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Lord’s Day 21

54. What do you believe concerning the “holy catholic Church?”

That out of the whole human race,1 from the beginning to the end of the world,2 the Son of God,3 by His Spirit and Word,4 gathers, defends, and preserves for Himself5unto everlasting life a chosen communion6 in the unity of the true faith;7 and that I am and forever shall remain a living member of this communion.8

1 Gen 26:4; Rev 5:9; 2 Isa 59:21; Jn 10:10; 1 Cor 11:26; 3 Jn 10:11; Acts 20:28; Eph 1:10-13, 4:11-13; Col 1:18; 4 Isa 59:21; Rom 1:16, 10:14-17; Eph 5:26; 5 Ps 129:1-5; Mt 16:18; Jn 10:28-30; 6 Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:3-14, 4:3-6; 7 Ps 71:18; Jn 10:28-30; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Cor 1:8-9, 11:26; 8 Ps 23:6; Jn 10:27-28; 1 Cor 1:4-9; Gal 3:28; 1 Pt 1:3-5; 1 Jn 2:19, 3:14, 19-21

55. What do you understand by the “communion of saints?”

First, that believers, one and all, as members of the Lord Jesus Christ, are partakers with Him in all His treasures and gifts;1 second, that each one must feel himself bound to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the advantage and welfare of other members.2

1 Rom 8:32; 1 Cor 6:17, 12:4-7, 12-13; 1 Jn 1:3; 2 Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:12-13, 20-27, 13:1-7; Php 2:4-8; Heb 3:14

56. What do you believe concerning the “forgiveness of sins?”

That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction,1 will no more remember my sins, nor the sinful nature with which I have to struggle all my life long;2 but graciously imputes to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may nevermore come into condemnation.3

1 1 Jn 2:2; 2 Ps 103:3, 10-12; Jer 31:34; Mic 7:18-19; Rom 7:21-25, 8:1-4; 2 Cor 5:18-21; 1 Jn 1:7, 2:2; 3 Jn 3:17-18, 5:24; Rom 4:7-8, 7:18, 8:1-2; Eph 1:7

Lord’s Day 22

57. What comfort do you receive from the “resurrection of the body?”

That not only my soul after this life shall be immediately taken up to Christ its Head,1 but also that this my body, raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul, and made like the glorious body of Christ.2

1 Lk 16:21, 23:43; Php 1:21-23; 2 Job 19:25-27; 1 Cor 15:20, 42-46, 53-54; Php 3:21; 1 Jn 3:2

58. What comfort do you receive from the article “life everlasting?”

That, inasmuch as I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy,1 I shall after this life possess complete blessedness, such as eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man,2 therein to praise God forever.3

1 Jn 17:3; Rom 14:17; 2 2 Cor 5:2-3;  1 Cor 2:9; 3 Jn 17:24; Rom 8:23; 1 Pt 1:8

Justification

Lord’s Day 23

59. What does it help you now, that you believe all this?

That I am righteous in Christ before God, and an heir of eternal life.1

1 Hab 2:4; Jn 3:36; Rom 1:17, 5:1-2, 8:16; Tit 3:7

60. How are you righteous before God?

Only by true faith in Jesus Christ:1 that is, although my conscience accuses me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them,2 and am still prone always to all evil;3 yet God, without any merit of mine,4 of mere grace,5 grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction,6righteousness, and holiness of Christ,7 as if I had never committed nor had any sins, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me;8 if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.9

1 Rom 3:21-28; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9; Php 3:8-11; 2 Rom 3:9-10; 3 Rom 7:23; 4 Dt 9:6; Ezek 36:22; Tit 3:4-5; 5 Rom 3:24; Eph 2:8; 6 1 Jn 2:2; 7 Rom 4:3-5; 2 Cor 5:17-19; 1 Jn 2:1; 8 Rom 4:24-25; 2 Cor 5:21; 9 Jn 3:18; Acts 16:30-31; Rom 3:22, 28, 10:10

61. Why do you say that you are righteous by faith only?

Not that I am acceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith, but because only the satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ is my righteousness before God;1 and I can receive the same and make it my own in no other way than by faith only.2

1 1 Cor 1:30-31, 2:2; 2 Isa 53:5; Rom 4:16, 10:10; Gal 3:22; 1 Jn 5:10-12

Lord’s Day 24

62. But why cannot our good works be the whole or part of our righteousness before God?

Because the righteousness which can stand before the judgment seat of God, must be perfect throughout and entirely conformable to the divine law,1 but even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.2

1 Deut 27:26; Gal 3:10; 2 Isa 64:6; Php 3:12; Jas 2:10

63. Do our good works merit nothing, even though it is God’s will to reward them in this life and in that which is to come?

The reward comes not of merit, but of grace.1

1 Mt 5:12; Lk 17:10; Rom 11:6; 2 Tim 4:7-8; Heb 11:6

64. But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?

No, for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.1

1 Mt 7:18; Lk 6:43-45; Jn 15:5; Rom 6:1-2

The Sacraments

Lord’s Day 25

65. Since, then, we are made partakers of Christ and all His benefits by faith only, where does this faith come from?

The Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts1 by the preaching of the Holy Gospel,2 and confirms it by the use of the holy sacraments.3

1 Jn 3:5; Rom 10:17; 1 Cor 2:10-14; Eph 2:8; Php 1:29; 2 Rom 10:17; 1 Pt 1:23-25; 3Mt 28:19-20; Rom 4:11; 1 Cor 10:16

66. What are the sacraments?

The sacraments are visible holy signs and seals appointed by God for this end, that by their use He may the more fully declare and seal to us the promise of the Gospel,1 namely, that of free grace He grants us the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life for the sake of the one sacrifice of Christ accomplished on the cross.2

1 Gen 17:11; Deut 30:6; Ezek 20:12; Rom 4:11; Heb 9:8-9; 2 Mt 26:27-28; Acts 2:38; Heb 10:10

67. Are both the Word and the sacraments designed to direct our faith to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as the only ground of our salvation?

Yes, truly, for the Holy Spirit teaches in the Gospel and assures us by the holy sacraments, that our whole salvation stands in the one sacrifice of Christ made for us on the cross.1

1 Acts 2:41-42; Rom 6:3; 1 Cor 11:26; Gal 3:27; Heb 9:12

68. How many sacraments has Christ instituted in the New Testament?

Two: Holy Baptism1 and the Holy Supper.2

1 Mt 28:19-20; 2 1 Cor 11:23-26

Baptism

Lord’s Day 26

69. How is it signified and sealed to you in Holy Baptism that you have part in the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross?

Thus: that Christ instituted this outward washing with water 1 and joined to it this promise, that I am washed with His blood and Spirit from the pollution of my soul, that is, from all my sins, as certainly as I am washed outwardly with water, whereby commonly the filthiness of the body is taken away.2

1 Mt 28:19-20; Acts 2:38; 2 Mt 3:11; Mk 1:4; Jn 1:33; Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3-4; 1 Pt 3:21

70. What is it to be washed with the blood and Spirit of Christ?

It is to have the forgiveness of sins from God through grace, for the sake of Christ’s blood, which He shed for us in His sacrifice on the cross;1 and also to be renewed by the Holy Spirit and sanctified to be members of Christ, so that we may more and more die unto sin and lead holy and unblamable lives.2

1 Ezek 36:25-27; Zech 13:1; Eph 1:7; Heb 12:24; 1 Pt 1:2; Rev 1:5, 7:14; 2 Jn 1:33, 3:5-8; Rom 6:4; 1 Cor 6:11, 12:13; Col 2:11-12; Heb 9:14

71. Where has Christ promised that we are as certainly washed with His blood and Spirit as with the water of Baptism?

In the institution of Baptism, which says: “Go therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.1 He that believes and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.”2 This promise is also repeated where Scripture calls Baptism the washing of regeneration3 and the washing away of sins.4

1 Mt 28:19; 2 Mk 16:16; 3 Tit 3:5; 4 Acts 22:16

Lord’s Day 27

72. Is, then, the outward washing with water itself the washing away of sins?

No,1 for only the blood of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sin.2

1 Eph 5:26; 1 Pt 3:21; 2 Mt 3:11; 1 Cor 6:11; 1 Pt 3:21; 1 Jn 1:7

73. Why then does the Holy Spirit call Baptism the washing of regeneration and the washing away of sins?

God speaks thus with great cause, namely, not only to teach us thereby that just as the filthiness of the body is taken away by water, so our sins are taken away by the blood and Spirit of Christ;1 but much more, that by this divine pledge and token He may assure us that we are as really washed from our sins spiritually as our bodies are washed with water.2

1 1 Cor 6:11; Rev 1:5, 7:14; 2 Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27

74. Are infants also to be baptised?

Yes, for since they, as well as their parents, belong to the covenant and people of God,1 and through the blood of Christ2 both redemption from sin and the Holy Spirit, who works faith, are promised to them no less than to their parents,3 they are also by Baptism, as a sign of the covenant, to be ingrafted into the Christian Church, and distinguished from the children of unbelievers,4 as was done in the Old Testament by circumcision,5 in place of which in the New Testament Baptism is appointed.6

1 Gen 17:7; 2 Mt 19:14; 3 Ps 22:10; Isa 44:1-3; Lk 1:14-15; Acts 2:38-39, 16:31; 4 Acts 10:47; 1 Cor 7:14; 5 Gen 17:9-14; 6 Col 2:11-13

contd.

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