Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 28
"Happy is he
that hath the God of Jacob for his help,
whose hope is
in the Lord his God" (Ps. 146:5)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
Administration of the Lord’s Supper
Christ in the Burning Bush [download]
Psalms: 99:4-9; 143:1-5; 34:1-10; 23:1-6
Service - 6:00 PM
The Cross and the Wisdom of the World
I. The Great
Psalms: 135:1-7; 143:6-12; 47:1-9; 76:1-9
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
After a week of self-examination, confessing members
in good standing are called to partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s
Supper this morning. Your participation in the Lord’s Supper is in
part a witness that you repent of your sins, believe that Jesus Christ
is your righteousness, and desire to live a new and godly life. As this
heavenly food can be taken to one’s judgment (I Cor. 11:28-30) and as
the common reception of this food is a confession of doctrinal oneness
(Acts 2:42), the elders supervise the partaking of the sacrament.
Visitors from other denominations must request permission to partake
prior to communion.
Plan to stay for tea after this evening’s
service to say farewell to Jennifer. Jennifer is moving this week
to Vancouver, Canada. She plans to attend Lynden PRC where her father is
pastor. We wish her the Lord’s richest blessing.
New Standard Bearers are on the back table.
Ladies’ Bible Study meets this Tuesday at 10:15
AM at the Murrays. We will look at Lesson 1 of the study sheets on the
Sermon on the Mount.
Tuesday, 4:30 PM - Jacob Buchanan
PM - Jamie & Debbie Murray
Tuesday: 7 PM
- Campbells at the manse
Friday, 1 PM
- Beginners OT Class at the manse
Midweek Bible Study meets this Wednesday, 7:45 PM
at the manse. We will study I Peter 1:3ff. on our living hope of an
Rev. Stewart travels to London this Thursday to
Pastor Timothy L. Ramsay on "Calvinism vs. Arminianism." You can
watch live on SKY 592 or
from 9-10:30 PM.
With joy, the council has approved the request of
Gareth & Leona Halliday for the baptism of Leia. The baptism will
take place next Lord’s Day evening.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is "Passing Through the Red Sea" (I
Offerings: General Fund - £639.90.
Lectures: S. Wales, Fri. 10 Oct., on "Marriage, the Mystery of
Christ and the Church"
Fri. 17 Oct., on "Marriage, the Mystery of Christ and the Church"
Fri. 31 Oct., 8 PM, on "The Reformation’s Teaching on the Church"
Website Additions: 1 Korean, 1 Tagalog and 2
Portuguese translations were added.
PRC News: Candidate Heath Bleyenberg accepted the
call to Providence PRC. Rev. R. Kleyn (Trinity, MI) has the call to the
This is part 2 of the 23rd e-mail by Prof.
Engelsma on justification
Justification by faith, therefore, did not happen at
the moment of regeneration, for the elect sinner is unconscious of his
regeneration. This is obviously so when the elect sinner is regenerated
in infancy, as is usually the case with elect children of godly parents
in the covenant. The Reformed "order of salvation" (ordo salutis,
in Latin) recognizes the fact that justification does not precede or
occur at the same time as regeneration, for the "order of salvation" is
regeneration, calling, faith, and only then justification. In fact, one
who insists that biblical justification, that is, justification by
faith, precedes or occurs simultaneously with regeneration risks
becoming guilty of heresy. If biblical justification precedes
regeneration, faith must also precede regeneration, for justification is
by faith. But the Reformed faith insists against the Arminian heresy
that regeneration—the new birth—precedes faith. Regeneration does not
depend upon the sinner’s believing, but believing depends upon God’s
regeneration of a man or woman. One cannot believe unless he has been
born again. Jesus teaches this very truth in John 3:3ff. One cannot even
see the kingdom of God unless he has been born again, and one who
believes certainly sees the kingdom.
Justification follows regeneration in one’s life.
Justification first takes place when one believes on
Jesus Christ presented to him in the gospel. This time of justification
is demanded by the biblical phrase, "justified by faith." Not only does
it teach how we are justified; it also teaches when we are justified:
when we believe. This time of justification is also indicated by the
apostle in Galatians 2:16: "we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we
might be justified by the faith of Christ."
For one who is converted in adulthood, he is
justified at the moment of his conversion, which is the moment of his
trusting in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness. The
thief on the cross was justified when Jesus said, "to day shalt thou be
with me in paradise." Paul was justified on the Damascus road.
For elect children of believers who are converted in
a less dramatic, but equally genuine and radical way in their early
childhood (as was the case with me), justification first takes place
when the Word of God brought by the parents in the home or in the church
or catechism class by the minister works in them to turn to Jesus for
forgiveness of their childish sins and sinfulness.
Justification by faith is a justification in one’s
consciousness. This is simply what justification by faith means. The
Reformation grasped this and expressed that justification by faith is
justification "in the forum of [one’s own] consciousness," or
"conscience" (Latin: in foro conscientiae). This is real
justification. This is a real verdict from the heavenly Judge. This is a
real imputation to the sinner of Christ’s righteousness. But it is a
real, divine act and verdict in the forum of one’s own consciousness—in
one’s own soul. Then and there his state, or position before the law of
God, is changed from guilt to innocence.
Justification by faith, therefore, is "experiential."
No church that rightly teaches justification by faith can ever be
accused of not being "experiential." And then we remember that the
immediate effect of this highly "experiential" justification is the
intensely "experiential" "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1).
Justification effects a state of the elect believer
that can never be lost, not even when the elect believer falls deeply
into sin and walks in it for a while. This is the assurance of the
in the article on the perseverance of the saints quoted above.
But this does not imply that justification is an act
of God that is never repeated in the life of the elect child of God, or
that it need not be repeated. It is not a progressive work of God, as is
the work of sanctification. The act is perfect. It perfectly forgives
all the guilt and perfectly imputes the obedience of Christ. But it is
an act that is repeated and that very much needs to be repeated.
Every time the believer trusts in God for the
forgiveness of his sins, he is justified. Justification is, in essence,
the forgiveness of sins. And Jesus requires us to ask for the
forgiveness of sins repeatedly. Thus we are to pray, according to the
fifth petition of the model prayer, "Forgive us our debts." The
explanation of the petition by the Heidelberg Catechism uses the
distinctive language of justification, "Be pleased ... not to impute to
us poor sinners our transgressions, nor that depravity which always
cleaves to us" (Lord’s Day 51).
The important treatment of justification in Lord’s
Day 23 of the Heidelberg Catechism clearly implies repeated
justification when it says that God justifies the believer "wenn ich
allein solche Wohltat mit glaubigem Herzen annehme," that is, according
to the original German, "when I embrace such benefit with a believing
The fact of repeated justification and the necessity
of repeated justification are shown in Psalm 32, quoted by Paul in
Romans 4:1ff. David extols the blessedness of the man unto whom the LORD
does not impute iniquity in the specific case of the child of God’s
having fallen into an enormous sin. David was justified prior to his
melancholy fall into adultery and murder. But there was a blessed
justification, or non-imputation, upon his repentance and by means of
his trusting in the Lord for forgiveness after his fall. Our own misery
in this life of incurring consciously a daily load of guilt and a daily
sense of shame necessitates a daily, indeed more frequent,
Justification—this grand act of a gracious God—is as
real to each of us as the forgiveness of sins today. Today, we stood in
the divine courtroom. There on His judgment seat sat the holy God in
Jesus Christ. All our sins were laid out before Him and us. Through our
faith—our faith that renounced all our works including the works of
faith—we received the verdict from the bench, "Not guilty! Righteous as
though you never did one sin and perfectly kept the whole law! Heir of
every blessing and one day of the new world!" And away we went, at peace
with God, rejoicing in the greatest benefit that ever any man or woman
could possess. And eager to work, indeed to out-work all those who work
merely to earn or pay.
Daily, and weekly from the services of worship, we
publicans go home justified.
Cordially in Christ,