STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn
A. — The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.
Scripture References: Deut. 29:29. Micah 6:8. I Sam. 15:22.
1. Why do believers have duties toward God?
(1) God is the Creator and Preserver of all men, but believers belong to Him also by right of redemption and have added reason for obedience.
(2) God has made it very plain in His Word that the duties of the believers are the responsibilities that go with the privileges. In our catechism we have studied the privileges, now we o come to the responsibilities.
2. What is the revealed will of God?
The revealed will of God is found in the scripture of the Old and New Testaments.
3. Could not the Holy Spirit lead a believer to act apart from the Scriptures ?
Any leading by the Holy Spirit will be consistent with the Word of God. A Bible teacher put it this way: There are three main characteristics of the leading of the Holy Spirit:
(1) It is controlling, not compelling.
(2) It is continuous, it always “Puts to death”.
(3) It is mediate, always by and with the Word, “Into the truth”.
4. Should believers obey God rather men?
There is a responsibility on the part of believers to “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord’s sake”, (I Pet. 2: 13) but if the duty required of us by man would cause us to disobey God (according to His revealed will) we must obey God. (Acts 5:29).
5. Does God require of the believer what is impossible for the individual believer?
No, God only requires of the believer what he will give the believer the strength, wisdom, courage and power to perform. (Ezekiel 36:27. I Cor. 10:13).
HOLINESS AND TRUTH
We learn in this question that our duty is obedience to the revealed will of God. This brings forth the teaching that we as believers need to be reminded of again and again: to simply know the truth is not enough, there must be a working out of the truth in our lives every day. This teaching is vital, for the real test of Christian discipleship is continuance in Christ and in His Word. (John 8:31, 32).
In this day and age, among conservative circles, there is much teaching about the Truth. Well should there be for the battleground today is over the Truth, whether it is verbally inspired or not, whether or not it is the authority for the believer. We recognize the importance of the Word and are always ready to do battle for it. But are we: ready, always ready, to live it day by day? Possibly our trouble is that of making the process too difficult. We feel it is too hard to do and so end up doing little or nothing. Would it not be good for us·to get back to the simple principles of obedience to the revealed will of God? Let us check a few of them again, all to the glory of God.
First, remember that we are God’s children. Since we have been born into His family we should no longer seek to do our will but His will. If we will but settle right now, once and for all, the important principle that we are to do all to the glory of God we will avoid many difficulties. Remember that doing His will in no sense depends on feeling, it is simply a self-discipline.
Second we should be steadfast Christians. We can do this by always abiding in the vine. The Spirit of Christ dwells in the true believer and is ready every moment to impart wisdom, courage, patience and give victory over sins from within and without. Keeping close to. Him will help us to be steadfast.
Third, honor God’s Word. It would be better to give up one meal a day than to miss one day without reading the Word. Remember ever to turn to the authoritative Word of the sovereign God, remember it is our objective authority and from it we learn how to live.
Fourth, pray without ceasing. Prayer can . lay hold of the throne and spiritual forces are set into motion far beyond the understanding of man. It is an offensive weapon.
Fifth, be faithful in the little things. Faithfulness is the great test of true discipleship. He that is faithful in that which is least will be faithful also in much.
Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 39 (March, 1964)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor