This Day in Presbyterian History: Only Scripture
Please bear with me as I turn our attention today from the people and events of historic Presbyterianism, to an exposition of the second question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. That question is, “What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him? And the answer is, “The Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.”
Our only rule is the Word of God. Let me repeat that sentence. Your only rule is the Word of God, the Bible. And if we ask, what is the Word of God, our Confessional Fathers reply in question 3 of the Larger Catechism that “the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience.”
It is true that the Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God “by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince, and convert sinners, and to build up believers unto salvation.” (Larger Catechism No 4)
It is also true that only the Holy Spirit can only fully persuade us that the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God by Him bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in our hearts.
Think of how many of your fellow citizens and maybe even some of your fellow church members are following other rules for faith and obedience. In the case of the former, your fellow citizens, it is an every day occurrence. We see their courses of action and often tragic results. In the latter case, your fellow church members, it comes when a crisis comes upon them. They may try a dozen other rules, and then as a last resort, go to the Bible.
Other rules other than the holy Scriptures may be some other religion, some influential person in society, even some religious leader, their conscience, tradition, a relative or close friend, or believing that each situation has its own ethics. All of these become their rules for faith and obedience.
Let this not be said of you however. Indeed, let your faith and trust in the God of the Scriptures and the Scriptures of your God, be the witness which your neighbors see in your life. That can lead to the introduction of the Savior to them. Live the Word of God!
Words to Live By: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man. (Shorter Catechism No. 3)
Through the Scriptures: Exodus 5 – 7
Through the Standards: The execution of God’s decrees
WLC 14 “How does God execute his decrees?
A. God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.”
WSC 8 “How did God execute His decrees?
A. God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence.”