An Abridgment of an Abridgement
Based on the original work by Timothy Tow
Summarised in the Editor’s Words
Summary of Book I (Chapter X-XII)

Having established how the knowledge of God is revealed to us firstly in creation, but more clearly in the Scriptures, we shall now show how the one living and true God is above all gods in the world.

A brief comprehension of what all men should know about God is given in Exodus 34:6-7, “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

We make the following observations concerning this statement. Firstly, His name which appears twice (i.e. the LORD or Jehovah יהוה) asserts His eternity and self-existence. Secondly, His various attributes are enumerated – clemency, goodness, mercy, justice, judgement, and truth. Thirdly, the word “God” (Elohim אֱֱלִֹהִים ) points to His majesty and infinite power. Thus, we see how the one living and true God is above all the gods of the heathen. For another passage of study, see Psalm 145 which is a lively and accurate summary of His perfections.

Yet another brief statement is found in Jeremiah 9:24, “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” Three attributes come into focus here. Firstly, His mercy, in which alone consists salvation. Secondly, His judgement, which is executed upon the wicked every day, and eventually leads to eternal destruction. Thirdly, His righteousness, by which the faithful are preserved. From here, we see how it leads us to God’s truth, power, holiness and goodness. For how can God execute His mercy, judgement and righteousness without being constantly truthful? And how can we believe He governs in justice without His power? And whence proceed mercy, if not from His goodness? Such knowledge of God should invite us to fear and trust Him, that we may honour and submit to Him with our all.

The sum of the doctrine is this: that the Scriptures direct us to the true God, and expressly excludes and rejects all the gods of the heathen.

It thus follows that one ought not to follow the heathen in making gods of wood, stone, and metal to represent the Deity. This is forbidden in the Second Commandment. Any image made to represent God is falsehood, and corrupts the Divine glory. That God should be represented by dead material, even if it were gold and silver, and made by corruptible men, is but presumption and madness.

However, there are those who profess to be Christians, but bow themselves to images in worship. To defend their actions, they appear to two Greek words, eidolodouleia (service of images), and eidololatreia (worship of images). They claim that when they bow to images, it is eidolodouleia (service of images) and not eidololatreia (worship of images). They further claim them as latria, which means “worship,” and is reserved for God, but dulia, which means “service,” is given to the saints. Such contention is to no avail. For what is the difference between these two distinctions? In fact, to serve is more than worship or honour, for service is rendered only to those one would honour. To therefore adopt the confession of such who bow to images, is to confess that one adores these images without adoration, which makes no sense.

Therefore, if we desire to have one God, we must remember never to detract from His glory; but that He must retain it. No religious service can be transferred to another than God alone, without committing sacrilege.

(To be continued)

Editor’s Note: With much written on the knowledge and glory of God in Calvin’s Institutes, it is thus most astounding that everything can be summarised in the answer to the fourth question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Question: What is God? Answer: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. To read on how this answer was arrived, see the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith, page 17, by Rev (Dr) Jeffrey Khoo, Principal of the Far Eastern Bible College.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew

Weekly Devotion 16/8/2020
Christian Cardiology IV – The Studious Heart
By Preacher James Tan
“The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” -Prov 15:28

We are often very casual in our conversations, needing very little thought to speak or respond in most situations. However, when a business presentation, interview, or examination comes up, we spend hours agonizing in preparation to give our answers! We do so because our jobs, or grades are at stake.

This preparation, and studying, is often associated with the mind, but not so much as with the heart. Even if we have no love or heart for what we need to prepare or study, the necessity of passing the exams, or clinching the contract would often force our minds to do so. The proverb however, states that the heart of the “righteous”, the believer “studieth to answer”.

The idea of “study”, in this proverb, is to meditate, with the same word used in Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night…” This contrasts with the wicked, the unbeliever that “poureth out”, words, or things that are evil. This “pouring out”, is a word used to describe a spring, that spews forth water from the ground, that cannot be stopped or constrained.

The heart must “study” or to meditate carefully in order to give an answer. All it takes is a moment of raw emotions to give a foolish answer, where we can greatly harm the Christian testimony by one wrong word. More so, with the speed and ease of communication today, it is easy to reply and hit “send” without thinking of the implications! We have even reduced our way of communication today to mere emoticons, and abbreviations.

The “studied answer”, meditated upon and considered, is what every believer’s heart must do. Whether in casual conversations or not, our words are held accountable by the Lord. The “studious heart” prevents miscommunication, and restrains us from sinning easily. The heart that truly meditates on God’s Word, will be seen reflected in our conversations. May our hearts be “studious”!

Editor’s Comment: The verb “studieth” (hagah, הָָגָה) is the same word used in Joshua 1:8, concerning how a follower of the LORD needs to “meditate” over God’s Word. He is to diligently read, digest, understand, believe and obey the Scriptures. This same diligence must be applied to how we answer others. A wise man controls his thoughts and words. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Prov. 25:11) Does this describe you?