STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn
A. Christ executeth the office of a prophet, in revealing to us, by his word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.
Scripture References: John 1:1-4; John 15:15; John 20:31; II Pet. 1:21; John 14:26.
1. Is Christ called a “prophet” in Scripture and if so, why?
He is called a prophet in Acts 3 :22. He is called a prophet because He has made a full revelation of the whole counsel of God.
2. How does Christ reveal to us the will of God?
He reveals God’s will to us in two ways: outwardly, by His Word and o inwardly, by His Spirit.
3. What is the word of Christ?
The word of Christ is the whole Bible, the Scripture, containing the Old and New Testaments.
4. How can it be that the whole Scripture is the word of Christ since His words constitute only a small portion of it?
The whole Bible is called the word of Christ because those who wrote it wrote the word they had from the Spirit of Christ (1 Pet. 1:10-11)
5. Is it possible to be saved simply by means of the Word of God without the Spirit?
No, it is not possible to be saved simply through the Word apart from the Spirit. The teaching concerning this is found in I Cor. 2: 14.
6. Is it possible to be saved by the Spirit apart from the Word?
There is a difference here from the previous question in that the Word can not save you apart from the Spirit and the Spirit will not save you apart from the Word. The Bible teaches that the whole will of God necessary to our salvation is revealed in His Word.
7. How does the Spirit of Christ make us wise unto salvation?
The Spirit of Christ makes us wise unto salvation by opening up our understandings, for the entrance of His word gives us light so that the soul is enabled to see the way of salvation and the way offered.
THE WORD AND OUR SALVATION
Every once in a while the Christian is called upon to present a defense of the position that the knowledge for man’s salvation comes only from the Word of God. This defense is necessary for many sects and heretical groups deny the teaching and insist upon their belief in the man-made doctrine that God has and does save and reveal His will apart from the Word of God.
The poet put the truth very well when he said:
“The starry firmament on high
And all the glories of the sky
Yet shine not to thy praise, a Lord,
So brightly as thy written word.
“Almighty Lord, the sun shall fail,
The moon forget her nightly tale,
And deepest silence hush on high,
The radiant chorus of the sky;
“But, fixed for everlasting years,
Unmoved amid the wreck of spheres,
Thy word shall shine in cloudless day,
When heaven and earth have passed away.”
There are many today who insist that salvation can be obtained apart from the Word of God. It is the modern, popular way to believe today to Lay aside the Scriptures and discover the way to God through self, with philosophical or mystical overtones. The Reformed faith stands in opposition to this. In one of the Reformed catechisms the question is asked: “Whence do you know your misery?” The answer is: “Out of the law of God.” (Heidelberg Catechism, Question No. 3). The mirror is ever present with us, the mirror of the Word of God, and because it is the revelation of God it shows us our sin.
The danger to the church today is from those who profess Christ but who do not take the Word of God seriously. There are too many Christians who do not read it, study it, or fill their very hearts and minds with it. Humanly speaking, if it were possible to receive all the answers to life by a human means that could be gathered together in a small book we would never be found without it. And yet that is exactly what we have in the Word of God. In it we have our salvation and all that is necessary for us to please God and therefore enjoy Him forever.
THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 2 No. 24 (December, 1962)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn