Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 10 October, 2010


"One generation shall praise thy works to another,

and shall declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM - Rev. M. McGeown

Reconciled to God   [download]    [youtube]

Scripture Reading: II Corinthians 5:9-6:3

Text: II Corinthians 5:18-19

I. The Meaning

II. The Accomplishment

III. The Proclamation

Psalms: 147:1-9; 78:1-6; 133:1-3; 32:1-5


Evening Service - 6:00 PM - Rev. M. McGeown

The Absolute Security of Christ’s Sheep    [download]    [youtube]

Scripture Reading: John 10:1-30

Text: John 10:28-30

I. The Meaning

II. The Necessity

III. The Reason

Psalms: 29:1-6; 78:7-13; 66:8-17; 121:1-8


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


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quote to Consider:

John Brown: "[Christ] mentions the reason why none can pluck them out of the Father’s hand,—because He is the Almighty, and no created power is able to resist Him. The thing spoken of is power, power irresistible. And in order to prove that none can pluck them out of His hand, He adds, ‘I and the Father are one.’ One in what? Unquestionably in the work of power whereby He protects His sheep and does not suffer them to be plucked out of His hand. What the Father is, that the Son is. What the work of the Father is, that the work of the Son is. As the Father is almighty, so is the Son likewise. As nothing can resist the Father, so nothing can resist the Son. Whatever the Father hath, the Son hath likewise. The Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father. These two are one—in nature, perfection and glory."

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

We welcome Rev. McGeown today. He will be preaching both services while Rev. Stewart preaches for the Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

Catechism classes: Monday, 6:00 PM - Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex Monday, 6:45 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea Tuesday, 12:15 AM - Beginners NT Class

Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM. We will look at II Thessalonians 1:4f. on love enabling perseverance.

Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We will look at Article 2, "By what means God is made known unto us." The audio of the last class is on-line.

Thursday membership class: 7:30 PM.

Rev. & Mary Stewart travel to S. Wales this week Friday where Rev. Stewart will give a lecture on "Charismaticism." They will return on Saturday.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Rise of Counterfeit Christianity" by Rev. Bruinsma.

Ladies Discussion will be at 11 AM next week Wednesday, 20 October.

Future S. Wales Lectures: 3 December by Rev. McGeown and 21 January by Rev. Stewart.

Offerings: General Fund - £610.90. Building Fund - £419.11.

If you would like to purchase a bound volume of the past year’s Standard Bearers (volume 86) for £20, contact Rev. Stewart by the end of October.

PRC News: Edgerton PRC called Rev. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh, PA).

This is part 1 of the 41st email from Prof. Engelsma on justification:

Dear European Forum,

At this point in my instruction concerning justification, I explain the relationship between justification and sanctification.

I have already touched on this relationship several times in the course of our study, for instance, in refuting the heresy of justification by faith and good works, which confuses the two works of the Spirit of Christ, and in my harmonizing of Romans 3-5 and James 2. Therefore, I can be brief in this instalment.

Even though the subject has come up earlier, it will be helpful that I make this topic the specific focus of our attention.

You will keep in mind that our interest here is not sanctification, but justification. I will not, therefore, be giving anything like a thorough explanation of sanctification.

There are reasons for making the relation between justification and sanctification a specific part of our study of justification. First, the Bible and the Reformation creeds teach that there is a relation between the two saving works of Christ. Second, the great heresy concerning justification confuses the relation between the two works of Christ in the elect child of God. In fact, in an important respect the heresy consists of confusing the two. I refer to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church (hereafter, RCC) that a man is justified by faith in Christ and by his own good works, which heresy is today being spread in reputedly conservative Reformed and Presbyterian churches by the movement known as the Federal (Covenant) Vision (hereafter, FV).

Let us be clear about the terms.

Justification (the root being "just" or "righteous") is the act of God in Christ forgiving the elect sinner’s sins and sinfulness and reckoning him righteous before God the judge by imputing to his account all the obedience of Christ in his place and on his behalf during all His life but especially by His suffering at the end of His life and ministry, culminating in His death on the cross. This work of Christ is the subject of Romans 3-5 and 8 and of the book of Galatians.

Sanctification is the work of the Spirit of Christ in the elect, believing, and justified sinner making him holy. The root of the Latin-based term, "sanctification," is "holiness." Holiness consists of cleansing from the defilement and power of sin and of consecrating one to God in love for Him so that one obeys God’s law and performs good works. Sanctification is the subject of II Thessalonians 2:13, Romans 12-16, Ephesians 4-6, and many other places in Scripture.

These two works of God in Christ by the Holy Spirit have in common that both are works of salvation from sin.

But the two saving works are and must be sharply distinguished. What distinguishes them includes the following.

First, justification is a legal act of Christ in the consciousness of the believing sinner, declaring him righteous before God by a verdict; sanctification is a work of spiritual power in the believing sinner’s heart, mind, soul, and body making him righteous, or good.

Second, justification imputes, or reckons, Christ’s righteousness to the sinner’s account, or standing before God the judge; sanctification infuses Christ’s righteousness into the sinner. (Take careful note of the two different words for the act of justification and the work of sanctification: "imputes" and "infuses".)

Third, justification reckons to the sinner’s account Christ’s obedience to the law in that sinner’s stead; sanctification writes the law of God upon the sinner’s heart, so that he himself begins victoriously to obey the law.

Four, justification delivers the sinner from the guilt of sin, that is, the liability to divine punishment and the sense of shame; sanctification delivers the sinner from the ruling power of sin and thus from the pollution of sin. The forgiven adulterer is freed from the punishment of death and the haunting shame of his deed; the sanctified adulterer is no longer ruled by lust, fights against lust whenever it arises from his sinful nature, and wills never again to commit the deed.

Five, justification gives the sinner peace with God in his conscience; sanctification gives the sinner power to love God and the neighbour according to the law of God.

Six, justification is a perfect act of Christ with regard to the elect sinner in this life, and in his own consciousness; sanctification, although a victorious work of Christ in the sinner, is never perfected in this life, but is progressive. That is, when Christ justifies the believing sinner through his faith, He fully pardons all his sins and decisively reckons to him all His own obedience to God for him, so that the justified sinner is conscious and assured of a perfect righteousness with God. He consciously stands before God the judge as one who has never had or committed any sin, but is perfectly innocent with the innocence of Christ Himself. One is not increasingly, or progressively, justified. One is not justified more and more. When the judge declares concerning one on trial that the defendant is not guilty, the verdict is, in the nature of the case, a perfectly accomplished verdict and the consciousness of the one acquitted accordingly is that of perfect innocence with regard to the demands of the law.

Sanctification, by contrast, is never perfect in this life. The sanctified sinner is never completely delivered from the power and pollution of sin in this life (contrary to the false teaching of the perfectionists). Sin no longer rules in him, according to Romans 6, but sin does remain in him, powerfully so, so that he has a sinful nature (which is sin), commits sins (contrary to his will, as Paul teaches in Romans 7), and corrupts even his best works with sin as long as he lives. Nevertheless, there is progress, and should be progress, in holiness in the life of every child of God throughout his life. The Heidelberg Catechism teaches this progression in Q. and A. 115 in explanation of the necessity of sharply preaching the ten commandments to the congregation: "That we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us in a life to come." This confessional statement indicates that perfection comes at death and ultimately at the resurrection of the body, when the body shares with the soul the perfect holiness of Christ. In Q. and A. 42, the Catechism teaches that one reason why the believer does not fear, but even in a way longs for, death is that at his death the Spirit of Christ finally abolishes his sinful nature and the power of sin in him.

The Reformation confessions thus sharply distinguish these two grand works of salvation. I refer you to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapters 11 (on justification) and 13 (on sanctification), and to the Belgic Confession, Articles 23 (justification) and 24 (sanctification). ... to be continued