Essentials of Reformed Doctrine
1. What is meant by the state of exaltation?
The state in which Christ in our flesh is exalted in highest glory in heaven. Romans 5:10
2. How many degrees do we distinguish in the state of exaltation?
Four: the resurrection, the ascension, the sitting at the right hand of God, and the return to judgment.
3. Did Christ rise with the same body which was laid in the grave?
Yes, but it was changed into a glorious and heavenly body.
4. Through whose power did Christ arise?
Through His own power as the eternal Son of God, but He was also raised by the Father. John 2:19; Romans 8:11
5. What is the significance of the resurrection of Christ?
It is the proof of our justification, the power of our spiritual resurrection, and a pledge of our final glory. Romans 4:25; 6:4, 5; I Thessalonians 4:14
6. How did Jesus ascend into heaven?
He ascended before the eyes of His disciples bodily and locally. Acts 1:9; Luke 24:51
7. What does it mean that Christ is seated at God’s right hand?
That in heaven He is exalted to the state of highest glory and power and has a name above all names. Hebrews 1:3; Ephesians 1:20-22
8. What does Christ do in heaven?
He prepares a place for all His people, intercedes for them, and from heaven blesses them with all the blessings of salvation. Ephesians 1:3; John 14:2; Hebrews 9:24
9. What else does Christ do in heaven?
He rules over all, so that He may come again to establish forever the kingdom of God. I Corinthians 15:24-28
10. When will Christ return?
When all things are finished according to the counsel of God.
The State of Humiliation (continued)
1. What is the third step in the state of humiliation?
Jesus’ death on the cross. Luke 23:46
2. What kind of death did Jesus die?
The death of the cross, which was an accursed death. Deuteronomy 21:23
3. Why did Jesus have to die the accursed death of the cross?
He had to bear God’s curse, which was upon us because of sin. Galatians 3:13
4. Was Jesus’ death like ours?
No, Jesus gave Himself to death in obedience to the Father.
5. Why did Jesus’ death have to be an act of His own?
Only in the way of obedience to the Father could Christ merit salvation for His people.
6. Why was Jesus buried?
He entered into our grave to show that He had overcome the power of death and destroyed the corruption of the grave for us. Psalm 16:9, 10
7. Why, then, must believers die?
The death of believers is only a passage to life and glory. II Corinthians 5:1
8. Why must the body of believers rest in the grave for a time?
Salvation and glory cannot be completed until the return of Christ and the creation of the new heavens and earth.
9. Did Jesus descend locally into hell?
No, He endured the torments of hell during all His sufferings, but especially on the cross.
The State of Humiliation
1. How many states of the Mediator do we distinguish?
Two: the state of humiliation and the state of exaltation.
2. Which passage of Scripture clearly speaks of these two states?
Philippians 2:7-9, where Scripture teaches that Christ was highly exalted because He humbled Himself to the death of the cross.
3. What is the state of humiliation?
It is the state in which Christ humbled Himself in our flesh even unto death in order to merit salvation for us.
4. How many degrees are there in the state of humiliation?
Five: His lowly birth, His suffering, His death, His burial, and His descension into hell.
5. How was Christ’s birth a part of His humiliation?
He was born in abject poverty and was rejected of men. Isaiah 53:2, 3
6. How else was the incarnation of Christ a matter of humiliation?
Though He remained God, Christ came into the likeness of sinful flesh. John 17:5; Romans 8:3
7. Did the Son of God suffer?
The Person of the Son of God suffered in His human nature, in body and soul. I Peter 2:24; Matthew 26:37, 38
8. Why was Christ’s suffering necessary?
He had to satisfy God’s justice and atone for our sins. Romans 5:8-11
9. How did Christ suffer?
He suffered at the hands of wicked men, but, more particularly, He bore the burden of God’s wrath. Matthew 20:28; Romans 5:6; Isaiah 53:4, 5
10. For whom did Christ suffer?
He suffered for the elect, given Him by the Father. John 6:39; John 10:15; Matthew 1:21
The Natures of the Mediator
1. To which office was Christ anointed?
To the threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King. Isaiah 61:1
2. What does Christ do as our Prophet?
He reveals to us the whole counsel of God with respect to our salvation. Matthew 11:25-27
3. Was Christ already our Prophet while on earth?
Yes, in His own Person and in His works He revealed God’s purpose in salvation. John 15:15
4. What does Christ do as our Prophet in heaven?
He continues to teach us by His Word and Spirit.
5. What did Christ do as our Priest while on earth?
He offered Himself upon the cross for the sins of His people.
Hebrews 9:14, 28
6. What is the power and value of that sacrifice?
It was a substitutionary sacrifice, by which He paid for all the sins of His people and secured their salvation.
Romans 5:19; Hebrews 10:14; Ephesians 5:2
7. What does Christ do as our Priest in heaven?
He intercedes for us with the Father and blesses us with every spiritual blessing. Hebrews 2:17
8. What did Christ do as our King while on earth?
He destroyed all the powers of the devil and hell, of sin and death, by His perfect work on the cross. Colossians 2:15
9. What does He do now as our King?
Christ rules His church by His Word and Spirit. Ephesians 1:22, 23
10. Does He do anything else?
Yes, Christ protects His church against the assaults of the powers of darkness and brings His kingdom into final glory.
The Natures of the Mediator
1. How many natures does Christ have?
Two, Christ has a divine nature and a human nature. Romans 1:3, 4; 9:5
2. How are these two natures united?
They are united in the one Person of the Son of God. Mark 15:39
3. Is Christ, then, true and eternal God?
Yes, for the Word was God and was made flesh. John 1:1, 14; I John 5:20; I Timothy 3:16
4. Why must Christ be truly God?
Because only one who is truly God can bear the burden of our sins and deliver us from them. Galatians 1:3, 4
5. Is Christ also true man?
Yes, for God sent His Son into the likeness of sinful flesh. Romans 8:3
6. What proof is there that Christ had a real human nature?
Christ had a real human body, Luke 24:39, and a real human soul, Matthew 26:38. He could hunger and thirst and feel sorrow and joy, John 19:28; John 11:35
7. What more can you say of Christ’s human nature?
That it was a complete human nature. Hebrews 2:14-17
That it was a weak and humiliated human nature. Hebrews 4:15
That it was a human nature without sin, holy and undefiled. Hebrews 7:26ff.
8. How did Christ become man?
Christ assumed the human nature through the power of the Holy Spirit and from the virgin Mary. Luke 1:35
9. Why did Christ have to be truly a man?
Because only a man can suffer for the sins which man committed. Exodus 21:23
10. What can you say as to the union of the two natures in Christ?
That the two natures of Christ exist in unity of divine Person, without division, change, mixture, or separation. John 7:26ff.
1. How does God save His people?
God saves His people by means of a true faith in the Mediator of the covenant of grace, our Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 8:6
2. Could not His people save themselves?
Absolutely not, for they could never satisfy God’s justice and atone for their own sin. Romans 4:5
3. Was such satisfaction necessary?
Certainly, for God cannot deny Himself; therefore, He can receive us into His covenant communion only if His justice is satisfied. Isaiah 53:11
4. But why could not fallen man satisfy God’s justice?
Because man is dead in sin and can only daily increase his guilt. Romans 6:23
5. Who gives us this Mediator?
He is from God, ordained by Him and given us of Him. I Corinthians 1:30. Hence, He is also called the Lamb of God.
6. Which are the most common names of the Mediator?
The names Jesus, Christ, and Lord. Acts 2:36
7. Does Scripture give other names of the Mediator?
Yes, there are many names given Him, some of which are: Son of God, Son of Man, Immanuel, Lamb of God, Lion of Judah’s tribe, Son of David. Matthew 27:43
8. Why is the Mediator called Jesus?
Because He delivers us from the power of sin and death and makes us partakers of eternal glory. Acts 4:12
9. What does the name Christ signify?
The name Christ means anointed of God: that He is ordained by God the Father and qualified by the Holy Spirit to be our Mediator. John 1:41
10. Why is He called Lord?
Because He redeemed and delivered us from the power of the devil and made us His own property. I Corinthians 6:19, 20
The Fall of Man
1. Did man remain God’s friend-servant?
No, he violated the covenant relation when he ate of the forbidden tree. Genesis 2:17; Deuteronomy 4:23
2. Was this sin a great offense?
a. It was disobedience to God’s command. Genesis 3:11
b. By sinning, Adam chose for Satan against God. Genesis 3:14
c. Adam sinned as the head and first father of the whole human race. I Corinthians 15:21, 22
3. What was the punishment for sin?
Death: “for the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23
4. Did Adam die immediately as God had said?
Yes, Adam was separated from God and banished from His presence in the garden, and he became by nature dead in sin and the object of God’s wrath. Ephesians 2:1; Romans 5:12
5. Are we by nature also under the punishment of Adam’s sin?
Yes, for we also are born dead in trespasses and sins. Romans 5:12; Jeremiah 17:9; I Corinthians 15:21, 22
6. What is original guilt?
Original guilt is the imputation of Adam’s guilt to the whole human race. Romans 5:12
7. What is original pollution?
The corruption of Adam’s nature, which was passed on to the whole human race. Genesis 2:17; Job 15:14; Psalm 51:5
8. Is man capable of doing any good?
No, he is by nature inclined to all evil, and all his works are corrupted and polluted with sin. Psalm 51:5
9. How did God reveal His grace after the fall?
He gave the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, who would crush the head of the serpent. Genesis 3:15
Man in the State of Original Righteousness
1. What does Scripture teach us concerning the creation of man?
.That God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
.That God created him body and soul.
.That God created him after His own image.
2. What is meant by the image of God in man?
That there is a reflection of some of God’s perfections in man’s nature, so that in a creaturely way he resembles God. Genesis 1:26, 27
3. What elements belong to this image of God in man?
True knowledge of God, righteousness, and holiness. Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24
4. Can you prove from Scripture that these elements belong to the image of God in man?
Yes, Ephesians 4:23, 24 teaches: “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
5. What was Adam’s relation to God?
Adam lived in a covenant relation in which he was God’s friend-servant. Hosea 6:7
6. What does this mean?
That Adam was at the same time both friend and servant of God in God’s creation.
7. What was his relation to the creation?
Adam had dominion over all creatures on the earth as their king. Genesis 1:28
8. What was his relation to the human race?
He was its first father and its representative head. I Corinthians 15:21
9. Did Adam have a free will?
Yes, Adam was created good, so that He was able to serve God perfectly; but he could also, by an act of his own will, turn against God into sin. Ecclesiastes 7:29
1. Does the creation continue to exist by itself?
By no means, but all things continue to exist only by the providence of God. John 5:17; Acts 17:28
2. What is the providence of God?
The almighty and omnipresent power of God whereby He upholds all things and governs them according to His own counsel. Hebrews 1:3
3. What is included in the providence of God?
All things great and small, good and evil; all things in heaven, on earth, and in hell; all the acts of men and angels. Matthew 10:20, 29; Psalm 103:19; Proverbs 21:1; 16:1, 9
4. What distinctions may be made in the truth of providence?
5. What is preservation?
It is that act of God whereby He continues to give existence to all the creatures He created. Daniel 4:34, 35; Acts 17:25-28
6. What is government?
It is that act of God whereby He leads all things to the end which He has determined for them. Acts 15:18
7. If God governs men’s actions, are they passive instruments in His hands?
No, but man remains a thinking, willing, and active agent and is responsible for all he does. Acts 2:23; Philippians 2:12, 13
8. What is the comfort of providence for the believer?
That all things come to us by the hand of our heavenly Father and that He makes all things serve our salvation. Amos 9:8, 9; Romans 8:28
1. What is the first work of God in time?
The creation of the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1
2. What does it mean to create?
To create is that act of God whereby God, by the word of His power, called into existence the things that were not as though they were. Hebrews 11:3; Jeremiah 10:12; John 1:1-3; Psalm 33:6
3. What did God create?
All things: the heaven, the firmament, the earth, and all creatures in heaven and on earth. Genesis 1
4. In how long a period did God create all things?
In six days, limited by evening and morning. Exodus 20:11
5. What did God create on the first three days?
Light, the firmament, the seas, the dry land, and the whole world of plants and trees. Genesis 1:1-13
6. What did God create on the last three days?
The heavenly bodies, fish and birds, animals and man. Genesis 1:14-31
7. What does it mean that God rested on the seventh day?
First, that He ceased from the work of creation; and secondly, that He rejoiced in all the work which He had done. Genesis 2:1-3
8. What does it mean that God saw all that He had made, and it was very good?
That all creation was perfectly adapted to the purpose for which He had created it. Revelation 4:11
9. What is God’s purpose in creation?
The glory of His name through the manifestation of His wonderful praises. Proverbs 16:4; Psalm 8:1; Revelation 4:11
10. How are we able to understand this work?
By faith, for: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3
God’s Work in Eternity
1. How are God’s works which He performs outside Himself divided?
Between His works which He performs in time and those which He performs in eternity. Acts 15:18
2. What are His works in eternity?
His eternal decrees. Ephesians 1:3, 4
3. What are God’s decrees?
His eternal counsel, according to which He works all things. Ephesians 1:11
4. Does Scripture use other words to refer to God’s decrees?
Yes, His counsel, will, purpose, and good pleasure. Ephesians 1:9, 11
5. What attributes does Scripture give to God’s counsel?
Scripture teaches that God’s counsel is eternal, sovereignly free, independent, unchangeable, efficacious, all-comprehensive, wise, and good. Romans 11:33-36; Hebrews 6:17
6. What does it mean that God’s counsel is eternal?
That God determined all things in His counsel before the world began. Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 46:10
7. What does it mean that God’s counsel is all-comprehensive?
That God in His counsel determines all things that come to pass. Acts 15:8; I Samuel 23:11, 12
8. What is the decree of predestination?
God’s eternal counsel with regard to the eternal state of His rational creatures, including election and reprobation. Romans 9:11-13
9. What is the decree of election?
The eternal, sovereign, and gracious good-pleasure of God to save to eternal glory some men through the means of faith in Christ. Ephesians 1:5, 6; II Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 8:29
10. What is the decree of reprobation?
The eternal, sovereign, and righteous good-pleasure of God to condemn others to eternal damnation on account of their sin. I Peter 2:8; Romans 9:17, 18; Proverbs 16:4
The Holy Trinity
1. What is meant by the truth of the Trinity?
That God is one in being and three in Persons. I John 5:7
2. How is God both one in being and three in Persons?
There are three divine individuals, each subsisting in His own personally distinct manner in the one divine being.
3. Who are these three Persons?
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19
4. Where is this doctrine of three Persons taught in Scripture?
There are many texts that speak of a plurality of persons, as: Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 19:24; Psalm 110:1. The three Persons are often distinctly mentioned in the New Testament, as in the Baptism Formula and the apostolic benediction.
5. Does Scripture teach also that these three Persons are one being?
Yes, all Scripture testifies that God is one, and some texts specifically state this, as Deuteronomy 6:4; I John 5:7.
6. Why are these Persons called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
Because in these names their distinct personal properties are indicated.
7. What is the distinct personal property of each of these divine Persons?
Of the Father that He generates the Son; of the Son that He is generated by the Father; of the Holy Spirit that He proceeds from both the Father and the Son. John 14:26; 15:26; Galatians 4:6; John 1:14; Psalm 2:7
8. Of what significance is this doctrine of the Trinity?
That God triune dwells in perfect covenant fellowship with Himself and establishes a covenant relationship with us. Genesis 17:1, 7
9. Does each Person have His own work in creation and salvation?
No, the triune God creates, redeems, and sanctifies. Jonah 2:9
God’s Communicable Attributes
1. How can God’s communicable attributes be divided?
Into those that belong to God’s knowledge, His will, and His power.
2. Which attributes belong to His knowledge?
His omniscience, according to which God perfectly and continuously knows all things, and His wisdom.
3. Which attributes belong to God’s will?
His goodness, holiness, truth, and righteousness.
4. Which attributes belong to God’s goodness?
His love, grace, mercy, and longsuffering.
5. Whom does God love?
God loves Himself as the highest good and all His creatures for His own name’s sake. I John 4:8
6. How then can God love the reprobate wicked?
He cannot, for the Scriptures teach that the curse of God is in the house of the wicked. Proverbs 3:33
7. How then can God love His people who are also sinners?
He loves them not as sinners, but as those whom He chose in Christ and justified through Him. Ephesians 1:4
8. What is God’s grace?
It is His attitude of undeserved favor towards His people in Christ and the power whereby He saves them. Romans 11:6
9. What is God’s mercy?
It is His attitude of pity towards His people in their misery and His power to deliver them from it. Ephesians 2:4, 5; Psalm 106:44, 45
10. What is God’s power?
It is His omnipotence, whereby He is able to accomplish all that He has determined to do in His counsel. Genesis 17:1; 18:14; Luke 1:37
God’s Incommunicable Attributes
1. What are the attributes of God?
They are the infinite perfections of His divine being that reveal to us who and what God is. I Peter 2:9
2. How are God’s attributes generally distinguished?
They are distinguished as communicable and incommunicable attributes.
3. What is meant by that distinction?
Since we are created in the image of God, some attributes are reflected in us. These are called communicable attributes.
4. Which are God’s incommunicable attributes?
His oneness, simplicity, independency, infinity, and immutability.
5. What is meant by God’s oneness?
That there is only one divine essence and that there is no God besides Him. Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 18:31
6. What is meant by God’s simplicity?
That God is indivisible and not composed and that His attributes are one in Him. Mark 12:29
7. What is meant by God’s independency?
That He is self-sufficient and is dependent upon no other for His existence. Isaiah 40:13, 14; John 5:26
8. What is meant by God’s infinity?
That God is a God of endless perfection, and that He is eternal and everywhere present. Psalm 90:2; Jeremiah 23:23, 24; I Timothy 1:17
9. What is meant by God’s immutability?
That God never changes in His own being or in any of His works and ways. Malachi 3:6
10. Why does God reveal His incommunicable attributes to us?
That we may know that He is highly exalted above all and that He alone ought to be praised. Jeremiah 10:6, 7
God’s Essence and Names
1. Wherein ought we to know God?
In His essence, names, attributes, Persons, and works.
2. What does Scripture reveal of God’s being or essence?
That He is a Spirit of infinite attributes subsisting in three Persons. John 4:24
3. Does Scripture tell us anything more of God’s essence?
Yes, Scripture tells us that God is both immanent and transcendent. Jeremiah 23:23, 24
4. What is meant by God’s transcendence?
That God is infinitely exalted above all His creation and that there is none like unto Him. I Kings 8:27
5. What is meant by God’s immanence?
That God is present with His whole being in every part of the creation. Acts 17:27, 28
6. Does Scripture tell us that God has names?
Yes, although His names are not like our names, for there is no being like God. Isaiah 40:25
7. What is the importance of God’s names?
They are the revelations of some of God’s attributes to us. Psalm 111:9
8. What are the most important names of God?
The names God and Jehovah. Exodus 34:6
9. What does the name Jehovah mean?
That God is the eternally unchangeable God of His covenant. Malachi 3:6
10. Why does God give Himself names?
That we may speak to Him and about Him with reverence. Psalm 50:15
1. What is the Bible?
The Bible is the divinely inspired and infallibly written Word of God.
II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:19-21
2. How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?
First, from the testimony of the Bible itself; secondly, from the testimony of the Spirit in our hearts. I John 5:6
3. What is meant by inspiration?
It is that act of God whereby He moved, illumined, and infallibly directed men to write the Word of God.
4. How did God perform the work of inspiration?
“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” II Peter 1:21
5. What are the attributes of Holy Scripture?
Infallibility, unity, perspicuity, authority, and sufficiency.
6. What is meant by the infallibility of Scripture?
That Scripture is word for word the Word of God and is, therefore, without error. II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20, 21
7. What is meant by the unity of Scripture?
That all Scripture is the one revelation of God in Jesus Christ as the God of our salvation. John 5:39
8. What is meant by the perspicuity of Scripture?
That through the operation of the Spirit, Scripture can be easily understood by God’s people unto their salvation.
9. What is meant by the authority of Scripture?
That Scripture is the only rule for our faith and our life. II Timothy 3:16, 17
10. What is meant by the sufficiency of Holy Scripture?
That Scripture fully contains the will of God for our salvation. Belgic Confession, Article 7
The Knowledge of God
1. What is above all things precious?
The knowledge of the true God through Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Jeremiah 9:23, 24
2. Why is this knowledge so important?
To know God through Jesus Christ is to have eternal life. John 17:3
3. How can we know God?
Only through His own revelation to us in all creation and in His written Word. Belgic Confession, Article 2; Psalm 19:1-3; II Timothy 3:16
4. Does God make Himself known to the wicked?
Yes, God shows through creation that He is God and that He must be served, so that the wicked may be without excuse. Romans 1:20
5. Is there anything else that God makes known to the wicked?
God testifies in the conscience of every man concerning what is right and wrong. Romans 2:14, 15
6. Can this testimony of God lead to salvation?
No, for through this the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Romans 1:18
7. How does God reveal Himself to His people?
Through the Holy Scriptures, which reveal to us Christ, in whom alone is salvation. II Timothy 3:16, 17
8. Does then God also reveal Himself to His people through creation?
Yes, for in the light of Scripture we see that the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament His handiwork. Psalm 19:1
9. How else does God make Himself known to His people in time?
God makes Himself known through history.
10. Can we acquire this knowledge of God by our own efforts?
No, the Holy Spirit must make these truths known to us through His work in our hearts. I Corinthians 2:10-12