Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 5 June, 2011
"Those that be planted in the house of the Lord
shall flourish in the courts of our God" (Ps. 92:13)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
Prayer of the Church in Babylon (11)
Spreading Out Our Miseries Before the Lord [dowload]
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 37:1-20; 64
Wrath Is Upon Us, O Lord!
Thy Land Is Desolate, O Lord!
What Is Thine Answer, O Lord?
Psalms: 147:1-8; 102:15-21; 79:1-6; 74:2-7
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Why Are You Called a Christian? [download]
Scripture Reading: I John 2
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 12
Am a Member of Christ
Share in His Threefold Office
Psalms: 119:153-160; 102:22-28; 2:1-8; 143:5-11
Stephen Murray for
CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services.
Quote to Consider:
John Calvin on Isaiah 64:12: "He shews
that it is impossible for God not to be mindful of his mercy; for ‘he
cannot deny himself’ (II Tim. 2:13). But our salvation is connected with
his glory. This ought to be carefully observed; for, after having spoken
of the glory of God, he adds, ‘Thou wilt not afflict us beyond measure.’
The Lord will therefore restrain his chastisements; for his glory, which
he cannot disregard, is deeply involved in our deliverance from death.
To this prayer, therefore, let us betake ourselves whenever we are
attacked by our enemies; not in the manner of hypocrites, (who haughtily
boast of the glory of God, of which they have no experience whatever,)
but with repentance and faith, that we may actually obtain the fruit of
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
We welcome Sam Watterson from the
Limerick Reformed Fellowship to our worship services today.
The second offering this morning is for our
Everyone is invited to stay for tea and
sandwiches after this evening’s service.
Monday family visitation: 7 PM at
Sinead Hanna and 8 PM at the Hamills.
Ladies Discussion Meeting: 11 AM
Thursday to finish the discussion on Ruth.
Thursday membership class: 7:30 PM
on infant baptism.
The Council will hold their monthly
meeting this Friday at 7 PM at church.
Men’s Fellowship plan to meet on
Saturday, 11 June, 8 PM at the Kennedys. A study sheet on Daniel 3 is
available on the back table.
The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast
next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be "Try The Spirits" (I
John 4:1-3) by Rev. Haak.
Sadly, it has been decided that
Francesco De Lucia will not be returning to the PR Seminary in
August. Let us pray for our brother as he seeks the Lord’s will for his
The council has received and granted the
request from Gareth and Leona Halliday to have their daughter, Rebekah
Faith, baptized. Baptism is scheduled for the morning worship
service on 3 July.
Offerings: General Fund - £628.81.
£20 (DVDs), £200 (DVDs).
"For Whom Did Christ Die?" Friday, 24 June, at 7:30 PM in Lurgan Town
Website Addition: 1 Italian translation
This is part 3 of the 46th e-mail in Prof.
Engelsma’s justification forum:
According to Gaffin and the men of the
Federal Vision (FV), Romans 2:13, explained as teaching what can be,
must be, and is in fact the case concerning justification in the final
judgment, is the decisive, conclusive word of God about justification:
justification comes by sinful men’s doing the law (with the help of
If the interpretation of Romans 2:13 by the
men of the FV (and Rome long before them) is correct, it sets aside
everything the apostle teaches about justification in Romans 3-5, that
is, that a man becomes just, not by doing the law, but by believing only
in Jesus Christ, who did the law in the believer’s place.
If the interpretation of Romans 2:13 by the
men of the FV is true, the Reformation and its confessional statements
(which I forwarded to all of you at the beginning of this study) were
and are mistaken. Rome was, and is, right about justification, with the
insignificant exception of its calling the good works that obtain
If the interpretation of Romans 2:13 by the
men of the FV is correct, Gaffin, the men of the FV, and everyone of us
will be damned. We are not merely shut up to a life of uncertainty. We
are sure that the verdict upon us in the final judgment will be "Guilty!
Damn-worthy!" And the sentence will be "Depart from me you lawbreakers
into the eternal fire!"
For a doer of the law is one who all his
life kept the law perfectly. Not only outwardly in good behaviour, but
also in his heart he loved God perfectly with all his powers at every
moment and in everything he did. Furthermore, he never broke down once,
for the law demands perfection. One sin, one dereliction in the duty of
loving God, say, that time when His hand was heavy on me and almost
involuntarily I struck out at Him in the bitterness of my soul, dooms
the man whose justification consists of doing the law, although all the
rest of his life was perfection.
In Romans 2:13, Paul is not establishing
what is actually the case with any human being, in contradiction of what
he will teach in chapters 3-5, but what is demanded of those who are
determined to be justified by the law. One who would be justified by the
law must be a doer of it, a doer of it perfectly, and doer of it with
all his heart, all his soul, all his mind, and all his strength. Yes,
regarding justification by the law, one is not justified by hearing the
law, but by doing it. But there is no one who does it! No one does it by
nature (see Romans 3:9-20). No Christian, be he the holiest of all
saints, for example, Paul himself, is a doer of the law in the sense
necessary for justification (see Romans 7:14-25).
Calvin considered Romans 2:13 in his
treatment of justification in his Institutes. In fact, he devotes
an entire section to the right understanding of this text. He was forced
to do so because Rome appealed to it against justification by faith
alone, just as Gaffin and the other men of the FV do today. Calvin
writes about this text: "Here [in Romans 2:13] the apostle is casting
down the foolish confidence of the Jews, who claimed for themselves the
sole knowledge of the law, even while they were its greatest despisers.
Lest, then, mere skill in the law should please them so much, he warns
that if righteousness be sought from the law, not knowledge but
observance of it is sought. We assuredly do not question that the
righteousness of the law consists in works, and not even that
righteousness consists in the worth and merits of works. But it has not
yet been proved that we are justified by works unless they [i.e., Rome,
and today the men of the FV] produce some one man who has fulfilled the
law ... It is as if he [i.e., Paul] said [in Romans 2:13]: ‘Do you seek
righteousness in the law? Do not claim to have heard it, something of
little weight in itself, but bring works whereby you may declare that
the law was not laid down for you in vain.’ Since they were all lacking
in these works, it followed that they were bereft of boasting about the
law. Paul’s meaning, then, requires us, rather, to frame the opposite
argument: the righteousness of the law lies in perfection of works; no
one can boast that he has fulfilled the law through works; consequently,
there is no righteousness arising from the law" (Institutes
We sinful men and women must consider the
future tribunal as the revelation of the righteousness of God! God will
judge the world, including us who believe on Him, in Christ, exhibiting
His awesome righteousness as the perfect standard of the life and works
of all humans and spirits. That judgment will expose our sins, our
outright sins, in all their deservingness of damnation, and the grievous
imperfection of all our good works, that we did by grace, which, if
dealt with as the basis of our justification, would also damn us.
Have Reformed and Presbyterian theologians
lost their sense of their own sinfulness? Has God blinded them? One who
contemplates standing before the holy God in judgment, all his life
opened up, all his motives being exposed—to God the Judge—makes up his
sanctified, wise mind that he will raise one plea, on that great day,
and one only, "God, be merciful to me the sinner!" that is, "Forgive and
declare me righteous for the sake of the perfect obedience of Christ in
my place, especially His atoning death." One who has even the slightest
knowledge of the justice of God has his mind made up, in all sincerity,
that he will bring into the judgment absolutely nothing of his own
obedience and no work he has done. God may bring something up, and He
will, for He is exceedingly gracious to those who depend solely on the
obedience of the Son He gave for the righteousness of those who had
none, rewarding the work He has done in and through the believer—amazing
grace!—but the believer himself leaves all his works outside the
courtroom, with regard to righteousness.
And this will mean boldness on the part of
the believer in that great day. Christ’s doing of the law was perfect.
Everyone who depends on Christ alone (this is faith) will be justified
by this faith. Everyone who cries out as did the publican in Jesus’
parable will go home (into the new world) justified. No doubt about it!
What then of the biblical teaching that the
future justification will be according to works?
I conclude my treatment of the final
judgment as justification in the next instalment, God willing.
Cordially in Christ,