Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 17 October, 2010


"One generation shall praise thy works to another,

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


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Jerusalem and Antioch (7)

The Jerusalem Assembly    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Acts 15:1-35

Text: Acts 15:1-35

I. The Occasion of the Jerusalem Assembly

II. The Discussion at the Jerusalem Assembly

III. The Decisions of the Jerusalem Assembly

Psalms: 113:1-9; 78:14-21; 101:3-8; 84:4-11


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Praying to Our Heavenly Father   [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Psalm 103

Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 46

I. Praying to Father

II. Praying to Father in Heaven

Psalms: 115:1-3, 12-18; 78:22-29; 102:19-24; 103:8-15


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


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quote to Consider:

Sundry Ministers of Christ within the City of London: "That Jesus Christ hath laid down in his word a pattern of a synod, yea, of a juridical synod, consisting of governing officers of divers presbyterial churches, is manifest, Acts 15 and 16, where are plainly set forth: 1. The occasion of the synod. 2. The proper members of the synod. 3. The equal power and authority exercised by all those members. 4. The way and method of ordinary synodal proceeding. 5. The juridical acts of power put forth by the synod; with the issue and consequent of all upon the churches" (The Divine Right of Church Government [c. 1646], p. 201).

Thomas Witherow: "Let it be remarked that, in the simple narrative, the following facts stand noticeably out:—(1) That Barnabas and Paul had a dispute about circumcision with certain false teachers who came down from Judea; (2) This dispute was not settled in the Church of Antioch where it originated; (3) The matter was referred to an external ecclesiastical assembly consisting of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem; (4) This assembly met publicly to deliberate on the question; (5) They pronounced a decision; (6) To this decision the Church of Antioch and the Churches of Syria and Cilicia yielded submission" (The Apostolic Church: Which Is It?, p. 50).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The Standard Bearers are available on the back table as are copies of a missionary letter from Rev. Bruinsma in Pittsburgh.

Beacon Lights subscribers should pass on their subscription money (£10) to Susan Hall who will pay your bill for you.

Ladies Discussion will be at 11 AM tomorrow, 18 October. We will be meeting on Monday just this time. Discussion will be on the article entitled "Handmaidens of Jehovah (1)" which is available on the back table.

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 1:5f. on God’s righteousness in our suffering for His kingdom.

Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We will continue our study of 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.

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

Offerings: General Fund - £403.16. Donations: £200, £250, £1,500 (DVDs), £200.

PRC News: Cornerstone PRC called Rev. Haak. Wingham PRC called Rev. A. Lanning. Dan Holstege was ordained and installed into the ministry at the PR church in Holland, Michigan on Thursday.

This is part 2 of the 41st email from Prof. Engelsma on justification:

This distinction [between justification and sanctification] is based on Scripture. Romans 3-5 teaches justification as the legal act of Christ perfectly delivering from guilt, on the basis of Christ’s death, so that the sinner has peace with God. Romans 6, 7, the first part of 8, and 12-16 teaches sanctification as the Spirit’s work in the justified sinner of actually delivering him from the ruling power of sin, though not perfectly in this life (see Rom. 7), so that he lives, victoriously, a life of love for God expressed by obedience to God’s law.

It is an aspect of the error of the RCC and today, amazingly, of reputedly conservative Reformed churches that produce and tolerate the FV, that they confuse and mix up justification and sanctification. More precisely, they teach that the saving work of justification is partly God’s work of infusing in the sinner the righteousness of Christ so that the sinner performs good works. On the basis then both of Christ’s death and the good works of the sinner himself, God forgives the sinner and declares him righteous. To put it a little differently, the error is to describe justification as God’s work, with the sinner’s cooperation, of infusing righteousness into the sinner, rather than imputing righteousness to the sinner. The result is the heresy—and heresy it is, as I have shown—of justification by faith and works.

Confusing justification and sanctification always results in, indeed has the purpose of, making the sinner’s own works part of his righteousness with God in the act of justification.

Although the two works of Christ are sharply distinguished, they are also inseparably related. The relation includes the following.

First, whomever Christ justifies, He also sanctifies, for Christ is a complete Saviour from sin, not only delivering from the guilt and punishment of sin, but also delivering from the ruling power and pollution of sin. He showed this in His saving word to the adulterous woman in John 8. "Neither do I condemn you, go"—this is justification, perfect at that moment, delivering from the due punishment of adultery and giving that woman peace with God. This is the gospel’s wonderful liberty regarding the guilt and shame of sin. "Sin no more"—this is the inseparably related, accompanying, efficacious word of sanctification, delivering the woman from the equally dreadful aspect of sin that consists of its ruling, polluting power.

Whomever Christ justifies, He also sanctifies, and at the same time—not forty years later. This is the biblical and Reformed answer to the recent controversy in fundamentalist circles in North America known as the "Lordship controversy." Most dispensationalists, consistently with their denial that the law of God is the guide of the holy life of New Testament Christians, teach that Christ delivers from the guilt of sin, but not necessarily from the power of sin. He can be, and often is, they say, Saviour but not Lord of one’s life. He is only half a Saviour.

With Scripture, the Reformed faith knows Christ as a complete Saviour, delivering all His own both from sin’s guilt and from sin’s ruling power. Q. and A. 86 of the Heidelberg Catechism expresses the truth about the inseparable connection between justification and sanctification: "Christ, having redeemed and delivered us by his blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image."

In fact, second, so intimately related are justification and sanctification, so inseparable are they, so impossible is it that one be justified without also being sanctified, that in an important sense only those are justified who have already been sanctified. I know, there is also an important order of the two works of grace that has justification preceding sanctification. This is the order of Jesus’ word to the adulterous woman in John 8. Nevertheless, there is also a sense in which sanctification precedes justification. Before one can believe in Christ as presented in the gospel and in this way be justified in his own consciousness, he must have been regenerated. Only one who has been born again with the new life of Christ can possibly believe the gospel and believe on Christ as presented in the gospel. But regeneration, the birth from above with the new life of Christ by the indwelling Spirit, is a renewing, sanctifying work of God in one’s spiritual centre. This holiness does not at all enter into one’s justification by faith. The good works one certainly does perform by virtue of this regeneration, including believing on Christ, are not at all the basis of the verdict of justification, nor any part of the sinner’s righteousness with God. Nevertheless, only one already born again and thus made holy will believe and be justified by that faith in Christ. It is, therefore, impossible that one is justified, but lives an unholy, lawless life. In this regard too, justification and sanctification are inseparable related.

But, third, the relation and order in the experience of the child of God are that consciously the one who has been justified freely by the blood of Christ will love his gracious Saviour. Since love for Christ is the motive of the life of holiness, the order of the two great saving works of Christ is justification followed by sanctification. To say it differently, the Spirit of Christ makes us holy by justifying us by faith alone. But sanctification will always certainly follow justification, and at once, as it were spontaneously. Here, one must read the touching history and parable in Luke 7:36-50. The sinful woman loved Jesus much (sanctification) because He had freely forgiven all her great debt (justification). Her love (good works) was not the cause of her forgiveness, nor a part of the righteousness with which she was declared right with God, but the fruit and result and evidence of her justification. But it was the instantaneous fruit and effect of her justification.

So far is it from being true, therefore (and this is the charge always against the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone), that justification by faith alone makes people careless and wicked regarding a holy life, that, on the contrary, the justified by faith alone will certainly perform good works, and only the justified by faith alone will perform truly good works. For only works done out of thankful love to God for a purely gracious salvation, particularly, a gracious justification, are acceptable to God as genuinely good. Works out of terror (to escape hell) or out a slavish desire to pay or earn or fulfil conditions upon which salvation is supposed to depend (which implies that Christ’s work was not enough and that salvation, after all, is not by grace alone) are not pleasing to God, but terribly displeasing to Him.

One of the reasons, then, for our defence of justification by faith alone is our ardent desire that the people of God, by believing this doctrine and living in the truth of it, will be zealous for good works.

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma