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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. 31. — What is effectual calling?

A. — Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ. and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the Gospel.

Scripture References: II Tim. 1:8,9; Eph. 1:18-20; Acts 2:37; Acts 26:18; Ezek. 11:19; John 6:44,45; Phil. 2:13; Eph. 2:15.

Questions:

1.
In what two ways could “calling” be understood?

Calling has been recognized in Reformed Theology as both “external” and “internal” call. The first is the call of the word whereby o all sinners are freely invited to Christ, that they may have life and salvation in Him. However, this call is insufficient in itself to enable them to come to Him. The second is the internal call of the Spirit that accompanies the proclamation of the word whereby the sinner is not only invited to Christ but is inwardly enabled to embrace Him as He is freely offered in the Gospel.

2. What is involved in the Spirit’s work in our hearts to convince us of our sin and misery?

The Spirit gives us a clear insight of the guilt of our sins and a recognition of the wrath of God and the miseries of hell. This wounds our conscience and causes us to ask, “What must I do to be saved?”

3. How does the Spirit accomplish this task?

The Spirit accomplishes this task by the law—”By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20),

4.
How does the Spirit enlighten our minds?

The Spirit does this by pointing us to Christ for in Him, that is in the knowledge of His person, righteousness, power, etc., we are renewed in our wills and are enabled to turn to Christ as Saviour and Lord.

5. Are we able to renew our own wills?

No, our wills are renewed only when the Spirit puts new inclinations in them and causes us, (makes us willing), to embrace Jesus Christ by faith. (Eph. 1: 19,20)

CONVICTION OF SIN

Conviction of sin, though no evidence of conversion, is necessary to it. The Gospel is offered to those who are in their guilt. Without a recognition of the guilt the sinner will never be convinced that he will perish without the righteousness of Christ.

This conviction is a gift of the Holy Spirit. He was sent to convince the world of its sin. The means by which the Holy Spirit does this is the subject of our Catechism Question. He, the Holy Spirit, convinces and enlightens.

The Holy Spirit convinces of sin through the Law. The person seeking Christ is brought face to face with the standard of the law. He is not to judge himself by others nor is he to judge himself by a cultural standard he has set up that makes him look good in the eyes of himself. This is the reason it is so necessary for the preacher of the Gospel to hold high the Truth, the standard as is set in the Word of God. It is equally necessary for the Christian to obtain every kind of Scriptural knowledge of Scripture possible, especially committing it to memory, so as to be able to quote it correctly at the appropriate time. The Holy Spirit will use such to the glory of God.

Many times the Holy Spirit will use the life of a Christian as an instrument to convict a person still in his sins. Therefore as Christians we must recognize our responsibility here to be used by Him. A great minister of God’s word once gave three things a Christian must do
in order to be used as an instrument of the Holy Spirit:

(1) Avoid all sin, exercise all right affections toward God and our fellow-men, being devoted to His glory and service.
(2) Be willing to suffer for Christ.
(3) Love Christ more than any other object, more than our lives.

It was a favorite saying of Charles Hodge that it is the great duty of the Christian to labor to convince the world of the sin of unbelief in Christ. Hodge said that the Spirit produces this conviction through the truth a.nd He can use our labor to lead them to receive, acknowledge, love, worship, serve and trust Jesus Christ. Such is the teaching of Acts 1:8. May we be faithful to it.

Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 31 (July 1963)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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

Q. 28. Wherein consisteth Christ’s exaltation?

A. Christ’s exaltation consisteth in his rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.

Scripture References: I Cor. 15:3,4. Acts 1:9. Eph. 1:19,20. Acts 1:11; Acts. 17:31.

Questions:

1. How many parts are there to Christ’s exaltation?

There are four parts to his exaltation. The first part is his resurrection from the dead; the second, his ascension into heaven; the third, his sitting down at the right hand of the father; the fourth, his coming to judge the world.

2. Is it possible to prove that he rose from the dead?

It can be proven by the many witnesses who saw him and talked with him after his resurrection. Another proof is that if it were not so our faith would be in vain as is taught in I Cor. 15:17.

3. Who was responsible for this miracle of rising from the dead?

Christ did this by his own power and Spirit as is taught by such verses as John 10:17,18, Rom. 1:4.

4. What does the resurrection of Christ teach us?

It teaches us to walk in newness of life. Rem. 6:4.

5. Why did Christ ascend into heaven?

He ascended into heaven that he might be returned to the glory he had before the world was formed (John 17:5). By his ascension he also took over, as Head of the church, the destination of all believers.

6. What does Christ do at the right hand of God?

Christ makes intercession for all believers at this place and is also preparing a place for them.

7. When and how will Christ come to judge the world?

He will come to judge the world at the last day. He will judge the world in righteousness, giving to everyone w hat is deserved. (2 Cor. 5:10)

JUDGMENT

The fourth part of Christ’s exaltation is to judge the world at the last day. As believers, we can thank God that at the judgment we will be declared righteous on the ground of our participation in the righteousness of Christ. The “book of life” will be opened, the book of God’s eternal electing love. It is indeed a day to which the believer can look forward, by faith.

There is a thought concerning the judgment that should cause us to sincerely examine our hearts before the Lord. The secrets of all hearts, the inward states and hidden springs of action will be brought in as the subject matter of judgment, as well as the actions themselves. As professing Christians, this thought needs to be considered.

It is a truth that “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8,9), And yet it is an equal truth that the person who is sincerely saved through faith will show forth the fruits of good works as it is brought out very clearly in the next verse: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” If we claim Christ as our Saviour, the question is pertinent: Are we showing forth good works, are the fruits of the Spirit habitual with us or are the works of the flesh?

A. A. Hodge, in treating the judgment, states of the believers:
“Their holy characters and good deeds … wlll be publicly declared as the evidences of their election, of their relation to Christ, and of the glorious work of Christ in them.” (Matt. 13:43; 25:34-40).

It is important for us to ask of ourselves today, right now, Are we showing evidence of our election, of our relation to Christ, of the glorious work of Christ in us? Jim Elliot once wrote in his diary, ” ‘He makes His ministers a flame of fire.’ Am I ignitible? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of ‘other things.’ Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame.” Is such our prayer? Will the day of judgment declare it and show forth the evidences of our election?

Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 28 (April 1963)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor
April, 1963

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

Q. 21. — Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?

A. — The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person forever.

Scripture References: I Tim. 2:5; John 1:1,14; John 10:30; Phil. 2:6; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:5-11.

Questions:

1.
Why is the Redeemer of God’s elect called the Lord Jesus Christ?

He is called the Lord because of His sovereignty and dominion (Acts 10:36). He is called Jesus because He is the Saviour of His people (Matt. 1:21). He is called Christ because He is anointed by the Father with the Holy Ghost which was given to Him without measure (Acts 10:38). He is fully qualified by God.

2. How does the Lord Jesus Christ redeem the elect of God?

He purchases them by His blood and rescues them by His conquest by spoiling principalities and powers. (I Peter 1:18,19. Col. 2:15)

3. What did the Lord Jesus Christ become in order to redeem God’s elect?

He became man but did not cease to be God. He became Immanuel, God with us.

4. Why was it necessary that He become man?

It was necessary in order that He might be capable of suffering death for man and that He might become their High Priest that could reconcile them to God (Heb. 8:16,17).

5. How could Christ be both God and man?

Christ is God and man by a personal union. Both His natures are distinct, the divine nature is not subject to change and the human o nature is not omnipotent.

6. Could some compact statements be given regarding the constitution of the Redeemer’s person?

J. B. Green has probably put it in the most concise way:
“1. The reality of the two natures.
2. The integrity of the new natures.
3. The distinctness of the two natures after the union.
4. The oneness of the personality.”

BE VERY SURE

The fact that Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer of God’s elect is one for which we should ever thank God. Though it is difficult for us to understand the intricacies of how He could be both God and man; of how the two natures are distinct and yet He is one; we can certainly thank and praise God He that did purchase us by His own blood and thus become the only Redeemer of God’s elect.

The fact is a wondrous fact and yet the question must be asked and answered by all: Are we certain that we are among those He purchased and saved? The hymn writer puts it very well when he says, “Be very sure, Be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock! This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One, This Rock is Jesus, The only One.” (Mrs. Ruth Caye Jones). For indeed, as the title of the hymn so aptly puts it, “In Times Like These” we need a Saviour.

To be able to discuss, and have an understanding of, theology is a good and healthy thing. The church needs this discipline, the church needs to have a better understanding of what the Standards teach. It is a sad fact that many Presbyterians could not even name what makes up the Standards. We repeat, it is good to have theological knowledge. But as we approach in this Catechism Question another theological fact, that of the Redeemer of God’s elect, it is even more important to have a personal knowledge of the Redeemer Himself, Jesus Christ.

As you read this short article, two questions are in order. First, Do you know Christ as your Saviour and Lord? Joseph Alleine puts it very plain when he says, “Though of yourselves you can do nothing, yet you may do all through His Spirit enabling you, and He offers assistance to you. God bids you ‘wash and make you clean.’ God invites you to be made clean and entreats you to yield to Him. O accept His offers, and let Him do for you, and in you, what you cannot do for yourselves.” (Prov. 1:24, Rev. 3:20). Second, If you believe Christ has saved you, are you acting as if He has saved you? Has your life changed, are old things passing away, are all things becoming new?
To have the theological knowledge that He is the Redeemer of God’s elect is good. Do you have the Heart knowledge? Isa.47:4.

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