by RC Sproul Jr.
(via Ligonier Blog)
by Sinclair Ferguson
Q.1. What is the heart?
A. The heart is the central core and drive of my life intellectually (it involves my mind), affectionately (it shapes my soul), and totally (it provides the energy for my living).
Q.2. Is my heart healthy?
A. No. By nature I have a diseased heart. From birth, my heart is deformed and antagonistic to God. The intentions of its thoughts are evil continually.
Q.3. Can my diseased heart be healed?
A. Yes. God, in His grace, can give me a new heart to love Him and to desire to serve Him.
Q.4. How does God do this?
A. God does this through the work of the Lord Jesus for me and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in me. He illumines my mind through the truth of the gospel, frees my enslaved will from its bondage to sin, cleanses my affections by His grace, and motivates me inwardly to live for Him by rewriting His law into my heart so that I begin to love what He loves. The Bible calls this being “born from above.”
Q.5. Does this mean I will never sin again?
A. No. I will continue to struggle with sin until I am glorified. God has given me a new heart, but for the moment He wants me to keep living in a fallen world. So day by day I face the pressures to sin that come from the world, the flesh, and the Devil. But God’s Word promises that over all these enemies I can be “more than a conqueror through him who loved us.”
Q.6. What four things does God counsel me to do so that my heart may be kept for Him?
A. First, I must guard my heart as if everything depended on it. This means that I should keep my heart like a sanctuary for the presence of the Lord Jesus and allow nothing and no one else to enter.
Second, I must keep my heart healthy by proper diet, growing strong on a regular diet of God’s Word — reading it for myself, meditating on its truth, but especially being fed on it in the preaching of the Word. I also will remember that my heart has eyes as well as ears. The Spirit shows me baptism as a sign that I bear God’s triune name, while the Lord’s Supper stimulates heart love for the Lord Jesus.
Third, I must take regular spiritual exercise, since my heart will be strengthened by worship when my whole being is given over to God in expressions of love for and trust in Him.
Fourth, I must give myself to prayer in which my heart holds on to the promises of God, rests in His will, and asks for His sustaining grace — and do this not only on my own but with others so that we may encourage one another to maintain a heart for God.
This — and much else — requires development, elaboration, and exposition. But it can be summed up in a single biblical sentence. Listen to your Father’s appeal: “My son, give Me your heart.”
In the Philippines, the Catholic tradition has been so inculcated by the Spanish conquistadors in the Filipino culture that majority of Filipinos ‘profess’ the Catholic faith as soon as they are able to speak. Catholicism then has become synonymous to being Filipino just as Thais are to Buddhism and Indians to Hinduism.
A majority of the congregants in Evangelical churches in the Philippines are converts from the Roman Catholic tradition and so the practice of catechism is not foreign to them. Because of this notion, some covenant communities who desire to use catechesis in instructing their members in the faith have faced opposition because these converts are prone to believe that it is Roman Catholic in practice and should not be part of the ministry of the ‘Protestant’ church. Continue reading
Question: How are you right with God?
Answer: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, our of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned or been a sinner, as if I had been perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
Ang Katesismo ng Heidelberg 60 (Filipino)
Tanong: Paano ka nagiging matuwid sa harapan ng Diyos?
Sagot: Sa pamamagitan lamang ng tunay na pananampalataya kay Jesu-Cristo; upang nang sa ganon, kahit na sinusurot ang aking budhi na talamak na nalabag ko ang mga kautusan ng Diyos, at wala akong nasunod kahit na isa, at ang aking katawan ay naka-ayon pa rin sa lahat ng kasamaan; sa kabila nito, minarapat ng Diyos ayon sa kanyang kagandahang loob at hindi kailanman sa aking mga gawa na ipagkaloob at ibilang sa akin ang perpektong pagsunod, katuwiran, at kabanalan ni Cristo; kaya nga ako’y parang walang kasalanan at parang hindi nakagawa ng anumang kasalanan: totoo, para na ring lubos kong natupad ang lahat ng pagsunod na ginanap ni Cristo para sa akin; yamang aking tinanggap ang mga kaloob na iyan ng may pusong nananampalataya.
Those of us who care about passing on the baton of historic Christian truth must awaken to the importance of faithfully imparting its doctrines to our children… Children need a grid through which to sift all that they see and hear. We must provide this for our children while they are still young. Doctrine cannot wait until children are teens, because adolescents are making major life decisions. The theological framework on which to base those decisions, the biblical worldview, must already be in place.
–Starr Meade, Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism