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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. 17. — Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?

A. —The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.

Scripture References: Rom. 5:12; Gal. 3:10; Ps. 40:2; Rom. 6:23.

Questions:

1. What do we call the estate of mankind before the fall?

The estate of mankind before the fall is called the estate of innocency, the estate of original righteousness.

2. Why is man’s state, by the fall, called an estate of sin?

Because man is now under the guilt of sin, which has dominion over him.

3. Why is man’s state, by the fall, called an estate of misery?

Because, according to the penalty of the law, death and the curse involve him in all manner of misery.

4. Why is sin mentioned before misery in describing the estate into which mankind fell?

Because sin came first, and misery followed afterwards as the result of sin. Sin is the cause of misery; misery is the effect of sin.

5. How did man come into this state of sin and misery?

Man came into this by the abuse of his free will, by disobedience. The scripture tells us that mankind destroyed himself. (Hosea 13:9).

6. What happened to man in the Garden because of his sin?

Man’s heart changed and man’s abode changed. The heart became evil and man was forced to leave the place of perfection (the Garden) and was cast into the world where evil was.

7. How does the Scripture describe man’s state of sin and misery?

Scripture describes it by “darkness,” “condemnation and wrath,” and by “death”.

8. What popular false religion of this day denies the teaching of sin and misery?

The religion of Christian Science denies the reality of sin and misery.

9. Can man help himself out of this state of sin and misery?

No, man is totally unable to help himself out of this state. His very nature is “enmity against God” and he can not save himself from this state.

SIN AND EVASION

Our thesis in this discussion is: The sin in the Garden of Eden was entirely the fault of man, God was in no way the author of the sin of man. This is taught in the Word of God and could be summarized in the following manner: (1) God created man perfectly holy, with no defect or tendency to sin. (2) The trial placed before man was one he could keep, it was perfectly easy and could hardly be considered any restraint at all. (3) God did not withdraw from man during the moment of temptation. God was present with him and all man had to do was call upon God. The fall of man was the consequence of a curiosity on the part of man, not of want of ability to keep the simple test God had placed upon him. And yet Adam sinned. Not only did he sin but there was on his part the attempt to evade responsibility for what he had done. So it is with man today. Whenever man sins there is usually an attempt on the part of man to evade. (Proverbs 28:13-14)

A former teacher in college, a very wise man, said many times: “One of the greatest difficulties on the part of a Christian is his refusal to be honest with himself in regard to sin.” This teacher’s word to us time and time again was to face ourselves and never try to evade responsibility for sin. It is supposed that mankind came by this ability to evade responsibility honestly since it all started with Adam. However true that may be, this has ever been one of the prevalent ways on the part of man to disregard his relationship and accountability to God.

The prayer the Christian needs to make is “Search me, O God and try my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me.” This prayer needs to be consistently on the lips of the Christian. And when the Spirit convicts of sin the Christian must be honest about it before God and never seek to evade the responsibility involved. “My fault!” is the confession cry of the Christian. Then, and only then, will the Christian be in right relationship with God and able to be used by God in a mighty way, all to His glory. (I John. 1:1-10)

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