Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 2
"Teach me thy
way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth:
unite my heart
to fear thy name"
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Acts 17
Psalms: 33:12-20; 100:1-5; 104:13-18; 139:7-14
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Catechism, Lord’s Day 11, II Peter 1
I. He Has
II. He Is
III. He Will
Psalms: 98:1-6; 101:1-8; 25:6-12; 34:12-20
Herman Witsius: "... whoever loves God will, by
virtue of that love, seriously wish, desire, study, and as much as in
him lies, be careful, that his neighbour, as well as himself, be under
God, in God, and for God, and all he has, be for his glory. Again,
whoever loves God, will make it his business, that God may appear every
way admirable and glorious; and as he appears such most eminently in the
sanctification and happiness of men (II Thess. 1:10), he will exert
himself to the utmost, that his neighbour make advances to holiness and
happiness. Finally, whoever sincerely loves God, will never think he
loves and glorifies him enough ..." (Economy of the Covenants,
vol. 1, pp. 66-67).
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
The August issue of the Covenant Reformed News
is available on the back table.
In this morning’s service, the second offering will
be for the building fund.
The Council will meet tomorrow evening at 7:30
PM at the manse.
Membership Class: this week Tuesday at 7:45 PM at
classes start next week. The schedule will be the same as last
PM at the Murrays
PM with the Campbells at the manse
7:00 PM at the Hamills
Midweek Bible Study also starts next week
Wednesday, 12 September, at 7:45 PM at the manse. We will begin our
study of II Timothy with the opening verses.
Offerings: General Fund £482.40. Donations:
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day, 9
Sept (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "In the Beginning God
Created Marriage" (Gen. 2:18-25).
Advanced Notices: S. Wales Lecture, 14 Sept., on
"The Perseverance of the Saints" Reformation Day Lectures: "Lessons from
the Reformation for Today" Fri., 26 Oct., 7:30 PM in Portadown Minor
Town Hall and Fri., 2 Nov., 8 PM in Ballymena Protestant Hall Fri., 9
Nov., 7:30 PM in Limerick School Project building
Website Additions: 1 Italian (Prof. Engelsma’s
pamphlet, "The Church Today and the Reformation Church: A Comparison"),
2 Russian (H. C. Hoeksema’s pamphlet, "God So Loved the World ..."), 3
Portuguese translations, and 3 ecumenical creeds (Albanian, Ewe, and
PRC News: (1) The new trio for the Philippines is
Revs. Haak (Georgetown, MI), W. Langerak (Southeast, MI), and J. Laning
(Hope, MI). (2) Classis West meets this week Wednesday. The agenda for
Classis includes the examination of Clay Spronk, pastor-elect of Peace
PRC in Illinois, and the approval of Calvary PRC, the new daughter
congregation of Hull PRC in Iowa.
This is the 14th instalment in Prof. Engelsma’s
Scripture teaches that justification is "by," that
is, "by means of," faith. As we saw in the previous instalment, God’s
gracious, saving act of imputing the righteousness of Christ to the
account of the guilty sinner, thus changing the sinner’s legal standing
before God the Judge from guilt to innocence, indeed, righteousness,
takes place by the instrumentality of faith. The Greek students among us
know that the construction in the original of the New Testament, for
example, in Galatians 2:16, is the preposition dia with the
genitive of the word, "faith": "by means of faith." Or, the Greek simply
has the word, "faith," in the dative case, as in Romans 3:28, which
means the same thing: "by means of faith."
However, the New Testament also expresses the
relation between justification and faith in a different way. Since this
is part of the biblical revelation about justification and since this
sheds important light on the truth of justification, we must also
consider this teaching of the Bible concerning justification. In this
expression, justification is said to be "out of faith." The preposition
is not dia, "by means of," but ek, "out of." Sometimes the
two expressions, "by means of faith," and "out of faith" occur in the
same text concerning justification.
Such a text is the crucially important Galatians
2:16. The translation of the AV is this: "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 AV translates all the
important prepositions as "by." In fact, however, the Greek original of
the text uses two different prepositions, in order to bring out two
distinct aspects of justification. One is dia (with the genitive
case of the word, "faith"), "by means of" (faith). The other is the
preposition, ek (followed by the genitive case of the word,
"faith"), "out of" (faith).
I will show this by a literal translation of
Galatians 2:16: "Knowing that a man is not justified out of [ek]
the works of the law, but by [dia] the faith of Jesus Christ,
even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified out of
[ek] the faith of Christ, and not out of [ek] the works of
the law; for out of [ek] the works of the law shall no flesh be
The text teaches both that we are justified by faith
and that we are justified out of faith. It also denies that anyone is
ever justified out of his, or anyone else’s, works.
The fundamental truth about justification as a
gracious act of God imputing the righteousness of Christ to the guilty,
but believing, sinner is the same. But the deliberate teaching of the
Holy Spirit that the sinner is justified out of faith, as well as by
faith, adds something to our understanding of justification.
That we are justified out of the faith of Christ
means that faith is the source of our justification. Just as works of
the law are the source of justification for those who attempt to be
justified by works, so faith is the source of justification for those
who believe for justification, rather than work for it. Faith is the
source of justification inasmuch as faith has Christ as its object. In
the phrase, "out of the faith of Christ," Christ is the object of faith.
Our faith looks to Christ, trusts in Christ, and embraces Christ. From
this Christ, faith receives Christ Himself as the believer’s
righteousness by imputation. Or, to say it differently, from this
Christ, to whom faith looks and upon whom faith rests and whom faith
embraces, the believer receives the righteousness of Christ as his own
Faith is the source of justification inasmuch as
faith lays hold of and conveys to the believer the righteousness of
Christ (by imputation).
Faith itself, apart from Christ, considered as mere
act of believing by a human, is not the source of justification and
could never be the source of justification. But faith is never alone, by
itself, as a mere act of believing. Faith—true faith—is always faith in
Christ. Faith—true faith—always has an object, and this object is the
crucified and risen Christ as revealed in the gospel. Thus, as the
embracing of Christ, in whom is forgiveness, righteousness, and the
adoption of children, faith is the source of justification.
A homely illustration will drive the point of faith
as the source of justification—ek—home. The source of water in my
home is the faucet. Not as though this piece of plumbing produces water
on its own. Nor is anyone so foolish as to suppose so. But the faucet
and the rest of the plumbing are connected ultimately with Lake
Michigan, where is the water for Grand Rapids, Michigan, and
particularly for me. In this sense, the faucet [tap] in my home is the
source of water. Out of the faucet [tap] I receive water.
The truth about justification that the phrase, "out
of the faith of Christ," teaches us is that Christ, Christ alone, is the
source of righteousness, that is, the righteousness that we need and
that becomes ours by God’s act of justification. God has worked out a
righteousness for penitent, believing sinners in Christ, and this
righteousness is now in that exalted Christ at the right hand of God.
It is faith that God is pleased to use in order to
grant the sinner this righteousness of Christ (by imputation). Faith is
the bond of union with Christ through which the sinner receives
righteousness. Thus, faith is the source of justification, as it is also
Works are not the source. The apostle denies this in
so many words in Galatians 2:16: "not out of the works of the law."
One looks in vain to all obedience to the law, to any
and all works, for justification. Righteousness for guilty sinners
cannot be found in their own obedience to the law, whether this
obedience is performed in their own strength or in the strength of the
Holy Spirit within them. The righteousness of justification cannot be
found there, because it is not there. To look to works, that is, all the
efforts, worth, and working of mere humans themselves, for justification
is as foolish as it would be for me to look for the source of water by
sticking my faucet [tap] into a pile of sand in the back yard.
Only, the attempt to find righteousness in the works
of the law is wicked, dreadfully wicked, not only foolish. For God has
worked out His righteousness for sinners in His incarnate and crucified
Son and has clearly revealed that justification is alone through faith
in Him. As Paul declared about unbelieving Jewry, "They being ignorant
of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own
righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of
God." Against this folly and wickedness, the apostle proclaims, "Christ
is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth"
Knowing this, we do the wise and right and beneficial
thing: "Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be
justified out of the faith of Christ."
Cordially in Christ,