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The Westminster Confession of Faith

Authors' Bias: Interpretation: conservative

The roots of the Westminster Confession can be found in Scottish Presbyterianism. One of the Stuart kings, Charles I, believed in the divine right of kings and had the authority of the Church of England. He attempted to force the Episcopalian Prayer Book on the Church of Scotland to make it conform to the Church of England. The Scots rebelled, war ensued, and in a few years, Charles I lost and was beheaded.

Convened by the English Parliment in 1643, the Westminster Assembly of Divines (theologians, scholars, statesmen, hymnists who could voice the deepest religious convictions), set out to revise the Thirty-Nine Articles. By 1647, they completed the Confession of Faith, Shorter Catechism, and Larger Catechism.

The work represents a systematic teaching of the Reformation, uplifting the truth and authority of the Bible, and has since become the doctrinal standard for the Presbyterian Church. Of historical and political significance, the Confession reminded both ruler and people of their duties to God and to each other.

CHAPTER I: Of the Holy Scripture

1. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable;(1) yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation.(2) Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manner, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church;(3) and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing:(4) which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary;(5) those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.(6)

(1) Rom. 2:14-15; Rom. 1:19-20; Ps. 19:1-4; see Rom. 1:32; Rom. 2:1; (2) John 17:3; I Cor. 1:21; I Cor. 2:13-14; (3) Heb. 1:1-2; (4) Luke 1:3-4; Rom. 15:4; Matt. 4:4, 7, 10; Isa. 8:20; (5) II Tim. 3:15; II Pet. 1:19; (6) John 20:31; I Cor. 14:37; I John 5:13; I Cor. 10:11; Heb. 1:1-2; Heb. 2:2-4

2. Under the name of holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habbakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

The Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; The Acts of the Apostles; Paul's Epistle to the Romans, the Corinthians I, the Corinthians II, the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, the Thessalonians, the Thessalonians II, Timothy I, Timothy II, Titus, Philemon; The Epistle to the Hebrews; The Epistle of James; The First and Second Epistles of Peter; The First, Second, and Third Epistles of John; The Epistle of Jude; The Revelation of John.

All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.(1)

(1) Luke 16:29, 31; Luke 24:27, 44; II Tim. 3:15-16; John 5:46-47

3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the Scripture, and therefore are of no authority in the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.(1)

(1) Rev. 22:18-19; Rom. 3:2; II Pet. 1:21

4. The authority of the holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.(1)

(1) II Pet. 1:19-20; II Tim. 3:16; I John 5:9; I Thess. 2:13; Rev. 1:1-2

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverend esteem of the holy Scripture.(1) And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.(2)

(1) I Tim. 3:15; (2) I Cor. 2:9-10; Heb. 4:12; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11; see Rom. 11:36; Ps. 19:7-11; see II Tim. 3:15; I Cor. 2:4-5; I Thess. 1:5; I John 2:20, 27; see Isa. 59:21

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men(1) Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word:(2) and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed(3)

(1) II Tim. 3:16-17; Gal. 1:8-9; II Thess. 2:2; (2) John 6:45; I Cor. 2:12, 14-15; Eph. 1:18; see II Cor. 4:6; (3) I Cor. 11:13-14; I Cor. 14:26, 40

7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all(1): yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.(2)

(1) II Pet. 3:16; (2) Ps. 119:105, 130; Deut. 29:29; Deut. 30:10-14; Acts 17:11

8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical(1); so as, in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them.(2) But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them(3), therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come(4), that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner(5); and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.(6)

(1) Matt. 5:18; Ps. 119:89; (2) Is. 8:20; Matt. 15:3, 6; Acts 15:15; see II Tim. 3:14-15; (3) John 5:39; Acts 17:11; Rev. 1:3; see II Tim. 3:14-15; (4) Matt. 28:19-20; see I Cor. 14:6; Mark 15:34; (5) Col. 3:16; see Exod. 20:4-6; Matt. 15:7-9 (6) Rom. 15:4

9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.(1)

(1) Acts 15:15; John 5:46; see II Pet. 1:20-21

10. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.(1)

(1) Matt. 22:29, 31; Acts 28:25; see I John 4:1-6

CHAPTER II: Of God, and of the Holy Trinity

1. There is but one only,(1) living, and true God,(2) who is infinite in being and perfection,(3) a most pure spirit,(4) invisible,(5) without body,(6) parts, or passions;(7) immutable,(8) immense,(9) eternal,(11) incomprehensible,(12) almighty, (13) most wise,(14) most holy,(15) most free,(16) most absolute;(17) working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will,(17) for his own glory;(18) most loving,(19) gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin;(20) the rewarder of them that diligently seek him;(21) and withal, most just, and terrible in his judgments,(22) hating all sin,(23) and who will by no means clear the guilty.(24)

(1) Deut. 6:4; I Cor. 8:4, 6; see Gal. 3:20; (2) I Thess. 1:9; Jer. 10:10; (3) Job 11:7-9; Job 26:14; see Ps. 139:6; (4) John 4:24; (5) I Tim. 1:17; see John 1:18; (6) Deut. 4:15-16; cf. John 4:24 with Luke 24:39; (7) Acts 14:11, 15; (8) James 1:17; Mal. 3:6; (9) I Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23-24; (10) Ps. 90:2; see I Tim. 1:17; (11) Ps. 145:3; see Rom. 11:34; (12) Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8; (13) Rom. 16:27; (14) Isa. 6:3; see Rev. 4:8; (15) Ps. 115:3; see Isa. 14:24; (16) Isa. 45:5-6; see Exod. 3:14; (17) Eph. 1:11; (18) Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36; see Rev. 4:11; (19) I John 4:8; see vs. 16 and John 3:16; (20) Exod. 34:6-7; (21) Heb. 11:6; (22) Neh. 9:32-33; see Heb. 10:28-31; (23) Rom. 1:18; Ps. 5:5-6; see Ps. 11:5; (24) Exod. 34:7a; see Nah. 1:2-3, 6

2. God hath all life,(1) glory,(2) goodness,(3) blessedness,(4) in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made,(5) nor deriving any glory from them,(6) but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things;(7) and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever himself pleaseth.(8) In his sight all things are open and manifest,(9) his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature,(11) so as nothing is to him contingent, or uncertain.(12) He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands.(13) To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.(14)

(1) Jer. 10:10; see John 5:26; (2) Acts 7:2; (3) Ps. 119:68; (4) I Tim. 6:15; see Rom. 9:5; (5) Acts 17:24-25; (6) Luke 17:10; (7) Rom. 11:36; (8) Rev. 4:11; Dan. 4:25, 35; see I Tim. 6:15; (9) Heb. 4:13; (11) Rom. 11:33-34; Ps. 147:5; (12) Acts 15:18; Ezek. 11:5; (13) Ps. 145:17; Rom. 7:12; (14) Rev. 5:12-14

3. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost:(1) the Father is of none, neither begotten, not proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;(2) the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.(3)

(1) Matt. 3:16-17; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; see Eph. 2:18; (2) John 1:14, 18; see Heb. 1:2-3; Col. 1:15; (3) John 15:26; Gal. 4:6

CHAPTER III: Of God's Eternal Decree

1. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass:(1) yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin,(2) nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.(3)

(1) Ps. 33:11; Eph. 1:11; Heb. 6:17; (2) Ps. 5:4; James 1:13-14; 1 John 1:5; see Hab. 1:13; (3) Acts 2:23; Matt. 17:12; Acts 4:27-28; John 19:11; Prov. 16:33

2. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions,(1) yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.(2)

(1) I Sam. 23:11-12; Matt. 11:21, 23; (2) Rom. 9:11, 13, 16, 18

3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels(1) are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.(2)

(1) I Tim. 5:21; Jude 6; Matt. 25:31, 41; (2) Eph. 1:5-6; Rom. 9:22-23; Prov. 16:4

4. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.(1)

(1) John 13:18; II Tim. 2:19; see John 10:14-16, 27, 28; John 17:2, 6, 9-12

5. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory,(1) out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto:(2) and all to the praise of his glorious grace.(3)

(1) Eph. 1:4, 9, 11; Rom. 8:28-30; II Tim. 1:9; I Thess. 5:9; (2) Rom. 9:11, 13, 15-16; Eph. 2:8-9; see Eph. 1:5, 9, 11; (3) Eph. 1:6, 12

6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto.(1) Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,(2) are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season, are justified,adopted, sanctified,(3) and kept by his power, through faith, unto salvation.(4) Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.(5)

(1) I Pet. 1:2; Eph. 2:10; II Thess. 2:13; (2) I Thess. 5:9-10; Titus 2:14; (3) Rom. 8:30; see Eph. 1:5; II Thess. 2:13; (4) I Pet 1:5; (5) John 10:14-15, 26; John 6:64-65; Rom. 8:28-39; see John 8:47; John 17:9; I John 2:19

7. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or witholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.(1)

(1) Matt. 11:25-26; Rom. 9:17-18, 21-22; Jude 4; I Pet. 2:8; II Tim. 2:19-20

8. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,(1) that men, attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election.(2) So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God;(3) and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.(4)

(1) Rom. 9:20; Rom. 11:33; Deut. 29:29; (2) II Pet. 1:10; I Thess. 1:4-5; (3) Eph. 1:6; see Rom. 11:33; (4) Rom. 11:5-6, 20; Rom. 8:33; Luke 10:20; see II Pet. 1:10

CHAPTER IV: Of Creation

1. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,(1) for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness,(2)in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days; and all very good.(3)

(1) Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2; John 1:2-3; Gen. 1:2; Job 33:4; (2) Rom. 1:20; Jer. 10:12; Ps. 104:24; Ps. 33:5; (3) Gen. 1:1-31; Ps. 33:6; Heb. 11:3; Col. 1:16; Acts 17:24; Exod. 20:11

2. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female,(1) with reasonable and immortal souls,(2) endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image,(3) having the law of God written in their hearts,(4) and power to fulfill it:(5) and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.(6) Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God,(7) and had dominion over the creatures.(8)

(1) Gen. 1:27; (2) Gen. 2:7; Ecc. 12:7; Luke 23:43; Matt. 10:28; (3) Gen. 1:26; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24; (4) Rom. 2:14-15; (5) Gen. 2:17; Ecc. 7:29; (6) Gen. 3:6, 17; (7) Gen. 2:17; Gen. 2:15-3:24; (8) Gen. 1:28; see Gen. 1:29-30; Ps. 8:6-8

CHAPTER V: Of Providence

1. God the great Creator of all things doth uphold,(1) direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things,(2) from the greatest even to the least,(3) by his most wise and holy providence,(4) according to his infallible foreknowledge,(5) and the free and immutable counsel of his own will,(6) to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.(7)

(1) Neh. 9:6; Ps. 145:14-16; Heb. 1:3; (2) Dan. 4:34-35; Ps. 135:6; Acts 17:25-28; Job 38:1-41:34; (3) Matt. 10:29-31, see Matt. 6:26-32; (4) Prov. 15:3; II Chron. 16:9; Ps. 104:24; Ps. 145:17; (5) Acts 15:18; Isa. 42:9; Ezek. 11:5; (6) Eph. 1:11; Ps. 33:10-11; (7) Isa. 63:14; Eph. 3:10; Rom. 9:17; Gen. 45:7; Ps. 145:7

2. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly;(1) yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.(2)

(1) Acts 2:23; see Isa. 14:24, 27; (2) Gen. 8:22; Jer. 31:55; Isa. 10:6-7; see Exod. 21:13; and Deut. 19:5; I Kings 22:28-34

3. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means,(1) yet is free to work without,(2) above,(3) and against them, at His pleasure.(4)

(1) Acts 27:24, 31, 44; Isa. 55:10-11; (2) Hos. 1:7; Matt. 4:4; Job 34:20; (3) Rom. 4:19-21; (4) II Kings 6:6; Dan. 3:27

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men;(1) and that not by a bare permission,(2) but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,(3) and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends;(4) yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.(5)

(1) Isa. 45:7; Rom. 11:32-34; II Sam. 16:10; Acts 2:23; Acts 4:27-28; see II Sam. 24:1 and I Chron. 21:1; I Kings 22:22-23; I Chron. 10:4, 13-14; (2) John 12:40; II Thess. 2:11; (3) Ps. 76:10; II Kings 19:28; (4) Gen. 50:20; Isa. 10:12; see verses 6-7, 13-15; (5) James 1:13-14, 17; I John 2:16; Ps. 50:21

5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave, for a season, his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled;(1) and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.(2)

(1) II Chron. 32:25-26, 31; Deut. 8:2-3, 5; Luke 22:31-32; see II Sam. 24:1, 25; (2) II Cor. 12:7-9; see Ps. 73:1-28; Ps. 77:1-12; Mark 14:66-72; John 21:15-19

6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden,(1) from them he not only withholdeth his grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts;(2) but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had,(3) and exposeth them to such objects as their corruptions make occasions of sin;(4) and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan,(5) whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.(6)

(1) Rom. 1:24, 26, 28; Rom. 11:7-8; (2) Deut. 29:4; Mark 4:11-12; (3) Matt. 13:12; Matt. 25:29; see Acts 13:10-11; (4) Gen. 4:8; II Kings 8:12-13; see Matt. 26:14-16; (5) Ps. 109:6; Luke 22:3; II Thess. 2:10-12; (6) Exod. 8:15, 32; II Cor. 2:15-16; Isa. 8:14; I Pet. 2:7-8; see Exod. 7:3; Isa. 6:9-10; Acts 28:26-27

7. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.(1)

(1) I Tim. 4:10; Amos 9:8-9; Matt. 16:18; Rom. 8:28; Isa. 43:3-5, 14

CHAPTER VI: Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof

1. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtilty and temptation of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit.(1) This their sin, God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.(2)

(1) Gen. 3:13; II Cor. 11:3; (2) See Chapter V, Section IV

2. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion, with God,(1) and so became dead in sin,(2) and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.(3)

(1) Gen. 3:6-8; Rom. 3:23; (2) Gen. 2:17; Eph. 2:1-3; see Rom. 5:12; (3) Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Titus 1:15; Rom. 3:10-19

3. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed;(1) and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.(2)

(1) Acts 17:26; Rom. 5:12, 15-19; I Cor. 15:21-22, 49; (2) Ps. 51:5; John 3:6; Gen. 5:3; Job 15:14

4. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good,(1) and wholly inclined to all evil,(2) do proceed all actual transgressions.(3)

(1) Rom. 5:6; Rom. 7:18; Rom. 8:7; Col. 1:21; (2) Gen. 8:21; see Gen. 6:5; Rom. 3:10-12; (3) Matt. 15:19; James 1:14-15; Eph. 2:2-3

5. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated;(1) and although it be, through Christ, pardoned, and mortified; yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.(2)

(1) Prov. 20:9; Ecc. 7:20; Rom. 7:14, 17-18, 21-23; I John 1:8, 10; (2) Rom. 7:7-8, 25; Gal. 5:17

6. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto,(1) doth in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner,(2) whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God,(3) and curse of the law,(4) and so made subject to death,(5) with all miseries spiritual,(6) temporal,(7) and eternal.(8)

(1) I John 3:4; (2) Rom. 2:15; Rom. 3:9, 19; (3) Eph. 2:3; (4) Gal. 3:10; (5) Rom. 6:23; (6) Eph. 4:18; (7) Rom. 8:20; Lam. 3:39; (8) Matt. 25:41; II Thess. 1:9

CHAPTER VII: Of God's Covenant with Man

1. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.(1)

(1) Isa. 40:13-17; Job 9:32-33; Ps. 113:5-6; Job 22:2-3; Job 35:7-8; Luke 17:10; Acts 17:24-25

2. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works,(1) wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity,(2) upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.(3)

(1) Gen. 2:16-17; Hos. 6:7; Gal. 3:12; (2) Gen. 3:22; Rom. 10:5; Rom. 5:12-14; see Rom. 5:15-20; (3) Gen. 2:17; Gal. 3:10

3. Man, by his fall, having made himself uncapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second,(1) commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved,(2) and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.(3)

(1) Gal. 3:21; Rom. 3:20-21; Rom. 8:3; Gen. 3:15; see Isa. 42:6; (2) John 3:16; Rom. 10:6, 9; Rev. 22:17; (3) Acts 13:48; Ezek. 36:26-27; John 6:37, 44-45; I Cor. 12:3

4. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.(1)

(1) Heb. 9:15-17

5. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel:(1) under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come;(2) which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah,(3) by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the old testament.(4)

(1) II Cor. 3:6-9; (2) Heb. 8:9-10; Rom. 4:11; Col. 2:11-12; I Cor. 5:7; (3) I Cor. 10:1-4; Heb. 11:13; John 8:56; (4) Gal. 3:7-9, 14; Ps. 32:1-2, 5

6. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance,(1) was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper:(2) which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory, yet, in them, it is held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy,(3) to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles;(4) and is called the new testament.(5) There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.(6)

(1) Col. 2:17; (2) I Cor. 1:21; Matt. 28:19-20; I Cor. 11:23-25; (3) Heb. 12:22-24; II Cor. 3:9-11; Jer. 31:33-34; (4) Luke 2:32; Acts 10:34; Eph. 2:15-19; (5) Luke 22:20; (6) Gal. 3:8-9, 14, 16; Rom. 3:21-22, 30; Rom. 4:3, 6-8; see Gen. 15:6; Ps. 32:1-2; Rom. 4:16-17, 23-24; Heb. 4:2; see Rom. 10:6-10; I Cor. 10:3-4

CHAPTER VIII: Of Christ the Mediator

1. It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man,(1) the Prophet,(2) Priest,(3) and King(4) the Head and Saviour of his church,(5) the Heir of all things,(6) and Judge of the world:(7) unto whom he did from all eternity give a people, to be his seed,(8) and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.(9)

(1) Isa. 42:1; I Pet. 1:19-20, John 3:16; I Tim. 2:5; (2) Acts 3:20, 22; see Deut. 18:15; (3) Heb. 5:5-6; (4) Ps. 2:6; Luke 1:33; see Isa. 9:5-6; Acts 2:29-36; Col. 1:13; (5) Eph. 5:23; (6) Heb. 1:2; (7) Acts 17:31; (8) John 17:6; Ps. 22:30; Isa. 53:10; Eph. 1:4; (9) I Tim. 2:6; Isa. 55:4-5; I Cor. 1:30; Rom. 8:30

2. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon him man's nature,(1) with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;(2) being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance.(3) So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.(4) Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.(5)

(1) John 1:1, 14; I John 5:20; Phil. 2:6; Gal. 4:4; (2) Phil. 2:7; Heb. 2:14, 16-17; Heb. 4:15; (3) Luke 1:27, 31, 35; Gal. 4:4; see Matt. 1:18, 20-21; (4) Matt. 16:16; Col. 2:9; Rom. 9:5; I Tim. 3:16; (5) Rom. 1:3-4; I Tim. 2:5

3. The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure,(1) having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;(2) in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell;(3) to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth,(4) he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a mediator and surety.(5) Which office he took not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father,(6) who put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.(7)

(1) Ps. 45:7; John 3:34; see Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18; Heb. 1:8-9; (2) Col. 2:3; (3) Col. 1:19; (4) Heb. 7:26; John 1:14; (5) Acts 10:38; Heb. 12:24; Heb. 7:22; (6) Heb. 5:4-5; (7) John 5:22, 27; Matt. 28:18; Acts 2:36

4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake;(1) which that he might discharge, he was made under the law,(2) and did perfectly fulfill it;(3) endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul,(4) and most painful sufferings in his body;(5) was crucified, and died,(6) was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption.(7) On the third day he arose from the dead,(8) with the same body in which he suffered,(9) with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father,(10) making intercession,(11) and shall return, to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.(12)

(1) Ps. 40:7-8; see Heb. 10:5-10; John 4:34; John 10:18; Phil. 2:8; (2) Gal. 4:4; (3) Matt. 3:15; Matt. 5:17; Heb. 5:8-9; (4) Matt. 26:37-38; Luke 22:44; Matt. 27:46; (5) Matt. 26:67-68; Matt. 27:27-50; (6) Mark 15:24, 37; Phil. 2:8; (7) Matt. 27:60; Acts. 2:24, 27; Acts 13:29, 37; Rom. 6:9; (8) I Cor. 15:3-4; (9) Luke 24:39; John 20:25, 27; (10) Luke 24:50-51; I Pet. 3:22; (11) Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; see Heb. 9:24; (12) Acts 1:11; John 5:28-29; Rom. 14:10b; Acts 10:42; Matt. 13:40-42; Jude 6; see II Pet. 2:4

5. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience, and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father;(1) and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.(2)

(1) Rom. 5:19; Heb. 9:14; Heb. 10:14; Eph. 5:2; Rom. 3:25-26; (2) Dan. 9:24; II Cor. 5:18; Col. 1:20; Eph. 1:11, 14; Heb. 9:12, 15; John 17:2

6. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated unto the elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent's head; and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world; being yesterday and today the same, and forever.(1)

(1) Gal. 4:4-5; Gen. 3:15; I Cor. 10:4; Rev. 13:8; Heb. 13:8; see Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:15

7. Christ, in the work of mediation, acts according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself;(1) yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.(2)

(1) John 10:17-18; I Pet. 3:18; Heb. 1:3; see Heb. 9:14; (2) Acts 20:28; Luke 1:43; see Rom. 9:5

8. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same;(1) making intercession for them,(2) and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation;(3) effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit;(4) overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.(5)

(1) John 6:37, 39; John 10:15-16, 27-28; (2) I John 2:1; Rom. 8:34; (3) John 15:15; Eph. 1:9; John 17:6; (4) John 14:26; II Cor. 4:13; Rom. 8:9, 14; Rom. 15:18-19; John 17:17; (5) Ps. 110:1; I Cor. 15:25-26; Col. 2:15; Luke 10:19


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