Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 20
"God is my
King of old, working salvation in the midst of
Morning Service -
The City of God (2)
Knowing God as our Refuge
I. Church Knowledge
II. Historical Knowledge
86:13-17; 102:13-18; 48:1-9
Service - 6:00 PM
The Necessity of the
Punishment of Sin
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s
Day 4; Revelation 14
I. The Arguments
II. The Images
87:1-7; 9:12-17; 11:1-7
For audio cassettes of the
worship services or CDs of the sermons, contact Sean Courtney
Quotes to Consider:
Belgic Confession, Article 27: "This Church hath
been from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end thereof;
which is evident from this, that Christ is an eternal King, which,
without subjects, cannot be. And this holy Church is preserved or
supported by God, against the rage of the whole world; though she
sometimes (for a while) appears very small, and in the eyes of men, to
be reduced to nothing: as during the perilous reign of Ahab, the Lord
reserved unto him seven thousand men, who had not bowed their knees to
Herman Hoeksema: "It is thus that the sinner
tries to entrench and fortify himself in his sin! He makes a god of his
own imagination, after his own sinful heart, before whose face he can
sin and feel safe. He invents his own god, an idol that is wholly like
unto himself. He deprives God of His sterner attributes of righteousness
and justice, and speaks of a god of mercy and love that will wink at
sin, and make the ungodly the object of His blessing. And thus he tries
to quiet the voice of his own conscience, and partly succeeds to create
for himself a sense of safety in the way of sin, until he meets the
living God in the day of the revelation of His righteous judgment, and
discovers that he believed a lie, that he followed after a delusion, and
that the eternal God cannot be mocked!"
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
The Standard Bearers are available today. This
issue contains an article by Don Doezema entitled "Whether They Will
Hear" and looks at PRC Domestic Missions and our congregation.
A 2006-2007 financial report is also on the
Family visitation schedule: Today after PM
service - Janet Napier (Crossett) 21 May, Monday, 7 PM - Callenders, 8
PM - Jennifer Hanko (Rainey) 22 May, Tuesday, 7 PM - Sinead Hanna, 8 PM
- Hamills (Crossett) 25 May, Friday, 7 PM - Courtneys, 8 PM - Philip
Hall (Rainey) 28 May, Monday, 7 PM - Douglas Stewart (Crossett), 8 PM -
William Armstrong will be setting up a stall for us
at the Ballymena Agricultural Show on Saturday, 26 May. Please
remember this witness in your prayers.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day, 27
May (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Spirit-Led are the
Children of God" (Rom. 8:14-16).
Last Week’s Offerings: General Fund - £399.40
Advanced Notices: (1) Limerick Lecture, "A Plea
for Creeds," Friday, 1 June (2) South Wales Lecture, "The Psalms versus
Common Grace," Friday, 8 June, at 7:15 PM (3) The CPRC plans to have a
stall at the Antrim Agricultural Show on Sat. 28 July
PRC News: Rev. VanOverloop received the call to the Philippines.
This is the 11th e-mail sent by Prof. Engelsma to the forum on
We concluded last time with the question whether in
justification only Christ’s passive obedience, that is, His suffering
and death for the forgiveness of sins, or also His active obedience,
that is, His lifelong obedience to the law of God, is imputed to the
This is related to the question whether the work of
the mediator of the covenant in the place of His guilty people was only
His suffering and death—the atonement—or also His obedience to the law
His life long.
These are timely questions in our day because the
heresy of the Federal Vision (FV) and the closely related false teaching
of the New Perspective on Paul (NPP) deny that in justification the
believer receives the active obedience of Christ. They limit the
substitutionary work of the Saviour to His suffering and death as
payment of the debt of the sins of men.
The Presbyterian and Reformed confessions teach that
Christ not only suffered and died in the stead of His guilty people, but
also obeyed the law for them. Therefore, in justification there is
imputed to them, not only the righteousness of full payment of their
sins but also the righteousness of a perfect obedience to the demand of
the law that they love God and their neighbour.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF)
teaches that Jesus fully satisfied the justice of his Father "by his
perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself"—not only His sacrifice but
also His perfect obedience (8.5). Significantly, the preceding article
has said that in order to be a Mediator and Surety of His people Jesus
"was made under the law and did perfectly fulfil it" (8:4). It then goes
on to speak of His suffering and death. As our Mediator, Jesus did not
only suffer in our stead, but from the beginning of His earthly life He
willingly was made under the law as one who had to fulfil all the
demands of the law, as well as to suffer the curse of the law, in the
place of His people. The Larger and Smaller Catechisms speak the same
The Heidelberg Catechism teaches that in
justification God "imputes to me the perfect satisfaction,
righteousness, and holiness of Christ." It continues that the benefit of
justification for the believer is that it is as if "I had fully
accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me"
(Q. & A. 60).
Article 22 of the Belgic Confession states
that in justification Christ imputes to us "all His merits and so many
holy works which He has done for us and in our stead."
Scripture teaches that the righteousness God worked
out for His own in Jesus Christ includes Jesus lifelong obedience to God
as well as the merit of His suffering and death on account of their
sins. In Romans 5:12ff. the work of Christ that satisfied the divine
justice and constituted the elect righteous before God is not described
as His suffering and death, but simply as His obedience. This
encompasses the entire life and death of Christ. He obeyed. He obeyed
every demand of the law. He obeyed the will of the Father in laying down
His life for His own.
Although the emphasis is on His sacrifice, Hebrews
10:5-10 calls attention to the lifelong obedience of Jesus, who came to
do God’s will: "Lo, I come ... to do thy will, O God."
Not only does Galatians 4:4 teach that Jesus was
"under the law" from His very birth, but also Luke 2:21-24 teaches that
from His birth on He was obeying every demand of the law, not as a mere
human, but as "Jesus," the Saviour of others.
There may be some value in distinguishing Jesus’ work
as active and passive obedience, but there is also something misleading
about this distinction. In fact, in all Jesus’ lifelong obedience He was
suffering. The Heidelberg Catechism confesses that Jesus suffered
the wrath of God "all the time that He lived on earth" (Q. & A. 37).
Hebrews 5:8 says that He "learned obedience by the things which he
And His suffering and death, especially at the end,
was not passive, but intensely active. Actively, He took the cup of the
wrath of God; actively, He gave His back to the smiters; actively, He
descended into hell.
The work of Jesus on behalf of His guilty and
depraved people was obedience to God and His law, total obedience to the
entire law. He satisfied divine justice, not only by taking upon Himself
the curse of the law due to a people who had broken the law, but also by
obeying the law perfectly.
This full and perfect righteousness is imputed to the
one who believes, so that he stands before God as one who, not only has
satisfied the law’s demand that the violator of the law be cursed and
damned, but also as one who has satisfied the law’s demand that he
perfectly keep the requirements of the law, namely, perfect love of God
and perfect love of the neighbour.
A righteousness consisting only of the satisfaction
of the law’s demand for punishment would be half a righteousness. The
believer would be left with the question: What about the law’s demand
upon me that I be perfect?
The enthusiastic answer of the FV to this question
is: You yourself must provide the other half of righteousness by your
In the matter of righteousness before God, now and in
the final judgment, as a believer I have nothing to do with the law and
its demands whatever any more. Christ is my righteousness, all of it. I
am quit of the law. God satisfied the good, just law, fully, in my
My obedience to the law has nothing to do with
acquiring righteousness with God. It is a matter of gratitude for a
perfect righteousness freely given for Christ’s sake by imputation.
Christ our righteousness!
What peace of soul to the believer!
And it is glorifying to God: He worked out His own
righteousness for us in His own Son (Rom. 3:25-26).
Cordially in Christ,