Lord's Day 39

Week 38 :: Week 39 :: Week 40


Today we come to what the Catechism teaches are the second and third things we must do to escape the wrath and curse of God due to our sins, namely, repentance unto life and the diligent use of the outward things through which Christ communicates the blessings of new life in Him. Repentance is a necessary fruit of a life with Christ. The word repent, in Greek, means to turn around, and it is suggestive of the abandonment of the old way of life, and the beginning of the new. Scripture teaches clearly that regeneration precedes repentance; only when we have been made alive in Christ do we grow in hatred of our sin and turn from it to God. The New Hampshire Confession of Faith says, “repentance and faith are sacred duties… wrought in our souls by the Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt… and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on Him alone as the only and all sufficient Savior.” 

Scripture is equally clear that repentance begets obedience. Once we have turned from our sins, we must turn to something else. Scripture teaches that we put off the old life and put on the new. Studying the word of God, partaking in the sacraments, coming to God in prayer; these are not works that merit our salvation, instead they each demonstrate our faith and dependence upon God alone for our salvation. These outward means are the visible signs given to us to assure us of our own salvation.


Gracious God, you have given us new life in Jesus Christ, and in Him have called us to live as your holy people. Lead us daily to repent of the ways we have disobeyed you, and through your word, the sacraments, and continual prayer, strengthen us in your Spirit to be transformed into the likeness of your Son. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Question 87

Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?

A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

Scripture Proofs

Acts 11:18;

When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Acts 2:37-38;

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Joel 2:12;

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

Jer. 3:22;

“Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness.”

“Behold, we come to you, for you are the Lord our God.

Jer. 31:18-19;

I have heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the Lord my God.

For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

Ezek. 36:31;

Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations.

2 Cor. 7:11;

For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.

Isa. 1:16-17.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Question 88

Q. 88. What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?

A. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, Sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.

Scripture Proofs

Matt. 28:19-20;

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Acts 2:42;

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Acts 2:46-47.

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.