Lord’s Day Twenty-Two

Question 56

The last two articles of the Apostle’s Creed are in a way summary articles; “the forgiveness of sins” is the hinge between the body of the Creed and the conclusion. If the preceding “I believe” statements are true, then the result will be forgiveness. If forgiveness is granted, then everlasting life is the just destiny for the individual.

Forgiveness:

– is God’s purpose not to remember the sin of the elect against them.

– is possible for God to do without violating His character since their sin has been credited to and punished in another, completely satisfying God’s demand for justice. As part of the same transaction, the Redeemer’s righteousness is credited to the elect.

– is absolutely gracious in nature – it is granted on the basis of God’s mercy, not the individual’s merit.

– is granted (temporally) when we homologeo our sins since God is faithful and just. This principle is key to the issue of guilt and clinical depression. The statement “I can’t forgive myself” is usually a cover for failure to properly confess and receive God’s forgiveness;; taken at face value, it means the individual has a higher standard than God does and that he must do something to merit forgiveness.

– does not necessarily result in the individual feeling forgiven; forgiveness is an objective, not subjective, action on God’s part and is not dependent on how we feel about something. Our comfort and assurance comes from understanding the character of God and the nature of the promises recorded in His Word. If Satan can keep us trapped in our feelings of guilt and helplessness, he has won a major advantage.

Question 57

Is man a dichotomy or a trichotomy? Body and soul? Or body, soul and spirit? Biblically, soul and spirit are synonymous, the immaterial personal self that animates or gives life to a body. The Bible clearly teaches the soul is immortal even though Jesus said “fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul.” Matthew 10:28 Death is separation of soul from body to be reunited at the resurrection.

The resurrection is re-constituting of present body and reuniting of soul with body. The basis for our belief and much of our understanding of the resurrection is the description of Jesus and His resurrection – how He appeared to and interacted with people (Luke 24, John 21, etc.), His position as the firstfruit (1 Cor. 15:20), the historical fact of the resurrection forming the ground of Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 15.

The ultimate end of the resurrection of the dead is the glory of God; for he will then manifest and exercise his mercy in its highest form in the glorification of the faithful, while his jsutice will be displayed in the damnation of the reprobate. …The next end, and the one that is subordinate to the former, is the salvation and glory of the elect …[who shall] be raised to eternal life.” Ursinus

Question 58

…everlasting life is the perfect restoration of the image of God, with eternal joy and delight in God, heavenly glory, and the full fruition of all those good things which are necessary to a state of perfect happiness. In a word, it is the perfect conformity of man with God, consisting in the true and perfect knowledge and love of God, and in the glory both of the soul and body of man.”

…eternal life does not merely mean immortality, or a continued presence of the soul in the body; but also, and more particularly, that spiritual life, and heavenly glory and felicity, which the Holy Ghost works in the faithful by his own peculiar operation.” Ursinus

Life everlasting consists of another life after this life in which the church shall be glorified, which life begins in this world and has two degrees of consummation – the first is that in which the souls of the righteous are freed from the body and carried to heaven, the second is that experienced in the resurrection of the body and entrance into heaven perfectly redeemed and glorified to see God as He is.

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