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Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel From: Teus Benschop Subject: Catechism, 20 To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP Q. What is true faith? A. It is a certain knowledge of God; and of his promises revealed to us in the gospel, and a hearty confidence that all my sins are forgiven me, for Christ's sake. A true faith is not that kind of faith, which nearly everybody has: the belief that there exists some godhead, or even the belief that the God of Israel is the one God. Of course, this faith is necessary, but it is not a true, saving faith. Even great sinners believe that there is a God, and they tremble expecting their punishment. Through that faith, they surely will not be saved. Also the devils believe in God, and also they tremble. A belief in God is very well, but it is not enough. A belief in God is a necessary condition of the true, saving faith. A true faith consists of: - a certain knowledge of God, - a certain knowledge of God's promises, revealed in the gospel, - a hearty confidence that all my sins are forgiven me, - for Christ's sake. Who has this faith will be saved. Who hasn't it, will undoubtedly perish. Scripture says that the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of Christ, is necessary: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3) A belief is not something vague, but it consists in knowledge. "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12) Hear Paul speaking; he *knows* whom he believes, and he is *persuaded* that God will keep his inheritance. Q. What is the sum of that which God has promised in the gospel, and commanded us to believe? A. That is comprehended in the twelve articles of the catholic christian Faith, which are as follows: 1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; 2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord; 3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; 4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, he descended into hell; 5. The third day he rose again from the dead; 6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; 7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 8. I believe in the Holy Ghost. 9. I believe a holy catholic church; the communion of saints; 10. The forgiveness of sins; 11. The resurrection of the body; 12. And the life everlasting. This is the oldest confession of faith of the christian church. It speaks about - God the Father, - God the Son, - God the Holy Spirit, - The Church, - Forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Concerning God the Father, He is Almighty, He has made heaven and earth. Concerning God the Son, He is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. He is our Lord. In the appointed time, He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin Mary. When He was grown up, at the end, He suffered under the Roman judge, Pontius Pilate. They crucified Him, and He died and was buried. On the third day, he rose again from the dead, and after some time, He ascended into heaven. There He is now, sitting at the right hand of God, a place of honour. From thence He will come to judge the quick and the dead. This is said in order that we prepare ourselves for His second coming. Concerning the Holy Ghost, He is mentioned together with the Father and the Son. Concerning the Church; there is one holy catholic church. When I write "catholic" church, I do not mean the Roman Catholic Church, but I take the word "catholic" in its original sense: "general". So, I believe in a holy, general church, because God's church on earth is one. It is a communion of saints. Not all the outward professors of the faith belong to that general church, but only those, who are of Christ. That are the true believers, elected by God the Father, redeemed by God the Son, and sanctified by God the Holy Spirit. There is forgiveness of sins, namely for all true believers. There is also a resurrection of the body. This is already shown us in the Old Testament, wherein are a few instances of resurrection of dead people. But at the end of the world, everybody shall stand up. The unrighteous stand up to eternal destruction, but the righteous to eternal life. Q. When you profess to believe in God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, do you mean three Gods thereby? A. In no wise; for there is but one only true God. There is but one only true God, as Scripture very clearly teaches us. Listen: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD." (Deuteronomy 6:4) We believe not more then one God. The heathen, in their blindness, have more then one god, but we haven't. Q. Why do you then name three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost? A. Because God has so revealed himself in his word, that these three distinct persons, are the only one and true God, and we also are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. We believe one God, consisting in three distinct Persons. This doctrine cannot be understood by the human understanding; yet, God has revealed Himself in the Scripture thus. So, we have to believe it. "The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." (1 John 5:7) Also Jesus said of Himself: "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) Some, however, think that the distinction of the one Godhead in three Persons is something special christian, or something newtestamentical. But it may be remarked that also the Old Testament knows about some distinction, although it is there not so clearly revealed as in the New Testament. Sometimes, we read about the Angel of the LORD, and some verses further, that Angel appears to be the LORD Himself. An example may prove this. In Exodus 3, the angel of the LORD appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire. In verse two, it is said that he was an angel, but in verse four appears the angel to be God Himself. Here follow the texts: And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. (Exodus 3:2) And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. (Exodus 3:4) The Angel of the LORD is a being, separate from the LORD, but is also God Himself. So, some being, separate from God is yet God. There must be, then, a distinction in the one God. Though we cannot understand it, yet, who wishes to believe God's whole Word, and not opposes his reason against His revelation, will undoubtedly believe it. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Teus Benschop | firstname.lastname@example.org | editor of the list Chr-Exp "A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel" More info? Send mail containing: review chr-exp Subscribe? Send mail containing: subscribe chr-exp Send that mail to: email@example.com Institution Practical Bible-education, the Netherlands ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-018.txt .