Monday, February 28, 2005


"Marriage is great, I highly recommend it."

This was a frequently heard and spoken phrase around the time I and several friends were getting engaged and married. I praise God that I can still agree with it. My wife really put up with a lot lately while I was under the weather - trying to take care of the house, our son, and me, all without my assistance. Not to mention, putting up with me being critical of her work. I'd love to chalk that up to the medication and the illness (which certainly contributed), but the problem is of course my heart. We've recently been reading in Tabletalk about controlling the tongue. The one who can is called a "perfect man" (James 3:2). I am not a perfect man.

We're thankful that we do have a great marriage and quickly forgive each other, but we want to move to actually not sinning in the first place!


Andrew C. Bain said...

Hi Lee,

Your Shorter Catechism states that in order to escape God's wrath we must use the "sacraments" (Q91). Is this in line with the Bible? No, God begs to differ. He says that CHRIST has redeemed all believers from the curse of the Law (Gal 3:13). It's by Christ's atoning blood and imputed righteousness *alone* that a believer escapes God's wrath. A believer does NOT escape God's wrath by Christ's work + Lord's Supper. NONE of man's works are "effectual to salvation." After all, isn't salvation from God's wrath 100% Christ's work, and 0% man's works?

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Andrew C. Bain

Lee said...

Greetings Andrew,

Hmm. Maybe I should check my comments sections more often - my apologies - I don't know how long I've ignored this.

Um, I'm a "faith alone" kind of guy myself, Andrew. I hold the Five Points of Calvinism and readily agree with you that it is Christ's blood alone that can atone for our sin.

If you look at the other questions, I think you'll see that the Shorter Catechism affirms this as well - see especially questions 33 and 86.

So, how do we explain question 91? I'm not an expert at all, but I'll tell you what I think. Look back at question 88, which begins a section talking about the means Christ uses to communicate our redemption to us.

1) Q.88 sets up the context for Q.91
2) the Westminster Divines didn't contradict what they wrote in questions 33 and 86 (and others) either purposefully or by neglect
3) and that the language might not be as clear now as it was about 400 years ago
what can we conclude?

My unstudied guess on the point of this question is that sacrements effectively communicate salvation and so are a means to bring the elect to salvation.

If that doesn't help, consider all the other questions that affirm "faith in Christ alone plus nothing" and the focus of the answer to Q.91 on Christ and faith in Him.

I really don't think I'm the one you need to argue with over the "faith alone," issue Andrew. Sounds like we're on the same page.