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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

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

1. Does Christ communicate the benefits of redemption? Yes: for of his fulness have all we received, John 1:16. Does he ordinarily communicate them by means? Yes: I will for this be inquired of, Ezek. 36:37. Is he tied to those means? No: for the Spirit, as the wind, bloweth where he listeth, John 3:8. But are we tied to the use of them? Yes: Where I record my name, I will come to thee, and will bless thee, Exod. 20:24. Are the ordinances the outward and ordinary means of grace? Yes: I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them, Ezek. 37:28.

2. Are the word, sacraments, and prayer, the great gospel ordinances? Yes: Then they that gladly received his Word were baptized, and they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking bread, and in prayers, Acts 2:41,42. Is singing of psalms also a gospel ordinance? Yes: Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, Eph. 5:19. Is it appointed for our own consolation? Yes: Is any merry, let him sing psalms, Jam. 5:13. And for mutual instruction? Yes: Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, Col. 3:16. And for God's glory? Yes: Singing with grace in your heart to the Lord, Col. 3:16.

3. Has Christ appointed ministers of the gospel? Yes: he hath given pastors and teachers for the edifying of the body of Christ, Eph. 4:11, 12. Is the administration of ordinances committed to them? Yes: for they are the stewards of the mysteries of God, 1 Cor. 4:1. And must they attend that service? Yes: We will give ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word, Acts 6:4.

4. Are gospel ordinances made effectual to all for salvation? No: for with many of them God was not well pleased, 1 Cor. 10:5. But are they made effectual to the elect? Yes: As many as were ordained to eternal life believed, Acts 13:48.

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