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Date:         Thu, 8 Jun 1995 09:52:56 +0200
Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel 
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

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

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  |  t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl  |  editor of the list Chr-Exp

           "A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel"

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