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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 57. — Which is the fourth commandment?

A. — The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Q. 58. — What is required in the fourth commandment?

A. — The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day In seven to be a holy Sabbath to himself.

Scripture References: Lev. 19:30; Deut. 5:12; Isa.56:2-7.

Questions:

1. How does this commandment apply to worship?

This commandment speaks of the time of worship and naturally follows the first three commandments. The first spoke of the object of worship, the second of the means of worship, the third of the manner of worship.

2. How can one decide what times should be kept for public worship?

The only times that are to be kept for public worship are the times appointed in the Word of God. It is not right before God to add other times, or holy days, to the Word.

3. What does the Bible tell us is the time set aside for worship?

The Bible teaches that one whole day (a day of twenty-four hours) is set aside for the worship of the holy God.

4. What is meant by the word “Sabbath”?

The word “Sabbath” is a Hebrew word, signifying “rest”, as is taught in Heb. 4:9.

5. Why does our question call it a “holy Sabbath”?

It is a “holy” Sabbath because it has been consecrated and set apart by God.

6. Is this particular commandment a part of the ceremonial law or the moral law?

This particular commandment is a part of the moral law and is to be kept by all nations and throughout all generations. It has never been annulled. The Lord Jesus Christ gave testimony to it. He is our Lord and He is also “Lord of the Sabbath”. (Luke 6:5)

A COMPROMISE OF THE CHURCH

In the church of today there are many compromises. In many denominations it is becoming evident that the teaching of the Word of God is less and less recognized as the only infallible rule of faith and practice. It is to the shame of the church that this is true. However, there is another dangerous compromise taking place in the church. This is the compromise allowed in the realm of Sabbath observance, a compromise that is allowing secularism to make great inroads in the church.

It would seem that the commandment, in its practical application, has in effect been rewritten by many to read: “Remember one hour on Sunday morning to keep it holy.” In many churches of today it has been rewritten again to read: “Remember one hour early on Sunday morning to keep it holy”, the convenient early morning service enabling a person to get his “keeping of the commandment” out of the way so he can enjoy the rest of the day in recreation and pleasure. To this type of person the Church means very little, and to the church this type of person means very little.

Church history has quite a lesson to teach us in this regard. Church historians have reported many times that there is a connection between the lack of keeping the commandment the Sabbath and the lack of power in the church. It is the right that such a connection should exist. The Christian’s primary reason for observing the Lord’s Day is the spiritual blessings and privileges that flow from it. They flow from it because the Christian is keeping the commandment of his Lord, a commandment that abides to this day.

The prophets of old spoke out against Israel for her sins and included the “profaning of the Sabbath” as one of the sins which was bringing judgment on the nation. Indeed, such prophets are needed today! Christians are looking more and more to the week-end as an invitation to the secular pursuits, rather than an invitation to the spiritual pursuits. Lip service, by attending one service, is not enough. The Christian Sabbath is a spiritual bulwark to the individual and to the nation. It has been so ordained by God.

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 4 No. 53 (May 1965)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 49 — Which is the second commandment?

A. — The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exod.20:4-6)

Q. 50. — What is required in the second commandment?

A. — The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word. 

Scripture References: Deut. 12:32; Deut.32:46; Matt. 28:20.

Questions:

1. Both the first and second commandments have to do with worship. In what way do they differ?

The first commandment has to do with the object of worship, the true and living God; the second commandment has to do with the means of worship, and the manner in which we worship Him.

2. What are these means of worship?

The means of worship are the ordinances which God has appointed in His word.

3. What are these ordinances?

The Larger Catechism lists these as “prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word, the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing to Him.” (Q. 108)

4. How are we as Christians to receive these ordinances?

We are to receive them by approving them and embracing them; observing them by doing what is required in them; keeping them pure and entire by keeping them from corruption.

5. What does it mean by not making any graven image?

It means that we are not to attempt to represent God through material objects nor to worship Him through the use of such imagery.

THE JEALOUS GOD

” … for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5). The word Jealous has changed in meaning somewhat since it was written. For the original word meant “zealous” and signified “righteous zeal.” It is the teaching that He alone has a claim upon the love of His people. 

There are really two senses in which this description of God can be taken. In a good sense He is zealous for His people. He will watch over them, He will protect them, He will defend them against all enemies. His people, who are His through faith in Jesus Christ, are very dear to His heart. As He looks down on His people, sees them in their attempts to walk with Him day by day, He has a tender feeling toward them. He does so want them to get into the stride of walking with Him, never running ahead nor behind, taking each step with a moment by moment knowledge that they are kept in His love. Whatever happens to His people happens to Him, He feels it, has a true feeling of empathy for His children.

There is another sense in which this can be taken. In this sense God is jealous for His people. He is jealous in that He does not want them to worship graven images, or worship false gods, or scurry after those things that would draw them from Himself. It is as if He cannot bear to have a rival in any way. He does not want His children to follow after anything-good or bad-that would hinder their worship of Him. Our love, our highest adoration must be given to Him only.

Daily we need to examine ourselves to see whether or not w. are following hard after Him. There are so many ways that our love can be drawn away. It is good for us to remind ourselves time and time again that He is a jealous God and keep ourselves free from entanglements. We should never give Him cause to be jealous. We should be praying, moment by moment, that He will keep us so close to Him that we will sense the very second our love for Him is being cooled by things contrary to His will for us. If we will but do this He will be jealous of us instead of jealous for us. And then blessings will flow from Him to us, all to His glory.

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vo!. 4 NO.47 (November 1964)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

 

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 48. — What are we especially taught by these words, “before me,” in the first commandment?

A. — These words, “before me,” in the first commandment, teach us that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other god.

Scripture References: I Chron. 28:9; Ps. 44:20-21.

Questions:

1. How is it possible for God to see all things?

It is possible for God is every where present and has infinite understanding. The Bible says, “Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord: do not I fill heaven and ,earth?” (Jer. 23:24) He is omniscient (knowing everything) as well as omnipresent (present every where at the same time) – Ps. 139. He knows us with perfect knowledge. o

2. How can Christians commit the sin of having other gods?

Christians can commit this sin by. allowing their interest and their affections to be set upon other things and by allowing those things to hold first place in their thoughts and activities.

3. Why is God so displeased with this sin?

God Is displeased with this sin because He is a jealous and a holy God. The Bible teaches,”I am the Lord, that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” (Isa.42:8)

4. Should not the fact that He is a jealous and a holy God influence our every action?

Yes, our every action should be influenced by this fact. It should keep us from sin; it should give us a hatred of the very thought of sin; it should quicken us moment by moment to make the prayer as stated in the hymn:

“I want a principle within Of watchful, godly fear,
A sensibility of sin, A pain to feel it near.
Help me the first approach to feel
Of pride or wrong desire;
To catch the wandering of my will,
And quench the kindling fire.”
—Charles Wesley.

THE GOD THAT REVEALETH SECRETS

The knowledge that God sees all things should always be recognized by the believer. It should always be held before him as a ·burning lamp. In Daniel 2:28 we read, “There is a God in heaven, that revealeth secrets.” Now the secrets He revealed in that particular case were for His glory. Many times He acts to His glory too in the revealing of the secrets of our hearts. We can not flee Him, we can not hide anything from Him .. There is certainly a good lesson for the believer in

Francis Thompson’s famous words:

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.”

But all the fleeing did no good; God continued “with unhurrying chase, and unperturbed pace.” And God will always continue asking us to be honest with Him, to hide nothing from Him, to go all the way with Him. Through it all there is the knowledge, there should be the knowledge on our hearts, that He is in heaven and He revealeth secrets!

There is still another comfort in the fact that He revealeth secrets. This Is the comfort that some day we will understand His ways. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness. He will make us to understand why He permitted this or that misfortune to come into our ways. He will enable us to see why He delayed so long the coming of His Son, our Savior. He will show us why it was necessary for His true church to be persecuted. 0 blessed Day when the secrets are opened up to us!

The question we have before us is important: Can we be satisfied to live in these days ‘When the counsel of His will is secret? Can we go on day by day trusting Him even when we can not trace the way? Can we live on the one hand knowing that He knows the secrets of our hearts, and on the other hand knowing that there are many things He will not reveal to us? The secret of learning to be content, all to His glory, is found in being able to live ‘With both of these things. The Bible says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (I Tim. 6:8), May God, the God who revealeth secrets, give us this contentment as we are determined to live before Him with acts of godliness (2 Peter 3:11).

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 4 No. 46 (October 1964)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 45. Which is the first commandment?

A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?

A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God, and to worship and glorify him accordingly.

Scripture References: Exod. 20:3; I Chron. 28:9; Deut. 26:7; Matt. 4:10; Ps. 95:6; Ps. 29:2

Questions:

1. What are the three duties chiefly required in the first commandment?

The three duties are: (1) To know God. (2) To acknowledge God. (3) To worship and glorify God.

2. What is it we are to know regarding God?

We are to know that God is, or that there is a God. In addition we are to know God by acknowledging Him as the only true God as He is presented in His Word.

3. How are we to worship God?

We are to worship God by making Him the object of our desire and our delight.

4. How are we to glorify God?

We are to glorify God by first recognizing, in our heart, Christ as our Saviour and Lord and then living so that every action is aimed at the advancement of His glory and honor here on earth.

5. What are some practical ways by which we worship and glorify God?

We glorify God by putting nothing before Him in our thoughts, words, actions. By loving anything more than God, whether it is pleasure, our bodies, our loved ones, we would not be glorifying God.

6. Can we glorify God both inwardly and outwardly?

Yes, we can glorify God inwardly by trusting, by hoping, by delighting in Him, by thinking and meditating upon Him, by being filled with grief when we sin against Him. We can glorify God outwardly by praying, by praising, by being zealous to walk in the Spirit, by showing forth humility, and by seeking to do His will as expressed in His word. The Bible says, “Delight thyself in the Lord.” (Ps. 37:4). “Trust ye in the Lord forever.” Isa. 26 :4). “This thlng commanded I them, Obey my voice, and walk ye in all the ways I have commanded.” (Jer. 7:23),

THE DEAREST IDOL I HAVE KNOWN

When the Christian reads the first commandment and meditates upon it, a good commentary on it to be noted is one verse of the hymn entitled, “O For a Closer Walk With God”. This particular verse reads:

“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.”

In order for the Christian to know, acknowledge, worship and glorify God it is certainly of foremost importance that the Christian know Christ as Saviour. This is indeed the foundation stone. But upon that rock-like foundation there must be added the gold, silver and precious stones of good works. This means a self discipline on the part of the Christian and has a lot to do with the Christian not putting other gods before the Almighty, Sovereign God.

Paul uses an interesting approach to this in 2 Cor. 5:9. “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” Or, as one translator puts it, “. . . we may be well pleasing to Him.” But it is so easy to put other things before this living solely to the glory of God, even things that seem, in themselves, right and proper. For example, the winning of souls or the leading in great revivals or the establishment of church or so many other things that could be mentioned. But our aim in life as born again believers is to do things purely to the glory of God. If we do otherwise we can be guilty of having little idols built up that become other gods. And such things trespass the first commandment.

Paul approaches the same question in another way: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (disapproved).” Not that he is in danger of losing his salvation, but that he is in danger of losing approval by God, of not living to the glory of God. This means approaching our daily life with an attitude of disciplining ourselves, the disciplining of our thoughts. words, deeds. This means that we must, moment by moment, “mortify” (make dead) those things of the flesh that would not please God. This means that daily we must die to these things and never let them become idols to us. It does not take much for them to reach that state. Satan will see to that if we relax our discipline. May God help us to tear such from ourselves that we have no other gods before Him!

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 4 No. 44 (August 1964)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q.42. — What is the sum of the ten commandments?

A. — The sum of the ten commandments is, to love the Lord our God, with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.

Scripture References: Matt. 22:37-40; Matt. 10:27; James 2:10; Rom. 13:10.

Questions:

1. How are the duties of the commandments divided in this answer?

The duties are divided in the following way: Our duties toward God and our duties toward our neighbor.

2. What is the meaning of the word “sum” in this question?

The meaning of the word “sum” is the comprehensive duty of the law which is love; for love is the fulfilling of the law.

3. What is the meaning of loving God with all our heart?

To love God with all our heart means to love him without hypocrisy, to be sincere and honest in our love.

4.
What is the meaning of loving God with all our soul?

To love God with all our soul means to exercise all the faculties we have in fulfilling the duties of our Christian life as we delight in Him and in following His will.

5.
What is the meaning of loving God with all our strength?

To love God with all our strength means to love nothing or no one more than God.

6. Who is our neighbor that we are to love as ourselves?

Every man is our neighbor therefore we are to have a general affection toward all.

7. What is it to love our neighbor as ourselves?.

To love our neighbor as ourselves is to love him with the same truth and constancy of love as we do ourselves, Eph. 5:29.

8. If a standard could be given from Scripture as to this love for others, what could be given?

A good standard from the word of God would be Matt. 7: 12—that we do to others what we would have them do to us, or John 5:12, where Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.”

DELIGHT THYSELF IN THE LORD

“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Ps. 37:4). When a person is saved by grace one of the results is that he will love the Lord, will have a desire to delight himself in the Lord. There will be a desire on the part of the Christian to love the Lord with the whole heart. This is not always possible because of sin but the desire, the aim is there.

A prayer of Lancelot Andrewes reads, “Thyself, O my God, Thyself for thine own sake, above all things else I love. Thyself I desire. Thyself as my last end I long for. Thyself for thine own sake, not aught else whatsoever, always and in all things I seek, with all my heart and marrow, with groaning and weeping, with unbroken toil and grief.” Someone has well said that the trouble with the church of today is that we do not have enough children of God with the melting, zealous prayer of men like Andrewes.

So many times people will say, “I am sure I love God for after all I did ask His Son to come into my heart and I do go to church, etc.” How can we be sure we are delighting ourselves in the Lord? How can we be sure we love Him? Some of the characteristics of a real love to God are as follows: (1) We can not find contentment outside of Him for He is the health of our countenance. (2) We hate that which would separate us from God, namely sin. The Psalmist said, “I hate every false way.” This is something over which we do not always have the victory for many times the false way wins out but when it does and we realize it we plead for forgiveness from Him. (3) We want to tell others about Him. To say we love God, delight in Him, and keep quiet about Him would be inconsistency of the worst order. (4) We are willing to suffer, If needs be, die for Him. Paul said, “I am ready to be offered up.” We are always willing to go through whatever He would have us go through if only His name might be glorified.

There are indeed many other characteristics but the ones listed above should be sufficient for us to use as a standard regarding our love for Him. It would be good for us to pause right now and pray: “Search me 0 God and know my heart.” The flame of love should always be be burning brightly in our hearts. If it is not it may be that neglect of duty, or too much love of the world, or lack of prayer and Bible study might be putting out that flame. That flame needs to be ever fanned not hindered. If it is not there we shall never receive the desires of our hearts from Him.

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 4 No. 42 (June 1964)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 37 — What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?

A. — The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.

Scripture References: Luke 23:43; Luke 16:23; Phil. 1:23; II Cor. 5:6-8; I Thess. 4:14; Rom. 8:23.

Questions:

1. When believers die what benefits are received?

The believer receives a benefit in regard to his soul and in regard to his body.

2. What benefit is received of the believer in regard to his soul?

Heb. 12:23 teaches that the soul is made perfect in holiness and immediately passes into glory.

3. How is the believer benefited with respect to his body?

The body of the believer in the grave will still be united to Christ in a mystical union (l Cor. 6:15). At the resurrection the body of the believer will be united with his soul.

4. What is this “resurrection” spoken of in the prior question?

This resurrection is the last and general resurrection of all the dead in the last day (l Thess. 4:16).

5. What is the lot of the souls and bodies of the unbelievers?

The bodies of the unbelievers are shut up in the prison of the grave (Dan. 12:2) and their souls suffer the anguish and torment of hell.

6. Will the believer be raised with the same body at the last day?

Yes, the dead in Christ shall be raised with the same body (Job 19:26), There will be a difference in quality, not in substance and essence. (Phil. 3 :20-21).

7. How can a believer be assured of these blessings when death is nigh?

A believer can be assured of them because the promises of God are sure and true, promises made even before the world began (2 Tim. 1 :9), There need be no doubt on the part of the believer for “What the Bible says, God says, and that ends the matter!”

DEATH AND THE BELIEVER

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4). In this wonderful verse from God’s Word we have a comfort for the Christian that includes all man needs to face death itself. There is the Presence—”for Thou art with me.” There is the Defender—”Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me.” The rod was a most formidable weapon of defense. Our Lord defends us from all. There is the One who guides—”Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me.” The staff is a guidance in the sense of pointing out the way. All of this in one verse of Scripture, all this and Heaven too!

The poet, E. H. Hamilton, put it well when he said:

“Afraid? Of What?
To feel the spirit’s glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace?
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid?— of that?

Afraid? Of What?
Afraid to see the Saviour’s face,
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
Afraid?— of that?

Afraid? Of What?
A flash — a crash — a pierced heart;
Darkness — light — O heaven’s art!
A wound, of His counterpart!
Afraid? — of that?

Afraid? Of What?
To do by death what life could not
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid? — of that?

The believer should note that this particular Question begins with “What benefits”. So many times it seems that the believer does not realize that there are benefits to receive at death. When a believer dies there will be those who will miss him. It is true that it is hard to think of what life would be like without those closest to us. It is equally true though that the Bible says, “To be with Christ is far better.” Many years ago I opened a letter from the mother of one of my former Professors, a godly man who meant so much to me as a young Christian. She told of his sudden death. I reached back and took a book from the shelf, a book I had received from him just a few months before. In the midst of my sadness and grief this question suddenly came to my mind and burned itself into my soul. I went again to the Scripture references and looked them up. I was able, by God’s grace, to praise Him for taking my brother in Christ to Himself.

Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 37 (January, 1964)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q 35. — What is sanctification?

A. — Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

Scripture References: II Thess. 2:13; Eph. 4:23, 24; Rom. 6:4, 6, 14; Rom. 8:4.

Questions:

1. How does sanctification differ from justification?

Justification is complete at once; sanctification is a process carried on by degrees to perfection in glory. Justification alters a man’s position or standing before God; sanctification is a real change as it changes a man’s heart and life. Justification is an act of God without us; sanctification is the work of God, renewing us within as we use the means of grace.

2. What does the word “sanctify” mean in Scripture?

The word is used in two ways in Scripture. (1) To set apart from a common to a sacred use (John 10:36). (2) To render morally pure or holy (I Cor. 6:11).

3. Where’ does sanctification do its work in the believer?

Sanctification does its work in the heart of the believer, in the new man. God does a work of renovation in us after his image in knowledge, righteousness and holiness.

4. When we speak of the “new man” what do we mean?

We mean the new nature personified as the believer’s regenerate self, a nature “created in righteousness and holiness of truth.” (Eph. 4:24).

5. What are the two parts to sanctification?

The two parts are
(1) Mortification—in which we are enabled to die more and more unto sin (Rom. 6:11).
(2) Vivification [i.e., being made alive]—in which our natures are quickened by the power of grace so that we live unto righteousness (Rom. 6:13).

6. Of what use is sanctification in the believer?

Sanctification is the evidence of our justification and faith and it is necessary if we are to live to the glory of God. It is a necessary aspect of our preparation to meet God, for without holiness no man shall see God.

SANCTIFICATION – A GRACE AND A DUTY

A very important aspect of sanctification was stated by A. A. Hodge when he wrote, “The Holy Ghost gives the grace, and prompts and directs in its exercise, and the soul exercises it. Thus, while sanctification is a grace, it is also a duty; and the soul is both bound and encouraged
to use with diligence, in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, all the means for its spiritual renovation, and to form those habits of resisting evil and of right action in which sanctification so largely consists.” (Confession of Faith, Pg. 196).

The Bible deals many times with the responsibility of the believer regarding his part in the process of sanctification taking place within himself. In Galatians 5:24 we find, ” … crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts”. Indeed a verb of action in the word “crucify” is used. In Colossians 3:5 we find, “Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth.” Again a verb of action is used, action on the part of the believer. Lightfoot has a note on this passage in which he says, “Carry cut this principle of death (mortify), and kill everything that is mundane and carnal in your being.”

This teaching regarding sanctification has been neglected many times by the church. The Belgic Confession in Article 24 makes it very plain when it states, “Therefore it is impossible that this holy faith can be unfruitful in man; for we do not speak of a vain faith. The teaching according to Scripture is very plain: We are justified by faith even before we do good works; we then believe that this true faith will enable us to live a new life, a life of good works that proceed from the good root of faith.

The question has been asked many times, “How can this be done by the believer?” Four good suggestions, all of which must be applied by the Holy Spirit, are:
(1) Keep things out of mind that are contrary to Scripture.
(2) Watchfulness – in Eph. 6: 18 the word “watching” comes from two words: “to chase” and “sleep”.
(3) Avoid occasion for sin.
(4) Keep the body “under”, don’t pamper it, discipline it!
It is to be noted that all these are verbs of action on the part of the believer, action put into operation by the Holy Spirit as the believer is “perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 7: 1).

These four will never be done unless the Christian is faithful in Bible study, Prayer and Regular Attendance in worship.

Published by: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 35 (November 1963)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 32. — What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?

A.
— They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, sanctification, and the several benefits which, in this life, do either accompany or flow from them.

Scripture References: Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:5; I Cor. 1:30.

Questions:

1. What should we note about these benefits?

We should note that these benefits are absolutely tied up with effectual calling. It should be further noted by us that “calling”, in the Bible sense of the word, cannot fail or remain ineffectual. Effectual calling has the power to produce the intended effect, that of enabling us to embrace Christ Jesus. It also has the same power to grant us certain benefits.

2. What are these benefits granted to us as those effectually called?

These benefits are justification, adoption and sanctification.

3. What connection is there between effectual calling and justification?

The sinner has communion in the righteousness of God.

4. What connection is there between adoption and effectual calling?

The sinner has a spiritual Father, God, through his relationship to Jesus Christ.

5. What connection is there between effectual calling and sanctification?

The sinner has a relationship to Christ regarding their ability to live as Christians should live. He is the Christian’s strength.

6. What should be the attitude of the Christian towards these benefits?

Regarding these benefits the Christian should:

A. Give all diligence to make his calling and election sure (2 Peter 1: 10).
B. Be thankful that he is justified, adopted and is in the process of sanctification and show his thankfulness by praising the Lord and by serving Him.
C. Be looking forward to the day when, by His grace, He will be glorified knowing that such is the hope of those who have been predestinated, called, and justified.

HONEY OUT OF THE ROCK

In Psalm 81 there appears the following verse: “He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” Secular history teaches us that there were in the area of Palestine many wild bees who made their abode in the crevices of rocks. The rock here, spiritually speaking, represents Jesus Christ and the honey represents the fulness of grace in Him.

Indeed the believer has many benefits in Him, as our Catechism Question teaches us. The effectually called believer partakes of justification, adoption, sanctification and the other benefits. However, some of these benefits come only to His obedient children. Spurgeon states, “When his people walk in the light of his countenance, and maintain unsullied holiness, the joy and consolation which he yields them are beyond conception. To them the joys of heaven have begun even upon earth. They can Sing in the ways of the Lord. The Spring of the eternal summer has commenced with them; they are already blest, and they look for brighter things. This shows us by contrast how sad a thing it is for a child of God to sell himself into captivity to sin, and bring his soul into a state of famine by following after another god. 0 Lord, for ever bind us to thyself alone, and keep us faithful to the end.”

Christian, even as you have read the above, is such a description of your relationship with Him? Our Catechism teaches us that we certainly can enjoy the “showers of blessing” from above”, for these are the heritage of the Christian. But so many times we are not making use of them, we lose them because we do not walk with Him “in the light of His way.” The way of obedience to His Word is not our way and our testimony for Him and our joy in Him is not what it should be.

Someone once prayed: “Lord of every thought and action. Lord to send and Lord to stay. Lord in speaking, writing, giving Lord in all things to obey. Lord of all there is of me, now and evermore to be.” Indeed He will feed us with “honey out of the rock” if we will but commit ourselves to Him, all to His glory.

Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 32 (August 1963)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 29. — How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?

A. — We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.

Scripture References: John 1:12-13; John 3:5-6; Titus 3:5-6.

Questions:

1. What do we mean by the word “redemption” in this particular question?

The word redemption in this question could be labeled as the complete doctrine of salvation that is revealed in the Scripture. The “broad” use of the word is in use here. Warfield states, “He died as a ransom certainly; but the salvation purchased by this ransom-price works itself out steadily in its successive stages unto the very end.” (Biblical Foundations, Pg. 244).

2. How was this redemption purchased?

This redemption was purchased by the precious blood of Christ, I Pet. 1:19.

3. Is it not possible in some way for the believer to make of himself a partaker?

No, it is impossible for the believer to make of himself a partaker of redemption. The Bible teaches that we are totally unable to save ourselves, much less to deserve It.

4. By whom is our redemption applied?

Our redemption Is applied by the Holy Spirit. It is his effectual working on us that brings it to pass.

5. How does this question help to make complete the doctrine of the Trinity?

It helps to make the doctrine of the Trinity complete by showing the work of the Holy Spirit in the work of redemption. We have seen how the Father ordains, the Son purchases and now the Spirit applies. Spurgeon had a favorite saying for the end of many of his sermons:

“We have heard the preacher,
Truth by him has been made known;
But we need a greater Teacher
From the everlasting Throne.
Application Is the work of God alone.”

THE PROCESS OF REDEMPTION

The above title may seem strange to many readers and yet it is theologically true. Warfield, in his book, “The Plan of Salvation”, states: . . . God’s plan is to save, whether the individual or the world, by process . . .  Redeemed by Christ, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, justified through faith, received into the very household of God as his sons, led by the Spirit into the flowering and fruiting activities of the new life, our salvation is still only in process and not yet complete.”

The process of redemption is taking place and yet there are so many Christians who insist that there is no room in others for mistakes and will criticize their brethren in the Lord greatly if sin is committed. This is a strange and dangerous happening in the church of today.

A. A. Hodge had a favorite saying, “The Lord leads us, you know, by devious ways through our pilgrimage, and he appoints for us all our changes.” Many times these “devious ways” are ways in which we fall prey to temptation. Now this in no way gives us any right to compromise with evil. The standard the Lord has placed before us is a standard of absolute perfection. The Christian can not live knowing there is a process going on, and then take advantage of it and use it as his ever-present excuse when he sins. This should be understood by all who name the name of Christ.

However, there is a danger that when the Christian recognizes the facts of the last paragraph he will, at the same time, come down with the disease of refusing to excuse, tolerate, or understand sin in other people. He forgets the Bible teaches that it is only when the last trump will sound that the incorruptible body shall enter into the glory for God’s children, and that then the process of redemption will be complete. A great Christian had the right perspective when he said, “Toward God, a heart of fire. Toward myself, a heart of steel. Toward others, a heart of love.” He recognized that he must put God first in all things. He recognized to do this he must rule out anything that would hinder him. He further recognized that others would be going through the same process as himself and his attitude toward them should be one of love.

Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 29 (March 1963)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 22. — How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?

A. — Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.

Scripture References: John 1:14; Luke 1:31,35,41,42; Heb. 2:14; Matt. 26:38; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 4:15; Heb. 7:26.

Questions:

1. Was Christ’s birth a voluntary act of Christ?

Yes, it was a voluntary act. He took upon himself the human nature so that he might be fitted to be our Redeemer.

2. Did he assume the nature of a real man?

Yes, he assumed the nature of a real man. He had the two essential parts of a man, possessing a real body of flesh and blood and bones and that of possessing a soul.

3. How can we prove that he had a real body?

The Bible tells us that he is called “Man”. He was subject to hunger, weariness and thirst like other men. He was also crucified, dead and buried and rose again in his body. Luke 24:39 teaches that his was a body, not just mere spirit.

4. How can we prove that he had a soul, a reasonable soul?

The Bible tells that he had such and that his divine nature did not take the place of, or supply the place of, a soul. Matt. 26:38 teaches that his “soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.”

5. Was the birth of Christ like the birth of other men?

No, his birth came about by the miraculous power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

6. Why was Christ born of a virgin?

Christ was born of a virgin in order that he might be conceived and born without sin, that he might be free of the original sin which was passed on to all Adam’s posterity by natural generation.

7. Is it really important that we believe Christ was born of a virgin?

Yes, this is very important. (This is treated in the article below):

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST

In many church courts today the question is asked, “Is it really necessary for a person to believe in the virgin birth of Christ?” The statement, or sentiment, behind the question is the thought that it is not necessary to believe in this doctrine to become a Christian, or, it is not necessary to believe in this doctrine to be ordained to the Gospel ministry. Actually, the answer to the question is very simple if the one answering regarding his belief in the virgin birth is a member of a church subscribing to the Westminster Standards. Our Bible-founded Standards teach the virgin birth and if a minister does not believe in it he is not qualified to be in the Presbyterian church.

Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield answers these important questions regarding the virgin birth when he says, “It is only in its relation to the New Testament doctrine of redemption that the necessity of the virgin birth of Jesus comes to its full manifestation. For in this Christianity the redemption that is provided is distinctly redemption from sin; and that He might redeem men from sin it certainly was imperative that the Redeemer Himself should not be involved in sin.” Could it be stated in a clearer fashion that the redemptive work of Christ depends upon His virgin birth?

It is very difficult for a person to end up with much at all when he starts to doubt essential doctrines of the Christian system. There are strong connecting links between the different doctrines of Christianity and the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is an integral link. Certainly it is true that a person need not have a perfect understanding or conviction regarding the virgin birth to be saved but anyone that ignores it or denies it is a person that is denying the divinity of Christ and is therefore a person without hope in this world. Such a person has no business in the pulpit, pretending to preach the whole, redeeming Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is interesting to note that the fourth General Council, convened in Chalcedon in 451 A.D. stated: ” … our Lord Jesus Christ … begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, according to the manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only begotten … ” Our Confession of Faith affirms the same in Section II. This we believe! And for it we praise God!

Published By:
THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 2 No. 22 (October 1962)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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