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

Q. 66. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?

A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory, and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.

Scripture References: Ephesians 6:2-3; I Peter 3:10.

Questions:

1. What type of “good” is this commandment speaking of, temporal or spiritual?

This commandment is speaking of temporal good, with a stipulation.

2. What is this stipulation?

The stipulation is that it must be to the glory of God. For the believer in Christ, whatever is good must be used for His glory.

3. What kind of temporal good is promised here?

The good promised here is long life and prosperity.

4. What is this “long life”?

It is not simply a matter of living long upon this earth but it is a long life of living for a reason-the glory of God. It is real living, living with a purpose and a blessing.

5. What kind of prosperity is promised?

The prosperity promised is a prosperity that must be seen within the framework of the glory of God. Sometimes it will be hard for the believer to understand how his lot might be called prosperity, but if through it God is glorified, it is for the believer’s own good and some day he will understand why God took him through what the world would never label “prosperity.”

6. Does this mean that all believers in Christ will have long life and prosperity?

No, only those believers who do not break this fifth commandment. They might find themselves in the position of the superior, or the inferior, or the equal. But whatever their position they must fulfill it as they should if they would receive the rewards spoken of here.

7. Why is the fifth commandment the first commandment with promise?

It is called this because it is the first commandment of the second table, and the only commandment in it that has a promise attached to it.

PEACE AND CONCORD

We are living In the midst of an age where trouble seems to be the order of the day. We hear of wars, arguments, riots, evils being practiced on fellow men and we should be asking ourselves the question: What can I do as a Christian? The answer to what we can do must be based on principles. We must act but we must act according to the teaching of The Blessed Book. In the midst of this age, what does The Word say?

Our Question from the Catechism has a lot to say regarding this age in which we live. Yet we are forgetting this important teaching, we are forgetting that there are such things as superiors and inferiors and both have responsibilities. We are forgetting that we can not, dare not. bypass the teaching of Scripture in any realm. In I Peter 2 and 3 we find many instructions regarding this matter of honoring our father and mother—or, as has been expressed in the foregoing, our relationships to others whether we are superiors or inferiors or equals—and it would do well for us to take heed to what Peter says. We should remember that Peter is God’s spokesman and such that should end the matter. We should remember that the instructions given by Peter are pertinent for today in spite of our likes and dislikes.

Peter concludes his counsel by stating: “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another …. ” He tells us that we should show love, we should be pitiful and courteous. He tells us we should not fight back. He tells us that we should be careful that our tongues do not speak evil. He tells us that we should seek and pursue after peace. Why does he tell us these things? Why is it necessary for us to know them? It comes to us in The Word because Peter, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, was being consistent with the rest of Scripture. The Holy Spirit is always trying to teach us that we have responsibilities in this world. some of us as superiors and some of us as inferiors. But our responsibilities toward one another are ever present and we can never bypass them. This is true of those who are not saved but it is even more true of those who have called upon Christ as Saviour and Lord of their lives.

In the midst of these days of trouble, we are called by God to peace and concord. We must, by His grace, be willing to follow the teaching of The Word in all areas—that is if we would love life and see good days.
(I Pet. 3:10).

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC., Memphis, Tennessee.
Vol. 4 No. 60 December, 1965.  Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor.

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

Q. 63 Which is the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment is, Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Q. 64 What is required in the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to everyone in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.

Scripture References: Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 5:21-22; 6:1, 5, 9; Romans 12:10; 13:1.

Questions:


l.
What is meant by “father and mother” in this commandment?

The terms “father and mother” mean not only the natural parents of a person, but also those in authority over him in age and in gifts.

2. Does that mean there are superiors and inferiors and equals in the sight of God?

Yes, the terms “father and mother” indicate those who are superior in their gifts from God whether it be in the realm of age or ability. The term “inferiors” indicates there are those who must subject themselves to the authority of others. The term “equals” indicates there are those brethren that are equal in ability, age, place or dignity.

3. Do the things taught in this commandment extend to other realms?

Yes, not only does it mean parents and children but it extends to husbands and wives, to masters and servants, to rulers and their subjects, to ministers and congregations, to older and younger. Although the commandment speaks specificially our answers following are primarily concerning the parent-child relationship, its requirements are applicable in other relationships as well.

4. What are the duties of the inferiors to their superiors?

The duties of inferiors toward superiors are to honor them, inwardly and outwardly; to listen to their instructions; to obey their commands; to meekly accept their reproofs; to love them; to care for them when necessary.

5.
What are the duties of superiors towards inferiors?

The duties of superiors toward inferiors are: To love and care for them; to train them in the knowledge of the Scriptures; to pray for them; to keep them under subjection; to encourage them by kindness and reproof; to prepare them for the future.

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF AUTHORITY
A cardinal rule that ought to regulate society: authority involves responsibility! The greater the authority, the greater the responsibility. It makes no difference whether the authority is exercised in the realm of the family or the realm of the church or the realm of the state. The responsibility goes with it and it is a heavy burden. God, in His wisdom, and for His own reasons, hands out to certain of His people the mandate to be the “superiors”. These people have been given by God certain abilities, certain gifts that put them over their fellow men. With these abilities, these gifts, naturally comes authority. This is something that must be present in our society whether it be in the family or church or state. With this authority there is the ever-present responsibility to use these abilities, these gifts, all to the glory of God.

It is sufficient to say here that there are certain basic responsibilities. There the responsibility of the superior to have an attitude of love, backed up by constant prayer, toward those under him. There must be a real interest in them. There can never be the attitude of detachment.

There is the responsibility of training, teaching that the person in authority always has. He must “instruct, counsel and admonish them” at all times. This includes the warning of those under him of evil. Especially in the church today there is too little of this being done. The people are being taken down roads plainly marked “Disaster” and very few seem to be raising a cry of warning.

There is the responsibility of the superior to recognize well doing on the part of the people under him. This comes under the area of encouragement, a very necessary part of the ablllty of a person to go on in this life.

There is the responsibility of correction no matter what it might cost the superior in the way of friendship, economic advancement, success. The superior must be fair in his correction but he must correct. This again is sadly lacking today in our land.

In I Samuel 12 :23 God teaches those in authority of their responsibility before Him and before those with whom they have to do.

Published By: The Shield and Sword, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee.
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.
Vol. 4 No. 58 (October, 1965)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Hom, Editor

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

Q. 62.
What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?

A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the Sabbath day.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: Exodus 31:15-16; Leviticus 23:3; Exodus 31:17; Genesis 2:3.

QUESTIONS:

1. How many reasons are there annexed to this commandment?

There are four reasons annexed to this commandment and this is more than for any of the other commandments. God knew men would be prone to break this commandment.

2.
What is the first reason?

The first reason is, God’s allowing us six days for our own employment. God has been very liberal with us in this area and we should certainly grant Him one day out of the seven. In addition, in modern times very few people work on Saturday afternoon, which is another reason for giving Him one day.

3.
What is the second reason?

The second reason is, God’s challenging a special propriety in the seventh day. This is God’s claiming the day as His own. He does not claim it as His own without granting us anything from it, for as we use it in the right way He will grant us the greatest joy in communion with Him.

4.
What is the third reason?

The third reason is, God’s own example in resting Himself from His works of creation on the seventh day. Here there is a spiritual blessing from resting one day by His command. In addition, there is a physical motivation in that He knew it would be good for our bodies for us to rest one day. His example should be followed, all to His glory.

5.
What is the fourth reason?

The fourth reason is, God’s blessing of the Sabbath. Our Lord consecrates the day to His holy use. The right use of the day will result in blessings for us, “showers of blessings” will fall upon us. The wrong use of the day will result in miseries and woes. (Nehemiah 13:18).

MAN’S NEED OF THE SABBATH

It is hard for us today, in the midst of the blatant desecration of the Sabbath, to hold to the authority of God and the commands we find in the Decalogue. On every hand we find that the opposition is strong. The day starts with the weighty Sunday newspaper. Sporting events are the order of the day. The armed services have decided that the Lord’s Day is a day of training. Wherever we turn we are faced with the pressures of the world to deny what many of us have been told from childhood, that the holy calm of a Sabbath morn should be kept throughout the day.

Certainly as believers in Christ, we know what we should do. The commands in the Scripture are plain. Six questions in our Shorter Catechism are given to this important question of Christian living. But when we attempt to meet our adversaries with these arguments it means nothing to them. They care not for Holy Writ and win not listen. But there are arguments that they might listen to, and these same arguments would be good for us to take into our hearts and ponder them, all to the glory of God. Mark 2:27 indeed teaches us: “The Sabbath was made for man.” Our Lord knew that we need this Day.

We need it because of our physical nature. He made us in such a way that we need to rest one day out of the seven. It is interesting to note that the Deists in France long ago, those who had left Roman Catholicism but had not become Protestants, admitted that they could not get along without the Sabbath. Their bodies craved it.

We need it as a day when the family can be together. God put a great emphasis on the family, and the Scripture is filled with admonitions that should be followed by the family. When are they going to be followed? Could not the Sabbath be used in this important area? Prayer, teaching of the Word, communication—these are all important in the family unit.

We need it for the teaching we can obtain from the House of God. The preaching of the Word is the primary means of Grace, and we should use every opportunity we have to fill our minds with those things that will keep us from sinning against Him. He knew that a day must be set aside for instruction in righteousness, and we must make use of it.

Let us be faithful to Him, and to ourselves in this matter. Let us once again return to the “old fashioned” Sabbath before it is too late. We are in danger of losing what we have in our freedom of worship unless we have some convictions about it.

Published By: The Shield and Sword, Inc.
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.
Vol. 4 No. 57, September, 1965.

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?

A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission, or careless performance, of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.
Scripture References: Ezek. 22:26; Mal. 1:13; Amos 8:5; Isa. 58:13; Jer. 17:24, 27.

QUESTIONS:

1. What are the two types of sins forbidden in this fourth commandment?

The two types of sins forbidden are the sin of omission and the sin of commission.

2. What are the sins of omission mentioned in this question?

The sins of omission mentioned are: (1) The omission of the duties of the Sabbath. These duties would be such things as the neglect of private or public worship, and the neglect of duties of love and mercy that should be performed on the Sabbath.

3. Would it be possible for us to sin even in the performance of duties of love and mercy on the Sabbath?

Yes, it would be possible for us to sin in the performance of these duties if we performed them in the wrong manner. We could go about them in a weary way, wishing that we did not have to perform them, failing to realize that in the performance of these duties we may also be serving our Lord. (Matt. 25:31-46)

4. How could we best defend ourselves against such attitudes?

We can best defend ourselves by fixing our hearts on God (Ps. 57:7), by claiming by faith our place “in the heavenlies” at the start of the day, asking God to keep us faithful in all things.

5. What are the sins of commission mentioned in this question?

The sins of commission mentioned are the following: (1) Profaning the Sabbath Day by idleness. (2) Profaning the day by doing things which are sinful in the eyes of God on His day. (3) Profaning the day by unnecessary thoughts and words and acts regarding worldly matters, by pleasures and recreations that are contrary to all the Word teaches for the lawful performance on the Sabbath.

6. Why is it so important to keep this day as unto the Lord?

It is important because God has commanded us to do so and it is important because it is impossible to be holy without the keeping of His commandments.

THE SABBATH AND THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST

The question is asked by many believers today: “Why has it become such a common thing to break the Sabbath?” That it is a common thing can’t be denied. It is a rare church today where any attempt is made to keep the Sabbath Day holy in the Lord. Did you ever ask a minister, who says nothing about this in his church, why he does not?
Did you ever pin him down to giving a reason for it? You might be surprised at his answer.

Many of them will answer with words like these: “Well, I fail to see why this has too much importance to the church of today. After all, this was a ceremonial law and ceremonial laws are no longer binding on the Christian. Besides, you can’t expect too much of the people. We should be thankful if they attend church on the Lord’s Day.”

There are two glaring errors in such an answer. The first error is that the keeping of the Sabbath was a ceremonial law. The observing of the Sabbath was instituted a long time before God gave His people the ceremonial laws through His servant Moses. The keeping of the Sabbath is one of the moral laws handed down by God and is just as binding as the other nine commandments. Did you ever notice that in our Shorter Catechism there are more questions devoted to the keeping of the Sabbath than in any other of the commandments?

The second error in the hypothetical answer by the minister is that of not expecting too much of the people. This is a common error today of ministers and one that is practiced by many ministers in their work. In the area of Sabbath keeping the average minister of today has simply given up. He keeps quiet; but he is commissioned by God to preach the whole counsel of God and the keeping of the Sabbath must be submitted to the Lordship of Christ just as much as anything else. He should remember that Christ did not eliminate the keeping of the Sabbath. Christ simply placed it where it belonged. He secured It. He placed it under His Lordship. (Matt. 12:7, 8).

As a born-again believer, ‘What are you doing about the Sabbath? Do you recognize the Lordship of Christ in this area of your Christian life? Would you be willing to submit every part of your life to this commandment? May God help all of us to do so, all to His glory.

The Shield and Sword, Inc.
MemphIs, Tennessee 38117.
Vol. 4 No. 56
Rev. Leonard T. Van Hom, Editor
August, 1965.

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

Q. 53. — Which is the third commandment?

A. — The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Ex. 20:7).

Q. 54. — What is required in the third commandment?

A. — The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, title, attributes, ordinances, word, and works.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: Ps.29:2; Matt. 6:9; Rev. 15:34; Mal. 1:14; Ps. 138:2; Ps. 107:21,22.

Questions:

1. What do we mean by the “name of the Lord thy God”?

We mean by the name of “the Lord thy God” any way in which God makes himself known.

2. How is it that God makes himself known?

He makes himself known: by his names, such as God, Lord, I am, Jehovah; by his titles such as Lord of Hosts, Holy One of Israel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and others; by his attributes which are his perfections and properties (see Question 4); by his ordinances which are the reading, preaching and hearing of the Word, prayer, thanksgiving, praise, the administration of the sacraments; by his word, the scriptures of the Old and New Testament; by his works, which are the works of creation and providence.

3. What is our responsibility toward these general ways by which He makes himself known?

Our responsibility is to show a reverent attitude toward all of them in our words, our thoughts and our actions. We should meditate on o His names and titles. We should make holy use of God’s ordinances seeking God in them. We should be obedient at all times to His Word and recognize His works of creation and providence, blessing Him and praising Him for His mercies and submitting to Him in all things.

4.
Does this question pertain at all to legal oaths and vows to God?

Since the name of God is used in oaths and vows, there is a connection. The reader is urged to consider prayerfully the section of the Confession of Faith entitled: “Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

THE GOD OF ABRAHAM

One of the titles ascribed to God as the God of grace is “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Ex. 3:6). Even as He is the God of grace, even as we experience it day after day, we should praise Him for His wonderful works to the children of men. We should never let a day go by without lifting up voices in praise to that Blessed Name! The hymn writer said:

“The God of Abraham praise!
Who reigns enthroned above,
Ancient of everlasting days,
And God of Love!
Jehovah, great I AM!
By earth and Heaven confest!
I bow, and bless the sacred name,
For ever blest!

The God of Abraham praise!
At whose supreme command
From earth I rise, and seek the joys
At His right hand:
I all on earth forsake,Its wisdom, fame, and power,
And Him my only portion make,
My Shield and Tower.
The God of Abraham praise!

Whose all-sufficient grade
Shall guide me all my happy days
In all my ways:
He called a worm His friend!
He calls Himself my God!
And He shall save me to the end
Through Jesus’ blood!
The whole triumphant host

Give thanks to God on high:
Hail! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
They ever cry:
Hail! Abraham’s God and mine!
I join the heavenly lays;
All might and majesty are Thine,
And endless praise!”

Abraham bowed in heart and mind before the Lord even after his faith had been sorely tried by the long delay in the fulfilment of the promise. Abraham rested upon the divine pledge, and the sufficiency of the divine power and grace of his Lord. We should do the same-recognize who He is and then remember to give praise to His holy name.

However, this commandment has a reverse side to it. As Calvin puts it so well, “The purpose of this commandment is: God wills that we hallow the majesty of his name. Therefore, it means in brief that we are not to profane his name by treating it contemptously and irreverently.” (Institutes, II, viii, 22). We should always remember that by not standing in awe of Him, by not blessing His name, we can break this commandment.

A good discipline for us would be to promise God that we shall read Psalm 139 at least once each week in order that we might keep ourselves in the right perspective and have the reverent attitude we should have toward the God of Abraham.

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

Q. 52. — What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?

A. — The reasons annexed to the second commandment are: God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.

Scripture References: Ps. 95:2, 3; Ps.45:11; Exod.34:14.

Questions:

1. How many reasons are there involved in the second commandment and of what use are they to us?

There are three reasons:
(1) God’s sovereignty over us.
(2) God’s ownership of us.
(3) God’s zeal regarding his worship.
They are of great use to us for all three can have great influence in our obeying the Lord our God.

2. What do we mean by God’s sovereignty over us?

We mean that by His sovereignty He has the sole authority over us and has the right to make laws for worship. He alone has the right to decide what is good for us. We have the responsibility to worship Him only in the way He appoints for us in His Word.

3. When we speak of God owning us what do we mean by it?

We mean by this that we belong to Him through the right of redemption and therefore, we should cleave to Him and be careful that we do not follow after any sin that would drive us away from Him, especially idolatry and superstition. (Ps. 95:6,7; Ps. 106:19,21).

4. What has God said regarding the zeal he has to his own worship?

He has said, “I am a jealous God.”

5. What effect should this have upon us as born-again believers?

It should give us a great fear of offending Him in any way and especially in the area of false worship. We should pray that we never fail Him as Nadab and Abihu did (Lev. 10:1-4).

6. If we worship Him in a false way what will our punishment be?

His punishment will not only be upon us, but He will visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation.

7. How can God, who has the attribute of justice, do this?

If the children do not follow their father’s sins He will not punish them (Ezek. 18:14, 17). If the children do follow their father’s sins they deserve punishment.

GODLY PARENTS AND THEIR CHILDREN

This particular question of the catechism with its emphasis on. God being a jealous God, visiting iniquity on the children of wicked parents, has a converse lesson in it for godly parents. The children of godly parents could be the recipients of the promise, “I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Gen. 17:7). There is much for which the children of godly parents should thank God and there is great responsibility on the part of godly parents in order that their children may enjoy the great benefits involved.

Whenever those giving allegiance to the Reformed Faith mention the covenant promises though, there are two important facts that should always be remembered. If these two important facts are forgotten there is always the danger of displeasing God. These two facts are: (1) God does not show mercy to children Simply because they are the children of godly parents. (2) The promise God utters is a promise dependent upon the keeping of the promises of the godly parents. God does not show mercy to children simply because they are the children of godly parents-He shows mercy to children simply because it pleases Him, (Rom. 9:15). We can never take the mercy shawn to children of godly parents out of the framework of the whole counsel of God and forget that He is the Almighty, Sovereign One and will not be manipulated or forced by the promises or ways of men. What He does is for His glory and is consistent with His character, that of being Sovereign in all things.

The promise God utters is a promise dependent upon the keeping of the promises of the godly parents-salvation and all its benefits is not an automatic thing that happens to the children of godly parents (or godly parent-I Cor. 7:14; Acts 2:38, 39), John Murray’S statement here is well taken: “Covenant privilege always entails covenant responsibility.” There are conditions that must be kept by the godly parents, promises that are made at the baptism of the infant and promises that must be kept if the parents expect God to keep His promises.

When the godly parents do their part there are indeed great benefits, the benefits of a Christian education, prayers, even the expectation that God will effect their conversion. To be reared by Christian parents bent on keeping their covenant promises is a blessing for which all children should thank God.

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 4 No. 49 (January 1965)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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

Q. 40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?

A. The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience, was the moral law.

Scripture References: Rom. 2:14,15; Rom. 10:5.

Questions:

1. How many laws has God given to man?

God gave to his people the moral law, which is still in force today, and ceremonial and judicial laws. These last two, as given to the Jews, have ceased to have any binding force under the Christian economy.

2. Is the moral law a rule of obedience to both believer and non-believer?

Yes the moral law is a rule of obedience to both. Our Confession teaches, “The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof.” (Chapter 21, Section V)

3. Can a man be saved by keeping the moral law?

No, a man is only saved by grace through faith. In addition, it would be impossible for man to keep the moral law perfectly.

4. If man cannot be saved by it, and yet is still bound by it, of what use is it?

The use of the moral law is that it is a “schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24). The word “schoolmaster” is the idea of training and discipline in the passage cited. A pertinent passage here is I Tim. 1 :8.

5. How does the law bring men to Christ?

The law brings men to Christ by convincing men of sin and of convincing them of its consequences if it is not atoned for and forgiven. It also awakens them to their need of a Saviour for that sin. ‘

6. After a man is saved is the law of any further use?

The law is a perpetual reminder of the will of God for His creatures. For the Believer it is intended as a rule of life and conduct which is absolute and unchanging. See Rom. 7:6,12; Titus 2:11,12.

“O HOW I LOVE THY LAW!”

The above declaration is one of the richest fruits of grace that a redeemed soul might have for in it there is the most important connection between the love for his Maker and being obedient to the same Maker. There is nothing incompatible between love and obedience and the Law of God is a wonderful motivator towards each of them.

In our Catechism, as we begin a study of the laws of God, it is important that we have the correct perspective between the law of God and the fact that we are sinners saved by grace. It has been said many times that we are sinners saved by grace but we are still sinners! The sinner therefore has shortcomings, so many times goes the road of sin rather than the road of obedience to Him. And if it were not for the law of God the road of sin would be taken many more times than it is. For the law of God has some very important duties, duties for which we should be praying.

There is the duty of instructing the believer. There is a way of lite that is well-pleasing to God and the believer is instructing in this way of life by the law of God. Paul states in I Cor. 9:21 that he is “in the law to Christ” and that he delights in that law after the inward man. He delights in it as he reads it, is instructed by it, follows it by grace.

There is the duty of humbling the believer. The law of God causes the believer to recognize his shortcomings tor it is a rule against whose measurement the believer so many times comes short. As the believer sees his shortcomings, and grieves over his shortcomings, he begins to be humble under the rule of the Almighty, Sovereign God and thereby gets into right relationship with his Maker, through his enabling grace.

There is the duty of causing the believer to apply to the Lord Jesus Christ for the ever-necessary sanctifying Spirit. The power at the victorious life comes from the Lord Jesus Christ through the indwelling presence and power of His Holy Spirit, enabling the Believer more and more to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness.

Do we love His law? Even better, do we really love Lawgiver? If we do we will recognize that there is no holiness where there is not subjection to the commandments of our Lord. And where there is .subjection to the commandments there is delight, (Psalm 119:35),

Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 40 (April, 1964)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

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

Q 38. — What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?

A. — At the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged, and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.

Scripture References: I Cor. 15:43, 44; Matt. 25:33, 34; Matt. 10:32; Psa. 15:1; I Thess. 4:14; I Cor. 2:9.

Questions:

1. What are the three benefits of the believers as contained in this question?

(1) The believers shall be raised up in glory.
(2) The believers shall be acknowledged and acquitted at the day of judgment.
(3) The believers shall be made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity.

2. What is the glory referred to in this question and what will be the result of it?

The glory referred to in this question is the glory of the resurrection, when the body will be restored and no longer subject to death and dissolution and “be fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body.” (Phil. 3 :21).

3. What is the meaning of the believers being acknowledged and acquitted?

The believers will hear the Savior’s “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:34). Their faith shall be vindicated; they shall be publicly acknowledged as the redeemed children of God, (I Cor. 4:5), and the declaration will be made that all their sins are pardoned.

4. What is the third blessing that will come to the believers?

The third is the greatest blessing of all, the full enjoyment of God. The believers will ever be with the Lord and will receive the inheritance prepared for them. There the believers will behold their Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, and will finally be able to trace the ways in which the Lord has led and saved them. (I Pet. 1:6).

5. What will be the lot of the unbelievers at the resurrection?

Their bodies shall be released from the grave and they shall see Christ as their final judge. They shall stand before His judgment Throne and shall have their sins read out of the books and will be eternally cast into hell. (II Thess. 1:7-8; Rev. 20:11,12).

GOOD STEWARDS OF THE GRACE OF GOD

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (I Pet. 4: 10). Blessing after blessing has been mentioned in the past few questions; but with blessings come responsibilities. It is a good thing to be reminded of the benefits that come to the believer both in this life and at death and at the resurrection. But it is an important thing that the believer recognize that with these benefits there is a call from the Lord to be good stewards of his grace.

Archbishop Leighton said, “Thinkest thou that thy wealth, or power, or wit, is thine, to do with as thou wilt, to engross to thyself either to retain as useless or to use, to hoard and wrap up, or to lavish out; according as thy humour leads thee? No! All is given as to a steward, wisely and faithfully to lay up and layout, not only the outward estate and common gifts of mind, but even saving grace, which seems most appropriated for thy private good, yet is not wholly for that. Even thy graces are for the good of thy brethren.”

If believers are to live to the glory of God, (going back to the first question), then they must be good stewards of the grace of God. The benefits given now and those to be given to the believers at the resurrection should be daily motivators toward wanting to thank and praise God for them in the way He desires praise—living to his glory. It should be noted by the believer that benefits are given for the purpose of being exercised; that the design of these exercises is not only for the advantage of the believer but is also for that of the body of Christ at large. In addition, when a believer is exercising a gift, a benefit, he ought to consider himself as a steward who must be faithful, being a good manager of the manifold grace of God.

In I Tim. 6:17-18 we have the same teaching: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.”

To be a good steward of the manifold grace of God is indeed a way to “redeem the time” in these evil days. May God help us to do so, all to His glory.

Published by: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 33 (February, 1964)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

Tags:

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

Q. 27. — Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?

A. — Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross, in being buried and continuing under the power of death for a time.

Scripture References: Luke 2:7; Phil. 2:6-8; Gal. 4:4; Isa. 53:6; Matt. 27:46; Gal. 3:13; I Cor. 15:3,4.

Questions:

1. In what things did Christ humble himself?

Christ humbled himself in His birth, in his life and in His death.

2. How did Christ humble Himself in His birth?

Christ humbled himself in His birth in that he was born of a virgin in a manger, becoming man who was the eternal Son of God.

3. How did Christ humble Himself In His life?

Christ humbled himself in His life in subjecting Himself to the law; because he entered into conflict with the devil; because He endured the slander of men who were wicked; because He endured the infirmities of the flesh even those endured by all men.

4. How did Christ humble Himself in His death?

Christ humbled himself in His death by submitting himself to the cursed death of the cross (Gal. 3:13) and undergoing the agony described in the Scripture as happening to Him.

5. What does Christ’s humiliation mean to us as Christians?

Christ’s humiliation assured us of our redemption, through the merits of His sufferings (Eph.1 :7).

6. Was the soul or body of Christ separated from Him during His death?

No, his soul or body could not be separated from him since he was divine and the Scripture teaches us that he i. “the same yesterday, and today, and forever”. (He)). 13:8)

GOLGOTHA!

Abraham Kuyper, in his helpful book, “His Decease At Jerusalem”, states, “Even among the most devout only a few are willing to plumb the depths of Golgotha’s real significance. We are mostly occupied with the outward evidences of His dying. That does not disturb us nearly so much. But to endure the heart-breaking, soul-lacerating examination of His conflict with Sin, Satan, and the Sentence of Death, none seem to be willing to do.”

Golgotha! Here our Lord came to the climax of those things done in order that others might live. Nothing was left Him but a cross whereon He could die. And this amid the mocking laughter of His slanderers. Look to the Cross of Christ, where the Christ heard those words of mockery, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” How very true they were, little did those who said them realize what a profound truth they were uttering. For therein was the truth of His dying, in order to save others He could not save Himself! He paid the final price on the Cross and then He knew that the debt for man’s redemption was paid up in full. He was free then to utter the words, “It is finished!” It was a thunderous cry of victory over the prince of the world and his cohorts.

We sing about the Cross and we speak of it—but do we think deeply in considering the humiliation He suffered there? How little are our thoughts directed towards developing heartfelt understanding of His sacrifice on the Cross. What He suffered there for our sakes, what He did there made the precious gift of eternal life for you and for me!

We need to think more of the scene of Golgotha and let it be a continual remembrance to us of the precious blood He shed, we need to see that Cross in which we find our glory.

We need to examine our hearts before Him and ask Him, with the Psalmist of old, “Search me 0 God and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” We need to remember what He did for us and ask ourselves the question: “What are we doing for Him?” Are we willing to renounce all for His sake? Are we willing to be humiliated by the world as we testify for Him? Are we willing to give up whatever is necessary in order to walk to His glory? Blessed Redeemer, Precious Redeemer is our cry—what do our lives testify?

Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 3 No. 27 (March 1963)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

Tags:

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

Q. 24. How does Christ execute the office of a prophet?

A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.

Scripture References: John 1:1-4; John 15:15; John 20:31; II Pet. 1:21; John 14:26.

Questions:

1. Is Christ called a “prophet” in Scripture and if so, why?

He is called a prophet in Acts 3 :22. He is called a prophet because He has made a full revelation of the whole counsel of God.

2. How does Christ reveal to us the will of God?

He reveals God’s will to us in two ways: outwardly, by His Word and o inwardly, by His Spirit.

3. What is the word of Christ?

The word of Christ is the whole Bible, the Scripture, containing the Old and New Testaments.

4. How can it be that the whole Scripture is the word of Christ since His words constitute only a small portion of it?

The whole Bible is called the word of Christ because those who wrote it wrote the word they had from the Spirit of Christ (1 Pet. 1:10-11)

5. Is it possible to be saved simply by means of the Word of God without the Spirit?

No, it is not possible to be saved simply through the Word apart from the Spirit. The teaching concerning this is found in I Cor. 2: 14.

6. Is it possible to be saved by the Spirit apart from the Word?

There is a difference here from the previous question in that the Word can not save you apart from the Spirit and the Spirit will not save you apart from the Word. The Bible teaches that the whole will of God necessary to our salvation is revealed in His Word.

7. How does the Spirit of Christ make us wise unto salvation?

The Spirit of Christ makes us wise unto salvation by opening up our understandings, for the entrance of His word gives us light so that the soul is enabled to see the way of salvation and the way offered.

THE WORD AND OUR SALVATION

Every once in a while the Christian is called upon to present a defense of the position that the knowledge for man’s salvation comes only from the Word of God. This defense is necessary for many sects and heretical groups deny the teaching and insist upon their belief in the man-made doctrine that God has and does save and reveal His will apart from the Word of God.

The poet put the truth very well when he said:

“The starry firmament on high
And all the glories of the sky
Yet shine not to thy praise, a Lord,
So brightly as thy written word.

“Almighty Lord, the sun shall fail,
The moon forget her nightly tale,
And deepest silence hush on high,
The radiant chorus of the sky;

“But, fixed for everlasting years,
Unmoved amid the wreck of spheres,
Thy word shall shine in cloudless day,
When heaven and earth have passed away.”

There are many today who insist that salvation can be obtained apart from the Word of God. It is the modern, popular way to believe today to Lay aside the Scriptures and discover the way to God through self, with philosophical or mystical overtones. The Reformed faith stands in opposition to this. In one of the Reformed catechisms the question is asked: “Whence do you know your misery?” The answer is: “Out of the law of God.” (Heidelberg Catechism, Question No. 3). The mirror is ever present with us, the mirror of the Word of God, and because it is the revelation of God it shows us our sin.

The danger to the church today is from those who profess Christ but who do not take the Word of God seriously. There are too many Christians who do not read it, study it, or fill their very hearts and minds with it. Humanly speaking, if it were possible to receive all the answers to life by a human means that could be gathered together in a small book we would never be found without it. And yet that is exactly what we have in the Word of God. In it we have our salvation and all that is necessary for us to please God and therefore enjoy Him forever.

Published By:
THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 2 No. 24 (December, 1962)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

 

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