Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 27 May, 2007


"Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord;

neither are there any works like unto thy works" (Ps. 86:8)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Why Our Mediator Must Be Very Man

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 5; Hebrews 2:14-15

I. Our Fear of Death

II. His Conquest of Death

Psalms: 98:1-9; 88:1-9; 40:5-9; 36:5-11


Evening Service - 6:00 PM


The City of God (3)

Thinking of God’s Lovingkindness

Psalm 48:9-11

I. The Meaning

II. The Praise

III. The Rejoicing

Psalms: 111:1-6; 88:10-18; 44:1-8; 48:3-11


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

CPRC website:



Quotes to Consider:

William Bridge: "There are two things that make meditation hard. The one is, because men are not used thereunto ... and another is, because they do not love God enough. Everything is hard at the first: writing is hard at the first, painting hard at the first ... meditation will be hard at the first. There is nothing not hard to those that are unwilling. There is nothing hard to those that love, love makes all things easy. Is it a hard thing for a lover to think or meditate on the person loved?"

John Owen: "Ignorance of God and of ourselves is the great principle and cause of all our disquietments; and, this ariseth mostly not from want of light and instruction, but for want of consideration and application."

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The May issue of the C. R. News is available on the back table.

Family Visitation concludes tomorrow night (DV). The Consistory would like to thank the members for their cooperation and fellowship in this profitable exercise in the spiritual oversight of Christ’s body, the church.

Family visitation schedule: 28 May, Monday, 7 PM - Douglas Stewart (Crossett), 8 PM - Stewarts

Membership Class: Tuesday, 7:30 PM at the Hallidays.

Martyn returns from a good year at the Protestant Reformed Seminary this Thursday.

This Friday, Rev. Stewart will speak in Limerick on "A Plea for Creeds." Please remember this witness and the saints in Limerick in your prayers.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day, 27 May (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Shining as Lights in the World" (Phil. 2:15).

Last Week’s Offerings: General Fund - £532.10

Website: Four new Portuguese translations have been added. Three articles ("September 11," "The Bible and Homosexuality," and "The Sad Case of Bert Zandstra") translated by Martyn into German are also on-line.

Advanced Notices: (1) South Wales Lecture, "The Psalms versus Common Grace," Friday, 8 June, at 7:15 PM (2) The CPRC plans to have a stall at the Clogher Valley & Antrim Agricultural Shows on Wed. 25 July and Sat. 28 July, respectively

PRC News: The seminary announced with joy and thanksgiving to God that license has been given to seminarian Corey Griess to speak a word of edification in the church. Corey and his wife, Lael, traveled to Pittsburgh yesterday where they will spend two months helping on the home mission field there.

This is the 12th e-mail sent by Prof. Engelsma to the forum on justification

Dear Forum,

In the preceding installments I have shown from Scripture and the confessions that justification is the strictly legal act of God—a verdict as Judge—of imputing, or reckoning, the obedience of Christ, including both His active and passive obedience, to the account of the elect, believing sinner. The effect is the radical change of the state—the legal position of the sinner before the divine bar of justice—from guilt to innocence.

Justification is not the infusion of righteousness, changing the sinner’s actual spiritual condition from that of wickedness to goodness. It is not, and must not be confused with, the saving work of God of sanctification, which as a matter of fact always accompanies justification, following it in the "order of salvation," but is always distinct from justification.

Justification is exclusively the imputation to the believing sinner of the obedient work of Jesus Christ in the elect sinner’s stead, and for the elect sinner. The good works of the sinner himself are not involved in justification, are not part of the righteousness of justification, not even the good works that the regenerated sinner may do, and in fact does, by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. They cannot be because in justification God the Judge requires perfect obedience and even the good works that the regenerated sinner does by the Spirit of Christ are defiled by sin, are imperfect.

The obedience of Christ that is imputed to the sinner’s account includes the so-called "active" obedience of Christ, as well as the so-called "passive" obedience of Christ. That is, the demand of the law upon the sinner, not only that he suffer the infinite wrath of God as punishment for his sinfulness and transgressions, but also that he perfectly fulfill all the demands of the law as summed up in the ten commandments is fully met in the imputation to the sinner of the obedience of Christ, who not only died for him but also obeyed for him. Regarding righteousness with God the Judge, the law has absolutely no demand upon the justified sinner any longer whatever.

In the course of demonstrating and arguing these vitally important aspects of the truth of justification, I have exposed and condemned the grievous errors of Rome, Arminian theology, and especially the Federal Vision, now solidly entrenched, and spreading, in many supposedly conservative Reformed and Presbyterian churches in North America.

With regard to the Federal Vision (FV), the latest ecclesiastical development, which bears careful watching, is a proposal by some in the United Reformed Churches (URC—a denomination that separated from the Christian Reformed Church over the issue of ordaining women to church office) to the synod of the URC that meets this summer, that the URC officially condemn the FV, which is strong in the URC, as heretical doctrine. Some of the most outspoken and crass public advocates of the heresy of the FV have been URC ministers, including John Barach. Already, influential ministers in the URC are publicly warning against such a synodical condemnation. The action called for is irregular, to be sure. What the orthodox should have done, and should do still today, is to charge those who have preached and publicly taught the FV with heresy and thus obtained their deposition and excommunication, if they did not repent. For the most part, they did not do this. They allowed the men to advocate the heresy. In the one case in the URC in which people—"laymen," not ministers!—did make a case against a minister who was teaching justification by works, a classis—a major church assembly—upheld the minister. Nevertheless, the reasons why some of the oldest and most influential ministers in the URC oppose a synodical condemnation of the FV are that such a decision would cause division in the URC, such a decision would reflect badly on the doctrine of the covenant that prevails in the URC (the doctrine of a conditional covenant, of which the FV is merely the outworking and evil fruit), and such a decision would jeopardize the ecumenical relations with the Canadian Reformed Churches (a denomination of Reformed churches mainly in Canada, which has a very close relationship with a denomination in the Netherlands called the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands [liberated], which is committed to a doctrine of a conditional covenant and many of whose theologians are supporters of Norman Shepherd, a father of the heresy of the FV).

I doubt that the URC will, indeed can, condemn the FV.

In our own study of justification on this forum, we are now ready to examine the meaning of the truth that justification is by faith, and by faith only.

The Bible teaches that justification is "by faith." I point to two passages, Romans 3:9-5:1 and the entire book of Galatians, which I ask that we all read and re-read in their entirety. Romans 3:28 teaches that "a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Galatians 2:16 reads, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

The Reformation of the church in the 16th century made the truth that justification is by faith, and not by works, the main issue of its great reforming work, seeing this truth as the heart of the gospel of salvation by grace alone. Rightly, we associate the confession of this truth with Martin Luther, but Calvin agreed with Luther concerning the meaning and importance of the truth that justification is by faith, not by works.

Therefore, that justification is by faith is the teaching of all the Reformation confessions. I ask the members of the forum to read this for themselves in the articles of the creeds that I quoted on this forum earlier. I quote sections of a few of them. Article 11 of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England states, "that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine." Article 23 of the Belgic Confession declares that "the obedience of Christ crucified ... becomes ours when we believe in Him." The Heidelberg Catechism answers the question, "How are you righteous before God," thus: "Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ." And the Westminster Confession of Faith teaches that God justifies "by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith" (11:1).

Justification is by faith.

And justification is by faith only.

The meaning of this, I intend to explain and defend next time.

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma