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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 3

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 3

Chapter 1 – Of The Holy Scriptures Cont. (Paragraphs 8 – 10)
VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God who have right unto, and interest in, the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the language of every people unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.
IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
X. The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

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Westminster Confession of Faith – Lord’s Day 2

Westminster Confession of Faith – Lord’s Day 2

Chapter 1 – Of The Holy Scripture Cont. (Paragraphs 4-7)
IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man or Church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.
Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in someplace of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

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Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 19

Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 19

Q & A 70
Q What is justification?
A Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners,1 in which he pardons all their sins, accepts and accounts their persons righteous in his sight;2 not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them,3 but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them,4 and received by faith alone.*5

Q & A 71
Q How is justification an act of God’s free grace?
A Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified;6 yet in as much as God accepts the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son,7 imputing his righteousness to them,8 and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith,9 which also is his gift,10 their justification is to them of free grace.11

Q & A 72
Q What is justifying faith?
A Justifying faith is a saving grace,12 wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit13 and Word of God,14 whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition,15 not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel,16 but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin,17 and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.*18

Q & A 73
Q How does faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?
A Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it,19 nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification;20 but only as it is an instrument by which he receives and applies Christ and his righteousness.*21

*1 Romans 3:22, 24-25; Romans 4:5.
*2 2 Corinthians 5:19, 21; Romans 3:22, 24-25, 27-28.
*3 Titus 3:5, 7; Ephesians 1:7.
*4 Romans 5:17-19; Romans 4:6-8.
*5 Acts 10:43; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9.
*6 Romans 5:8-10, 19.
*7 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 10:10; Matthew 20:28; Daniel 9:24, 26; Isaiah 53:4-6, 10-12; Hebrews 7:22; Romans 8:32; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
*8 2 Corinthians 5:21.
*9 Romans 3:24-25.
*10 Ephesians 2:8.
*11 Ephesians 1:17.
*12 Hebrews 10:39.
*13 2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 1:17-19.
*14 Romans 10:14-17.
*15 Acts 2:37; Acts 16:30; John 16:8-9; Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:1; Acts 4:12.
*16 Ephesians 1:13.
*17 John 1:12; Acts 10:43.
*18 Philippians 3:9; Acts 15:11.
*19 Galatians 3:11; Romans 3:28.
*20 Romans 4:5; Romans 10:10.
*21 John 1:12; Philippians 3:9; Galatians 1:16.

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Putting Prosperity ‘Gospel’ To Death

Some recent material stating again how the ‘prosperity’ gospel is not good news, and is anti-gospel.
Preaching that treats the Scriptures as a handbook to achieve health, wealth and personal fulfilment, and which treats the death and resurrection of Jesus as little more than a doorway to being able to get them is not preaching at all.
Just keep asking yourself: ‘Is this sermon focussed on what I should be doing to get things, and Jesus is really just added on?’ or ‘Is this sermon importing blessings from the age to come and telling me I should experience them now?’

From Ed Welch:

I hate the prosperity gospel or any teaching that suggests good Christians will be healthy, wealthy and happy. As a counselor I see its wretched fruit. I hate it, and I am not alone. The number of haters is reaching a critical mass, maybe even a tipping point. But I can understand why this pernicious teaching endures. In many places, Scripture seems to teach it, so there will always be a contingent of prosperity folks among us.
When I go to Africa, the preaching I hear is almost solely from the Old Testament. The preachers want vivid stories where good people get good things and bad people get bad things, and these stories abound in the Old Testament. There are exceptions of course, (Job, Daniel, and Joseph to name a few) but themes of health, wealth and prosperity are common fare in the early days of God’s people.
This is why we remind ourselves that Scripture reaches its zenith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Or, as the Apostle Paul purposefully summarizes, “Christ and him crucified.” When our attention is riveted to the Suffering Servant, the prosperity doctrines fade quickly.

Read the whole post at CCEF.

And from

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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 49

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 49

Chapter 30 – Of Church Censures
I. The Lord Jesus, as king and head of his Church, has therein appointed a government in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.
II. To these officers the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the word and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel, and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.
III. Church censures are necessary for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren; for deterring of others from like offenses; for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump; for vindicating the honour of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.
IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by admonition, suspension from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for a season, and by excommunication from the Church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person.

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Don’t Let The Reformation Become History (via Phillip Jensen)

Tomorrow is Reformation Sunday, the closest Sunday to October 31, the date on which Martin Luther posted his 95 theses about disputed practices within the church. Protestant Churches use the date to commemorate and give thanks for the broader events of the period of the entire reformation. The year marks the 496th
Less and less churches seem to acknowledge the date, let alone the historical circumstance. In an age which is uncomfortable with disputation and disagreement the reformation runs the risk of becoming an embarrassment in excess, more a case of two parties with contrasting emphases rather than one being wrong and the other right.
Particularly when issues like Scripture alone; faith alone; grace alone; Christ alone; and Glory to God alone are becoming more confused in church life and practice.

Phillip Jensen writes about the first order importance of the Reformation as a time when the church rediscovered something that was lost.
An excerpt.

The Reformation did more than reform the abuses of organized religion. It was a recovery of the gospel that transformed the very nature of the church. Thus it became the foundation for our Protestant pattern of church life. We cannot truly understand ourselves without a proper grasp of the events of the Reformation. Through the work of Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and many more, the great doctrines of salvation were once more hammered out and explained to the people. Their hymns and prayers, books and translations taught their own and subsequent generations the great doctrines of God’s grace in saving us through the death and resurrection of His Son, and of the Spirit’s work in regenerating us to repent and put our faith solely in him. It was a gospel understanding that freed us from priestcraft and religiosity, from false doctrine and authoritarianism. During the 16th century a new flowering of Christian understanding, scholarship, evangelism and conversion reformed the church.
It all came at a dreadful cost as people were persecuted and martyred for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We owe it to the memory of those who died for our freedoms to never lose sight of the Reformation. It was because of martyrs like William Tyndale and Thomas Cranmer that we have our Bible in English, as well as the Anglican Prayer Book and Articles of Religion. They, together with many others, died to bring these privileges to us. We forget them at our peril.

Read all of Don’t Make The Reformation History at Phillip Jensen.

So, give thanks for the Gospel clarity recovered through the Reformation tomorrow, but more essentially, demonstrate that thanks by holding to those central tenets of faith recovered at such great cost to so many.

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John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology – eBook Editions Available Free During October

Reformation Trust Publishing and Ligonier Ministries are making the electronic editions of John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology available for free during October.
You can get the Kindle edition free at Amazon.
Other electronic publication types can be accessed at this page.
This is a no-brainer. Go and get it.

Ligonier describe the book in these terms:

JOH08BH_200x1000Burk Parsons, editor of Tabletalk magazine and co-pastor at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, has brought together an impressive group of pastors and scholars to reconsider Calvin’s life and legacy. Contributors include Jay Adams, Eric Alexander Thabiti Anyabwile, Joel Beeke, Jerry Bridges, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, D. G. Hart, Michael Horton, Phillip R. Johnson, Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, Keith Mathison, Richard Phillips, Harry Reeder, Philip Graham Ryken, Derek Thomas, Thomas Ascol, and others.
In twenty succinct chapters, these men examine Calvin the man; his work (as a Reformer, a churchman, a preacher, a counselor, and a writer); and his teachings (on subjects as diverse as the Holy Spirit and prayer). What emerges is a multifaceted portrait of a man whose contributions to Christian thought and Christian living were significant indeed, a man whose life, work, and teachings are worthy to be remembered and studied even in the twenty-first century.