20 February 2005
Matthew 28:19 & Acts 2:41
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
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 of which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.88. What are the ordinary, external ways Christ uses to bring us the benefits of redemption?
A. The ordinary, external ways Christ uses to bring us the benefits of redemption are His regulations, particularly the word, sacraments, and prayer, all of which are made effective for the salvation of His chosen ones.
1. Who communicates these benefits to the believers and what are these benefits?
Christ communicates these benefits, for such is His responsibility. These benefits are everything that Christ purchased for the elect both here and forever.
2. How are these benefits communicated to the believers?
These benefits are communicated to the believers through mediation by Christ as He works through the ordinances.
3. Why do we call the benefits of redemption “His ordinances?”
They are called His ordinances because He instituted them in His Word and He is the Head of the Church.
4. Why does this question state “especially the word, sacraments, and prayer....?”
These three are stated because they are the chief outward means of communicating the benefits of redemption. This is taught in Acts 2:42. It does not mean that the other means are not important. It simply means these are more important.
5. Why are these called “outward means”?
They are called outward means to distinguish them from the inward means such as faith and repentance, those mighty inward means of the Holy Spirit.
6. What do we mean by “salvation” in this question?
By salvation in this question is meant the complete doctrine of salvation. It means the beginning of deliverance from sin; the possession of new life and its resulting happiness in this life; the living unto God day by day; the blessedness which is to come when the believer gets to glory.