All Articles For Believing and Confessing

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Previous article in this series: April 15, 2020, p. 327. Man Is Not Capable of Good Per Se In regard to goodness and virtue man’s reason does not judge rightly of itself concerning divine things. For the evangelical and apostolic Scripture requires regeneration of whoever among us wishes to be saved. Hence our first birth from Adam contributes nothing to our salvation. Paul says: “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:14). And in another place he denies that we of our­selves are capable of thinking anything good (2 Cor. 3:5). Now...

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In days of pestilence and its resulting trouble, warranted is the apostle’s admonition that we “be not soon shaken in mind” (2 Thess. 2:2). When tempted to broadcast our opinions on said pestilence and its effects, the caution of Proverbs 29:11 is also in order: “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” Fear and turmoil will fill the soul of the man whose nose is fixed to his newsfeed. “Perfect peace” is the blessing for the man, woman, or child “whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isa. 26:3). The mind is a...

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Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 42 Question 110. What doth God forbid in the eighth commandment? Answer. God forbids not only those thefts and robberies which are punishable by the magistrate; but He comprehends under the name of theft all wicked tricks and devices whereby we design to appropriate to ourselves the goods which belong to our neighbor, whether it be by force, or under the appearance of right, as by unjust weights, ells, measures, fraudulent merchandise, false coins, usury, or by any other way forbidden by God; as also all covetousness, all abuse and waste of His gifts. Question 111....

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Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 43 Q. What is required in the ninth commandment? A. That I bear false witness against no man, nor falsify any man’s words; that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer; that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly or unheard; but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit as the proper works of the devil, unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God; likewise, that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; also that I defend and...

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In this matter, which has always produced many conflicts in the Church, we teach that a threefold condition or state of man is to be considered. What Man Was Before the Fall. There is the state in which man was in the beginning before the fall, namely, upright and free, so that he could both continue in goodness and decline to evil. However, he declined to evil, and has involved himself and the whole human race in sin and death, as has been said already. The threefold condition of man is his condition before the Fall, his condition after the...

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Lord’s Day 41 Question 108. What doth the seventh commandment teach us? Answer. That all uncleanness is accursed of God; and that therefore we must with all our hearts detest the same, and live chastely and temperately, whether in holy wedlock or in single life. Question 109. Doth God forbid in this commandment, only adultery and such like gross sins? Answer. Since both our body and soul are temples of the Holy Ghost, He commands us to preserve them pure and holy; therefore He forbids all unchaste actions, gestures, words, thoughts, desires, and whatever can entice men thereto. In a...

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Previous article in this series: May 15, 2019, p. 375. The Sects We therefore condemn all who have taught con­trary to this, especially Pelagius and all Pelagians, together with the Jovinians who, with the Stoics, re­gard all sins as equal. In this whole matter we agree with St. Augustine who derived and defended his view from Holy Scriptures. Moreover, we condemn Florinus and Blastus, against whom Irenaeus wrote, and all who make God the author of sin. The last several paragraphs of chapter 8 of the Second Helvetic Confession, are concerned with various denials of the doctrine of the fall...

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Previous article in this series: April 15, 2019, p. 330. Death By death we understand not only bodily death, which all of us must once suffer on account of sins, but also eternal punishment due to our sins and corruption. For the apostle says: “Who were dead in trespasses and sins…and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy…even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:1ff). Also: “Wherefore, as by one man sin en­tered into the world, and death by sin; and so death...

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Previous article in this series: February 1, 2019, p. 208. The fall of man In the beginning, man was made according to the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness, good and upright. But when at the instigation of the serpent and by his own fault he abandoned goodness and righteousness, he became subject to sin, death, and various calamities. And what he became by the fall, that is, subject to sin, death, and various calamities, so are all those who have descended from him. The main subject of Second Helvetic Confession, Chapter 8, is the fall of man...

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Previous article in this series: December 1, 2018, p. 112. Of man Now concerning man, Scripture says that in the beginning he was made good according to the im­age and likeness of God; that God placed him in Paradise and made all things subject to him (Gen., ch. 2). This is what David magnificently sets forth in Psalm 8. Moreover, God gave him a wife and blessed them. We also affirm that man consists of two different substances in one person: an immor­tal soul which, when separated from the body, nei­ther sleeps nor dies, and a mortal body which will...

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