Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Means of Grace

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on December 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm

sheddWGT

.The means of grace are means of sanctification. They suppose the existence of the principle of divine life in the soul: “The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation are all his ordinances; especially the word, sacraments, and prayer; all of which are made effectual to the elect for their salvation” (Westminster Larger Catechism 154). The means of grace are administered within the visible church and to its members.1 Consequently, church membership is requisite to obtaining the benefits of the means of grace and sanctification. Some of these benefits cannot be enjoyed at all outside of the visible church: those, namely, connected with the administration of the sacraments and the fellowship and watch of Christians; and none of them can be enjoyed in their fullness by one who has not separated himself from the world by confessing Christ before men.2[1]

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1 WS: When the world of unregenerate men are said to have the means of grace, the means of conviction under common grace, not of sanctification under special grace, are intended: “The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching of the word, an effectual means of enlightening, convincing, and humbling sinners, of driving them out of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ” (Westminster Larger Catechism 155).

2 WS: Respecting the nature of the church, Calvin (dedication to the Institutes) presents the Protestant view in two fundamental positions: (a) That the church may exist without a visible form, because it is both invisible and visible. The former is composed of all who are really united to Christ; the latter, of all who profess to be united to Christ. The former has no false members; the latter has, as the parables of the tares and the net show. (b) That the visible form of the church is not distinguished by external splendor, but by the pure preaching of God’s word and the legitimate administration of the sacraments. The Romanist contends that the church exists only in a visible form and that this form is in the see of Rome and her order of prelates alone. Rome makes the invisible and visible churches identical and coterminous. For a concise and able statement of the prelatical theory of the church, see Jeremy Taylor’s consecration sermon.

[1] Shedd, William Greenough Thayer. Dogmatic Theology. Ed. Alan W. Gomes. 3rd ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2003.

  1. The section of Shedd’s Dogmatic Theology where he talks about unregenerate men using the means of grace footnote 1 above…is not covered in the same way in an 19th century systematic theology Well, except Timothy Dwight when he talked about the antecedents to regeneration.Shedd is very interesting. So I narrated it. http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1210082247341

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