An Intro, the Confession and Commentary, as well as a Confession and Parallel chart that includes the Baptist Catechism click here.
An Intro, the Confession and Commentary, as well as a Confession and Parallel chart that includes the Baptist Catechism click here.
“What is the nature of the federal union of an unregenerate person in the covenant of grace to Jesus Christ, and do they remain under Adam’s federal headship in spite of being in the covenant of grace (?) which is to say, can you be in the covenant of works and the covenant of grace at the same time? We would assert that you cannot.”
Those of our readers who are particularly interested in the divine covenants would be disappointed if we closed our lengthy comments thereon and ignored the last eleven verses of Galatians 4, and therefore we feel it necessary to devote a chapter to their consideration. That this passage is far from being free of difficulties appears from the diverse expositions of the commentators, for scarcely any two of them agree even in substance. Nor will the limited space now at our disposal allow us to enter into as full an elucidation as could be wished, nor permit the pausing now and again to furnish collateral proofs for what is advanced, as would be our desire. Brevity has its advantages, but it does not always make for clarity. We must, however, content ourselves now with a comparatively terse running comment on this passage, and that, according to the limited light which we have there from.
Galatians 4:21-31 is in several respects very similar to the contents of 2 Corinthians 3. In each case the apostle is opposing himself to the errors which had been sedulously propagated amongst his converts by Judaizers. In each case he shows that the fundamental issue between them concerned the covenants, for any teacher who is confused thereon is certain to go astray in all his preaching. In each case the apostle appeals to well-known incidents in the Old Testament Scripture, and with the wisdom given him from above proceeds to bring out the deep spiritual meaning thereof. In each case he establishes conclusively the immeasurable superiority of Christianity over Judaism, and thus completely undermined the very foundations of his adversaries’ position. Though of peculiar importance to those unto whom the apostle wrote immediately, yet this passage contains not a little of great value for us today.
“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” (Gal. 4:21). Here the apostle addresses himself to those who had been lending a ready ear to their spiritual enemies. By his “ye that desire to be under the law” was signified those who hankered after subjection to Judaism. His “do ye not hear the law?” means, Are you willing to listen unto what is recorded in the first book of the Pentateuch and have pointed out to you the dispensational significance of the same? Paul’s design was to show those who were so anxious to be circumcised and submit themselves to the whole Mosaic system, that, so far from such a course being honorable and beneficial, it would be fraught with danger and disgrace. To yield unto those who sought to seduce them spiritually would inevitably result in “bondage” (see 4:9) and not “liberty” (5:1). To prevent this, he begs them to listen to what God had said.
“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman. But he who was born of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. Which things are an allegory” (w. 22-24). Very remarkable indeed is this, for we are here divinely informed that not merely did the Mosaic rites possess a typical significance, but the lives of the patriarchs themselves had a figurative meaning. Not only so, but their affairs were so controlled by providence that they were shaped to shadow forth coming events of vast magnitude. Paul was here moved by the Spirit to inform us that the domestic occurrences in Abraham’s household were a parable in action, which parable he had interpreted for us. Thus we are granted an insight to passages in Genesis which no human wisdom could possibly have penetrated.
The transactions in the family of Abraham were divinely ordered to presage important dispensational epochs. The domestic affairs of the patriarch’s household were invested with a prophetic significance. The historical incidents recorded in Genesis 16 and 21 possessed a typical meaning, contained beneath their surface spiritual truths of profound importance. The apostle here reminds his readers of the circumstances recorded of the two wives of Abraham, and of their respective offspring, and declares that the mothers adumbrated the two covenants, and their sons, the respective tendencies and results of those covenants. In other words, Sarah and Hagar are to be viewed as the representatives of the two covenants, and the sons which they bore as representatives of the kind of worshipers which those covenants were fitted to produce.
“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid the other by a freewoman.” The apostle’s design was to wean those Galatians who were Judaistically inclined from their strange infatuation for an obsolete and servile system, by unfolding to them its true nature. This he does by referring them to an emblematic representation of the two economies. Abraham had a number of other sons besides Ishmael and Isaac, but it is to them alone-the circumstances of their birth, subsequent conduct, history, and fate-that Paul’s discussion exclusively relates.
In her unbelief and impatience (unwilling to wait for God to make good His word in His own time and way) Sarah gave her maid to Abraham in order that he might not be wholly without posterity. Though this caused confusion and brought trouble upon all concerned, yet it was ordained by God to presage great dispensational distinctions, nor did it in any wise thwart the accomplishment of His eternal purpose. “Abraham had two sons”: Ishmael, the son of an Egyptian, a bondslave; Isaac the son of Sarah, a free woman, of the same rank as her husband. As we have already said, these two mothers prefigured the two covenants, and their children the worshipers which those covenants tended to produce.
“But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise” (v. 23). Great as was the disparity between the two mothers, greater still was the difference between the way in which their respective sons were born. Ishmael was born in the ordinary course of generation, for “after the flesh” signifies to the carnal counsel which Sarah gave to Abraham, and by the mere strength of nature. In connection with the birth of Ishmael there was not any special promise given, nor any extraordinary divine interposition. Vastly different was it in the case of Isaac, for he was the child of promise and born in direct consequence of the miracle working power of God, and was under the benefit of that promise as long as he lived. What is here specially emphasized by the apostle is that the son of the slave was in an inferior condition from the very beginning.
“Which things are an allegory” (v. 24). An allegory is a parabolic method of conveying instruction, spiritual truths being set forth under material figures. Allegories are in words what hieroglyphics are in printing, both of which abound among the Orientals—Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is the best-sustained allegory in the English language. “For these (feminine) are the two covenants” (v. 24). Here the apostle proceeds to give us the occult meaning of the historical facts alluded to in the preceding verse. He affirms that the domestic incidents in the family of Abraham constituted a divinely ordained illustration of the basic principles in regard to the condition of spiritual slaves and of spiritual freemen, and are to be regarded as adumbrating the bondage which subjection to the law of Moses produced and the liberty which submission to the gospel secures.
“These are the two covenants.” This cannot of course be understood literally, for it was neither intelligible nor true that Sarah and Hagar were actually two covenants in their own persons. The words is and are frequently have the force of represent. When Christ affirmed of the sacramental bread “This is my body,” He meant, this bread emblemizes My body. When we read of the cliff smitten by Moses in the wilderness (out of which gushed the stream of living water) “that rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4), it obviously signifies, that rock prefigured Christ. So too when we are told “the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches” (Rev. 1:20), we are to understand that the one symbolized the other.
“These are the two covenants.” There has been much difference of opinion as to exactly which covenants are intended. Some insist that the reference is to the everlasting covenant of grace and the Adamic or covenant of works; others argue it is the Abrahamic or covenant of promise and the Sinaitic; while others conclude it is the Sinaitic and the Christian or that which is made with the people of God in the gospel. Really, it is more a matter of terms than anything else, for whatever nomenclature we adopt it comes to much the same thing. “The one from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar” (v. 24): by which is meant, that order of things under which the nation of Israel was placed at Sinai, appointed for the purpose of keeping them a separate people, and which because of its legalistic nature was fitly foreshadowed by the bondslave.
“The one [covenant] from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage” or produces those of a servile spirit, for it made slaves of all who sought justification and salvation by their own doings. It is to be carefully borne in mind that the relation entered into between God and Israel at Sinai was entirely a natural one, being made with the nation as such; and consequently all their descendants, upon their being circumcised, automatically became subjects of it without any spiritual change being wrought in them. “So far as this covenant gave birth to any children, those were not true children of God, free, spiritual, with hearts of filial confidence and devoted love; but miserable bondmen, selfish, carnal, full of mistrust and fear. Of these children of the Sinaitic covenant we are furnished with the most perfect exemplar in the Scribes and Pharisees of our Lord’s time” (P. Fairbairn).
“For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia” (v. 25). Here again “is” signifies “represents”: Hagar prophetically anticipated and prefigured Mount Sinai-not the literal mount, but that covenant which Jehovah there entered into with the nation of Israel. Nor is this mode of expression by any means unusual in Scripture: when representing Samaria and Jerusalem by two women the prophet said, “Samaria is Aholah and Jerusalem Aholibah” (Ezek. 23:4). “And answereth to Jerusalem which now is” (v. 25). “Answereth to” signifies “corresponds with,” or as the margin gives it, “is in the same rank with”: the origin, status, and condition of Hagar supplied an exact analogy to the state of Jerusalem in the apostle’s time. Jerusalem, which was the metropolis of Palestine and the headquarters of its religion, stands for Judaism.
“And is in bondage with her children” (v. 25). Judaism was subject to an endless round of ceremonial institutions, which the apostles themselves declared to be a yoke “which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” (Acts 15:10). Those under it enjoyed none of that spiritual liberty which the gospel bestows upon those who submit to its terms. That large part of the nation which had no interest in the covenant of promise made with Abraham (whereof faith was an indispensable prerequisite for entering into the good of it), was indeed outwardly a part of Abraham’s family and members of the visible church (as Hagar was a member of his family); yet (like Ishmael) they were born in servitude, and all their outward obedience was of a slavish character, and their privileges (as his) but carnal and temporal.
“But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (v. 26). Here Paul shows what was prefigured by Sarah. Three things are said in describing the covenant and constitution of which she was the appropriate emblem, each of which must be duly noted in the framing of our definition.
1. “Jerusalem which is above.” This word “above” (ano) is generally employed of location, and would thus signify the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22) in contrast from the earthly. But here it is placed in antithesis from “which now is” (v. 25) and would thus mean the prior and primitive Jerusalem, of which Melchizedek was king (Heb. 7:2) and to whose order of priesthood Christ’s pertains. Or the “above” may have the force of excellency or supremacy, as in “high calling” (Phil. 3:14). Combining the three: Sarah shadowed forth the entire election of grace, all true believers from the beginning to the end of time.
2. Which “is free”: such was the status and state of Sarah in contrast from that of Hagar, the bondslave. Suitably did Sarah set forth that spiritual liberty which is to be found in Christ, for He redeems all His people from the bondage of sin and death. Believing Gentiles are freed from the curse of the moral law, and believing Jews are freed from the dominion of the ceremonial law as well.
3. “Which is the mother of us all.” The reference is not to the church either visible or invisible, for she cannot be the parent of herself; rather is it the everlasting covenant of grace which is in view, in which were included all true believers. Thus the differences between the systems represented by Hagar and Sarah are: the one was earthly, carnal, slavish, temporary; the other, heavenly, spiritual, free, eternal.
“For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that barest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband” (v. 27). This was obviously brought in by Paul to confirm the interpretation he had made of the covenant allegory. It is a quotation from the predictions of Isaiah. Four things call for our consideration: (1) the needs-be for this comforting promise which God then gave; (2) the precise place in Isaiah’s prophecy from which this quotation is taken; (3) the particular manner in which it is here introduced; (4) its striking pertinency to the apostle’s purpose.
The needs-be for this reassuring word given by the Lord to His believing yet sorrowing people in the days of Isaiah is not difficult to perceive, if we bear in mind the exact terms of the promise originally given to the patriarch and his wife, and then consider the state of Israel under Judaism. The grand promise to Abraham was that he should be “a father of many nations” (Gen. 17:4) and that Sarah should be “a mother of nations” (Gen. 17:16). But at Sinai Sarah’s natural children were placed under a covenant which erected a middle wall of partition, shutting them off from all other nations. How rigorous the restrictions of the covenant were and the exclusiveness it produced, appear plainly in the unwillingness of Peter (till supernaturally authorized by God) to enter the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:28).
The Sinaitic covenant consisted largely in “meats and drinks and carnal ordinances”; yet was it imposed only “till the time of reformation” (Heb. 9:10). It was well adapted to Israel after the flesh, for it encouraged them to obedience by the promise of temporal prosperity and restrained by fear of temporal judgments. Amid the great mass of the unregenerate Jews there was always a remnant according to the election of grace, whose heart God had touched (I Sam. 10:26), in whose heart was His law (Isa. 51:7). But the nation as a whole had become thoroughly corrupt by the time of Isaiah, being deaf to the voice of Jehovah and fast ripening for judgment (1:2-6). The godly portion had diminished to “a very small remnant” (1:9), and the outlook was fearfully dark. It was to strengthen the faith of the spiritual and comfort their hearts that Isaiah was raised up.
The quotation here made by Paul was from Isaiah 54:1, and its very location intimated clearly that it looked forward to gospel times; for coming immediately after that graphic description of the Redeemer’s sufferings in the previous chapter, it at once suggests that we are then given a picture of those new covenant conditions which followed His death. This is ever God’s way: in the darkest night He causes the stars of hope to shed forth their welcome light, bidding His people to look beyond the gloomy present to the brighter future. God had not forgotten His promise to the patriarch; and though many centuries had intervened, the coming of His Son would make good the ancient oracles, for all the divine promises are established in Christ (2 Cor. 1:19, 20).
Let us next note the manner in which Paul introduces Isaiah’s prediction into his discussion: “For it is written.” It is clear that the apostle cites the prophet to establish what he had affirmed regarding the allegorical significance of the circumstances of Abraham’s household. This at once fixes for us the elucidation of the prophecy. Paul had pointed out that Abraham had sons by two diverse wives, that those sons represented the different type of worshipers which the two covenants produced, that Sarah (as representing the Abrahamic covenant), which he here likened unto “Jerusalem which is above,” is “the mother of us all.” In turn, Isaiah refers to two women, views them allegorically, apostrophizing the one as “barren” and contrasting her from one “who had a husband,” assuring the former of a far more numerous progeny.
How pertinent Isaiah’s prediction was to the apostle’s argument is evident. His design was to turn away the hearts of the Galatians from Judaism, and to accomplish this he demonstrates that that system had been superseded by something far more blessed and spiritually productive. “For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren.” Whom was the prophet there addressing? Immediately, the godly remnant in Israel, the children of faith, those who had their standing in and derived their blessing from the Abrahamic covenant. Isaiah addressed them in the terms of the allegory. Just as the historical Sarah was childless for many years after she became the wife of Abraham, so the mystical Sarah (Abrahamic covenant) had for long centuries shown no sign whatever of coming to fruition. But as the literal Sarah ultimately became a mother, so the mystical one should bear a numerous seed.
Marvelous indeed are the ways of God, and remarkably is His decree wrought out through His providences. That parable in action in the household of Abraham contemplated that which took thousands of years to unfold. First, was the marriage between Abraham and Sarah, which symbolized the covenant union between God and His people. Second, for many years Sarah remained barren, foreshadowing that lengthy period during which God’s purpose in that covenant was suspended. Third, Hagar, the bondslave, took Sarah’s place in the family of Abraham, typifying his natural descendants being placed under the Sinaitic covenant. Fourth, Hagar did not permanently supplant Sarah, adumbrating the fact that Judaism was of but temporary duration. Fifth, ultimately Sarah came into her own and was divinely enabled to bear a supernatural seed-emblem of the spiritual children of God under the new covenant.
“Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not.” The Abrahamic covenant is here represented as a wife who (like Sarah) had long remained childless. Comparatively few real children had been raised up to God among the Jews from Moses onward. True, the nation was in outward covenant with Him, and thus was (like Hagar in the type) “she who hath a husband”; but all the fruit they bore was like unto Ishmaelthat which was merely natural, the product of the flesh. But the death of Christ was to alter all this: though the Jews would reject Him, there should be a great accession to the spiritual family of Abraham from among the Gentiles, so that there would be a far greater number of saints under the new covenant than had pertained under the old.
“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise” (v. 28). Here the apostle begins his application of the allegory. As Sarah prefigured the covenant of grace, so Isaac represented the true children of God. Paul was here addressing himself to his spiritual brethren, and therefore the “we” includes all who are born from above believing Gentiles as well as Jews. “We,” the children of the new covenant, represented in the allegory by Isaac. Our standing and state is essentially different from Ishmael’s, for he (like the great mass of those under the Sinaitic covenant) belong to the ordinary course of mere nature; whereas genuine Christians are “the children of promise”—of that made to Abraham, which, in turn, made manifest what God had “promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). The relation into which believers are brought with God originates in a miracle of grace which was the subject of divine promise.
“But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now” (v. 29). Here the apostle brings in a further detail supplied by the allegory which was germane to his subject. He refers to the opposition made against Isaac by the son of Hagar, recorded in Genesis 21:9. This received its counterpart in the attitude of the Judaizers toward Christians. They who still adhered to the old covenant were hostile to those who enjoyed the freedom of the new. Probably one reason why the apostle mentioned this particular was in order to meet an objection: How can we be the “children of promise” (God’s high favorites) seeing we are so bitterly hated and opposed by the Jews? The answer is, No marvel, for thus it was from the beginning: the carnal have ever persecuted the spiritual.
“Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman” (v. 30). Here is the final point in the allegory (taken from Gen. 21:10, 12) and which incontestably clinched the apostle’s argument that Israel after the flesh are finally set aside by God. Hagar represented the Sinaitic covenant and Ishmael its carnal worshipers, and their being cast out of Abraham’s household prophetically signified God’s setting aside of Judaism and the fact that the natural descendants of Abraham had no place among his spiritual children and could not share their heritage (cf. John 8:34, 35). The two cannot unite: pure Christianity necessarily excludes Judaism. In its wider application (for today): none who seek salvation by law keeping shall enter heaven.
“So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free” (v. 31). Here the plain and inescapable conclusion is drawn: since Christians are the children of promise, they and not carnal Jews are the true heirs of Abraham. Since the new covenant is superior to the old and believers in Christ are freed from all debasing servitude, it obviously follows they must conduct themselves as the Lord’s free-men. The time had now arrived when to cling to Judaism was fatal. The controversy turned on the question of who are the real heirs of Abraham-see 3:7, 16, 29. In chapter 4 the apostle exposes the empty pretensions of those who could claim only fleshly descent from the patriarch. We are the children of Abraham, said the Judaizers. Abraham had two sons, replies Paul-the one of free, the other of servile birth: to which line do you belong? whose spirit have you received?
To sum up. Paul’s design was to deliver the Galatians from the Judaizers. He showed that by submitting to Judaism they would forfeit the blessings of Christianity. This he accomplished by opening up the profound significance of the covenant allegory, which presented three principal contrasts: birth by nature as opposed to grace; a state of bondage as opposed to liberty; a status of temporary tenure as opposed to permanent possession. Just as Hagar was rightfully the handmaid of Sarah but was wrongfully accorded the position of Abraham’s wife, so the Sinaitic covenant was designed to supplement the Abrahamic but was perverted by the Jews when they sought from it salvation and fruitfulness.
“Christian liberty consists in a freedom from all traditions of men…which were imposed as a heavy burden on the consciences of men, and by which the word and commandments of God were transgressed, and made of none effect (Matthew 15:1-6), and such as among heathens, heretics, and false teachers, which the apostle exhorts to beware of, and not conform unto; which he calls philosophy and vain deceit, the tradition of men, the rudiments of the world; ordinances and commandments of men, which forbid the touching, tasting, and handling of some things (Col. 2:8, 20-23) and such as the unwritten traditions of the Papists, respecting their hierarchy, doctrines, and practices, which have no foundation in the word of God; as the several orders, offices, and sacraments, not to be found in scripture, the doctrines of transubstantiation, purgatory, &c. rites and customs, as the observance of fasts and festivals, on certain days, and at certain times of the year; baptism of infants, signing with the sign of the cross, &c., such like things Christian liberty sets us free from, and our consciences are not bound to pay any regard to them.”
“Another glorious part of Christian liberty is freedom of access to God, through Christ the Mediator, under the influence of the blessed Spirit (Eph. 2:18), this is a great privilege the sons of God have, that they can come to God as their Father; not as on a throne of justice, requiring at their hands satisfaction for their sins; but as on a throne of grace, communicating pardoning grace and mercy, and all supplies of grace to them, as the God of all grace; and this access they have through Christ, the Mediator between God and man, through his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; and by the Spirit, who is a Spirit of grace and supplication, under whose influence saints can pour out their souls to God with great freedom, and make known their requests to him with thankfulness.” – John Gill
“Note that the physical copy from RBAP is updated (not exactly the same as the original)… more details in this interview: http://confessingbaptist.com/podcast044/” – Jason Delgado
An Orthodox Catechism:
Being the Sum of
Contained in the Law and Gospel
For Preventing the Canker and
Poison of Heresy and Error.
by HERCULES COLLINS.
Search the Scriptures. John 14.29.
The Words that I have spoken, the same
shall judge you in the Last day. John 12.48.
Printed in the Year, 1680.
Table of Contents
Q. 1 What is your only comfort in life and in death?…………………. 11
Q. 2 What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
Part I: Human Misery
Q. 3 How do you come to know your misery?…………………………. 12
Q. 4 What does God’s law require of us?……………………………… 12
Q. 5 Can you live up to all this perfectly?……………………………… 12
Q. 6 Did God create people so wicked and perverse?………………. 13
Q. 7 Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?….. 13
Q. 8 But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil?………………………………………………. 13
Q. 9 But doesn’t God do us an injustice by requiring in his law what we are unable to do?……………………………………………………….. 14
Q. 10 Will God permit such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?………………………………………………………………….. 14
Q. 11 But isn’t God also merciful?……………………………………….. 14
Part II: Deliverance
Q. 12 According to God’s righteous judgment we deserve punishment both in this world and forever after: how then can we escape this punishment and return to God’s favor?…………………. 15
Q. 13 Can we pay this debt ourselves?…………………………………. 15
Q. 14 Can another creature–any at all–pay this debt for us?…….. 15
Q. 15 What kind of mediator and deliverer should we look for then?………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
Q. 16 Why must he be truly human and truly righteous?………….. 16
Q. 17 Why must he also be true God?………………………………….. 16
Q. 18 And who is this mediator–true God and at the same time truly human and truly righteous?………………………………………………. 16
Q. 19 How do you come to know this?…………………………………. 16
Q. 20 Are all saved through Christ just as all were lost through Adam?…………………………………………………………………………. 17
Q. 21 What is true faith?…………………………………………………… 17
Q. 22 What then must a Christian believe?……………………………. 17
Q. 23 What are these articles?…………………………………………… 17
Q. 24 How are these articles divided?………………………………….. 18
Q. 25 Since there is but one God,1 why do you speak of three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?……………………………………………… 18
God the Father
Q. 26 What do you believe when you say, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth”?………………………. 19
Q. 27 What do you understand by the providence of God?………… 20
Q. 28 How does the knowledge of God’s creation and providence help us?……………………………………………………………………….. 20
God the Son
Q. 29 Why is the Son of God called “Jesus,” meaning “savior”?…… 21
Q. 30 Do those who look for their salvation and security in saints, in themselves, or elsewhere really believe in the only savior Jesus?…. 21
Q. 31 Why is he called “Christ,” meaning “anointed”?………………. 22
Q. 32 But why are you called a Christian?……………………………… 22
Q. 33 Why is he called God’s “only Son” when we also are God’s children?………………………………………………………………………. 23
Q. 34 Why do you call him “our Lord”?…………………………………. 23
Q. 35 What does it mean that he “was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary”?…………………………………………….. 24
Q. 36 How does the holy conception and birth of Christ benefit you?………………………………………………………………………………….. 24
Q. 37 What do you understand by the word “suffered”?…………… 25
Q. 38 Why did he suffer “under Pontius Pilate” as judge?………….. 25
Q. 39 Is it significant that he was “crucified” instead of dying some other way?……………………………………………………………………. 25
Q. 40 Why did Christ have to go all the way to death?……………… 26
Q. 41 Why was he “buried”?……………………………………………… 26
Q. 42 Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?….. 26
Q. 43 What further advantage do we receive from Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross?…………………………………………………… 26
Q. 44 Why does the creed add, “He descended to hell”?………….. 26
Q. 45 How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us?…………………….. 27
Q. 46 What do you mean by saying, “He ascended to heaven”?…. 28
Q. 47 But isn’t Christ with us until the end of the world as he promised us?1……………………………………………………………….. 28
Q. 48 If his humanity is not present wherever his divinity is, then aren’t the two natures of Christ separated from each other?……… 28
Q. 49 How does Christ’s ascension to heaven benefit us?…………. 28
Q. 50 Why the next words: “and is seated at the right hand of God”?………………………………………………………………………………….. 29
Q. 51 How does this glory of Christ our head benefit us?………….. 29
Q. 52 How does Christ’s return “to judge the living and the dead” comfort you?………………………………………………………………….. 29
God the Holy Spirit
Q. 53 What do you believe concerning “the Holy Spirit”?………….. 30
Q. 54 What do you believe concerning “the holy catholic church”? 31
Q. 55 What do you understand by “the communion of saints”?….. 31
Q. 56 What do you believe concerning “the forgiveness of sins”?… 31
Q. 57 How does “the resurrection of the body” comfort you?……… 32
Q. 58 How does the article concerning “life everlasting” comfort you?………………………………………………………………………………….. 32
Q. 59 What good does it do you, however, to believe all this?…….. 33
Q. 60 How are you right with God?……………………………………… 33
Q. 61 Why do you say that by faith alone you are right with God?. 33
Q. 62 Why can’t the good we do make us right with God, or at least help make us right with him?…………………………………………….. 34
Q. 63 How can you say that the good we do doesn’t earn anything when God promises to reward it in this life and the next?…………. 34
Q. 64 But doesn’t this teaching make people indifferent and wicked?………………………………………………………………………………….. 34
Q. 65 It is by faith alone that we share in Christ and all his blessings: where then does that faith come from?………………………………… 35
Q. 66 What are sacraments?……………………………………………… 35
Q. 67 Are both the word and the sacraments then intended to focus our faith on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation?…………………………………………………… 35
Q. 68 How many sacraments did Christ institute in the New Testament?……………………………………………………………………. 35
Q. 69 What is Baptism?……………………………………………………. 36
Q. 70 Who are the proper Subjects of this Ordinance?……………… 36
Q. 71 Should infants, too, be baptized?………………………………… 36
Q. 72 Does the Scriptures forbid the Baptism of Infants?………….. 36
Q. 73 May not the infant children of believers under the Gospel be baptized since the infant descendants of Abraham were circumcised under the Law?………………………………………………………………. 36
Q. 74 If the infant children of believers are in the Covenant of Grace with their parents, as some say, why may they not be baptized under the Gospel, as well as Abraham’s infant descendants were circumcised under the Law?………………………………………………. 36
Q. 75 How does baptism remind you and assure you that Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross is for you personally?……………………………. 39
Q. 76 What does it mean to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit?………………………………………………………………………….. 39
Q. 77 Where does Christ promise that we are washed with his blood and Spirit as surely as we are washed with the water of baptism?. 39
Q. 78 Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins?………………………………………………………………………………….. 40
Q. 79 Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism the washing of rebirth and the washing away of sins?………………………………….. 40
Of the Lord’s Supper.
Q. 80 How does the Lord’s Supper remind you and assure you that you share in Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and in all his gifts?. 41
Q. 81 What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood?……………………………………………….. 41
Q. 82 Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup?……………………………………………………………….. 41
Q. 83 Are the bread and wine changed into the real body and blood of Christ?………………………………………………………………………. 43
Q. 84 Why then does Christ call the bread his body and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood? ……………………………… 43
Q. 85 How does the Lord’s Supper differ from the Roman Catholic Mass?…………………………………………………………………………… 44
Q. 86 Who are to come to the Lord’s table?…………………………… 44
Q. 87 Are those to be admitted to the Lord’s Supper who show by what they say and do that they are unbelieving and ungodly?……. 44
Q. 88 How should this Ordinance of the Lord’s Supper be closed?. 44
Q. 89 What are the keys of the kingdom?……………………………… 46
Q. 90 How does preaching the gospel open and close the kingdom of heaven?……………………………………………………………………….. 46
Q. 91 How is the kingdom of heaven closed and opened by Christian discipline?……………………………………………………………………… 46
Part III: Gratitude
Q. 92 We have been delivered from our misery by God’s grace alone through Christ and not because we have earned it: why then must we still do good?…………………………………………………………….. 47
Q. 93 Can those be saved who do not turn to God from their ungrateful and impenitent ways?………………………………………… 47
Q. 94 What is involved in genuine repentance or conversion?…….. 48
Q. 95 What is the dying-away of the old self?………………………… 48
Q. 96 What is the coming-to-life of the new self?……………………. 48
Q. 97 What do we do that is good?……………………………………… 48
Q. 98 What is the Law of God?…………………………………………… 49
Q. 99 How are these commandments divided?……………………….. 49
Q. 100 What is the Preface to the ten Commandments?…………… 49
Q. 101 What do we learn from the Preface?………………………….. 49
Q. 102 Do these things belong to us?………………………………….. 49
Q. 103 What is the first Commandment?………………………………. 49
Q. 104 What does the Lord require in the first commandment?….. 49
Q. 105 What is idolatry?…………………………………………………… 50
Q. 106. What is the Second Commandment?…………………………. 51
Q. 107 What is God’s will for us in the second commandment?….. 51
Q. 108 May we then not make any image at all?…………………….. 51
Q. 109 But may not images be permitted in the churches as teaching aids for the unlearned?…………………………………………………….. 51
Q. 110. What is the third Commandment?…………………………….. 52
Q. 111 What is God’s will for us in the third commandment?……… 52
Q. 112 Is blasphemy of God’s name by swearing and cursing really such serious sin that God is angry also with those who do not do all they can to help prevent it and forbid it?………………………………. 52
Q. 113 But may we swear an oath in God’s name if we do it reverently?……………………………………………………………………. 53
Q. 114 May we swear by saints or other creatures?………………… 53
Q. 115. What is the fourth Commandment?…………………………… 54
Q. 116 What is God’s will for you in the fourth commandment?…. 54
Q. 117 What is the fifth Commandment?……………………………… 55
Q. 118 What is God’s will for you in the fifth commandment?……. 55
Q. 119. What is the sixth Commandment?…………………………….. 56
Q. 120 What is God’s will for you in the sixth commandment?…… 56
Q. 121 Does this commandment refer only to killing?……………… 56
Q. 122 Is it enough then that we do not kill our neighbor in any such way?…………………………………………………………………….. 56
Q. 123 What is the seventh Commandment?…………………………. 57
Q. 124 What is God’s will for us in the seventh commandment?… 57
Q. 125 Does God, in this commandment, forbid only such scandalous sins as adultery?………………………………………………. 57
Q. 126 What is the eighth Commandment?…………………………… 58
Q. 127 What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?…….. 58
Q. 128 What does God require of you in this commandment?…… 58
Q. 129. What is the ninth Commandment?……………………………. 59
Q. 130 What is God’s will for you in the ninth commandment?….. 59
Q. 131 What is the tenth Commandment……………………………… 60
Q. 132 What is God’s will for you in the tenth commandment?….. 60
Q. 133 But can those converted to God obey these commandments perfectly?……………………………………………………………………… 60
Q. 134 No one in this life can obey the Ten Commandments perfectly: why then does God want them preached so pointedly?.. 60
Q. 135 Why do Christians need to pray?………………………………. 61
Q. 136 How does God want us to pray so that he will listen to us? 61
Q. 137 What did God command us to pray for?……………………… 61
Q. 138 What is this prayer?………………………………………………. 61
Q. 139. Are Christians tied to this very Form of Prayer?…………….. 62
Q. 140 Why did Christ command us to call God “our Father”?……. 63
Q. 141 Why the words “in heaven”?……………………………………. 63
Q. 142 What does the first request mean?…………………………… 64
Q. 143 What does the second request mean?……………………….. 65
Q. 144 What does the third request mean?………………………….. 66
Q. 145 What does the fourth request mean?………………………… 67
Q. 146 What does the fifth request mean?…………………………… 68
Q. 147 What does the sixth request mean?………………………….. 69
Q. 148 What does your conclusion to this prayer mean?………….. 69
Q. 149 What does that little word “Amen” express?………………… 69
Unto the Church of Christ, who upon Confession of Faith have bin Baptised, Meeting in Old-Gravel Lane London, Grace Mercy and Peace be multiplied unto you, and the good will of him which dwelt in the Bush be with your Spirits, Amen.
Forasmuch as there is but a small time allotted unto any of us in this World, and not knowing but my Staff standeth next the Door ready to depart, I am desirous in this respect so to bestow my precious and present time in my Lord’s business, as I may not return to him with my Talent wrapt up in a Napkin, but may leave behind me some poor token and testimony of my Love and Duty towards him, and his blessed Spouse the Church.
And forasmuch as the day we live in is very gloomy and dark, full of Error and Heresie, which spreads more and more (through the indefatigable indeavours of the maintainers of it) like an overflowing Leprosie, and eateth as doth a Canker.
Also considering it is a day of great declension in love to God and one to another also, from those Gospel Truths, the least of which is more worth then our lives: all which may give God just cause to say to England’s Professors, as once to Israel, “What iniquity have your Fathers found in me that they are gone away far from me? As if God should say, Am I not the same as ever in Power, Goodness, Faithfulness? is not my Word and Ordinances the same, yea my Promises and Heaven the same now as ever?
Now that you may not be shaken, shattered and carried away with every wind and blast, every puff and breath of Error, and Heresie; also that you may be the better established, strengthened, and settled on that sure Rock and Foundation of Salvation, Christ’s Merits, in opposition to the poor imperfect works of an impotent Creature; also settled on the foundation of Church-constitution, on which you are already built, through the Grace of God which stirred you up to search the divine Oracle, and Rule of Divine Service, as Ezra and Nehemiah searched into the particular parts of God’s Worship, by which means they came to the practice of that almost lost Ordinance of God, the Feast of Tabernacles, which for many years was not practised after the due order, though a general notion was retained about it; I say, under these Considerations, I have in charitable regard to your Souls, presented you with this small (but I am bold to say) sound piece of Divinity, which may not unfitly be stiled an Abridgment, or Epitome of Law and Gospel, suited to every ones capacity in God’s House: here is Milk for Babes, and Meat for strong Men. It may not unfitly be compared to the Waters of the Sanctuary, where some may go up to the Ankles, others to the Knees, others to the Loins, and they are deep enough for others to swim in. Here you are not only taught to be good Christians, but good Moralists, the wane of which among them that have the Leaves and Lamps of Profession (as ’tis to be feared such have little more) is of a heart-breaking Consideration to many that desire to walk with God.
Now albeit here may be many things which some of you may know already, yet unto such those things I hope will be acceptable as St. Peter’s Epistles were to the scattered Saints, though they knew much of the matter before, yet I dare say here is somethings which may be for information as well as establishment to the most knowing among you.
I have not undertaken to present you with new Notions or Principles, hoping an Athenian Spirit is in none of you, but do believe that an old Gospel (to you that have tasted the sweetness of it) will be more acceptable than a new, though published by an Angel from Heaven.
In what I have written you will see I concenter with the most Orthodox Divines in the Fundamental Principles and Articles of the Christian Faith, and also have industriously expressed them in the same words, which have on the like occasion bin spoken, only differing in some things about Church-constitution, wherein I have taken a little pains to show you the true form of God’s House, with the coming in thereof, and the going out thereof: but I hope my Zeal in this will not be misinterpreted by any that truly fear God. That God whom we serve is very jealous of his Worship; and forasmuch as by his Providence the Law of his House hath bin preserved and continued to us, we look upon it as our Duty in our generation to be searching out the mind of God in his holy Oracle, as Ezra and Nehemiah did the Feast of Tabernacles, and to reform what is amiss, As Hezekiah, who took a great deal of pains to cleanse the House of God, and set all things in order, that were out of order, particularly caused the People to keep the Passover according to the Institution: for it had not, saith the Text, bin of a long time kept in such sort as it was written; and albeit the pure Institutions of Christ were not for some hundred of years practised according to the due order, or very little through the Innovations of Antichrist; and as Circumcision for about forty years was unpracticed in the Wilderness, yet as Joshua puts this duty in practice as soon as God signified his mind in that particular, so we having our judgments informed about the true way of Worship, do not dare to stifle the Light God hath given us.
Now albeit there are some differences between many Godly Divines and us in Church Constitution, yet inasmuch as those things are not the Essence of Christianity, but that we do agree in the fundamental Doctrine thereof, there is sufficient ground to lay aside all bitterness and prejudice, and labour to maintain a spirit of Love each to other, knowing we shall never see all alike here. We find in the primitive times that the Baptism of Christ was not universally known, witness the ignorance of Apollos that eminent Disciple and Minister, which know only the Baptism of John. And if God shall enlighten any into any Truth, which they shall stifle for base and unwarrantable ends, know that ’tis God must judg, and not Man. And wherein we cannot concur, let us leave that to the coming of Christ Jesus, as they did their difficult cases in the Church of old until there did arise a Priest with Urim and Thummin, that might certainly inform them of the mind of God there-about.
I have proposed three Creeds to your consideration, which ought throughly to be believed and embraced by all those that would be accounted Christians, viz. the Nicene Creed, Athanasius His Creed, and the Creed commonly called the Apostles; the last of which contains the sum of the Gospel; which is industriously opened and explained; and I beseech you do not slight it because of its Form, nor Antiquity, nor because supposed to be composed by Men; neither because some that hold it maintain some Errors, or whose Conversation may not be correspondent to such fundamental Principles of Salvation; but take this for a perpetual Rule, That whatever is good in any, owned by any, whatever Error or Vice it may be mixed withal, the Good must not be rejected for the Error or Vice sake, but owned, commended, and accepted. Here is also in the close of the Book a brief, but full Exposition of that Prayer Christ taught his Disciples. Also the Decalogue, or ten Commandments unfolded.
Now forasmuch as I have taken a great deal of pains in gathering these broken fragments together for your utility and profit, I hope you will take a little pains to reade it, and more to live it; and I pray do it seriously and observingly. Reade it humbly and frequently, reade it with prayer and meditation, then am I sure thou who art a true Christian wilt love it more & more. And as you love your own Souls, love your Childrens, and declare it in praying for them, as Job did for his, and instructing them as Abraham did his, also winning them to good by a good Example. And that this Book may be of advantage to Youth as well as others, it is catechistically handled for their more easie learning the Principles of Christian Religion, that so they being seasoned with the true Articles of Christian Faith, may not so easily be tainted with the sentiments of Men of corrupt minds in time of Temptation. And it is heartily desired that Parents, especially professing ones, were more concerned for the everlasting welfare of their Children, as David was for Solomon, when he charged him near his death to keep the Commandments and Judgments of God above all. And if Parents would but conscientiously read those Divine Oracles which hold forth their Duty to their Children, it would doubtless be to them of great advantage.
As for this that I have presented to publick view, I beg the Readers kind indulgence as to the faults escaped therein: And for those whom the Lord hath committed to my Charge, that the Eternal God may be your Refuge, and underneath you everlasting Arms; that Grace may be opened to your Hearts, and your hearts to Grace; that the blessing of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob may be upon you, and the eternal Spirit may be with you, shall be the Prayer of your unworthy Brother, but more unworthy Pastor,
A. That I am not my own,1 but belong — body and soul,in life and in death—2 to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.3
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,4 and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.5 He also watches over me in such a way6 that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven:7 in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.8
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life9 and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.10
11 Corinthians 6:19-20
31 Corinthians 3:23 Titus 2:14
41 Peter 1:18-19 1 John 1:7-9 1 John 2:2
5John 8:34-36 Hebrews 2:14-15 1 John 3:1-11
6John 6:39-40 John 10:27-30 2 Thessalonians 3:3 1 Peter 1:5
7Matthew 10:29 Luke 21:16-18
9Romans 8:15-16 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 2 Corinthians 5:5 Ephesians 1:13-14
10 Romans 8:1-17
A. Three things: first, how great my sin and misery are;1 second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery;2 third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.3
1Romans 3:9-10 1 John 1:10
2John 17:3 Acts 4:12
3Matthew 5:16 Romans 6:13 Ephesians 5:8-10 2 Timothy 2:15 1 Peter 2:9-10
A. The law of God tells me.1
1Romans 3:20 Romans 7:7-25
A. Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22–
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.1* This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.2 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
*Earlier and better manuscripts of Matthew 22 omit the words “and with all your strength.” They are found in Mark 12:30.
A. No. I have a natural tendency to hate God1 and my neighbor.2
1Romans 3:9-20, 23 1 John 1:8, 10
2Genesis 6:5 Jeremiah 17:9 Romans 7:23-24 Romans 8:7 Ephesians 2:1-3 Titus 3:3
A. No. God created them good1 and in his own image,2 that is, in true righteousness and holiness,3 so that they might truly know God their creator,4 love him with all their heart, and live with him in eternal happiness for his praise and glory.5
A. From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise.1 This fall has so poisoned our nature2 that we are born sinners– corrupt from conception on.3
2Romans 5:12 Romans 5:18-19
A. Yes,1 unless we are born again, by the Spirit of God.2
1Genesis 6:5 Genesis 8:21 Job 14:4 Isaiah 53:6
A. No, God created humans with the ability to keep the law.1 They, however, tempted by the devil,2 in reckless disobedience,3 robbed themselves and all their descendants of these gifts.4
1Gen. 1:31; Eph. 4:24
2Gen. 3:13; John 8:44
4Rom. 5:12, 18, 19
A. Certainly not. He is terribly angry about the sin we are born with as well as the sins we personally commit. As a just judge he punishes them now and in eternity.1 He has declared: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.2
1Ex. 34:7; Ps. 5:4-6; Nah. 1:2; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6; Heb. 9:27
2Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26
A. God is certainly merciful,1 but he is also just.2 His justice demands that sin, committed against his supreme majesty, be punished with the supreme penalty–eternal punishment of body and soul.3
1Ex. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-9
2Ex. 34:7; Deut. 7:9-11; Ps. 5:4-6; Heb. 10:30-31
A. God requires that his justice be satisfied.1 Therefore the claims of his justice must be paid in full, either by ourselves or another.2
1Ex. 23:7; Rom. 2:1-11
2Isa. 53:11; Rom. 8:3-4
A. Certainly not. Actually, we increase our guilt every day.1
1Matt. 6:12; Rom. 2:4-5
A. No. To begin with, God will not punish another creature for what a human is guilty of.1 Besides, no mere creature can bear the weight of God’s eternal anger against sin and release others from it.2
1Ezek. 18:4, 20; Heb. 2:14-18
2Ps. 49:7-9; 130:3
A. One who is truly human1 and truly righteous,2 yet more powerful than all creatures, that is, one who is also true God.3
1Rom. 1:3; 1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:17
2Isa. 53:9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26
3Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Jer. 23:6; John 1:1
A. God’s justice demands that human nature, which has sinned, must pay for its sin;1 but a sinner could never pay for others.2
1Rom. 5:12, 15; 1 Cor. 15:21; Heb. 2:14-16
2Heb. 7:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:18
A. So that, by the power of his divinity, he might bear the weight of God’s anger in his humanity and earn for us and restore to us righteousness and life.1
1Isa. 53; John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:21
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ,1 who was given us to set us completely free and to make us right with God.2
1Matt. 1:21-23; Luke 2:11; 1 Tim. 2:5
21 Cor. 1:30
A. The holy gospel tells me. God himself began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise;1 later, he proclaimed it by the holy patriarchs2 and prophets,3 and portrayed it by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law;4 finally, he fulfilled it through his own dear Son.5
2Gen. 22:18; 49:10
3Isa. 53; Jer. 23:5-6; Mic. 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Heb. 1:1-2
4Lev. 1-7; John 5:46; Heb. 10:1-10
5Rom. 10:4; Gal. 4:4-5; Col. 2:17
A. No. Only those are saved who by true faith are grafted into Christ and accept all his blessings.1
1Matt. 7:14; John 3:16, 18, 36; Rom. 11:16-21
A. True faith is not only a knowledge and conviction that everything God reveals in his Word is true;1 it is also a deep-rooted assurance,2 created in me by the Holy Spirit3 through the gospel,4 that, out of sheer grace earned for us by Christ,5 not only others, but I too,6 have had my sins forgiven, have been made forever right with God, and have been granted salvation.7
1John 17:3, 17; Heb. 11:1-3; James 2:19
2Rom. 4:18-21; 5:1; 10:10; Heb. 4:14-16
3Matt. 16:15-17; John 3:5; Acts 16:14
4Rom. 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor. 1:21
5Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-10
7Rom. 1:17; Heb. 10:10
A. Everything God promises us in the gospel.1 That gospel is summarized for us in the articles of our Christian faith–a creed beyond doubt, and confessed throughout the world.
1Matt. 28:18-20; John 20:30-31
A. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
A. Into three parts: God the Father and our creation; God the Son and our deliverance; God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification.
A. Because that is how God has revealed himself in his Word:2 these three distinct persons are one, true, eternal God.
1Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6
2Matt. 3:16-17; 28:18-19; Luke 4:18 (Isa. 61:1); John 14:26; 15:26; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 4:6; Tit. 3:5-6
A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who out of nothing created heaven and earth and everything in them,1 who still upholds and rules them by his eternal counsel and providence,2 is my God and Father because of Christ his Son.3 I trust him so much that I do not doubt he will provide whatever I need for body and soul,4 and he will turn to my good whatever adversity he sends me in this sad world.5 He is able to do this because he is almighty God;6 he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.7
1Gen. 1 & 2; Ex. 20:11; Ps. 33:6; Isa. 44:24; Acts 4:24; 14:15
2Ps. 104; Matt. 6:30; 10:29; Eph. 1:11
3John 1:12-13; Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:4-7; Eph. 1:5
4Ps. 55:22; Matt. 6:25-26; Luke 12:22-31
6Gen. 18:14; Rom. 8:31-39
A. Providence is the almighty and ever present power of God1 by which he upholds, as with his hand, heaven and earth and all creatures,2 and so rules them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and lean years, food and drink, health and sickness, prosperity and poverty—3 all things, in fact, come to us not by chance4 but from his fatherly hand.5
1Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-28
3Jer. 5:24; Acts 14:15-17; John 9:3; Prov. 22:2
A. We can be patient when things go against us,1 thankful when things go well,2 and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing will separate us from his love.3 All creatures are so completely in his hand that without his will they can neither move nor be moved.4
1Job 1:21-22; James 1:3
2Deut. 8:10; 1 Thess. 5:18
3Ps. 55:22; Rom. 5:3-5; 8:38-39
4Job 1:12; 2:6; Prov. 21:1; Acts 17:24-28
A. Because he saves us from our sins.1 Salvation cannot be found in anyone else; it is futile to look for any salvation elsewhere.2
1Matt. 1:21; Heb. 7:25
2Isa. 43:11; John 15:5; Acts 4:11-12; 1 Tim. 2:5
A. No. Although they boast of being his, by their deeds they deny the only savior and deliverer, Jesus.1 Either Jesus is not a perfect savior, or those who in true faith accept this savior have in him all they need for their salvation.2
11 Cor. 1:12-13; Gal. 5:4
2Col. 1:19-20; 2:10; 1 John 1:7
A. Because he has been ordained by God the Father and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit1 to be our chief prophet and teacher2 who perfectly reveals to us the secret counsel and will of God for our deliverance;3 our only high priest4 who has set us free by the one sacrifice of his body,5 and who continually pleads our cause with the Father;6 and our eternal king7 who governs us by his Word and Spirit, and who guards us and keeps us in the freedom he has won for us.8
1Luke 3:21-22; 4:14-19 (Isa. 61:1); Heb. 1:9 (Ps. 45:7)
2Acts 3:22 (Deut. 18:15)
3John 1:18; 15:15
4Heb. 7:17 (Ps. 110:4)
5Heb. 9:12; 10:11-14
6Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24
7Matt. 21:5 (Zech. 9:9)
8Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:28; Rev. 12:10-11
A. Because by faith I am a member of Christ1 and so I share in his anointing.2 I am anointed to confess his name,3 to present myself to him as a living sacrifice of thanks,4 to strive with a good conscience against sin and the devil in this life,5 and afterward to reign with Christ over all creation for all eternity.6
11 Cor. 12:12-27
2Acts 2:17 (Joel 2:28); 1 John 2:27
3Matt. 10:32; Rom. 10:9-10; Heb. 13:15
4Rom. 12:1; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9
5Gal. 5:16-17; Eph. 6:11; 1 Tim. 1:18-19
6Matt. 25:34; 2 Tim. 2:12
A. Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God.1 We, however, are adopted children of God–adopted by grace through Christ.2
1John 1:1-3, 14, 18; Heb. 1
2John 1:12; Rom. 8:14-17; Eph. 1:5-6
A. Because–not with gold or silver, but with his precious blood—1 he has set us free from sin and from the tyranny of the devil,2 and has bought us, body and soul, to be his very own.3
11 Pet. 1:18-19
2Col. 1:13-14; Heb. 2:14-15
31 Cor. 6:20; 1 Tim. 2:5-6
A. That the eternal Son of God, who is and remains true and eternal God,1 took to himself, through the working of the Holy Spirit,2 from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary,3 a truly human nature so that he might become David’s true descendant,4 like his brothers in every way5 except for sin.6
1John 1:1; 10:30-36; Acts 13:33 (Ps. 2:7); Col. 1:15-17; 1 John 5:20
3Matt. 1:18-23; John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 2:14
42 Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 132:11; Matt. 1:1; Rom. 1:3
5Phil. 2:7; Heb. 2:17
6Heb. 4:15; 7:26-27
A. He is our mediator,1 and with his innocence and perfect holiness he removes from God’s sight my sin–mine since I was conceived.2
11 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 9:13-15
2Rom. 8:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 4:4-5; 1 Pet. 1:18-19
A. That during his whole life on earth, but especially at the end, Christ sustained in body and soul the anger of God against the sin of the whole human race.1 This he did in order that, by his suffering as the only atoning sacrifice,2 he might set us free, body and soul, from eternal condemnation,3 and gain for us God’s grace, righteousness, and eternal life.4
1Isa. 53; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18
2Rom. 3:25; Heb. 10:14; 1 John 2:2; 4:10
3Rom. 8:1-4; Gal. 3:13
4John 3:16; Rom. 3:24-26
A. So that he, though innocent, might be condemned by a civil judge,1 and so free us from the severe judgment of God that was to fall on us.2
1Luke 23:13-24; John 19:4, 12-16
2Isa. 53:4-5; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13
A. Yes. This death convinces me that he shouldered the curse which lay on me, since death by crucifixion was accursed by God.1
1Gal. 3:10-13 (Deut. 21:23)
A. Because God’s justice and truth demand it:1 only the death of God’s Son could pay for our sin.2
2Rom. 8:3-4; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 2:9
A. His burial testifies that he really died.1
1Isa. 53:9; John 19:38-42; Acts 13:29; 1 Cor. 15:3-4
A. Our death does not pay the debt of our sins.1 Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.2
2John 5:24; Phil. 1:21-23; 1 Thess. 5:9-10
A. Through Christ’s death our old selves are crucified, put to death, and buried with him,1 so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer rule us,2 but that instead we may dedicate ourselves as an offering of gratitude to him.3
1Rom. 6:5-11; Col. 2:11-12
3Rom. 12:1; Eph. 5:1-2
A. To assure me in times of personal crisis and temptation that Christ my Lord, by suffering unspeakable anguish, pain, and terror of soul, especially on the cross but also earlier, has delivered me from the anguish and torment of hell.1
1Isa. 53; Matt. 26:36-46; 27:45-46; Luke 22:44; Heb. 5:7-10
A. First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, so that he might make us share in the righteousness he won for us by his death.1 Second, by his power we too are already now resurrected to a new life.2 Third, Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection.3
1Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:16-20; 1 Pet. 1:3-5
2Rom. 6:5-11; Eph. 2:4-6; Col. 3:1-4
3Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:12-23; Phil. 3:20-21
A. That Christ, while his disciples watched, was lifted up from the earth to heaven1 and will be there for our good2 until he comes again to judge the living and the dead.3
1Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11
2Rom. 8:34; Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 7:23-25; 9:24
A. Christ is truly human and truly God. In his human nature Christ is not now on earth;2 but in his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit he is not absent from us for a moment.3
2Acts 1:9-11; 3:19-21
3Matt. 28:18-20; John 14:16-19
A. Certainly not. Since divinity is not limited and is present everywhere,1 it is evident that Christ’s divinity is surely beyond the bounds of the humanity he has taken on, but at the same time his divinity is in and remains personally united to his humanity.2
1Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 7:48-49 (Isa. 66:1)
2John 1:14; 3:13; Col. 2:9
A. First, he pleads our cause in heaven in the presence of his Father.1 Second, we have our own flesh in heaven–a guarantee that Christ our head will take us, his members, to himself in heaven.2 Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth as a further guarantee.3 By the Spirit’s power we make the goal of our lives, not earthly things, but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand.4
1Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1
2John 14:2; 17:24; Eph. 2:4-6
3John 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5
A. Christ ascended to heaven, there to show that he is head of his church,1 and that the Father rules all things through him.2
1Eph. 1:20-23; Col. 1:18
2Matt. 28:18; John 5:22-23
A. First, through his Holy Spirit he pours out his gifts from heaven upon us his members.1 Second, by his power he defends us and keeps us safe from all enemies.2
1Acts 2:33; Eph. 4:7-12
2Ps. 110:1-2; John 10:27-30; Rev. 19:11-16
A. In all my distress and persecution I turn my eyes to the heavens and confidently await as judge the very One who has already stood trial in my place before God and so has removed the whole curse from me.1 All his enemies and mine he will condemn to everlasting punishment: but me and all his chosen ones he will take along with him into the joy and the glory of heaven.2
1Luke 21:28; Rom. 8:22-25; Phil. 3:20-21; Tit. 2:13-14
2Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 1:6-10
A. First, he, as well as the Father and the Son, is eternal God.1 Second, he has been given to me personally,2 so that, by true faith, he makes me share in Christ and all his blessings,3 comforts me,4 and remains with me forever.5
1Gen. 1:1-2; Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3-4
21 Cor. 6:19; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Gal. 4:6
4John 15:26; Acts 9:31
5John 14:16-17; 1 Pet. 4:14
A. I believe that the Son of God through his Spirit and Word,1 out of the entire human race,2 from the beginning of the world to its end,3 gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal life4 and united in true faith.5 And of this community I am6 and always will be7 a living member.
1John 10:14-16; Acts 20:28; Rom. 10:14-17; Col. 1:18
2Gen. 26:3b-4; Rev. 5:9
3Isa. 59:21; 1 Cor. 11:26
4Matt. 16:18; John 10:28-30; Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:3-14
5Acts 2:42-47; Eph. 4:1-6
61 John 3:14, 19-21
7John 10:27-28; 1 Cor. 1:4-9; 1 Pet. 1:3-5
A. First, that believers one and all, as members of this community, share in Christ and in all his treasures and gifts.1 Second, that each member should consider it a duty to use these gifts readily and cheerfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.2
1Rom. 8:32; 1 Cor. 6:17; 12:4-7, 12-13; 1 John 1:3
2Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:20-27; 13:1-7; Phil. 2:4-8
A. I believe that God, because of Christ’s atonement, will never hold against me any of my sins1 nor my sinful nature which I need to struggle against all my life.2 Rather, in his grace God grants me the righteousness of Christ to free me forever from judgment.3
1Ps. 103:3-4, 10, 12; Mic. 7:18-19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; 1 John 1:7; 2:2
3John 3:17-18; Rom. 8:1-2
A. Not only my soul will be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head,1 but even my very flesh, raised by the power of Christ, will be reunited with my soul and made like Christ’s glorious* body.2
1Luke 23:43; Phil. 1:21-23
21 Cor. 15:20, 42-46, 54; Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2
A. Even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy,1 so after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God eternally.2
2John 17:3; 1 Cor. 2:9
A. In Christ I am right with God and heir to life everlasting.1
1John 3:36; Rom. 1:17 (Hab. 2:4); Rom. 5:1-2
A. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.1 Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them,2 and even though I am still inclined toward all evil,3 nevertheless, without my deserving it at all,4 out of sheer grace,5 God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,6 as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me.7 All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.8
1Rom. 3:21-28; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil 3:8-11
5Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8
6Rom. 4:3-5 (Gen. 15:6); 2 Cor. 5:17-19; 1 John 2:1-2
7Rom. 4:24-25; 2 Cor. 5:21
8John 3:18; Acts 16:30-31
A. It is not because of any value my faith has that God is pleased with me. Only Christ’s satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness make me right with God.1 And I can receive this righteousness and make it mine in no other way than by faith alone.2
11 Cor. 1:30-31
2Rom. 10:10; 1 John 5:10-12
A. Because the righteousness which can pass God’s scrutiny must be entirely perfect and must in every way measure up to the divine law.1 Even the very best we do in this life is imperfect and stained with sin.2
1Rom. 3:20; Gal. 3:10 (Deut. 27:26)
A. This reward is not earned; it is a gift of grace.2
1Matt. 5:12; Heb. 11:6
2Luke 17:10; 2 Tim. 4:7-8
A. No. It is impossible for those grafted into Christ by true faith not to produce fruits of gratitude.1
1Luke 6:43-45; John 15:5
A. The Holy Spirit produces it in our hearts1 by the preaching of the holy gospel,2 and confirms it through our use of the holy sacraments.3
1John 3:5; 1 Cor. 2:10-14; Eph. 2:8
2Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23-25
3Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 10:16
A. Sacraments are holy signs and seals for us to see. They were instituted by God so that by our use of them he might make us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel, and might put his seal on that promise.1 And this is God’s gospel promise: to forgive our sins and give us eternal life by grace alone because of Christ’s one sacrifice finished on the cross.2
1Gen. 17:11; Deut. 30:6; Rom. 4:11
2Matt. 26:27-28; Acts 2:38; Heb. 10:10
A. Right! In the gospel the Holy Spirit teaches us and through the holy sacraments he assures us that our entire salvation rests on Christ’s one sacrifice for us on the cross.1
1Rom. 6:3; 1 Cor. 11:26; Gal. 3:27
A. Two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.1
1Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26
A. Immersion or dipping of the Person in Water in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by such who are duly qualified by Christ.1
1Mat. 3.16. John 3.23. Acts 8.38, 39. Rom. 6.4.
A. Those who do actually profess Repentance towards God, Faith in, and Obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ.1
1Acts 2.38. Acts 8.36, 37.
A. No, for we have neither Precept nor Example for that Practice in all the Book of God.
A. It is sufficient that the Divine Oracles commands the baptizing of Believers, unless we will make ourselves wiser than what is written. Nadab and Abihu were not forbidden to offer strange Fire, yet for doing so they incurred God’s Wrath, because they were commanded to take Fire from the Altar.!
1Mat. 28.18, 19. Mark 16.16. Lev 9.24. 10.16.
A. No. Abraham had a command from God to circumcise his infant descendants, but believers have no command to baptize their infant children under the Gospel.1
1Gen. 17.9, 10, 11, 12.
A. By the infant children of Believers being in the Covenant of Grace, it must either be meant of the Covenant of Grace absolutely considered, and if so, then there can be no total and final falling away of any infant children of believers from the Covenant, but all must be saved.1
1Jer. 32.38, 39, 40. Joh. 10.28.
Or, 2. They must mean conditionally, on consideration that when they come to an age of maturity, they by true faith, love, and holiness of life, taking hold of God’s Covenant of Grace, shall have the privileges of it. This being their sense, I then ask what real spiritual privilege the infant children of believers have more than the infant children of unbelievers, if they live also to years of maturity, and by true faith and love take hold God’s Covenant? I further demand, whether the Seal of the Covenant does not belong as much to the children of unbelievers as to the children of believers? and more too, since some infant children of unbelievers take hold of God’s Covenant, and some infant children of believers do not2; as this often occurs to the sorrow of many godly parents.
2 Isa. 56.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Acts 10.34, 35. John 3.16.
3. Suppose all the infant children of believers are absolutely in the Covenant of Grace; believers under the Gospel should not baptize their infant children any more than Lot had warrant to circumcise himself or his infant children, although he was closely related to Abraham, a believer, and in the Covenant of Grace too: since circumcision was limited to Abraham and to his family. Also by the same rule we should bring infants to the Lord’s Table, since the same qualifications are3 required for the proper administration of Baptism as for the Lord’s Supper.
3 Acts 2.41, 42.
4. We must know the covenant made with Abraham had two parts: first, a spiritual, which consisted in God’s promising to be a God to4 Abraham, and5 all his spiritual descendants in a particular manner, whether they were circumcised or uncircumcised, who believed as Abraham the Father of the Faithful did. This was signified by God’s accepting them as his people who were not descended6 from Abraham, but through Jesus Christ, the Gentiles, the uncircumcised who believed, should have their faith counted for Righteousness, as Abraham’s was before he was circumcised.7
4Gen. 17.19, 21. Gen. 21.10. Gal. 4.30.
5Acts 2.39. Rom. 9.7, 8, &c.
6Gal. 3.16, 28, 29.
5. This promise consisted of temporal good: so God promised Abraham’s Seed should enjoy the8 land of Canaan, and have plenty of outward blessings, and sealed this promise by circumcision. It was also a distinguishing character of the Jews being God’s people from all the Nations of the Gentiles, who were not yet the spiritual descendants of Abraham: but when the Gentiles came to believe, and by faith became the people of God as well as the Jews, then9 Circumcision, that distinguishing mark, ceased. The character of being the children of God now is faith in Christ and circumcision of the Heart. Whatever reason may be given for the Infants of Believers to be Baptized first, as their being the children of believers; or secondly, their being in the Covenant; or thirdly, that the infant descendants of Abraham a believer, were circumcised; all this you see avails nothing: for circumcision was limited to the family of Abraham and all others, though believers, were excluded. It was also limited to a particular day, the eighth day, and what ever reason might be given, it was not to be done before or after. It was limited to male and did not include female; if Baptism came in the place of circumcision, and is the seal of the Covenant under the Gospel as circumcision was under the Law, none but the males must be baptized, because none but the Males were Circumcised. But as the Law regulated circumcision, now the Gospel regulates Baptism, and it depends purely upon the will of the Law-giver, at what periods of time, upon what Persons and terms Baptism is to be administered. We will do well, then, to heed what is declared in Scripture, especially Acts 3.22.
8Gen. 15.18. Gen. 17.8, 9, 10, 11. Gen. 12.6, 7. Gen. 13.15, 16, 17. Gen. 15.16.
9John 1.12. Rom. 2.28, 29. Phil. 3.3. Gal. 3.26, 27, 28.
A. In this way: Christ instituted this outward washing1 and with it gave the promise that, as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul’s impurity, in other words, all my sins.2
2Matt. 3:11; Rom. 6:3-10; 1 Pet. 3:21
A. To be washed with Christ’s blood means that God, by grace, has forgiven my sins because of Christ’s blood poured out for me in his sacrifice on the cross.1 To be washed with Christ’s Spirit means that the Holy Spirit has renewed me and set me apart to be a member of Christ so that more and more I become dead to sin and increasingly live a holy and blameless life.2
1Zech. 13:1; Eph. 1:7-8; Heb. 12:24; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rev. 1:5
2Ezek. 36:25-27; John 3:5-8; Rom. 6:4; 1 Cor. 6:11; Col. 2:11-12
A. In the institution of baptism where he says: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”1 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”2* This promise is repeated when Scripture calls baptism the washing of rebirth3 and the washing away of sins.4
*Earlier and better manuscripts of Mark 16 omit the words “Whoever believes and is baptized . . . condemned.”
A. No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.1
1Matt. 3:11; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 John 1:7
A. God has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that the blood and Spirit of Christ wash away our sins just as water washes away dirt from our bodies.1 But more important, he wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign, that the washing away of our sins spiritually is as real as physical washing with water.2
11 Cor. 6:11; Rev. 1:5; 7:14
2Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27
A. In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup. With this command he gave this promise:1 First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup given to me, so surely his body was offered and broken for me and his blood poured out for me on the cross. Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the one who serves, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, given me as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life with his crucified body and poured-out blood.
1Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25
A. It means to accept with a believing heart the entire suffering and death of Christ and by believing to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.1 But it means more. Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body.2 And so, although he is in heaven3 and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.4 And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as members of our body are by one soul.5
1John 6:35, 40, 50-54
2John 6:55-56; 1 Cor. 12:13
3Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 3:1
41 Cor. 6:15-17; Eph. 5:29-30; 1 John 4:13
5John 6:56-58; 15:1-6; Eph. 4:15-16; 1 John 3:24
A. In the institution of the Lord’s Supper:
“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”1
This promise is repeated by Paul in these words:
“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”2
11 Cor. 11:23-26
21 Cor. 10:16-17
A. No. Just as the water of baptism is not changed into Christ’s blood and does not itself wash away sins but is simply God’s sign and assurance,1 so too the bread of the Lord’s Supper is not changed into the actual body of Christ2 even though it is called the body of Christ3 in keeping with the nature and language of sacraments.4
1Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5
31 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26-28
4Gen. 17:10-11; Ex. 12:11, 13; 1 Cor. 10:1-4
(Paul uses the words,a participation in Christ’s body and blood.)
A. Christ has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that as bread and wine nourish our temporal life, so too his crucified body and poured-out blood truly nourish our souls for eternal life.1 But more important, he wants to assure us, by this visible sign and pledge, that we, through the Holy Spirit’s work, share in his true body and blood as surely as our mouths receive these holy signs in his remembrance,2 and that all of his suffering and obedience are as definitely ours as if we personally had suffered and paid for our sins.3
1John 6:51, 55
21 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:26
A. The Lord’s Supper declares to us that our sins have been completely forgiven through the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ which he himself finished on the cross once for all.1 It also declares to us that the Holy Spirit grafts us into Christ,2 who with his very body is now in heaven at the right hand of the Father3 where he wants us to worship him.4 But the Mass teaches that the living and the dead do not have their sins forgiven through the suffering of Christ unless Christ is still offered for them daily by the priests. It also teaches that Christ is bodily present in the form of bread and wine where Christ is therefore to be worshiped. Thus the Mass is basically nothing but a denial of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ and a condemnable idolatry.
1John 19:30; Heb. 7:27; 9:12, 25-26; 10:10-18
21 Cor. 6:17; 10:16-17
3Acts 7:55-56; Heb. 1:3; 8:1
4Matt. 6:20-21; John 4:21-24; Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1-3
A. Those who are displeased with themselves because of their sins, but who nevertheless trust that their sins are pardoned and that their continuing weakness is covered by the suffering and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and to lead a better life. Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however, eat and drink judgment on themselves.1
11 Cor. 10:19-22; 11:26-32
A. No, that would dishonor God’s covenant and bring down God’s anger upon the entire congregation.1 Therefore, according to the instruction of Christ and his apostles, the Christian church is duty-bound to exclude such people, by the official use of the keys of the kingdom, until they reform their lives.
11 Cor. 11:17-32; Ps. 50:14-16; Isa. 1:11-17
A. In singing Praises to God vocally and audibly for his great Benefits and Blessings to his Church in the shedding of the most precious Blood of his Son to take away their Sin; which Blessings are pointed out in this Sacrament. Also we find our Lord and his Disciples did close this Ordinance in singing a Hymn or Psalm; and if Christ sang, who was going to die, what cause have we to sing for whom he died, that we might not eternally die, but live a spiritual and eternal life with Father, Son, and Spirit in unexpressible Glory.1
A. The preaching of the holy gospel and Christian discipline toward repentance. Both preaching and discipline open the kingdom of heaven to believers and close it to unbelievers.1
1Matt. 16:19; John 20:22-23
A. According to the command of Christ:
The kingdom of heaven is opened by proclaiming and publicly declaring to all believers, each and every one, that, as often as they accept the gospel promise in true faith, God, because of what Christ has done, truly forgives all their sins.
The kingdom of heaven is closed, however, by proclaiming and publicly declaring to unbelievers and hypocrites that, as long as they do not repent, the anger of God and eternal condemnation rest on them.
God’s judgment, both in this life and in the life to come, is based on this gospel testimony.1
1Matt. 16:19; John 3:31-36; 20:21-23
A. According to the command of Christ:
Those who, though called Christians, profess unchristian teachings or live unchristian lives, and after repeated and loving counsel refuse to abandon their errors and wickedness, and after being reported to the church, that is, to its officers, fail to respond also to their admonition–such persons the officers exclude from the Christian fellowship by withholding the sacraments from them, and God himself excludes them from the kingdom of Christ.1 Such persons, when promising and demonstrating genuine reform, are received again as members of Christ and of his church.2
1Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5:3-5, 11-13; 2 Thess. 3:14-15
2Luke 15:20-24; 2 Cor. 2:6-11
A. To be sure, Christ has redeemed us by his blood. But we do good because Christ by his Spirit is also renewing us to be like himself, so that in all our living we may show that we are thankful to God for all he has done for us,1 and so that he may be praised through us.2 And we do good so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits,3 and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ.4
1Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:5-10
2Matt. 5:16; 1 Cor. 6:19-20
3Matt. 7:17-18; Gal. 5:22-24; 2 Pet. 1:10-11
4Matt. 5:14-16; Rom. 14:17-19; 1 Pet. 2:12; 3:1-2
A. By no means. Scripture tells us that no unchaste person, no idolater, adulterer, thief, no covetous person, no drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like is going to inherit the kingdom of God.1
11 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:1-20; 1 John 3:14
A. Two things: the dying-away of the old self, and the coming-to-life of the new.1
1Rom. 6:1-11; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:5-10
A. It is to be genuinely sorry for sin, to hate it more and more, and to run away from it.1
1Ps. 51:3-4, 17; Joel 2:12-13; Rom. 8:12-13; 2 Cor. 7:10
A. It is wholehearted joy in God through Christ1 and a delight to do every kind of good as God wants us to.2
1Ps. 51:8, 12; Isa.57:15; Rom. 5:1; 14:17
2Rom. 6:10-11; Gal. 2:20
A. Only that which arises out of true faith,1 conforms to God’s law,2 and is done for his glory;3 and not that which is based on what we think is right or on established human tradition.4
1John 15:5; Heb. 11:6
2Lev. 18:4; 1 Sam. 15:22; Eph. 2:10
31 Cor. 10:31
4Deut. 12:32; Isa. 29:13; Ezek. 20:18-19; Matt. 15:7-9
A. The Decalogue, or (i) ten Commandments.
(i) Exod. 20. Deut. 5.
A. Into two tables. The first has four commandments, teaching us what our relation to God should be. The second has six commandments, teaching us what we owe our neighbor.1
A. I am JEHOVAH, the Lord your God, who brought you out of the Land of Egypt, out of the House of Bondage.
A. Three things: first he shows to whom the right of all Rule belongs, that is, to God himself for he says, “I am JEHOVAH”. Secondly, he says he is the God of his people, that through the promise of his bountifulness he might encourage them to obey him. Thirdly, he says, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, as if he should say, I am the one who made myself known to you and bestowed all those Blessings upon you; therefore you art bound to show thankfulness and obedience unto me.1
A. Yes, because they figuratively include and imply all the deliverances of the Church; and further, also this was a type of our wonderful Deliverance achieved by Christ.
A. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.
A. That I, not wanting to endanger my very salvation, avoid and shun all idolatry,1 magic, superstitious rites,2 and prayer to saints or to other creatures.3 That I sincerely acknowledge the only true God,4 trust him alone,5 look to him for every good thing6 humbly7 and patiently,8 love him,9 fear him,10 and honor him11 with all my heart. In short, that I give up anything rather than go against his will in any way.12
11 Cor. 6:9-10; 10:5-14; 1 John 5:21
2Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:9-12
3Matt. 4:10; Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9
5Jer. 17:5, 7
6Ps. 104:27-28; James 1:17
71 Pet. 5:5-6
8Col. 1:11; Heb. 10:36
9Matt. 22:37 (Deut. 6:5)
10Prov. 9:10; 1 Pet. 1:17
11Matt. 4:10 (Deut. 6:13)
12Matt. 5:29-30; 10:37-39
A. Idolatry is having or inventing something in which one trusts in place of or alongside of the only true God, who has revealed himself in his Word.1
11 Chron. 16:26; Gal. 4:8-9; Eph. 5:5; Phil. 3:19
A. Thou shalt make to thee no graven Image, nor the Likeness of any thing which is in Heaven above, or in he Earth beneath, nor in the Waters under the Earth: thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worsip them, for I the Lord thy God and a jealous God, and visit the sins of the Fathers upon the Children, unto the third and fourth Generation of them that hate me, and shew Mercy to thousands of them which love me, and keep my Commandments.
A. That we in no way make any image of God1 nor worship him in any other way than he has commanded in his Word.2
1Deut. 4:15-19; Isa. 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:22-23
2Lev. 10:1-7; 1 Sam. 15:22-23; John 4:23-24
A. God can not and may not be visibly portrayed in any way. Although creatures may be portrayed, yet God forbids making or having such images if one’s intention is to worship them or to serve God through them.1
1Ex. 34:13-14, 17; 2 Kings 18:4-5
A. No, we shouldn’t try to be wiser than God. He wants his people instructed by the living preaching of his Word—1 not by idols that cannot even talk.2
1Rom. 10:14-15, 17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:19
2Jer. 10:8; Hab. 2:18-20
A. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord they God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain.
A. That we neither blaspheme nor misuse the name of God by cursing,1 perjury,2 or unnecessary oaths,3 nor share in such horrible sins by being silent bystanders.4 In a word, it requires that we use the holy name of God only with reverence and awe,5 so that we may properly confess him,6 pray to him,7 and praise him in everything we do and say.8
3Matt. 5:37; James 5:12
4Lev. 5:1; Prov. 29:24
5Ps. 99:1-5; Jer. 4:2
6Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10
7Ps. 50:14-15; 1 Tim. 2:8
A. Yes, indeed.1 No sin is greater, no sin makes God more angry than blaspheming his name. That is why he commanded the death penalty for it.2
A. Yes, when the government demands it, or when necessity requires it, in order to maintain and promote truth and trustworthiness for God’s glory and our neighbor’s good. Such oaths are approved in God’s Word1 and were rightly used by Old and New Testament believers.2
1Deut. 6:13; 10:20; Jer. 4:1-2; Heb. 6:16
2Gen. 21:24; Josh. 9:15; 1 Kings 1:29-30; Rom. 1:9; 2 Cor. 1:23
A. No. A legitimate oath means calling upon God as the one who knows my heart to witness to my truthfulness and to punish me if I swear falsely.1 No creature is worthy of such honor.2
1Rom. 9:1; 2 Cor. 1:23
2Matt. 5:34-37; 23:16-22; James 5:12
A. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day: six Days should thou labor, and do all that thou hast to do, but the seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou should do no manner of Work, Thou, nor thy Son, nor thy Daughter, thy Man-Servant, nor thy Maid-Servant, nor they Cattel, nor the Stranger that is within thy Gates: for in six Days the Lord made Heaven, and Earth, the Sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, and hallowed it.
A. First, that the gospel ministry and education for it be maintained,1 and that, especially on the festive day of rest, I regularly attend the assembly of God’s people2 to learn what God’s Word teaches,3 to participate in the sacraments,4 to pray to God publicly,5 and to bring Christian offerings for the poor.6 Second, that every day of my life I rest from my evil ways, let the Lord work in me through his Spirit, and so begin already in this life the eternal Sabbath.7
1Deut. 6:4-9, 20-25; 1 Cor. 9:13-14; 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:13-17; Tit. 1:5
2Deut. 12:5-12; Ps. 40:9-10; 68:26; Acts 2:42-47; Heb. 10:23-25
3Rom. 10:14-17; 1 Cor. 14:31-32; 1 Tim. 4:13
41 Cor. 11:23-25
5Col. 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:1
6Ps. 50:14; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8 & 9
7Isa. 66:23; Heb. 4:9-11
A. Honour thy Father and Mother that thy days may be long in the Land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
A. That I honor, love, and be loyal to my father and mother and all those in authority over me; that I obey and submit to them, as is proper, when they correct and punish me;1 and also that I be patient with their failings—2 for through them God chooses to rule us.3
1Ex. 21:17; Prov. 1:8; 4:1; Rom. 13:1-2; Eph. 5:21-22; 6:1-9; Col. 3:18-4:1
2Prov. 20:20; 23:22; 1 Pet. 2:18
3Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:1-8; Eph. 6:1-9; Col. 3:18-21
A. Thou shalt do no Murder.
A. I am not to belittle, insult, hate, or kill my neighbor–not by my thoughts, my words, my look or gesture, and certainly not by actual deeds– and I am not to be party to this in others;1 rather, I am to put away all desire for revenge.2 I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself either.3 Prevention of murder is also why government is armed with the sword.4
1Gen. 9:6; Lev. 19:17-18; Matt. 5:21-22; 26:52
2Prov. 25:21-22; Matt. 18:35; Rom. 12:19; Eph. 4:26
3Matt. 4:7; 26:52; Rom. 13:11-14
4Gen. 9:6; Ex. 21:14; Rom. 13:4
A. By forbidding murder God teaches us that he hates the root of murder: envy, hatred, anger, vindictiveness.1 In God’s sight all such are murder.2
1Prov. 14:30; Rom. 1:29; 12:19; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 John 2:9-11
21 John 3:15
A. No. By condemning envy, hatred, and anger God tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves,1 to be patient, peace-loving, gentle, merciful, and friendly to them,2 to protect them from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies.3
1Matt. 7:12; 22:39; Rom. 12:10
2Matt. 5:3-12; Luke 6:36; Rom. 12:10, 18; Gal. 6:1-2; Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 3:8
3Ex. 23:4-5; Matt. 5:44-45; Rom. 12:20-21 (Prov. 25:21-22)
A. Thou shalt not commit Adultery.
A. God condemns all unchastity.1 We should therefore thoroughly detest it2 and, married or single, live decent and chaste lives.3
1Lev. 18:30; Eph. 5:3-5
31 Cor. 7:1-9; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; Heb. 13:4
A. We are temples of the Holy Spirit, body and soul, and God wants both to be kept clean and holy. That is why he forbids everything which incites unchastity,1 whether it be actions, looks, talk, thoughts, or desires.2
11 Cor. 15:33; Eph. 5:18
2Matt. 5:27-29; 1 Cor. 6:18-20; Eph. 5:3-4
A. Thou shalt not steal.
A. He forbids not only outright theft and robbery, punishable by law.1 But in God’s sight theft also includes cheating and swindling our neighbor by schemes made to appear legitimate,2 such as: inaccurate measurements of weight, size, or volume; fraudulent merchandising; counterfeit money; excessive interest; or any other means forbidden by God.3 In addition he forbids all greed4 and pointless squandering of his gifts.5
1Ex. 22:1; 1 Cor. 5:9-10; 6:9-10
2Mic. 6:9-11; Luke 3:14; James 5:1-6
3Deut. 25:13-16; Ps. 15:5; Prov. 11:1; 12:22; Ezek. 45:9-12; Luke 6:35
4Luke 12:15; Eph. 5:5
5Prov. 21:20; 23:20-21; Luke 16:10-13
A. That I do whatever I can for my neighbor’s good, that I treat others as I would like them to treat me, and that I work faithfully so that I may share with those in need.1
1Isa. 58:5-10; Matt. 7:12; Gal. 6:9-10; Eph. 4:28
A. Thou shalt not bear false Witness against thy Neighbour.
A. God’s will is that I never give false testimony against anyone, twist no one’s words, not gossip or slander, nor join in condemning anyone without a hearing or without a just cause.1 Rather, in court and everywhere else, I should avoid lying and deceit of every kind; these are devices the devil himself uses, and they would call down on me God’s intense anger.2 I should love the truth, speak it candidly, and openly acknowledge it.3 And I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name.4
1Ps. 15; Prov. 19:5; Matt. 7:1; Luke 6:37; Rom. 1:28-32
2Lev. 19:11-12; Prov. 12:22; 13:5; John 8:44; Rev. 21:8
31 Cor. 13:6; Eph. 4:25
41 Pet. 3:8-9; 4:8
A. Thou shalt not covet thy Neighbours House, nor his Wife, nor his Servant, nor his Maid, nor his Ox, nor his Ass, nor any thing that is his.1
A. That not even the slightest thought or desire contrary to any one of God’s commandments should ever arise in my heart. Rather, with all my heart I should always hate sin and take pleasure in whatever is right.1
1Ps. 19:7-14; 139:23-24; Rom. 7:7-8
A. No. In this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience.1 Nevertheless, with all seriousness of purpose, they do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commandments.2
1Eccles. 7:20; Rom. 7:14-15; 1 Cor. 13:9; 1 John 1:8-10
2Ps. 1:1-2; Rom. 7:22-25; Phil. 3:12-16
A. First, so that the longer we live the more we may come to know our sinfulness and the more eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness.1 Second, so that, while praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, we may never stop striving to be renewed more and more after God’s image, until after this life we reach our goal: perfection.2
1Ps. 32:5; Rom. 3:19-26; 7:7, 24-25; 1 John 1:9
21 Cor. 9:24; Phil. 3:12-14; 1 John 3:1-3
A. Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us.1 And also because God gives his grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking him for them.2
1Ps. 50:14-15; 116:12-19; 1 Thess. 5:16-18
2Matt. 7:7-8; Luke 11:9-13
A. First, we must pray from the heart to no other than the one true God, who has revealed himself in his Word, asking for everything he has commanded us to ask for.1 Second, we must acknowledge our need and misery, hiding nothing, and humble ourselves in his majestic presence.2 Third, we must rest on this unshakable foundation: even though we do not deserve it, God will surely listen to our prayer because of Christ our Lord. That is what he promised us in his Word.3
1Ps. 145:18-20; John 4:22-24; Rom. 8:26-27; James 1:5; 1 John 5:14-15
22 Chron. 7:14; Ps. 2:11; 34:18; 62:8; Isa. 66:2; Rev. 4
3Dan. 9:17-19; Matt. 7:8; John 14:13-14; 16:23; Rom. 10:13; James 1:6
A. Everything we need, spiritually and physically,1 as embraced in the prayer Christ our Lord himself taught us.
1James 1:17; Matt. 6:33
A. Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom
and the power
and the glory forever.
1Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4
*Earlier and better manuscripts of Matthew 6 omit the words “For yours is . . . Amen.”
A. We are not. Our Lord here delivers to his Church a brief Summary of those things which we are to ask of God, but yet Christ also expects us to ask for particular benefits. This form a set of general topics, under which all benefits may be grouped. All particulars of Prayer must agree & correspond with this general form, although we are not tied to this from. This is apparent from Jam. 1.5. where the Apostle exhorts the Saints, if any of them lack wisdom, they should ask of God, who gives liberally to all, but these words are not found in the form of prayer particularly expressed. In addition, we have examples of prayer both in the Old and New Testament, which do not exactly follow this form although all they asked was included in this prayer.
A. At the very beginning of our prayer Christ wants to kindle in us what is basic to our prayer–the childlike awe and trust that God through Christ has become our Father. Our fathers do not refuse us the things of this life; God our Father will even less refuse to give us what we ask in faith.1
1Matt. 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13
A. These words teach us not to think of God’s heavenly majesty as something earthly,1 and to expect everything for body and soul from his almighty power.2
1Jer. 23:23-24; Acts 17:24-25
2Matt. 6:25-34; Rom. 8:31-32
A. “Hallowed be your name” means, Help us to really know you,1 to bless, worship, and praise you for all your works and for all that shines forth from them: your almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.2 And it means, Help us to direct all our living–what we think, say, and do–so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.3
1Jer. 9:23-24; 31:33-34; Matt. 16:17; John 17:3
2Ex. 34:5-8; Ps. 145; Jer. 32:16-20; Luke 1:46-55, 68-75; Rom. 11:33-36
3Ps. 115:1; Matt. 5:16
A. “Your kingdom come” means, Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to you.1 Keep your church strong, and add to it.2 Destroy the devil’s work; destroy every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your Word.3 Do this until your kingdom is so complete and perfect that in it you are all in all.4
1Ps. 119:5, 105; 143:10; Matt. 6:33
2Ps. 122:6-9; Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:42-47
3Rom. 16:20; 1 John 3:8
4Rom. 8:22-23; 1 Cor. 15:28; Rev. 22:17, 20
A. “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” means, Help us and all people to reject our own wills and to obey your will without any back talk. Your will alone is good.1 Help us one and all to carry out the work we are called to,2 as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.3
1Matt. 7:21; 16:24-26; Luke 22:42; Rom. 12:1-2; Tit. 2:11-12
21 Cor. 7:17-24; Eph. 6:5-9
A. “Give us today our daily bread” means, Do take care of all our physical needs1 so that we come to know that you are the only source of everything good,2 and that neither our work and worry nor your gifts can do us any good without your blessing.3 And so help us to give up our trust in creatures and to put trust in you alone.4
1Ps. 104:27-30; 145:15-16; Matt. 6:25-34
2Acts 14:17; 17:25; James 1:17
3Deut. 8:3; Ps. 37:16; 127:1-2; 1 Cor. 15:58
4Ps. 55:22; 62; 146; Jer. 17:5-8; Heb. 13:5-6
A. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” means, Because of Christ’s blood, do not hold against us, poor sinners that we are, any of the sins we do or the evil that constantly clings to us.1 Forgive us just as we are fully determined, as evidence of your grace in us, to forgive our neighbors.2
1Ps. 51:1-7; 143:2; Rom. 8:1; 1 John 2:1-2
2Matt. 6:14-15; 18:21-35
A. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” means, By ourselves we are too weak to hold our own even for a moment.1 And our sworn enemies–the devil,2 the world,3 and our own flesh—4 never stop attacking us. And so, Lord, uphold us and make us strong with the strength of your Holy Spirit, so that we may not go down to defeat in this spiritual struggle,5 but may firmly resist our enemies until we finally win the complete victory.6
1Ps. 103:14-16; John 15:1-5
22 Cor. 11:14; Eph. 6:10-13; 1 Pet. 5:8
4Rom. 7:23; Gal. 5:17
5Matt. 10:19-20; 26:41; Mark 13:33; Rom. 5:3-5
61 Cor. 10:13; 1 Thess. 3:13; 5:23
A. “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” means, We have made all these requests of you because, as our all-powerful king, you not only want to, but are able to give us all that is good;1 and because your holy name, and not we ourselves, should receive all the praise, forever.2
1Rom. 10:11-13; 2 Pet. 2:9
2Ps. 115:1; John 14:13
A. “Amen” means, This is sure to be! It is even more sure that God listens to my prayer, than that I really desire what I pray for.1
1Isa. 65:24; 2 Cor. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:13
God’s self-revelation to us was not made for a primarily intellectual purpose. It is not to be overlooked, of course, that the truly pious mind may through an intellectual contemplation of the divine perfections glorify God. This would be just as truly religious as the intensest occupation of the will in the service of God. But it would not be the full-orbed religion at which, as a whole, revelation aims. It is true, the Gospel teaches that to know God is life eternal. But the concept of ‘knowledge’ here is not to be understood in its Hellenic sense, but in the Shemitic sense. According to the former, ‘to know’ means to mirror the reality of a thing in one’s consciousness. The Shemitic and Biblical idea is to have the reality of something practically interwoven with the inner experience of life. Hence ‘to know’ can stand in the Biblical idiom for ‘to love’, ‘to single out in love.’ Because God desires to be known after this fashion, He has caused His revelation to take place in the milieu of the historical life of a people. The circle of revelation is not a school, but a ‘covenant’. – Geerhardus Vos