Essentials of Reformed Doctrine
by Rev. H. Hoeksema
1. The Knowledge of God
2. Holy Scripture
3. God's Essence and Names
4. God's Incommunicable Attributes
5. God's Communicable Attributes
6. The Holy Trinity
7. God's Work in Eternity
9. God's Providence
10. Man in the State of Original Righteousness
11. The Fall of Man
12. The Mediator and His Names
13. The Natures of the Mediator
14. The Offices of the Mediator
15. The State of Humiliation
16. The State of Humiliation (continued)
17. The State of Exaltation
18. The Covenant of Grace
20. The Calling
21. Saving Faith
24. The Church
25. The Means of Grace
27. The Lord's Supper
28. The Death of Believers
29. The Second Coming of the Lord
30. The End of this Age
The Athanasian Creed
The Creed ofChalcedon
This book is a revision of Rev. Herman Hoeksema’s Essentials of Reformed Doctrine. It is not, therefore, an entirely new book. Much of what was originally contained in the old book has been retained. Chiefly, an effort was made to make the question and answer section somewhat more comprehensive and to make the extra work appended to each lesson easier to do. The goal of the extra work is to encourage the catechumens to become acquainted with Scripture, our creeds, and some of our Protestant Reformed literature.
The lessons are somewhat longer than in the older edition, and the catechete will probably find that it is impossible to cover all the lesson in one session. It is advisable that two weeks be spent on each lesson, therefore, and the work of each lesson can be divided accordingly for the catechumen. In the written work, the students are occasionally asked to consult material in Ready to Give an Answer. The pertinent material can also be found in Rev. Hoeksema’s Reformed Dogmatics by consulting the index.
Our hope is that this revision will suit better the needs of the catechism class and that God will bless these efforts so that our covenant youth may grow up to know and love the truth of Scripture and our Reformed heritage.
Prof. H. Hanko
The Knowledge of God
1. What is above all things precious?
The knowledge of the true God through Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Jeremiah 9:23, 24
2. Why is this knowledge so important?
To know God through Jesus Christ is to have eternal life. John 17:3
4. Does God make Himself known to the wicked?
Yes, God shows through creation that He is God and that He must be served, so that the wicked may be without excuse. Romans 1:20
5. Is there anything else that God makes known to the wicked?
God testifies in the conscience of every man concerning what is right and wrong. Romans 2:14, 15
6. Can this testimony of God lead to salvation?
No, for through this the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Romans 1:18
7. How does God reveal Himself to His people?
Through the Holy Scriptures, which reveal to us Christ, in whom alone is salvation. II Timothy 3:16, 17
8. Does then God also reveal Himself to His people through creation?
Yes, for in the light of Scripture we see that the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament His handiwork. Psalm 19:1
9. How else does God make Himself known to His people in time? God makes Himself known through history.
10. Can we acquire this knowledge of God by our own efforts?
No, the Holy Spirit must make these truths known to us through His work in our hearts. I Corinthians 2:10-12
3. Read carefully the Belgic Confession, Article 2 and write what this article says about God’s revelation.
4. Read carefully Romans 1:18-25 and answer the following questions:
5. Look up Psalm 14:1. Does this text teach that some men are Atheists? Explain your answer.
2. How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?
First, from the testimony of the Bible itself; secondly, from the testimony of the Spirit in our hearts. I John 5:6
3. What is meant by inspiration?
It is that act of God whereby He moved, illumined, and infallibly directed men to write the Word of God.
4. How did God perform the work of inspiration?
“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” II Peter 1:21
5. What are the attributes of Holy Scripture?
Infallibility, unity, perspicuity, authority, and sufficiency.
7. What is meant by the unity of Scripture?
That all Scripture is the one revelation of God in Jesus Christ as the God of our salvation. John 5:39
8. What is meant by the perspicuity of Scripture?
That through the operation of the Spirit, Scripture can be easily understood by God’s people unto their salvation.
9. What is meant by the authority of Scripture?
That Scripture is the only rule for our faith and our life. II Timothy 3:16, 17
10. What is meant by the sufficiency of Holy Scripture?
That Scripture fully contains the will of God for our salvation. Belgic Confession, Article 7
God’s Essence and Names
1. Wherein ought we to know God?
In His essence, names, attributes, Persons, and works.
2. What does Scripture reveal of God’s being or essence?
That He is a Spirit of infinite attributes subsisting in three Persons. John 4:24
3. Does Scripture tell us anything more of God’s essence?
Yes, Scripture tells us that God is both immanent and transcendent. Jeremiah 23:23, 24
4. What is meant by God’s transcendence?
That God is infinitely exalted above all His creation and that there is none like unto Him. I Kings 8:27
5. What is meant by God’s immanence?
That God is present with His whole being in every part of the creation. Acts 17:27, 28
6. Does Scripture tell us that God has names?
Yes, although His names are not like our names, for there is no being like God. Isaiah 40:25
7. What is the importance of God’s names?
They are the revelations of some of God’s attributes to us. Psalm 111:9
8. What are the most important names of God?
The names God and Jehovah. Exodus 34:6
9. What does the name Jehovah mean?
That God is the eternally unchangeable God of His covenant. Malachi 3:6
10. Why does God give Himself names?
That we may speak to Him and about Him with reverence. Psalm 50:15
God’s Incommunicable Attributes
1. What are the attributes of God?
They are the infinite perfections of His divine being that reveal to us who and what God is. I Peter 2:9
2. How are God’s attributes generally distinguished?
They are distinguished as communicable and incommunicable attributes.
3. What is meant by that distinction?
Since we are created in the image of God, some attributes are reflected in us. These are called communicable attributes.
4. Which are God’s incommunicable attributes?
His oneness, simplicity, independency, infinity, and immutability.
6. What is meant by God’s simplicity?
That God is indivisible and not composed and that His attributes are one in Him. Mark 12:29
9. What is meant by God’s immutability?
That God never changes in His own being or in any of His works and ways. Malachi 3:6
10. Why does God reveal His incommunicable attributes to us?
That we may know that He is highly exalted above all and that He alone ought to be praised. Jeremiah 10:6, 7
God’s Communicable Attributes
1. How can God’s communicable attributes be divided?
Into those that belong to God’s knowledge, His will, and His power.
2. Which attributes belong to His knowledge?
His omniscience, according to which God perfectly and continuously knows all things, and His wisdom.
3. Which attributes belong to God’s will?
His goodness, holiness, truth, and righteousness.
4. Which attributes belong to God’s goodness?
His love, grace, mercy, and longsuffering.
5. Whom does God love?
God loves Himself as the highest good and all His creatures for His own name’s sake. I John 4:8
6. How then can God love the reprobate wicked?
He cannot, for the Scriptures teach that the curse of God is in the house of the wicked. Proverbs 3:33
7. How then can God love His people who are also sinners?
He loves them not as sinners, but as those whom He chose in Christ and justified through Him. Ephesians 1:4
8. What is God’s grace?
It is His attitude of undeserved favor towards His people in Christ and the power whereby He saves them. Romans 11:6
The Holy Trinity
1. What is meant by the truth of the Trinity?
That God is one in being and three in Persons. I John 5:7
2. How is God both one in being and three in Persons?
There are three divine individuals, each subsisting in His own personally distinct manner in the one divine being.
3. Who are these three Persons?
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19
4. Where is this doctrine of three Persons taught in Scripture?
There are many texts that speak of a plurality of persons, as: Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 19:24; Psalm 110:1. The three Persons are often distinctly mentioned in the New Testament, as in the Baptism Formula and the apostolic benediction.
6. Why are these Persons called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
Because in these names their distinct personal properties are indicated.
7. What is the distinct personal property of each of these divine Persons?
Of the Father that He generates the Son; of the Son that He is generated by the Father; of the Holy Spirit that He proceeds from both the Father and the Son. John 14:26; 15:26; Galatians 4:6; John 1:14; Psalm 2:7
8. Of what significance is this doctrine of the Trinity?
That God triune dwells in perfect covenant fellowship with Himself and establishes a covenant relationship with us. Genesis 17:1, 7
9. Does each Person have His own work in creation and salvation?
No, the triune God creates, redeems, and sanctifies. Jonah 2:9
God’s Work in Eternity
1. How are God’s works which He performs outside Himself divided?
Between His works which He performs in time and those which He performs in eternity. Acts 15:18
2. What are His works in eternity?
His eternal decrees. Ephesians 1:3, 4
3. What are God’s decrees?
His eternal counsel, according to which He works all things. Ephesians 1:11
4. Does Scripture use other words to refer to God’s decrees?
Yes, His counsel, will, purpose, and good pleasure. Ephesians 1:9, 11
5. What attributes does Scripture give to God’s counsel?
Scripture teaches that God’s counsel is eternal, sovereignly free, independent, unchangeable, efficacious, all-comprehensive, wise, and good. Romans 11:33-36; Hebrews 6:17
8. What is the decree of predestination?
God’s eternal counsel with regard to the eternal state of His rational creatures, including election and reprobation. Romans 9:11-13
9. What is the decree of election?
The eternal, sovereign, and gracious good-pleasure of God to save to eternal glory some men through the means of faith in Christ. Ephesians 1:5, 6; II Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 8:29
10. What is the decree of reprobation?
The eternal, sovereign, and righteous good-pleasure of God to condemn others to eternal damnation on account of their sin. I Peter 2:8; Romans 9:17, 18; Proverbs 16:4
2. What does John 10:25, 26 teach concerning the relation between reprobation and unbelief?
4. Look up II Peter 1:10 and explain how we can make our election sure.
5. How does the First Point of common grace militate against the doctrine of predestination? Look up Ready to Give an Answer, pages 63-88, to help you find the answer.
6. Look up Romans 9:22, 23 and explain what according to this passage is God’s purpose in election and reprobation.
7. Look up the proof texts in answers 9 & 10 and show how they prove election and reprobation.
1. What is the first work of God in time?
The creation of the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1
2. What does it mean to create?
To create is that act of God whereby God, by the word of His power, called into existence the things that were not as though they were. Hebrews 11:3; Jeremiah 10:12; John 1:1-3; Psalm 33:6
3. What did God create?
All things: the heaven, the firmament, the earth, and all creatures in heaven and on earth. Genesis 1
4. In how long a period did God create all things?
In six days, limited by evening and morning. Exodus 20:11
5. What did God create on the first three days?
Light, the firmament, the seas, the dry land, and the whole world of plants and trees. Genesis 1:1-13
6. What did God create on the last three days?
The heavenly bodies, fish and birds, animals and man. Genesis 1:14-31
7. What does it mean that God rested on the seventh day?
First, that He ceased from the work of creation; and secondly, that He rejoiced in all the work which He had done. Genesis 2:1-3
8. What does it mean that God saw all that He had made, and it was very good?
That all creation was perfectly adapted to the purpose for which He had created it. Revelation 4:11
10. How are we able to understand this work?
By faith, for: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3
2. What is the providence of God?
The almighty and omnipresent power of God whereby He upholds all things and governs them according to His own counsel. Hebrews 1:3
3. What is included in the providence of God?
All things great and small, good and evil; all things in heaven, on earth, and in hell; all the acts of men and angels. Matthew 10:20, 29; Psalm 103:19; Proverbs 21:1; 16:1, 9
4. What distinctions may be made in the truth of providence?
6. What is government?
It is that act of God whereby He leads all things to the end which He has determined for them. Acts 15:18
7. If God governs men's actions, are they passive instruments in His hands?
No, but man remains a thinking, willing, and active agent and is responsible for all he does. Acts 2:23; Philippians 2:12, 13
Man in the State of Original Righteousness
1. What does Scripture teach us concerning the creation of man?
2. What is meant by the image of God in man?
That there is a reflection of some of God’s perfections in man’s nature, so that in a creaturely way he resembles God. Genesis 1:26, 27
4. Can you prove from Scripture that these elements belong to the image of God in man?
Yes, Ephesians 4:23, 24 teaches: “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
5. What was Adam’s relation to God?
Adam lived in a covenant relation in which he was God’s friend-servant. Hosea 6:7
6. What does this mean?
That Adam was at the same time both friend and servant of God in God’s creation.
7. What was his relation to the creation?
Adam had dominion over all creatures on the earth as their king. Genesis 1:28
8. What was his relation to the human race?
He was its first father and its representative head. I Corinthians 15:21
9. Did Adam have a free will?
Yes, Adam was created good, so that He was able to serve God perfectly; but he could also, by an act of his own will, turn against God into sin. Ecclesiastes 7:29
1. From Genesis 2:4-15 describe the garden in which God placed Adam.
2. Read Genesis 2:9, 16, 17 and answer the following questions:
4. Describe from Genesis 2:18, 21-25 how God created Eve and what this meant for Adam.
5. What is the importance of the tree of life as it is mentioned in Revelation 22:2?
6. If Adam had remained obedient, would he and the human race have been brought to the eternal state of heavenly glory? Cf. I Corinthians 15:50.
The Fall of Man
2. Was this sin a great offense?
4. Did Adam die immediately as God had said?
Yes, Adam was separated from God and banished from His presence in the garden, and he became by nature dead in sin and the object of God’s wrath. Ephesians 2:1; Romans 5:12
6. What is original guilt?
Original guilt is the imputation of Adam’s guilt to the whole human race. Romans 5:12
8. Is man capable of doing any good?
No, he is by nature inclined to all evil, and all his works are corrupted and polluted with sin. Psalm 51:5
9. How did God reveal His grace after the fall?
He gave the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, who would crush the head of the serpent. Genesis 3:15
1. Read Genesis 3:1-6 and answer the following questions:
4. Read in Ready to Give an Answer, pages 101, 137, the Second and Third Points of common grace and explain how they deny the truth of total depravity.
The Mediator and His Names
1. How does God save His people?
God saves His people by means of a true faith in the Mediator of the covenant of grace, our Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 8:6
2. Could not His people save themselves?
Absolutely not, for they could never satisfy God’s justice and atone for their own sin. Romans 4:5
3. Was such satisfaction necessary?
Certainly, for God cannot deny Himself; therefore, He can receive us into His covenant communion only if His justice is satisfied. Isaiah 53:11
4. But why could not fallen man satisfy God’s justice?
Because man is dead in sin and can only daily increase his guilt. Romans 6:23
5. Who gives us this Mediator?
He is from God, ordained by Him and given us of Him. I Corinthians 1:30. Hence, He is also called the Lamb of God.
6. Which are the most common names of the Mediator?
The names Jesus, Christ, and Lord. Acts 2:36
7. Does Scripture give other names of the Mediator?
Yes, there are many names given Him, some of which are: Son of God, Son of Man, Immanuel, Lamb of God, Lion of Judah’s tribe, Son of David. Matthew 27:43
8. Why is the Mediator called Jesus?
Because He delivers us from the power of sin and death and makes us partakers of eternal glory. Acts 4:12
9. What does the name Christ signify?
The name Christ means anointed of God: that He is ordained by God the Father and qualified by the Holy Spirit to be our Mediator. John 1:41
10. Why is He called Lord?
Because He redeemed and delivered us from the power of the devil and made us His own property. I Corinthians 6:19, 20
The Natures of the Mediator
1. How many natures does Christ have?
Two, Christ has a divine nature and a human nature. Romans 1:3, 4; 9:5
2. How are these two natures united?
They are united in the one Person of the Son of God. Mark 15:39
4. Why must Christ be truly God?
Because only one who is truly God can bear the burden of our sins and deliver us from them. Galatians 1:3, 4
5. Is Christ also true man?
Yes, for God sent His Son into the likeness of sinful flesh. Romans 8:3
6. What proof is there that Christ had a real human nature?
Christ had a real human body, Luke 24:39, and a real human soul, Matthew 26:38. He could hunger and thirst and feel sorrow and joy, John 19:28; John 11:35.
7. What more can you say of Christ’s human nature?
8. How did Christ become man?
Christ assumed the human nature through the power of the Holy Spirit and from the virgin Mary. Luke 1:35
9. Why did Christ have to be truly a man?
Because only a man can suffer for the sins which man committed. Exodus 21:23
10. What can you say as to the union of the two natures in Christ?
That the two natures of Christ exist in unity of divine Person, without division, change, mixture, or separation. John 7:26ff.
The Offices of the Mediator
1. To which office was Christ anointed?
To the threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King. Isaiah 61:1
2. What does Christ do as our Prophet?
He reveals to us the whole counsel of God with respect to our salvation. Matthew 11:25-27
3. Was Christ already our Prophet while on earth?
Yes, in His own Person and in His works He revealed God’s purpose in salvation. John 15:15
4. What does Christ do as our Prophet in heaven?
He continues to teach us by His Word and Spirit. John 14:26
5. What did Christ do as our Priest while on earth?
He offered Himself upon the cross for the sins of His people. Hebrews 9:14, 28
6. What is the power and value of that sacrifice?
It was a substitutionary sacrifice, by which He paid for all the sins of His people and secured their salvation. Romans 5:19; Hebrews 10:14; Ephesians 5:2
7. What does Christ do as our Priest in heaven?
He intercedes for us with the Father and blesses us with every spiritual blessing. Hebrews 2:17
8. What did Christ do as our King while on earth?
He destroyed all the powers of the devil and hell, of sin and death, by His perfect work on the cross. Colossians 2:15
9. What does He do now as our King?
Christ rules His church by His Word and Spirit. Ephesians 1:22, 23
10. Does He do anything else?
Yes, Christ protects His church against the assaults of the powers of darkness and brings His kingdom into final glory.
The State of Humiliation
1. How many states of the Mediator do we distinguish?
Two: the state of humiliation and the state of exaltation.
2. Which passage of Scripture clearly speaks of these two states?
Philippians 2:7-9, where Scripture teaches that Christ was highly exalted because He humbled Himself to the death of the cross.
3. What is the state of humiliation?
It is the state in which Christ humbled Himself in our flesh even unto death in order to merit salvation for us.
4. How many degrees are there in the state of humiliation?
Five: His lowly birth, His suffering, His death, His burial, and His descension into hell.
5. How was Christ’s birth a part of His humiliation?
He was born in abject poverty and was rejected of men. Isaiah 53:2, 3
8. Why was Christ’s suffering necessary?
He had to satisfy God’s justice and atone for our sins. Romans 5:8-11
The State of Humiliation (continued)
1. What is the third step in the state of humiliation?
Jesus’ death on the cross. Luke 23:46
2. What kind of death did Jesus die?
The death of the cross, which was an accursed death. Deuteronomy 21:23
3. Why did Jesus have to die the accursed death of the cross?
He had to bear God’s curse, which was upon us because of sin. Galatians 3:13
4. Was Jesus’ death like ours?
No, Jesus gave Himself to death in obedience to the Father.
5. Why did Jesus’ death have to be an act of His own?
Only in the way of obedience to the Father could Christ merit salvation for His people.
6. Why was Jesus buried?
He entered into our grave to show that He had overcome the power of death and destroyed the corruption of the grave for us. Psalm 16:9, 10
7. Why, then, must believers die?
The death of believers is only a passage to life and glory. II Corinthians 5:1
8. Why must the body of believers rest in the grave for a time?
Salvation and glory cannot be completed until the return of Christ and the creation of the new heavens and earth.
9. Did Jesus descend locally into hell?
No, He endured the torments of hell during all His sufferings, but especially on the cross.
The State of Exaltation
1. What is meant by the state of exaltation?
The state in which Christ in our flesh is exalted in highest glory in heaven. Romans 5:10
2. How many degrees do we distinguish in the state of exaltation?
Four: the resurrection, the ascension, the sitting at the right hand of God, and the return to judgment.
3. Did Christ rise with the same body which was laid in the grave?
Yes, but it was changed into a glorious and heavenly body.
5. What is the significance of the resurrection of Christ?
It is the proof of our justification, the power of our spiritual resurrection, and a pledge of our final glory. Romans 4:25; 6:4, 5; I Thessalonians 4:14
9. What else does Christ do in heaven?
He rules over all, so that He may come again to establish forever the kingdom of God. I Corinthians 15:24-28
10. When will Christ return?
When all things are finished according to the counsel of God.
The Covenant of Grace
1. How does God save His people?
By means of a living faith in the Mediator of the covenant, our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. What is the fruit of the work of Christ?
That God maintains, restores, and perfects His covenant through Him. Jeremiah 31:33
3. What is the covenant?
It is the gracious relation of living fellowship and friendship between God and His people in Christ, wherein He is their God and they are His people. Genesis 17:7; Psalm 16:5; 33:22
4. How many covenants are there?
There is only one covenant, in both the Old and New Testaments, established with God’s people throughout all time.
5. Did not Adam stand in a covenant relationship to God?
Yes, but he violated the covenant through his sin, so that the covenant must be restored through Christ.
6. How does God establish His covenant?
God establishes His covenant by His own work of grace, whereby He takes His people into His own covenant fellowship. Ephesians 2:8
7. Does God establish His covenant with all men?
No, He establishes His covenant only with His elect people in the line of continued generations. Galatians 3:16, 29
8. What does God do for His people in that covenant?
He forms them to be His people, makes them partakers of all the benefits of Christ, and leads them on to eternal glory. Ephesians 1:23
9. Through whom does God make us partakers of all Christ’s benefits?
Through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in Christ as the Head and in His people as members of His body. Ephesians 1:23
1. What are the steps in the order of salvation?
Regeneration, calling, faith, justification, sanctification, preservation, and glorification.
2. How is this salvation worked in the elect sinner?
Christ, who is the fullness of our salvation, works it efficaciously by His Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4, 5
3. What is the first work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the elect sinner?
The work of regeneration, John 3:3: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
5. Is there more than one sense in which Scripture speaks of regeneration?
Yes, Scripture speaks of regeneration in a narrower and a broader sense.
6. What is regeneration in the narrower sense?
It is the first implanting of Christ’s life in the heart of the totally depraved sinner. I Peter 1:23
7. What is regeneration in the broader sense?
It is equal to conversion and is that act of God whereby He enlightens the mind, softens the will, and brings the sinner to repentance. I Peter 1:3
8. What is conversion?
It is the mortification of the old man of sin and the quickening of the new man in Christ, whereby a sinner turns from his wicked way and towards God. Colossians 3:5
9. What is the fruit of conversion?
A thankful walk in obedience to God for the salvation which is ours through faith in Christ. II Corinthians 7:10
10. Does the sinner cooperate in his own regeneration?
Not at all; it is the work of the Holy Spirit alone. Acts 16:14
1. What is meant by the calling?
It is that work of God’s grace whereby the sinner is called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. I Peter 2:9
2. How does God call His people?
Externally through the preaching of the gospel and internally through the operation of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. II Timothy 1:9, 10
3. What is the external call of the gospel?
It is the indiscriminate proclamation of the gospel by the church through her called and ordained ministry. Romans 10:13, 14
4. What is the internal call of the Spirit?
It is the efficacious work of the Spirit whereby the truth of the gospel is worked in the hearts of those called. Matthew 13:16; I Corinthians 2:10, 12; Ephesians 1:18
5. Whom does God call efficaciously?
Only the elect. Romans 8:30, “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called.”
6. But does not the call of the gospel come also to others besides the elect?
Yes, for many are called but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14
7. Where is the gospel preached?
To all those to whom God in His good pleasure sends it.
8. What is the significance of the call of the gospel for the elect?
It is the means by which God gathers His church from all nations of the earth.
9. What is the significance of the call of the gospel for the reprobate wicked?
It reveals the perversity of their sinful heart as they reject the gospel, and it aggravates their judgment. Matthew 11:24; John 8:24
1. Look up II Corinthians 2:15-17 and answer the following questions:
2. What does Canons II, 5 say about the question “To whom ought the gospel to be preached?”
3. Read the parable of the four kinds of soil in Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23 and describe the different reactions to the gospel of which Jesus speaks.
4. Read Ready to Give an Answer, page 77, and answer these questions:
5. Read Lord’s Day 31 of the Heidelberg Catechism and answer the question whether the call of the gospel is also a command to repent and believe.
1. What is the first fruit of God’s calling in the heart of the sinner?
The activity of saving faith in him.
2. What is saving faith?
It is a certain spiritual knowledge of and hearty confidence in God through Christ as the God of our salvation. I Peter 1:21
3. Is faith more than this?
Yes, it is also the means whereby we are engrafted into Christ and receive all His benefits. John 15:1-7
4. What is the spiritual knowledge of faith?
It is the knowledge that all that God has revealed in His Word is true and that salvation in Christ is our possession. Lord’s Day 7
5. What is the confidence of faith?
It is complete reliance upon and trust in Christ as the fullness of all our salvation. Lord’s Day 7
6. Who works this faith in us?
The Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ. Ephesians 2:8-10
7. In whom does God work this faith?
Only in the elect. Romans 8:29, 30
8. Are there also imitations of true faith?
Yes, there are miraculous faith, historical faith, and temporary faith.
9. Can any of these save?
No, salvation is only by true faith in Christ Jesus.
1. Describe briefly what the following passages say about faith:
2. What does James 2:14-26 say about the relation between faith and good works?
3. What does Canons III/IV, 14 say about faith?
4. What do the Arminians teach concerning faith? See Canons III/IV, 14. Prove from Scripture that they are wrong.
5. Is it possible for anyone to accept Christ as his Savior?
1. What is the first benefit of saving faith?
That the believer is justified before God.
2. What is justification?
Justification is a gracious judgment of God whereby He declares the elect sinner righteous before Him. Romans 8:33, 34
3. What difference is there between justification and sanctification?
Justification is a judicial act of God and removes our guilt; sanctification is a spiritual-ethical work of God and removes the pollution of sin.
4. What is the deepest cause of our justification?
God’s eternal counsel, according to which He chose in Christ all His people and made them one with Him. Ephesians 1:4
5. What is the meritorious ground of our justification?
Only the perfect obedience of Christ as the Head of all His people. Romans 5:19
6. What is the objective proof of our justification?
The resurrection of Christ, because it is the seal of God on Christ’s perfect obedience on the cross. Romans 4:25
1. What is sanctification?
It is that work of God whereby we are delivered from the dominion and pollution of sin and transformed according to the image of Christ. I Thessalonians 5:23
2. What is the relation between justification and sanctification?
Justification is the ground of our sanctification, so that the one can never be present without the other. Titus 2:14
3. What is the difference between the two?
Justification is a judicial act of God and frees us from the guilt of sin; sanctification is a spiritual-ethical operation of God in us and delivers us from sin’s pollution.
4. How does God perform this work in the believer?
By the Spirit of the exalted Christ, who cleanses us from all sin. II Thessalonians 2:13
6. How does sanctification manifest itself in the life of the believer?
The believer more and more hates and flees from sin, and begins to live according to the will of God in all good works. Lord’s Day 33
7. What are good works?
Only those that proceed from a true faith, are done in accordance with God’s law, and are directed to His glory. Romans 14:23
8. Must a Christian do good works?
Certainly, for good works are the purpose of his salvation, that God may be glorified in him; and without holiness it is impossible to see the Lord. Matthew 5:16; Hebrews 12:14
4. How can the church militant on earth be distinguished?
As the church visible and the church invisible.
5. What is meant by the church visible?
The church as it is revealed in the world, in the ministry of the Word and sacraments, and in the confession and walk of her members.
6. What is meant by the church invisible?
The church from the viewpoint of her internal spiritual life of regeneration, faith, and the other blessings of salvation.
7. What are the marks of the true church?
The pure preaching of the Word of God, the proper administration of the sacraments, and the exercise of Christian discipline. John 8:31, 47
9. What are the keys of the kingdom?
The preaching of the Word and the exercise of Christian discipline, by which the kingdom is opened and shut to believers and unbelievers. John 20:23
The Means of Grace
1. What is to be understood by the means of grace?
Means which the Holy Spirit employs to apply to us the salvation which God has prepared in Christ.
2. What are the means of grace?
The preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments.
3. How is the preaching of the Word a means of grace?
By means of the preaching, the elect are called to faith and spiritually nourished, so that they grow in the grace of God. Romans 10:17; I Peter 2:2
5. How are the sacraments means of grace?
They signify and seal the righteousness which is in Christ.
6. How many sacraments did God institute for the church of the new dispensation?
Two: Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
7. How is Holy Baptism a sign?
The sprinkling of the water signifies the washing away of our sins through the blood of our Savior. I Peter 3:21
8. How is the Lord’s Supper a sign?
The broken bread and the wine poured out signify the broken body and shed blood of Christ, by which we are spiritually nourished and fed. I Corinthians 11:26
9. What do the sacraments seal?
That the believer by faith is righteous before God in Christ.
10. Are the sacraments grace for all who receive them?
No, but only for such as receive them by a true and living faith.
1. Read the doctrinal section of our Baptism Form and answer the following questions:
2. Read the Form for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper. What does the true examination of ourselves consist in?
3. What were the two typical sacraments in the Old Testament?
5. How many sacraments do the Roman Catholics have?
1. Of what is baptism a sign and seal?
Of the washing away of sins in the blood of Jesus Christ. Acts 2:38
2. Who must receive baptism?
All adult believers who confess their sins and their faith in Christ, and their children.
5. Prove from Scripture that God establishes His covenant with His people in the line of generations.
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” Genesis 17:7
7. Are all baptized children, then, elect?
Certainly not, for they are not all Israel that are of Israel. Romans 9:6
8. Does not God, then, seal in baptism that which He does not always bestow?
Not at all, for baptism, like circumcision, seals the righteousness which is by faith. Romans 4:11
9. What obligation follows from being baptized?
To love the Lord our God with all our heart and to walk in a new and holy life.
The Lord’s Supper
1. What is another sacrament in addition to baptism?
Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
2. When did Christ institute this sacrament?
When He ate the last Passover with His disciples in the night in which He was betrayed. I Corinthians 11:23
3. What are the signs of the Lord’s Supper?
The broken bread and the poured out wine. I Corinthians 11:24, 25
4. Of what are the bread and wine signs?
Of the broken body and shed blood of Christ by which Christ made atonement for our sins. I Corinthians 11:26
5. How is Christ present in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper?
He is spiritually present by His grace and Spirit because the bread and wine signify and seal His body and blood. I Corinthians 10:16
6. How do the partakers eat and drink Christ at His table?
Spiritually, and only by a true and living faith.
7. To whom must the supper be administered?
To all baptized Christians who reveal themselves in confession and walk as true believers.
8. What is necessary before we come to the table of the Lord?
We must rightly examine ourselves whether we are worthy partakers of the table of the Lord. II Corinthians 11:28
9. What must we examine in ourselves?
Three things: whether we are truly sorry for our sins; whether we believe that our sins are forgiven in Christ; and whether our faith is revealed in a holy walk. II Corinthians 13:5
The Death of Believers
2. What happens at the death of the wicked?
They are separated from all the things of this life and go into everlasting hell. Luke 16:22, 23
3. But why must believers also die?
The last tie that connects them with things sinful and corruptible must be severed.
4. Could not they go immediately into glory with both body and soul?
No, this must wait until Christ comes again to raise their bodies and make a new heaven and a new earth.
5. From what do believers separate when they die?
Their new man in Christ is separated from the earthly house of this tabernacle and from their old man of sin. II Corinthians 5:1
6. Where do they go when they die?
They go immediately into a conscious state of glory with Christ in heaven.
7. What scriptural proof is there for this?
Jesus said to the repentant thief on the cross, “Verily I say unto thee, Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
The Second Coming of the Lord
1. How will this world come to an end?
By the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:7
3. Do we know what things must first be fulfilled before the Lord will come?
We do in general, for God has revealed them to us in order that we may watch and pray. Matthew 24:42
4. How has God revealed these things to us?
He has told us in Scripture what are the signs of Christ’s coming.
5. Mention some of these signs that appear in creation.
Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in many places. Matthew 24:7
6. Mention some signs that appear in the church.
The gospel must be preached to all the world; there will be terrible apostasy from the faith; and the church will be persecuted. Matthew 24:9-14, 16-23
9. What is the church’s calling while she waits for Christ’s return?
To watch and pray and to live in the hope of her final salvation. II Peter 3:13, 14
The End of This Age
1. What will take place when the Lord comes again?
The resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and the renewal of all things.
2. Who shall be raised from the dead?
All who have died, the godly to the resurrection of life and the ungodly to the resurrection of eternal hell. John 5:28, 29
3. With what bodies will we be raised?
With a spiritual body raised in incorruption, glory, and power. I Corinthians 15:42, 43
5. What will be the punishment for the wicked?
Eternal suffering in hell in body and soul. Matthew 25:41, 46
6. What will be the reward for the people of God?
Everlasting life and glory in the presence of God in heavenly perfection. Revelation 21:3
8. Will the present world be destroyed?
Yes, we expect a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell. II Peter 3:10-13
9. What is the blessedness of the new heaven and the new earth?
To dwell without sin in the blessedness of God’s everlasting covenant of grace. Revelation 21
I believe in one GOD, THE FATHER Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one LORD JESUS CHRIST, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God; Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, being of one essence with the Father; by whom all things were made; who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the HOLY GHOST, the Lord and Giver of life; who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spake by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
22. The Son is of the Father alone, not made nor created, but begotten.
23. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
25. And in this Trinity none is before or after; none is greater or less.
26. But the whole three persons are coeternal and coequal.
27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped.
28. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.
29. Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.
31. God, of the essence of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man, of the substance of His mother, born in the world.
32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
34. Who although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God.
36. One altogether, not by confusion of essence, but by unity of person.
37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
39. He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.
40. From whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
42. And shall give account for their own works.
43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.
44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly he cannot be saved.
We, then, following the holy fathers, all with one consent teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and body; coessential with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, according to the manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures,without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one person and one subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the creed of the holy fathers has handed down to us.
Last modified: 04/23/08