27 February 2005
Psalm 19:7, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Romans 1:16 & Acts 20:32
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 89. How is the Word made effectual to salvation?
A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching, of the Word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.89. What makes the word effective for salvation?
A. The Spirit of God causes the reading and especially the preaching of the word to convince and convert sinners and to build them up in holiness and comfort through faith to salvation.
1. What do we mean by “the Word” in this question and how is it made effectual?
We mean by “the Word” the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, that revelation of God. It is made effectual through its preaching but also its reading.
2. How is the Word of God to be read?
Our Larger Catechism in Question 157 tells us, “The Holy Scriptures are to be read with a high and reverend esteem of them; with a firm persuasion that they are the very word of God; and that he only can enable us to understand them.”
3. Who has the right to preach the Word of God?
Those who are called of God to preach the Word (1 Timothy 4:14) and who have been given gifts by God (Malachi 2:7).
4. How should the Word of God be preached?
Again our Larger Catechism tells us in Question 159, “... to preach sound doctrine, diligently, in season and out of season; plainly, not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom ... faithfully, ... wisely, ... zealously, ... sincerely ...”
5. Why is the Word of God called the “Primary means of Grace” by the Reformed Faith?
It is so called because the Bible states it is. When the Word is preached, souls are saved and brought up in the faith, according to the Bible.
6. How are sinners converted and built up in the faith by the preaching of the Word?
Sinners are converted and built up in the faith by the Spirit as the Word is preached. He opens their eyes, turns them from darkness into light and then begins the work of sanctification in them.