Of God The Holy Ghost

20  Lord's Day

Question  53
What dost thou believe concerning the Holy Ghost?

A. First, that He is true and coeternal God with the Father and the Son;(1) secondly, that He is also given me,(2) to make me by a true faith, partaker of Christ and all His benefits,(3) that He may comfort me(4) and abide with me for ever.(5)

(1) Gen 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Is  48:16  Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: 
and now the Lord GOD, and His Spirit, hath sent me.
1 Cor 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that  the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

(2) Matt 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, andof the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
2 Cor 1:22  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

(3) Gal 3:14  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
1 Pet 1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

(4) Acts 9:31  Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

(5) John 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever.
1 Pet 4:14  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.

Additional Questions:

1. What is the catechism now considering?  
It speaks of God the Holy Ghost and our sanctification.

2. Who is the Holy Ghost?
He is the third Person in the divine being, coequal with the Father and the Son.

3. How can His divinity be proved? 
By His names, attributes, works, and honor.

4. Is He a power or is He a Person? 
He is a Person, for He is expressly called Another (John 14:16).

5. What is the meaning of the expression, "that He is also given me"? 
By nature nobody possesses the Spirit, but the Spirit is bestowed in His Person and works.

6. What does the Spirit do in the heart?  
He makes one partaker of Christ and all His benefits by a true faith.

7. Why is He called Comforter? 
Comforter signifies one who administers help and comfort. He is the Interpreter in the heart, the Intercessor who prays to God for Godís people (Hebrews 7:25).

8. Do Godís people need this Comforter?  
When they are uncovered to their sins and sinful nature, it is the Spirit who directs them to the blood of atonement.

9. Is the work of the Holy Ghost a changeable work in the heart?
No, for the Holy Ghost abides for ever in the church; "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29).

10. Can we sin against the Holy Ghost?  
Yes, we can resist, grieve, vex, and blaspheme Him.

21  Lord's Day

Question  54
What believest thou concerning the "holy catholic church" of Christ?

A. That the Son of God(1) from the beginning to the end of the world,(2) gathers,(3) defends, and preserves to Himself(4) by His Spirit and Word,(5) out of the whole human race,(6) a Church chosen to everlasting life,(7) agreeing in true faith; and that I am  and forever shall remain,  a living member thereof.(8)

(1) John 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.

(2) Gen 26:4  And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

(3) Rom 9:24  Even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Eph 1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.

(4) John 10:16  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

(5)  Isa 59:21  As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

(6) Deut 10:14  Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD's Thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.
Deut 10:15  Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and He chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.

(7) Acts 13:48  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

(8) 1 Cor 1:8  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 1:9  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Additional Questions:

1. What do we mean by the holy catholic church of Christ? 
It is the church of Christ which is gathered by His Spirit and Word out of the entire human race.

2. Why is it called holy? 
Because it is holy in Christ, and is sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

3. Who is the Head of the church?  
Christ is the Head of the church (Ephesians 5:23).

4. When does Christ gather His church?
From the beginning to the end of the world.

5. What is the church militant?
It is Godís church on earth, which has to continually strive against the world, the devil, and oneís own flesh.

6. What is the church in heaven called?  
It is called the church triumphant, because there all has been conquered.

7. What is the unifying element into which the Son of God gathers His church? 
They all agree in true faith.

8. In regard to this church, what must each person seek to know?
Whether he is a living member of this church.

Question  55
What do you understand by "the communion of saints"?

A. First, that all and every one who believes, being members of Christ, are in common, partakers of Him, and of all His riches and gifts;(1) secondly, that every one must know it to be his duty, readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members.(2)

(1) 1 John 1:3  That which we have seen and heard declare we   unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:4  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
Rom 8:32  He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up  for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
1 Cor 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

(2) 1 Cor 13:5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.
Philip 2:4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Philip 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Philip 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.

Additional Questions:

1. In what does the communion of saints consist?

(a) They all have communion with the Lord Christ and have all His riches and gifts;
(b) Each must know it to be his duty to employ his gifts for the advantage and salvation of other members.

2. What is meant here by the word saints?  
It means Godís church here on earth, thus the church militant.

3. How ought they to employ their gifts?  
Willingly and with cheerfulness.

4. What are the gifts which are meant here?  
They are all those gifts which Godís children may receive by grace, thus personal and official, as well as gifts unto salvation.

Question  56
What believest thou concerning "the forgiveness of sins"?

A. That God, for the sake of Christ's satisfaction,(1) will no more remember my sins, neither my corrupt nature, against which I have to struggle all my life long; but will graciously impute to me the righteousness of Christ,(2) that I may never be condemned before the tribunal of God.(3)

(1) 1 John 2:2  And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
2 Cor 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2 Cor 5:21  For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

(2) Jer 31:34  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Psa  103:3  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy
diseases;
Psa  103:4  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Psa  103:10  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Psa  103:11  For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

(3) John 3:18  He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Additional Questions:

1. Who forgives sin? 
God only.

2. For whose sake are sins forgiven?  
Only for the sake of Christís satisfaction.

3. In what does the forgiveness of sins consist?  
That God will no more remember the sins, and by grace imputes the righteousness of Christ.

4. What does each upright believer experience?  
That throughout his entire life he has to strive against all his sins and his sinful nature.

5. What is the consequence of the forgiveness of sins? 
That Godís people will never be condemned before the tribunal of God.

22  Lord's Day

Question  57
What comfort does the "resurrection of the body" afford thee?

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

(1) Luke 23:43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee,   To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.
Philip 1:23  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to
depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.

(2) 1 Cor 15:53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Job 19:25  For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
Job 19:26  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

Additional Questions:

1. What does the catechism say regarding the soul after death? 
It states that the soul of Godís people shall immediately be taken up to Christ its Head.

2. What is it that is clearly confessed here?  
That the soul is immortal.

3. What is expressed by the word "immediately"? 
That there is no purgatory. "To day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise."

4. To what do the words, "also, that this my body" refer? 
That the same body which dies is raised again.

5. By what means will the resurrection of the body take place? 
By the power of Christ.

6. What will the situation of the bodies of the ungodly be?  They shall arise to an eternal horror.

7. What those of the righteous? 
They shall be conformed to the glorious image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

Question  58
What comfort takest thou from the article of "life everlasting"?

A. That since I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy,(1) after this life I shall inherit perfect salvation,(2) which "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man" to conceive,(3) and that, to praise God therein for ever.

(1) 2 Cor 5:2  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.
2 Cor 5:3  If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
2 Cor 5:6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.
Rom 14:7  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

(2) Psa  10:11  He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.

(3) 1 Cor 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.

Additional Questions:

1. When does eternal life begin? 
At the time of regeneration, when the dead sinner is made alive.

2. In what way is eternal life already experienced here? 
By the feeling of the beginning of eternal joy in the heart.

3. Of what is this beginning of eternal joy a pledge?  
It is a pledge of the perfect salvation which shall be received after this life.

4. What does the catechism say of the perfect salvation?  That it is a salvation which no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and which has never entered into the heart of man to conceive.

5. For what purpose is this all granted?  
In order to thank and praise God there forever.

23  Lord's Day

Question  59
But what does it profit thee now that thou believest all this?

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

(1) Rom 5:1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 1:17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Additional Questions:

1. For what is the catechism asking here?  
It asks for the fruit of saving faith.

2. What is that fruit? 
It is that I am righteous before God in Christ and an heir of eternal life.

3. What does Godís Word mean by the expression, "being declared righteous" [or justified]? 
It signifies acquittal and is the opposite of condemnation.

4. How was man created? 
He was created in the image of God, which consisted in true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.

5. What did man become because of the fall?  
He became guilty before God, because in Adam he transgressed.

6. What benefits do Godís people receive in Christ? 
They receive acquittal from guilt and punishment and a right to eternal life.

Question  60
How are thou righteous before God?

A. Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ;(1) so that, though my conscience accuse me, that I have grossly transgressed all the commandments of God, and kept none of them,(2) and am still inclined to all evil;(3) notwithstanding, God, without any merit of mine,(4) but only of mere grace, 5) grants(6) and imputes to me,(7) the perfect satisfaction,  righteousness and holiness of Christ;(8)  even so, as if I never had had, nor committed any sin: yea, as if I had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for me;(9) inasmuch as I embrace such benefit with  a believing heart.(10)

(1) Rom 3:22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.
Gal 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in  Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(2) Rom 3:9  What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.

(3) Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the  law of sin which is in my members.

(4) Rom 3:24  Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

(5) Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God.
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(6) Rom 4:4  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
2 Cor 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

(7) 1 John 2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

(8) Rom 3:24  Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

(9) 2 Cor 5:21  For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

(10) Rom 3:28  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
John 3:18  He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that
believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Additional Questions:

1. Who justifies the sinner?  
God the Father, as Judge.

2. Who is he that is justified?  
An ungodly sinner, who deserves eternal death and is still inclined to all evil.

3. How does he become justified?  
Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ.

4. What is the basis of this justification? 
The obedience accomplished by Christ.

5. How is this granted to the sinner?
Only of mere grace, without any merit.

6. What is the difference between justification and sanctification?
(a) Justification takes place outside of man, and sanctification within us;
(b) Justification removes the guilt, and sanctification removes the pollution of sin;
(c) Justification is complete, but sanctification here in this life is only partial.

7. To what extent is the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ granted and imputed to Godís children?  It is as if they never had sin nor committed any sin, yes, as if they themselves had fully accomplished all that obedience which Christ has accomplished for them.

8. Do all Godís children have a conscious certainty of it?  No, only inasmuch as they embrace such benefit with a believing heart.

Question  61
Why sayest thou that thou art righteous by faith only?

A. Not that I am acceptable to God, on account of the worthiness  of my faith,(1) but because only the satisfaction, righteousness,  and holiness of Christ is my righteousness before God;(2) and    that I cannot receive and apply the same to myself any other way than by faith only.(3)

(1) Psa  16:2   O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee.
Eph 2:8 
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(2) 1 Cor 1:30  But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
1 Cor 2:2 
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

(3) I John 5:10  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

Additional Questions:

1. On what basis is the sinner declared righteous?  
By faith only.

2. Does the basis of justification then lie in his faith? 
No, for the catechism says, Not that I am acceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith.

3. What is then the basis of it? 
Only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ.

4. How then does faith function? 
As a hand by which the granted righteousness is received and applied.

24  Lord's Day

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

A. Because that the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect,  and in all respects conformable to the divine law;(1) and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.(2)

(1) Gal 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not  in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Deut 27:26  Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.

(2) Isa 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf;  and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Additional Questions:

1. What does the catechism teach us in this Lordís day? 
That our good works are not meritorious before God.

2. What are good works? 
They are works which proceed from a true faith and are performed according to the law of God and to His glory.

3. Who are those that maintain that good works are meritorious? 
Pelagians, Roman Catholics, and Modernists.

4. Why cannot good works have any merit?  
Because the righteousness which has value before God must be absolutely perfect before God, and the best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.

Question  63
What! do not our good works merit, which yet God will reward in this and in a future life?

A. This reward is not of merit, but of grace.(1)

(1) Luke 17:10  So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Additional Questions:

1. What argument is used to defend the claim that good works do have merit? 
It is that Godís Word often speaks of rewards; for example, see Genesis 15:1 and Matthew 6:1.

2. How must this then be understood?  
It must not be understood as a reward because of merit, but as a reward of grace.

3. Why can no mention ever be made of reward because of merit? 
It is because man is obliged to perfectly obey God, and an obligation does not merit.

4. What must then be said of this? 
It must be said that the Lord by free grace rewards good works in this and in a future life.

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

A.  By no means: for it is impossible that those, who are implanted into Christ by a true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.(1)

(1) Matt 7:18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
John 15:5   I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.

Additional Questions:

1. By whom is this doctrine of justification by faith misused?  By Antinomians, or those who oppose the preaching of the law.

2. What do they maintain? 
They say, "Let us sin that grace may abound."

3. What is the accusation which is presented?  
That the doctrine of justification by faith only makes men careless and profane.

4. How is this accusation refuted? 
By the fact that it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by a true faith should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.

5. What does Godís Word say regarding this?  
"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:26).