Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

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

The Prayer of the Church in Babylon (11)

Spreading Out Our Miseries Before the Lord   [dowload]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 37:1-20; 64

Text: Isaiah 64:9-12

I. Thy Wrath Is Upon Us, O Lord!

II. Thy Land Is Desolate, O Lord!

III. 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]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: I John 2

Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 12

I. I Am a Member of Christ

II. I Share in His Threefold Office

Psalms: 119:153-160; 102:22-28; 2:1-8; 143:5-11


Contact Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services.


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


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 that glory."

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 building fund.

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 life.

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. Donation: £20 (DVDs), £200 (DVDs).

Upcoming Lectures:

"For Whom Did Christ Die?" Friday, 24 June, at 7:30 PM in Lurgan Town Hall.

Website Addition: 1 Italian translation was added.

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 grace).

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 righteousness "meritorious."

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 3.17.13).

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,

Prof. Engelsma