THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 30. How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?

ANSWER: The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ, in our effectual calling.


Q. 1. What is the special work of the Spirit in the application of redemption?

A. It is the uniting us to Christ, Rom. 8:9, 11.

Q. 2. Can we have no share in the redemption purchased by Christ, without union to his person?

A. No; because all purchased blessings are lodged in his person, John 3:35, and go along with it, 1 John 5:12.

Q. 3. What is it to be united to his person?

A. It is to be joined to, or made one with him, 1 Cor. 6:17.

Q. 4. Is it then a personal union?

A. No; it is indeed a union of persons, but not a personal union: believers make not one person with Christ, but one body mystical, of which he is the head, 1 Cor. 12:12, 27.

Q. 5. How can we be united to Christ, seeing he is in heaven, and we on earth?

A. Although the human nature of Christ be in heaven, yet his person is every where, Matt. 28:20.

Q. 6. Where can he be found on earth, in order to our being united to him?

A. In the WORD, which is nigh to us, and Christ in it, Rom. 10:8, 9.

Q. 7. By what means are we united to Christ as brought nigh in the word?

A. By means of faith or believing, Eph. 3:17 -- "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith."

Q. 8. Is it the indispensable duty of all who hear the word, to believe on Christ, or come to him by faith?

A. It certainly is; for, "This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ," 1 John 3:23.

Q. 9. Are any that hear the word able to believe of themselves?

A. No; faith is "not of ourselves, it is the gift of God," Eph. 2:8.

Q. 10. How then come we by faith?

A. By the Spirit's working it in us: and therefore called the Spirit of faith, 2 Cor. 4:13, because he is the principal and efficient cause of it.

Q. 11. Why can no less a worker than the Spirit of God produce this faith?

A. Because it is a work that requires almighty power, even the same power which was wrought in Christ, when he was raised from the dead, Eph. 1:19, 20.

Q. 12. What is the end, or design, of the Spirit in working faith in us?

A. It is the uniting us to Christ, Eph. 3:17.

Q. 13. To whom are sinners united before union with Christ?

A. To the first Adam, Rom. 5:12.

Q. 14. By what bond are they united to the first Adam?

A. By the bond of the covenant of works, by which Adam, who was the natural root of his posterity, became their moral root also, bearing them as their representative in that covenant, Rom. 5:19.

Q. 15. How is this union dissolved?

A. By being "married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead," Rom. 7:4.

Q. 16. Is Christ united to us before we become united to him?

A. The union is mutual, but it begins first on his side, 1 John 4:19.

Q. 17. How does it begin first on his side?

A. By unition, which is before union.

Q. 18. What do you understand by unition?

A. It is the Spirit of Christ uniting himself first to us, according to the promise, "I will put my Spirit within you," Ezek. 36:27.

Q. 19. How does the Spirit of Christ unite himself first to us?

A. By coming into the soul, at the happy moment appointed for the spiritual marriage with Christ, and quickening it, so that it is no more morally dead, but alive, having new spiritual powers put into it, Eph. 2:5 -- "Even when we were dead in sins, he hath quickened us."

Q. 20. Is the Spirit of Christ, upon his first entrance, actively or passively received?

A. The soul, morally dead in sin, can be no more than a mere passive recipient, Ezek. 37:14 -- "And shall put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live."

Q. 21. What is the immediate effect of quickening the dead soul, by the Spirit of Christ passively received?

A. The immediate effect of it is actual believing: Christ being come in by his Spirit, the dead soul is thereby quickened, and the immediate effect of this is, the embracing him by faith, by which the union is completed, John 5:25.

Q. 22. What are the nature and properties of this union?

A. It is a spiritual, mysterious, real, intimate, and indissoluble union.

Q. 23. In what respect is it a spiritual union?

A. In as much as the one Spirit of God dwells in the head and in the members, Rom. 8:9.

Q. 24. Why is it called mystical, or mysterious, Eph. 5:32?

A. Because it is full of mysteries; Christ in the believer, John 17:23; living in him, Gal. 2:20; waking in him, 2 Cor. 6:16; and the believer "dwelling in God," 1 John 4:16; "putting on Christ," Gal. 3:27; "eating his flesh, and drinking his blood," John 6:56.

Q. 25. Why is it called a real union?

A. Because believers are as really united to Christ, as the members of the natural body are to their head; "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones," Eph. 5:30.

Q. 26. How intimate is this union?

A. It is so intimate, that believers are said to be one in the Father and the Son, as the Father is in Christ, and Christ in the Father, John 17:21 -- "That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us."

Q. 27. Can this union ever be dissolved?

A. By no means: "Neither death, nor life, &c., shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord," Rom. 8:38, 39.

Q. 28. Is it a legal union that is between Christ and believers?

A. Though not a mere legal union, yet it is a union sustained in law, in so far, as that upon the union taking place, what Christ did and suffered for them, is reckoned in law as if they had done and suffered it themselves: hence they are said to be "crucified with Christ," Gal. 2:20; to be "buried with him," Col. 2:12; and to be "raised up together," Eph. 2:6.

Q. 29. What are the bonds of this union?

A. The Spirit on Christ's part, 1 John 3:24, and faith on ours, Eph. 3:17.

Q. 30. Is it the Spirit on Christ's part, or faith on ours, that unites the sinner to Christ?

A. They both concur in their order: Christ first apprehends the sinner by his Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:13; and the sinner thus apprehended, apprehends Christ by faith, Phil. 3:12.

Q. 31. How may persons know if they are apprehended of Christ?

A. If he has engaged their love and esteem, and dissolved the regard they had to other things that came in competition with him, 1 Pet. 2:7.

Q. 32. Are the bonds of this union inviolable?

A. Yes; "I give unto them," says Christ, "eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand," John 10:28.

Q. 33. What makes the Spirit an inviolable bond of union?

A. Because he never departs from that soul into which he enters, but abides there for ever, John 14:16.

Q. 34. How can faith be an inviolable bond of union, when it is subject to failing?

A. Although the actings of faith may sometimes fail, yet neither the habit nor the exercise ever shall, in time of need, and that because of the prevalency of Christ's intercession, Luke 22:32 -- "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not."

Q. 35. Are the bodies of the saints united to Christ, at the same time that their souls are?

A. Yes; their bodies are made "members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Ghost which is in them," 1 Cor. 6:15, 19.

Q. 36. Whether is it sinners or saints, that are united to Christ?

A. In the very moment of the union, sinners are made saints, 1 Cor. 6:11.

Q. 37. To what is this union compared in scripture?

A. To the union between husband and wife, Rom. 7:4; head and members, Col. 1:18; root and branches, John 15:5; foundation and superstructure, 1 Pet. 2:5, 6.

Q. 38. What are believers entitled to by their union with Christ?

A. To himself, and all the blessings of his purchase, 1 Cor. 3:22, 23.

Q. 39. When does the Spirit work faith in us, and thereby unite us to Christ?

A. He does it in our effectual calling, 1 Cor. 1:9.[36]

Q. 40. What improvement ought both saints and sinners to make of the doctrine of union with Christ?

A. SAINTS ought to evidence that Christ is in them, by endeavouring that his image shine forth in their conversation, studying to "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing," Col. 1:10; and SINNERS ought to seek after this happy relation to Christ, while he is yet standing at their door and knocking, Rev. 3:20; and while the gates of the city of refuge are not yet closed, Zech. 9:12.


[36] Larger Catechism, Q. 66.
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