Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 20
after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep
of thy mouth" (Ps. 119:88)
Service - 11:00 AM
Purposes With Israel in the New Testament Age (1)
Has God Cast Away the Jews? [download]
Reading: Romans 10:14-11:10
113:1-9; 37:1-7; 73:1-9; 94:14-19
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Christ Suffered Under Pontius Pilate [download]
Reading: John 18:28-19:22
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 15
92:1-7; 37:8-14; 43:1-5; 2:1-8
Quotes to Consider:
John Calvin on Romans 11:5: "One thing then that
is laid down is,—that few are saved in comparison with the vast number
of those who assume the name of being God’s people; the other is,—that
those are saved by God’s power whom he has chosen with no regard to any
merit. The election of grace is a Hebrew idiom for gratuitous
Charles Hodge: "Paul, therefore, designs to teach
that the rejection of the Jews was not total, because there was a number
whom God had chosen, who remained faithful, and constituted the true
Israel or elected people, to whom the promises were made ... the
promises in question had reference, not to the Jewish nation as such,
but to the elect, or, the spiritual Israel" (Romans, pp. 356,
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
Standard Bearer, the new
CR News, and a newsletter from Heritage PRF in Sioux
Fall, South Dakota are available on the back table.
This evening, we will have preparatory with a
view to partaking of the Lord’s Supper next Lord’s Day morning,
PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse
Monday, 7 PM
- Campbells at the manse
Tuesday, 7 PM
- Jacob at the Buchanans
Tuesday, 8 PM
- Mark & Lauren at the Hamills
Midweek Bible study meets on Wednesday at 7:45 PM
at the manse. We continue I Peter 3:3f., on the adornment of Christian
Rev. & Mary Stewart and Stephen Murray travel to
on Thursday, for a lecture on "Guidance: How Do I Know God’s Will for my
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "The Wall of Separation
Broken Down" (Eph. 2:11-15) by Rev. Bruinsma.
Wales, Thursday, 15 October, 7:15 PM - Calvin on Justification
Friday, 30 October, 7:30 PM - Calvin on Justification
Friday, 6 November, 7:30 PM - Calvin vs. Darwin
Offerings: General Fund: £639.06
CPRC Website: A new "Assurance
Resources" page was added, as was 1 Italian translation (A
Triple Breach, an excellent, lengthy pamphlet by Herman Hoeksema
against common grace) and an article by Francesco on "Feminism
and Women in Church."
PRC News: Holland PRC will call from a trio of
Revs. Haak (Georgetown, MI), Key (Hull, IA) and Kuiper (Randolph, WI).
Byron Center will call from a trio of Revs. J. Laning (Hope, MI),
Slopsema (First, MI) and Spronk (Peace, IL).
This is part 2
of the 33rd e-mail in Prof. Engelsma’s justification forum
The importance of regarding faith—the faith by which
one is justified—as the gift of God cannot be emphasized strongly
enough. The last-ditch attempt of the enemies of gracious justification
to deny that justification is gracious takes the form of asserting that
the faith that justifies is the work of the sinner himself upon which
God's justification of him depends—a condition that the sinner fulfils.
This error not only views faith as the basis of justification, rather
than the means, but also makes faith the contribution of the sinner to
his own justification—the contribution upon which God's act depends and
the contribution that makes the sinner worthy of God's act of
In the end, in the orthodox Reformed struggle today
against Rome, Arminianism, and the Federal (Covenant) Vision—the foe
within the gates—the issue is decided by this question, "Is faith the
gift of God to the sinner who is justified?" And then, as the Canons
I quoted make plain, is faith the gift of God, not only as His bestowal
of the ability to believe, but also with regard to the activity of
The Scottish Presbyterian George Smeaton expressed
the importance of the truth that faith is the gift of God in his work,
The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit: "The Reformers connected faith as
the receptive organ or hand by which men receive the imputed
righteousness which justifies us in the closest possible way with the
operation of the Holy Spirit as its author or producing cause. While
they asserted the first point, that justification before God proceeds
only from faith, they asserted not less strongly the second point, that
faith in the heart proceeds only from God's Spirit. And on all occasions
they declared that if there be allowed in man any natural power or
natural capacity for believing without the operation of the Holy Spirit,
this inevitably overthrows at the second stage the very doctrine of
grace which had been laid as the foundation of all."
Justification is the wholly gracious verdict of God
upon certain sinners. The righteousness imputed in justification is a
gift, a free gift (to be redundant); the basis in the cross is a
gift; the act itself in the sinner's consciousness is a gift; and the
faith by which the sinner receives the righteousness of God is a gift.
All is a gift, according to grace, gratuitously given. And what a gift!
Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, as the believer's righteousness
with God. Since righteousness with God is the ground of all of the
blessings of salvation, the gift of righteousness implies the gift of
eternal life or, to say it differently, eternal life as a gift—a free
gift, a gift unmerited, a gift for which the recipients are unworthy, a
gift which those who receive it have not themselves obtained, a gift for
the reception of which those who receive it did not distinguish
themselves in any way from those to whom God does not give it.
In justification, absolutely nothing is man's
contribution, work, condition, merit or worth.
As the cornerstone of the gospel, the truth of
gracious justification reveals, maintains, and defends all of other
doctrines of grace (the "five points of Calvinism"). I point this out
with regard to the doctrine of gracious (unconditional) election and
with regard to the doctrine of limited atonement.
Inasmuch as the justification of the sinner is
gracious, there is only one possible answer to the question, why does
God justify certain sinners rather than others? More practically, why
does God justify me and not my next-door neighbour? The answer cannot
be: because I believed, whereas my neighbour did not. For my faith is
not a cause of justification, but only a means, and, decisively, my
faith is God's gift to me. The only answer can be God's gracious,
sovereign election of me in eternity, to the praise of the glory of His
grace. And I note how closely the apostle relates justification and
election in the book of Romans. The justification that is proclaimed in
chapters 3-5 (and developed as to its fruit in sanctification in chapter
6 through the first part of chapter 8) has its source in the election
that is taught in the second part of chapter 8 through chapter 11.
Romans 8:33 expresses the close, necessary connection between gracious
justification and election: "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of
God's elect? It is God that justifieth."
With regard to limited atonement, justification as
the gracious verdict of God imputing the righteousness especially of the
death of Christ to particular sinners, the basis of which is the
substitutionary death of the head of the covenant, demands, indeed
implies, the doctrine of limited, or definite, atonement.
On the other hand, error concerning justification,
which error is always the heresy of justification by faith and works, is
necessarily the complete overthrow of all the doctrines of grace, that
is, the perversion and denial of the gospel of grace. Rome does not only
deny justification by faith alone; Rome denies the whole of the gospel
of grace and holds a gospel of salvation by man's own working.
Arminianism does not only have what the Canons of Dordt refer to
as a strange and novel doctrine of justification; Arminianism has
another gospel—a gospel of salvation by man's own willing.
Today, in reputedly conservative Reformed and
Presbyterian churches, the Federal (Covenant) Vision does not only
openly reject the Reformation's doctrine of justification by faith alone
(gracious justification), but it also openly denies all the five points
of Calvinism with specific regard to salvation in the covenant.
Necessarily so! For gracious justification is the heart of the gospel.
(Another way to look at the matter is that these heretics hate the
doctrines of grace, especially predestination, and therefore launch
their attack on the fundamental truth of justification.) He who runs may
read of these things in the writings of the men of the Federal
(Covenant) Vision, beginning with Norman Shepherd's The Call of Grace.
The true church must and will proclaim the truth of
justification by faith alone for the salvation of God's elect people. By
works and worth and willing shall no sinner be justified in the sight of
More importantly, she must and will proclaim gracious
justification for the glory of God. The false doctrine of justification
by works cannot end in "for of him, and through him, and to him, are all
things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen" (Rom. 11:36).
Cordially in Christ,
Prof. David J. Engelsma