March 8: School & Family Catechist, WSC Q. 88

by Rev. William Smith (1834)

Q. 88.  What are the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption?

A.  The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth 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.


Outward means. –They are thus named, to distinguish them from faith and repentance, and particularly from the influences of the Holy Spirit, who often acts upon the heart and mind, without any outward instrument whatever.

Ordinary means. –They are so called, as being the instruments by which God usually, or commonly works, when he brings sinners to himself.

Communicateth.  –See Explic. Q. 83.

Benefits of redemption. –See Explic. Q. 83.

Ordinances. –Appointments, rules, laws, institutions, &c.

The word. –The preaching of the gospel, and the reading of the Scriptures.

Sacraments. –The word sacrament signifies an oath, also a religious ceremony, producing obligation on the part of those engaging in it.  The sacraments are, baptism, and the Lord’s supper.

Effectual. –Powerful, sufficient for the end in view.

Elect. –God’s chosen people.


In this answer, we are taught three things:

1.  That the outward and ordinary means of grace, are the ordinances of Christ. –Matt. xxviii. 20. Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you.

2.  That the chief of these ordinances, or institutions of Christ, are the Word, Sacraments, and Prayer. –Acts. ii. 41, 42. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.  And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

3.  That these are all, through the power of Christ, made effectual to the elect for salvation. –1 Tim. iv. 16. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.


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