Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 17
generation shall praise thy works to another,
declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)
- 11:00 AM
The Jerusalem Assembly [download]
Reading: Acts 15:1-35
I. The Occasion
of the Jerusalem Assembly
Discussion at the Jerusalem Assembly
Decisions of the Jerusalem Assembly
78:14-21; 101:3-8; 84:4-11
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Praying to Our Heavenly Father [download]
Reading: Psalm 103
Catechism, Lord’s Day 46
I. Praying to
II. Praying to
Father in Heaven
12-18; 78:22-29; 102:19-24; 103:8-15
Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship
Quote to Consider:
Sundry Ministers of Christ within the City of London:
"That Jesus Christ hath laid down in his word a pattern of a synod,
yea, of a juridical synod, consisting of governing officers of divers
presbyterial churches, is manifest, Acts 15 and 16, where are plainly
set forth: 1. The occasion of the synod. 2. The proper members of the
synod. 3. The equal power and authority exercised by all those members.
4. The way and method of ordinary synodal proceeding. 5. The juridical
acts of power put forth by the synod; with the issue and consequent of
all upon the churches" (The Divine Right of Church Government [c.
1646], p. 201).
Thomas Witherow: "Let it be remarked that, in the
simple narrative, the following facts stand noticeably out:—(1) That
Barnabas and Paul had a dispute about circumcision with certain false
teachers who came down from Judea; (2) This dispute was not settled in
the Church of Antioch where it originated; (3) The matter was referred
to an external ecclesiastical assembly consisting of the apostles and
elders at Jerusalem; (4) This assembly met publicly to deliberate on the
question; (5) They pronounced a decision; (6) To this decision the
Church of Antioch and the Churches of Syria and Cilicia yielded
submission" (The Apostolic Church: Which Is It?, p. 50).
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
The Standard Bearers are available on the back
table as are copies of a missionary letter from Rev. Bruinsma in
Beacon Lights subscribers should pass on their
subscription money (£10) to Susan Hall who will pay your bill for you.
Ladies Discussion will be at 11 AM
tomorrow, 18 October. We will be meeting on Monday just this time.
Discussion will be on the article entitled "Handmaidens of Jehovah (1)"
which is available on the back table.
classes: Monday, 6:00 PM - Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex
PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea
12:15 AM - Beginners NT Class
Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM. We will look at II
Thessalonians 1:5f. on God’s righteousness in our suffering for His
Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We
will continue our study of Article 2, "By what means God is made known
unto us." The
audio of the last class is on-line.
Thursday membership class: 7:30 PM.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Emergence of the
Antichristian Kingdom" by Rev. Bruinsma.
Offerings: General Fund - £403.16. Donations:
£200, £250, £1,500 (DVDs), £200.
PRC News: Cornerstone PRC called Rev. Haak.
Wingham PRC called Rev. A. Lanning. Dan Holstege was ordained and
installed into the ministry at the PR church in Holland, Michigan on
This is part 2 of the 41st email from Prof.
Engelsma on justification:
This distinction [between justification and
sanctification] is based on Scripture. Romans 3-5 teaches justification
as the legal act of Christ perfectly delivering from guilt, on the basis
of Christ’s death, so that the sinner has peace with God. Romans 6, 7,
the first part of 8, and 12-16 teaches sanctification as the Spirit’s
work in the justified sinner of actually delivering him from the ruling
power of sin, though not perfectly in this life (see Rom. 7), so that he
lives, victoriously, a life of love for God expressed by obedience to
It is an aspect of the error of the RCC and today,
amazingly, of reputedly conservative Reformed churches that produce and
tolerate the FV, that they confuse and mix up justification and
sanctification. More precisely, they teach that the saving work of
justification is partly God’s work of infusing in the sinner the
righteousness of Christ so that the sinner performs good works. On the
basis then both of Christ’s death and the good works of the sinner
himself, God forgives the sinner and declares him righteous. To put it a
little differently, the error is to describe justification as God’s
work, with the sinner’s cooperation, of infusing righteousness into the
sinner, rather than imputing righteousness to the sinner. The result is
the heresy—and heresy it is, as I have shown—of justification by faith
Confusing justification and sanctification always
results in, indeed has the purpose of, making the sinner’s own works
part of his righteousness with God in the act of justification.
Although the two works of Christ are sharply
distinguished, they are also inseparably related. The relation includes
First, whomever Christ justifies, He also sanctifies,
for Christ is a complete Saviour from sin, not only delivering from the
guilt and punishment of sin, but also delivering from the ruling power
and pollution of sin. He showed this in His saving word to the
adulterous woman in John 8. "Neither do I condemn you, go"—this is
justification, perfect at that moment, delivering from the due
punishment of adultery and giving that woman peace with God. This is the
gospel’s wonderful liberty regarding the guilt and shame of sin. "Sin no
more"—this is the inseparably related, accompanying, efficacious word of
sanctification, delivering the woman from the equally dreadful aspect of
sin that consists of its ruling, polluting power.
Whomever Christ justifies, He also sanctifies, and at
the same time—not forty years later. This is the biblical and Reformed
answer to the recent controversy in fundamentalist circles in North
America known as the "Lordship controversy." Most dispensationalists,
consistently with their denial that the law of God is the guide of the
holy life of New Testament Christians, teach that Christ delivers from
the guilt of sin, but not necessarily from the power of sin. He can be,
and often is, they say, Saviour but not Lord of one’s life. He is only
half a Saviour.
With Scripture, the Reformed faith knows Christ as a
complete Saviour, delivering all His own both from sin’s guilt and from
sin’s ruling power. Q. and A. 86 of the Heidelberg Catechism
expresses the truth about the inseparable connection between
justification and sanctification: "Christ, having redeemed and delivered
us by his blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image."
In fact, second, so intimately related are
justification and sanctification, so inseparable are they, so impossible
is it that one be justified without also being sanctified, that in an
important sense only those are justified who have already been
sanctified. I know, there is also an important order of the two works of
grace that has justification preceding sanctification. This is the order
of Jesus’ word to the adulterous woman in John 8. Nevertheless, there is
also a sense in which sanctification precedes justification. Before one
can believe in Christ as presented in the gospel and in this way be
justified in his own consciousness, he must have been regenerated. Only
one who has been born again with the new life of Christ can possibly
believe the gospel and believe on Christ as presented in the gospel. But
regeneration, the birth from above with the new life of Christ by the
indwelling Spirit, is a renewing, sanctifying work of God in one’s
spiritual centre. This holiness does not at all enter into one’s
justification by faith. The good works one certainly does perform by
virtue of this regeneration, including believing on Christ, are not at
all the basis of the verdict of justification, nor any part of the
sinner’s righteousness with God. Nevertheless, only one already born
again and thus made holy will believe and be justified by that faith in
Christ. It is, therefore, impossible that one is justified, but lives an
unholy, lawless life. In this regard too, justification and
sanctification are inseparable related.
But, third, the relation and order in the experience
of the child of God are that consciously the one who has been justified
freely by the blood of Christ will love his gracious Saviour. Since love
for Christ is the motive of the life of holiness, the order of the two
great saving works of Christ is justification followed by
sanctification. To say it differently, the Spirit of Christ makes us
holy by justifying us by faith alone. But sanctification will always
certainly follow justification, and at once, as it were spontaneously.
Here, one must read the touching history and parable in Luke 7:36-50.
The sinful woman loved Jesus much (sanctification) because He had freely
forgiven all her great debt (justification). Her love (good works) was
not the cause of her forgiveness, nor a part of the righteousness with
which she was declared right with God, but the fruit and result and
evidence of her justification. But it was the instantaneous fruit and
effect of her justification.
So far is it from being true, therefore (and this is
the charge always against the biblical doctrine of justification by
faith alone), that justification by faith alone makes people careless
and wicked regarding a holy life, that, on the contrary, the justified
by faith alone will certainly perform good works, and only the justified
by faith alone will perform truly good works. For only works done out of
thankful love to God for a purely gracious salvation, particularly, a
gracious justification, are acceptable to God as genuinely good. Works
out of terror (to escape hell) or out a slavish desire to pay or earn or
fulfil conditions upon which salvation is supposed to depend (which
implies that Christ’s work was not enough and that salvation, after all,
is not by grace alone) are not pleasing to God, but terribly displeasing
One of the reasons, then, for our defence of
justification by faith alone is our ardent desire that the people of
God, by believing this doctrine and living in the truth of it, will be
zealous for good works.
Cordially in Christ,