Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 28
generation shall praise thy works to another,
declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)
- 11:00 AM
Forsaking All [download]
Reading: Matthew 19:1-30
Text: Luke 14:33
I. The Meaning
80:7-12; 37:3-9; 63:1-8
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Concluding Our Prayer [download]
Reading: I Chronicles 29:1-25
Catechism, Lord’s Day 52
80:13-19; 103:17-22; 72:15-19
Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship
Quotes to Consider
John Calvin on Luke 14:33: "‘So then every one of
you’ This clause shows what is meant by the calculation of expenses,
with which Christ enjoins his followers to begin: it is to lead them to
consider that they must forsake all. In vain do persons who are
delighted with an easy, indolent life, and with exemption from the
cross, undertake a profession of Christianity. Those persons are said to
forsake all who prefer Christ so greatly, both to their own life, and to
all the wishes of the flesh, that nothing deters them from the right
course. It would be absurd to insist on a literal interpretation of the
phrase, as if no man were a disciple of Christ, till he threw into the
sea all that he possessed, divorced his wife, and bade farewell to his
children. Such idle dreams led foolish people to adopt a monastic life,
as if those who intend to come to Christ must leave off humanity. Yet no
man truly forsakes all that he possesses till he is prepared at every
instant to leave all, gives himself free and unconstrained to the Lord,
and, rising above every hindrance, pursues his calling. Thus the true
self-denial which the Lord demands from his followers does not consist
so much in outward conduct as in the affections; so that every one must
employ the time which is passing over him without allowing the objects
which he directs by his hand to hold a place in his heart."
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
On the back table are free devotional booklets
for the month of December.
PM - Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex
PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea
12:15 AM - Beginners NT Class
Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM. We will study II
Thess. 2:3f. on "the man of sin."
Membership class: Tuesday, 8 PM on Canons of
Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We
will study Article 7 on the sufficiency of Scripture.
The council will hold their monthly meeting
this Thursday at 7 PM.
The Reformed Witness Hour is on Gospel 846MW
at 8:30-9:00 AM every Lord’s Day. Be sure to tune in and tell others.
On Wednesday, 12 January, Rev. Doug Kuiper will be
giving a public lecture here at 7:45 PM on "Grieve Not the
Spirit: Sins Against the Holy Spirit."
Please reserve Friday, 14 January, for our annual
Offerings: General Fund - £412.90. Donation:
Gift Aid Refund: £5,521.16.
Website Additions: Two German translations were
PRC News: Wingham PRC called Rev. Overway. Trinity PRC’s new trio
is Revs. Eriks, Koole and Van Overloop.
This is part 1 of Prof. Engelsma’s 43rd e-mail
Dear European Forum,
No treatment of the biblical and Reformation
gospel-truth of justification by faith alone is complete without a
consideration of the close, necessary and significant relation of
justification and election.
By election is meant God’s eternal, unconditional,
gracious choice in Christ of a definite number of certain persons (as
the body and bride of Christ) unto salvation, accompanied by God’s
eternal and equally unconditional appointment of the others unto
damnation (which damnation, or punishment, is on account of their
unbelief and other sins). Election is the truth taught in Ephesians 1:4:
"According as he [i.e., God] hath chosen us in him [i.e., Jesus Christ]
before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him." The Reformed creed, the Canons of Dordt,
confesses the truth of election in I:7: "Election is the unchangeable
purpose of God whereby, before the foundation of the world, He hath out
of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of His own will,
chosen, from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own
fault from their primitive state of rectitude into sin and destruction,
a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom He from
eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect, and the
foundation of salvation."
The Reformed confessions teach the close, necessary
and significant relation of justification and election. Canons
I:7, quoted in part above, goes on to affirm that in the eternal decree
of election God "hath decreed ... to bestow upon them [i.e., those whom
He elected] true faith, justification ..." Canons I:9 teaches
that "election is the fountain of every saving good, from which proceed
faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation" (which include
With specific reference to the important relation of
justification and election, the Westminster Confession of Faith
states, in the chapter on "Justification": "God did, from all eternity,
decree to justify all the elect" (WC 11:4).
The close and significant relation between
justification and election affirmed by the Reformed confessions is based
In Ephesians 1:5, Paul looks at the relation from the
point of view of eternal election, or the predestination unto salvation:
"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ
unto himself." Adoption unto children is a legal act of God in the
consciousness of the believer immediately following, but dependent on,
the forgiveness of sins or justification, if it is not the legal act of
God implicit in the verdict of justification itself. However adoption is
viewed, adoption implies justification, so that the apostle here makes
justification the purpose of God in His predestination, or election, of
His people in eternity.
The apostle teaches the same in Romans 8:30:
Predestination purposes the justification of those predestinated.
The close relation of justification and election is
indicated in Romans 8:33, the rhetorical question, "Who shall lay any
thing to the charge of God’s elect?" immediately followed by the
reminder, "It is God that justifieth."
The relation of justification and election is
indicated from the point of view of justification in the very structure
of the book of Romans. In chapters 3-5, the apostle sets forth, explains
and defends the gospel-truth of justification by faith alone, the great
theme of the epistle. In chapters 8-11, he grounds this gospel-truth,
and finds its source, in God’s eternal election.
According to Scripture, then, as faithfully expressed
by the Reformed confessions, the relation of justification and election
is, first, that justification, rightly understood, implies and demands
God’s eternal election as its source. If, as I have demonstrated in the
preceding instalments in this series, justification is by faith alone,
apart from any and all works of the sinner; if justification by faith
means that faith is the instrument of justification, not the cause or
the condition; and if faith itself, both as the power of believing and
as the activity itself of believing on Christ for pardon, is the gift of
God to the sinner who believes, the sole explanation of the justifying
of sinners (in distinction from others who do not believe and who are
not justified, though they hear the same gospel) is God’s prior purpose
of grace towards the sinners who believe and justified, that is, God’s
The explanation of the justification of a sinner
cannot be anything in him himself, for he is guilty, totally depraved as
the just judgment upon his guilt, and thus incapable of believing, as
also lacking all right to believe.
The source and explanation of the sinner’s faith
itself as of the justifying verdict of God through this faith is God’s
eternal election of this sinner. With regard to the faith that
justifies, the Canons of Dordt express this dependency of faith
on election in I:6: "That some receive the gift of faith from God and
others do not receive it proceeds from God’s eternal decree." The
Canons appeal to Acts 15:18 and Ephesians 1:11).
Locating the source of his justification necessarily
in God’s eternal, gracious election is a matter of the justified
sinner’s own experience and consciousness and of the greatest importance
for his assurance of the love of God for him and of his salvation. At
the moment of his justification, the forgiven sinner, marvellously freed
from the guilt and shame of his sinfulness and all his transgressions,
liberated from the wrath of God, the curse of the law and the bondage of
Satan, to whom the doors of heaven and the fellowship of God in Jesus
Christ swing open, asks, indeed, cries out, "To whom and to what am I
indebted for this grace of justification? whence comes to me this
forgiveness and the faith by which I am forgiven?" And the answer, in
his own consciousness, is, and can only be, "From the prior gracious
purposes of God towards me in His eternal election."
This lively, experiential knowledge of his own
election in Christ is, thus, a necessary aspect of justification itself.
Not only is the justified sinner conscious of his forgiveness, as of the
death of Christ for him upon which the verdict of justification rests
(as I have shown), but also he knows, experientially, God’s election of
him. In the way of being justified by faith alone, the justified sinner
is assured, not only of present forgiveness, but also of his own eternal
election, as the source of his justification.
God wills that His justified people, for whom Christ
died, be assured of their eternal election, that is, of His eternal love
for them. ... to be continued