Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 22
after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep
of thy mouth" (Ps. 119:88)
Morning Service -
Overtaken by God’s Curses [download]
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s
Day 4, Deuteronomy 28:15
I. The Meaning
II. The Application
Psalms: 99:1-7; 19:9-14;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Keeping the Sabbath in
Keeping the Sabbath in Babylon [download]
I. The Meaning
II. The Elaboration
III. The Reason
Psalms: 92:1-8; 20:1-9;
Contact Sean Courtney (email@example.com) for
CDs of the sermons.
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
Quote to Consider:
Homer C. Hoeksema: "The fundamental idea of the
Sabbath lies in the idea of God’s rest. In God is eternal, perfect rest.
As the triune covenant Jehovah, God is the eternally resting God. This
does not and cannot mean that God does nothing or that God is idle.
There is never in God a moment of emptiness. From eternity to eternity
God is the eternally, constantly, unchangeably working God. God’s work
is also eternally and unchangeably finished, perfect, and completed. The
idea of his rest is that God—of the Father, in the Son, and through the
Holy Spirit—eternally enters into his own perfect work, delights in it,
takes pleasure in it, and enjoys it. Our rest, modelled on God’s rest,
cannot consist in mere emptiness. The idea of the Sabbath is not that we
spend a day doing nothing or fill it with emptiness, idleness, or
with Judgment, vol. 2, p. 388).
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
This evening we have a preparatory service
with a view to partaking of the Lord’s Supper next Sunday morning.
The Limerick Reformed Fellowship starts
meeting today in Conradh na Gaelge Hall in Limerick City at 11 AM and 7
PM - Campbells at the manse
PM - Murrays
PM - Hamills
1:00 PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse
Midweek Bible Study meets on Wednesday, 7:45 PM
at the manse. We will consider I Peter 2:9-10 on "The Church, the New
This Friday, Rev. Stewart will speak on "Calvin’s
Battle for the Reformation, Part 2 - The Geneva Years" in Portadown at
the Watson Centre. Please remember this witness in your prayers.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "Jesus Crucified and
Derided" (Mark 15:24-32) by Rev. Haak.
Ladies’ Bible Study meets next Tuesday, 31 Mar.,
10:15 AM, at the Murrays.
Upcoming Lectures: Limerick, Thurs, 23 April,
7:30 PM - Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation (II)
Offerings: General Fund - £797.42. Donations:
£15 (CR News), £14.50 (books), £4.60 (books), £41 (S. Wales).
PRC News: Rev. W. Langerak (Southeast, MI)
declined the call to Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, Canada).
This is part 2 of the 30th e-mail by Prof.
Engelsma on justification
As the substitute, Christ represented all those for
whom He died. He represented them before God the judge. To Christ as the
representative of others was imputed, by God the judge, the guilt of the
others. This is the explanation of the cross in Mark 15:28. As soon as
the Holy Spirit has inspired the account of Christ’s being crucified
between the two evildoers, He explains: "And the scripture was
fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors."
"Numbered" is the AV’s translation of the word for "imputation,
accounted, and reckoned" in Romans 3-5 and Galatians 2 and 3 (Greek:
logizomai). (The critical Greek test of Nestle-Aland omits this
crucial text at its crucial place in Mark 15:28, because the two Greek
manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, omit it, which is another reason
to reject the critical text for the Traditional Text used by the AV.
Following the critical text, the New International Version [NIV] of the
Bible also omits this text, which is yet another reason to reject the
NIV for the faithful, reliable AV.)
God the judge reckoned Christ with the transgressors.
The numbering of Christ by wicked men is of little interest to us. It
has no saving worth. It merely shows the wickedness of the whole world,
religious and political, a world of which we are part by nature. But the
numbering of Christ with the transgressors by God Himself, who decreed
and arranged the cross, interests us greatly. Therein lies our
salvation, including the possibility of God’s imputing Christ’s
suffering to us in justification.
Reckoning the crucified Christ with the
transgressors, God imputed to Christ the disobedience of all those for
whom Christ was the substitute there on that awful hill outside
Jerusalem. That imputation was no "legal fiction." Christ became guilty,
as if He had eaten the forbidden fruit in Paradise, as if He had been
conceived and born with the depraved, foul nature of the innumerable
host in whose stead He suffered and died, as if He had broken all the
commandments of God, as if He hated God and the neighbour with all His
As our representative, Christ became a guilty,
shameful man—legally! by imputation! regarding His standing before God
the judge! There was nothing make-believe about it, nothing unreal,
"He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin"
(II Cor. 5:21).
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,
having become the curse on our behalf" (Gal. 3:13; my translation of the
God dealt with Christ as the guilty one,
representationally and legally: He punished Him with the suffering that
His guilt as substitute required. This was the suffering in body and
soul of the eternal torment of the infinite wrath of
Because He removed our guilt and shame by taking it
upon Himself and suffering the just penalty in His incarnate Son, God
can and may forgive our sins in the act of justification. The
explanation is not only that the penalty of our sin has been paid, but
also, and more importantly for our present concern, that our
representative paid it. That is, we ourselves paid it in our
Indeed, who can charge anything against those whom
God justifies? Who can possibly condemn those whom God declares
innocent? There is nothing to be said in condemnation. Does one, say,
the old accuser, object, "You may not forgive the sinner, because his
sins demand payment according to Your own justice"? Comes back the
answer from the just God, " His debt has been paid to Me in full." Does
the calumniator of God and His people insist, "But the man in fact is
and remains guilty"? God denies it, "His guilty was transferred to
Another, so that it is gone from him." Does the objector persist, "But
he himself has not paid the penalty, and Your justice demand this too."
God replies, "Ah, but he himself did pay the penalty—in his
It is precisely at this point, of course, that all
earthly analogies of justification halt, as I mentioned before. An
earthly judge may forgive a guilty criminal, but never by the judge’s
enduring the punishment that the criminal deserved, much less by
becoming, in fact, the criminal’s representative.
In addition to His taking our guilt and shame upon
Himself on the cross, as our representative, so that we might be
forgiven, Christ also obeyed the law’s precepts all His life and offered
up His life to God in love—the life of the only begotten Son of God in
human flesh—thus earning for us as our representative the right to the
highest life, so that we might receive the right to life as sons and
heirs of God.
Again, should an objector respond to this act of God
in justification that the sinner does not deserve this, God’s reply is,
"But he earned it all—in his representative."
It becomes clear then that at the very foundation of
the marvellous, gracious act of justification is the cross, to be sure,
but the cross of Jesus Christ as our representative. To use the quaint
language of the old Puritans (who certainly got some things right,
although they went desperately wrong on assurance), we "lay the bottom"
of justification in Christ’s being the representative of His elect
This requires further exploration.
This takes us deeply into covenant theology—covenant
theology that is grievously corrupted by many who loudly profess to be
And this exposes a serious error of the federal
This, I look into with you next time.
Let us not close this instalment without exalting
over the reality—the comforting reality—of biblical justification.
Believing on the crucified and risen Jesus Christ, as presented in the
gospel of Scripture and confessed by the Reformed faith in the
Reformation creeds, I am justified. I am justified in reality. For I was
crucified with Christ. I obeyed in that Christ. I paid for all my sins
in that Christ. I earned the right to heaven in that Christ.
In this boldness, I live my sinful (although also
sanctified) life (I speak now in the name of every believer).
In this boldness, I intend one day to die.
In this boldness, I am resolved to come before God
the judge (in this same Jesus Christ, who loved me and gave Himself for
me, but the holy God, just the same) in the great, public, final
judgment, when eternity depends on the verdict pronounced over me. And
when the question is put to me, "How do you plead?" I fully intend to
respond with a claim that will resound throughout the courtroom, "Not
There is nothing whatsoever unseemly about this
boldness. God wills it! Otherwise, why does He justify me? Otherwise,
why did He become my representative in Christ at Golgotha?
The Spirit of Christ gives the believer this boldness
through the cross of Christ—as the cross of our representative.
Cordially in Christ,