Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 20 May, 2007


"God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of

the earth" (Psalm 74:12)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The City of God (2)

Knowing God as our Refuge

Psalm 48:3-8

I. Church Knowledge

II. Historical Knowledge

III. Experiential Knowledge

Psalms: 138:1-6; 86:13-17; 102:13-18; 48:1-9


Evening 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

Psalms: 94:1-8; 87:1-7; 9:12-17; 11:1-7


For audio cassettes of the worship services or CDs of the sermons, contact Sean Courtney (

CPRC website:


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 Baal."

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 back table.

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 - Stewarts

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 justification

Dear Forum,

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 believer.

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 language.

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 suffered."

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 good works.

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 stead.

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,

Prof. Engelsma