPRC Website: We have over 300 ecumenical and Reformed creeds and various translations in 26 different languages, including new links to 6 Hindi (Indian), 5 Armenian, and 2 Vietnamese creeds. 3 Italian ("The Christ of Arminianism," "The Biblical Mode of Baptism," and "The Biblical Ground for the Baptism of Infants"), 1 Spanish, and 5 Portuguese translations were added this week. The pamphlet, "Justification: the Heart of the Gospel," was also added.

BRF Website: Audio of past BRF Conference speeches on "The Antithesis," "The Church," "Assurance," and "The Kingdom of God," have been added to

Lecture: Friday, 23 March, 7 PM, at the Limerick Youth Service, in Limerick, on "Homosexuality, What Does the Bible Teach?"

PRC News: Hull PRC is beginning a daughter congregation next Sunday, 4 March. Heritage PR Fellowship (Sioux Falls, SD) have had about 25 to 30 in attendance at their services. Remember this work and Candidate Spronk in your prayers.

This is the 8th e-mail from Prof. Engelsma regarding justification.

Dear Forum,

Justification is God’s act of imputing to the guilty sinner, or reckoning to the account of the guilty sinner, the perfect obedience of Christ. Thus, in justification the sinner is forgiven and given a legal standing before God as one who has fully complied with every demand of the law of God upon him.

Justification is not at all the actual infusing, or imparting, of righteousness into the sinner, making him a good man. Those who teach that justification is at least partly the infusing of righteousness—the Roman Catholic Church and, today, the men of the federal vision in conservative Reformed churches—teach this so that one’s righteousness in justification can be one’s own good works in part. The Reformed confessions reject this understanding of justification in so many words, and condemn the doctrine that the righteousness of the sinner in justification is partly his own obedience and working.

It is exactly this grievous error against which the apostle inveighs especially in Galatians and Romans. In Galatians 2:16, Paul declares, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." In chapter 3, verse 11, he says, "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith."

In Romans 3:28, Scripture teaches, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." In chapter 4, it continues to exclude works from the righteousness of justification: "If Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God" (v. 2). "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also [in Psalm 32] describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works" (vv. 5-6).

Our own works are excluded from our justification, that is, our own works are not, and do not make up, our righteousness with God. None of our works is part of our righteousness, not even our good works that we do by the grace of the Spirit within us. We do perform good works. God Himself works them in us. They please God. He will reward us for them. But they are not our righteousness with God. They cannot be, as I pointed out last time, because all of them are imperfect; all of them are defiled from sin. Not one of them is perfect. If I should foolishly and wickedly bring even one of them up as I stand in judgment before God as a work on the basis of which He should judge me, as a work that I intend shall be part of my righteousness with Him, the work will damn me, even though it might be my most fervent prayer to God, or my most Christ-centred sermon, or my love of my wife and children for God’s sake, or a self-less act of compassion to one of Christ’s needy brothers and sisters. For it is polluted with sin. It fails to measure up to the high righteousness of the judge.

Only the righteousness of Another is perfect. Only the righteousness of Another fully meets the requirements of the holy will of God, complies with all the demand of the law of God, and satisfies the righteousness of the judge: His own righteousness worked out for sinners in the lifelong obedience and atoning death of Jesus Christ.

How foolish, how heart-rendingly foolish, and how evil, how perversely evil, the sin of the Jews, which is the sin of Rome and the sin of the men of the federal vision. "I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Rom. 10:2-4).

As Luther put it, the righteousness that God has provided for guilty sinners and which alone renders the sinner righteous with God when it becomes his in justification is an "alien righteousness," that is, the righteousness of another and the righteousness that is outside himself.

Against the Reformation’s teaching that justification by faith alone excludes all the works of the sinner himself, including the truly good works that the sinner does by the power of the Spirit in him and that God will reward, the Roman Catholic Church has always strongly objected. Rome has always taught that the righteousness of justification includes, with the obedience of Christ for the sinner, especially His atoning suffering and death, the good works that the sinner himself does by grace. These works, Rome insists, are meritorious. They merit, or earn, forgiveness; they merit a standing with God as righteous; and they merit salvation.

This teaching about justification requires that Rome offer an explanation of the many biblical passages that deny that justification is by works, or by the works of the law, or by the law. Such are the passages from Galatians and Romans that I have quoted above.

Rome’s explanation, patently false, is that in all these passages the apostle is referring only to a certain kind of works and to a specific aspect of "law." The works that the apostle has in mind and that he excludes from justification are works done by an unbelieving Jew in obedience to the ceremonial law, for example, circumcising his sons, or being circumcised himself. Such works, says Rome, are not part of one’s righteousness with God. But works that are done by a regenerated Christian, works that are the fruit of grace in one’s life, works done out of charity—these works certainly justify along with faith. These works certainly are part of one’s righteousness with God. These works certainly merit forgiveness and salvation.

Today the men of the federal vision in almost all the supposedly conservative Reformed and Presbyterian churches, as well as in independent churches that are highly regarded by conservative Reformed people, for example, Steve Schlissel and Douglas Wilson, teach essentially the same doctrine as does Rome and explain the texts in Galatians and Romans excluding works from justification just as Rome has always done. (I do not here take the time to quote these men in proof of what I charge. For one thing, no one denies this charge. And for another thing, I have given this proof in various of my writings, including my recent book, The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers: Sovereign Grace in the Covenant.)

The men of the federal vision explain the texts in Galatians and Romans as referring only to works done in obedience to the ceremonial law, or to works done in order to merit. The apostle does not include works done by the grace of God, truly good works, works that proceed out of a true faith. Such works, according to the men of the federal vision, do justify along with faith in Christ. Such works are part of our righteousness with God in justification. The law that the apostle excludes from justification in Romans 3 and 4 and in Galatians 2 and 3 is only the ceremonial law. The moral law, the law of the ten commandments, according to the men of the federal vision, does justify the sinner. It justifies him because he obeys it, admittedly by the grace of God, and this obedience, along with Christ’s death, is his righteousness with God.

Take careful note: The explanation of the great texts on justification by the federal vision is the same as Rome’s; the doctrine of justification of the men of the federal vision is the same as Rome’s.     to be continued ...