Vespers – Spurgeon’s Question 18

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. …
After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

  • Genesis 3:8, 24

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

  • Ephesians 2:3

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

  • Galatians 3:10

Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

  • Romans 5:14

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Romans 6:23

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

  • Matthew 25:41

“Q. 18. What is the misery of that state whereinto man fell?
“A. All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God (Gen. 3:8, 24), are under his wrath and curse (Eph. 2:3; Gal. 3:10), and so made liable to all miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever (Rom. 6:23; Matt. 25:41).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)

“Q. 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
“A. All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.”

  • The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

The Spurgeon and Shorter Catechisms are almost identical with Spurgeon using more biblical proofs than the Westminster Assembly.

There is no Larger Catechism question this week in that the question about three weeks ago in the Larger Catechism includes this question, in a sense.  Basically this series of questions are all dancing around Romans 3:23 and 6:23.  All have sinned and the wages of sin is death, but the questions interrelate and the questions basically define words within the answer.  While people today think of relative truth and a wishy-washy definition in the dictionary, to the people who wrote these catechisms, words are very important.

We must also note that the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God while the catechisms only try to interpret that Scripture.  The group at Westminster is often referred to as the “divines,” but some historians have noted that the king, wanting peace throughout the kingdom, had gathered these notable biblical scholars, knowing that the Irish, Welsh, and Scots hated each other.  To make sure that the assembly would remain in a deadlock of territorial bickering, the king added his own spies to the assembly, to foment distrust.  That way, from a political viewpoint, the king got the credit for establishing this peacemaking assembly, but when the assembly could not agree on anything, the king could establish himself as the only true sovereign king.

But with that said, one of the commissioners of the assembly, voted moderator a few times, was Alexander Henderson.  According to an article in a Presbyterian magazine about twenty years ago, Rev. Henderson addressed the assembly, asking them if they were territorial loyalists or were they Christians.  He admonished them for their behavior.  The deadlock lifted and soon after the Larger Catechism was published.  A few years later, just after Rev. Henderson’s death (after negotiating peace with the king of England for the second time in his short life) the Shorter Catechism was published.

Why note this magazine article?  My mother was tracing my father’s mother’s Henderson roots and got back to the same location as Alexander Henderson, at the same timeframe, but Rev. Henderson was never married.  At best a distant cousin.  But when I meet him in Heaven, our only important connection is that we both have our names in the Book of Life.

I bring this up in that in stating of faith and basing that statement upon Scripture, words are important and the truth that without Jesus as our redeemer (the subject of a question in a couple of weeks), we must all face the fact that we do not deserve Heaven.  We each individually fall before God seeking His Mercy.

And now let us sing.

The following hymn, Blest Be the Tie that Binds is sung a capella by the Beyond the Walls choir.  In the lyrics that follow, the verses in my old hymnal are verses 1, 2, 3, and then 6.  In a way, the hymn expresses what Rev. Alexander was saying to the assembly at Westminster.  We are bound with other believers by our mutual belief and trust in Jesus Christ our Lord.

1. Blessed be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like that to that above.
2. Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.
3. We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.
4. When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.
5. This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.
6. From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.

  • John Fawcett, Blest Be the Tie that Binds

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,
We have all sinned.  We know that the punishment for that sin is death and eternal separation from You.  We praise You for the Grace You have shown us in that Christ came to pay the penalty for our sins.  Thank You.  There is no way we could ever pay back what we owe.  We only pray that You will use us to further Your kingdom.
In thy Name we pray.
Amen

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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