Read: Ephesians 1
Question and answer 54 of the Heidelberg Catechism is one of the most beautiful lessons in the entire Catechism, which our teacher wants us to learn. It is beautiful, partly because of its terse, yet complete, summary of the teaching of Scripture on the doctrine of the church. But it is also beautiful, because it teaches us to make the personal confession: Of that church “I am, and forever shall remain, a living member thereof.”
The Lord’s Day gives us what amounts to a definition of the church in the words: “. . . a church chosen unto everlasting life. . . .” Thus, the church is the number of the elect who are chosen by God unto everlasting life.
This is a beautiful confession in its own right. God chose his church in his eternal counsel before he created the world (Eph 1:4). He did not choose an indefinite mass of people; he chose definite people, individuals, whose names are written on the pages of the book of life and whom God knows by name.
God chose them in Christ. There is no Christ without the church, just as there is no church without Christ. Christ and His church belong together and form one body (I Cor 12:27).
God gave his church to Christ so that Christ might die for that church to pay for the sins of its members, and thus make his church his own bride (Eph 5:32).
All those who are elect are saved (John 6:37) and come to Christ. All who come to Christ are those who are elect. No one else comes.
Election is the cause of the salvation of the church in the history of the world. This is clearly stated in our Canons of Dordt 1.7, The Conclusion to the Canons: “. . .Election is the fountain and cause of faith . . “ by which faith we are united to Christ as members of his body.
These elect are chosen “unto everlasting life.” God’s purpose in choosing them is to give them everlasting life in heaven with him. The whole church will be there in a host that is beyond counting. They are more in number, Scripture tells us, than the sand on the seashore and the stars in heaven. They shall be there without sin in all the glory of Christ himself, who saved them. They shall be there as the bride of Christ, married to him who is their Savior. They shall enjoy the blessedness of covenant fellowship with God forever and ever.
Of that church, I believe I am now and forever shall remain a living member.
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
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