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Lord's Day 31

 

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Question 83: What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven?

Answer: The preaching of the holy gospel, and church discipline or excommunication out of the Christian Church. By these two the kingdom of heaven is opened to believers and shut against unbelievers.

Question 84: How is the kingdom of heaven opened and shut by the preaching of the holy gospel?

Answer: By proclaiming and openly witnessing, according to the command of Christ, to believers, one and all, that, whenever they receive the promise of the gospel by a true faith, all their sins are really forgiven them of God, for the sake of Christ's merits; and on the contrary, by proclaiming and witnessing to all unbelievers, and such as do not sincerely repent that the wrath of God and eternal condemnation abide on them so long as they are not converted1. According to this witness of the gospel God will judge, both in this life and in that which is to come.

1Matt. 16:19 "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

John 20:21- 23, Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.

Question 85: How is the kingdom of heaven shut and opened by church discipline?

Answer: By forbidding, according to the command of Christ, the use of the sacraments by those who under the Christian name maintain unchristian doctrines or practices; who will not, after repeated brotherly admonitions, renounce their errors and wicked course of life; and who, having been complained of to the church, or to those who are thereunto appointed by the church; despise their admonitions- by which censure they are excluded from the Christian Church, and by God Himself from the kingdom of Christ; and by again receiving such as members of Christ and His Church when they promise and show real amendment1.

1Matt. 18:15-18"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

1Cor. 5:4,5,11, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus... But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

2Cor. 2:6-8, Sufficient to such a man [is] this punishment, which [was inflicted] of many. So that contrariwise ye [ought] rather to forgive [him], and comfort [him], lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm [your] love toward him.

 
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Last modified: April 26, 2010