Benjamin Keach and I were reading the Psalms together before the gathering of the Church this morning, anticipating the corporate enjoyment of salvation in Christ (I was reading with him in obedience to Hebrews 13:7).
One of our elders will call us to worship this morning with this Psalm: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s...He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities...for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him...but the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments” (Psalm 103:1-5,10-13,17,18).
One of our Baptist forefathers, Benjamin Keach (1640-1704), left us an adaptation of the Westminster Shorter Catechism to help us remember how all the Lord’s benefits are applied to our lives and enjoyed. Since we were sharing a cup of coffee and reading the Psalms together this morning, I asked him to remind me of some of the Lord’s benefits and how we enjoy them together as the Church.
Q. 36. What benefits do they that are effectually called, partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called, do in this life partake of justification, adoption, sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.
Q. 40. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.
Q. 41. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A. The souls of believers are at death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory, and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.
Q. 42. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the Resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers become raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity.
Q. 95. What are the outward and ordinary 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, Baptism, the Lord's Supper and Prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.
Q. 99. Wherein do Baptism and the Lord's Supper differ from the other ordinances of God?
A. Baptism and the Lord's Supper differ from the other ordinances of God in that they were specially instituted by Christ to represent and apply to believers the benefits of the new covenant by visible and outward signs.
Q. 100. What is Baptism?
A. Baptism is an holy ordinance, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, signifies our ingrafting into Christ and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord's.
Q. 107. What is the Lord's Supper?
A. The Lord's Supper is a holy ordinance, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ's appointment, His death is showed forth, and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporeal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of His body and blood, with all His benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.
Holy Spirit, move us to remember all the benefits of the Father You apply to us through the Son. Help us remember as we read the Word, sing the great truths of the faith, gather at the Table, and have fellowship with You in the proclamation of the Word. We thank you for this gathering to rejoice in Your great goodness, gracious and giving God!