Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Bookmark and Share

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 14 March, 2010


"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and

things wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Joash, King of Judah (3)

King Joash’s Temple Repairs     [download]    [youtube]

Scripture Reading: II Chronicles 24:1-19

Text: II Chronicles 24:1-14

I. The Authority for the Temple Repairs

II. The Financing of the Temple Repairs

III. The Completion of the Temple Repairs

Psalms: 84:1-6; 55:18-23; 78:67-72; 65:1-5


Evening Service - 6:00 PM


Preparing for the Lord’s Supper    [download]    [youtube]

Scripture Reading: I John 3

Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 30

I. Sorrowing for Our Sins

II. Desiring to Live Holily

Psalms: 146:1-8; 56:1-6; 103:1-7; 116:9-19


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

CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube Site:

CPRC Facebook:


Quotes to Consider:

Matthew Henry on II Chronicles 24:1-3: "Let those that are young reckon it a blessing to them, and not a burden and check upon them, to have those with them that will caution them against that which is evil and advise and quicken them to that which is good; and let them reckon it not a mark of weakness and subjection, but of wisdom and discretion, to hearken to such. He that will not be counselled cannot be helped. It is especially prudent for young people to take advice in their marriages, as Joash did, who left it to his guardian to choose him his wives, because Jezebel and Athaliah had been such plagues. This is a turn of life which often proves either the making or marring of young people, and therefore should be attended to with great care."

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

RFPA Updates are available on the back table today.

This evening, we will have a preparatory sermon with a view to celebrating the Lord’s Supper next Lord’s Day morning.

Our thanks to Mrs. Callender for making the new pulpit cover.


Monday, 7 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea Campbell at the manse

Tuesday, 8 PM - Mark & Lauren at the Hamills

Wednesday, 1 PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse

Midweek Bible study meets this Wednesday at 7:45 PM at the manse. We will be studying I Peter 4:8f. on Christian hospitality and serving one another.

Ladies Bible study meets next Thursday, 25 March, 10:30 AM, at the Murrays, to continue our study of chapter 5 of Keeping God’s Covenant.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Suffering Servant (1): His Victory in Suffering" (Isa. 52:13-15).

Plan to attend our lecture on "Preaching: The Voice of Christ" in Ballymena Protestant Hall, Friday, 9 April at 7:30 PM.

Website Additions: 1 Dutch, 1 Italian and 2 Filipino (Tagalog) translations were added.

Offerings: General Fund: £582.77. Building Fund: £1,446.53. Donations: £100 (Building Fund), £200 (DVDs), £10.

PRC News: Rev. Spriensma accepted the call to Byron Center PRC. The organizational worship service for Heritage PR Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, will be held on Friday, 23 April. Rev. VanderWal has the call from Bethel. Rev. J. Laning (Hope, MI) has the call from Holland PRC. Trinity’s new trio is Revs. Kuiper, Haak and Marcus.

This is part 2 of the 37th e-mail from Prof. Engelsma on justification.

Second, the Reformed and biblical response to the fear, or charge, that justification by faith alone makes one careless is that the Spirit at once carries out the work of Christ of sanctifying the justified sinner thus that, by the very declaration of forgiveness and righteousness, He makes the forgiven sinner thankful to His merciful Saviour. Such is this thankfulness that he loves the Saviour and the God who gave Him and in this love obeys His will.

The good works of the Christian are not the works of earning of the hired hand or the works of terror of the slave. But they are the works of thankful love, willingly offered.

Those who corrupt the gospel of grace by works-righteousness, conditional salvation (whether on the mission field or in the covenant) and human willing and working (Rom. 9:16) forget that motives of earning or repaying or terror of punishment in case of failure to work are not the only or even the best and most powerful motives for work in earthly human life. Love is a motive for hard, sacrificial, heroic work. Love is the best motive. Love is the most powerful motive. I use one example. What motivates the mother to care for her children, doing the dirtiest jobs, putting in the longest hours, and, really, sacrificing her own life in hundreds of ways for the life and welfare of her children? There is not money to pay her. In fact, any mother worthy of the title would spit on money if it were offered to her as payment. The motive is not the expectation of repayment. It is simply love—love for her offspring, that will put forth every effort, make every sacrifice and gladly give up her life.

Love for God and us motivated the Christ to lay down His life for us.

Love for Him, who died for us (as we realize in the gift of justification by faith alone), motivates us to serve Him—gladly, willingly, wholeheartedly, sacrificially—in thankfulness.

This motive of the Christian life is worked, and secured, only by the truth of justification by faith alone and salvation by grace alone.

This response of the Reformed confessions to the fear that grace, particularly the grace of justification, leads to carelessness is, of course, the response of the Bible to this fear, or charge.

To Paul’s great doctrine of justification by faith alone in Romans 3 and 4 comes the objection, or fear, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" that is, "Does not justification by faith alone inevitably lead to careless of life, indeed, even to the damnable philosophy that the justified sinner could and should sin as much as possible in order to experience and show the exceeding greatness of the grace that forgives?" (Rom. 6:1)

Note well, first, that the right doctrine of justification will always occasion this objection or charge or statement of fear. If the fear is broached, or the charge made, we can be sure that we are in fact teaching the biblical doctrine of justification. The Protestant Reformed Churches draw this charge: "They deny the responsibility of man. They are hyper-Calvinists." I wrote, early on in my controversy with the FV, that no one would ever think of charging Norman Shepherd and his colleagues of making people careless by their doctrine of justification. Their doctrine is a message of conditions, law and works.

Notice, second, that Paul does not compromise, or go back on, or dilute in the slightest his doctrine of justification in the face of the objection, or fear. He does not reply, "O my, there is something to the fear. We may have a church full of licentious people, if I maintain what I wrote in chapters 3 and 4. I better adapt my doctrine according to the fear—bring the law into justification, demand good works as part of the sinner’s righteousness, insist on conditions the sinner must fulfil." Not at all. He maintains his doctrine completely. Indeed, he goes on in chapters 8 and 9 to ground gracious justification in gracious, unconditional predestination.

But, third, his response is that carelessness is impossible for the justified sinner because the faith that justifies is union with Christ that must and will crucify the old man of sin and make people willing servants of Christ in a life of holiness. "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" etc. (Rom. 6:2ff.).

This does not imply that the true church, as marked by the teaching of justification by faith alone, is not tempted by the antinomian heresy ("Let us sin, or at least be careless, that grace may abound"), or that the justified sinner is altogether exempt from this temptation. James 2 and the history of the church prove otherwise. Every pastor knows better. One of the great evils already in the churches of Asia Minor of Revelation 2 and 3 was gross antinomism: rejection of the law as the rule of a thankful life; open immorality on the ground of salvation by grace alone. That was the evil of the Nicolaitanes, of Balaam and of the monstrous Jezebel in one of those churches (let us know the depths of Satan).

There is the danger of the abuse of the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

I dare say that much of "evangelical Christianity" in North America has succumbed to this very evil. The law does not function as authoritative guide of the life of the people, nor is it preached as such. Members live open and grossly immoral lives, especially sexually. There is no discipline of impenitent sinners.

The excuse, or justification? "We are saved by grace. God is a graciously forgiving God" (although in fact much of this "evangelical Christianity" has not preached the gospel of grace soundly and purely and fully for many years, being for the most part Arminian, pietistic and charismatic).


"Let us sin that grace may abound!"

At the very least, grace excuses carelessness and profanity of life.

Against the antinomian threat, the true church must:

1) preach justification by faith alone and salvation by grace alone boldly and without compromise;

2) preach justification in its whole truth, including God’s purpose with it that the justified sinner be thankful and in this thankfulness obey the law of God;

3) preach true, justifying faith as union with Christ, that also sanctifies and produces the fruits of good works (faith alone justifies, but faith is never alone);

4) preach the law as the rule of thankfulness and good works as the expression of thankfulness;

5) preach Christ as the complete Saviour, delivering from the pollution of sin, as well as from the guilt of sin, that is, preach sanctification as thoroughly and emphatically as justification;

6) withstand to their face those sometimes noisy opponents in the church who, in their misguided zeal for grace, object to admonitions, the "must" of the law, and the genuine responsibility of the Christian, that is, his obligation to do the will of God;

7) when antinomism appears, preach justification by faith and works in the real sense of James 2;

8) when antinomian or other impenitent sinners refuse the admonition of the Word, exercise discipline, excommunicating them from the church.

True Calvinism is and must show itself as zealous for sanctification as for justification. Calvin was. So is the Bible. But the two saving works, though intimately related, are distinct.

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma