For the Glory of His name

Chapter 4, section 1

It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (Heb. 1:2; John 1:2–3; Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4), for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness (Rom. 1:20; Jer. 10:12; Ps. 104:24; 33:5–6), 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 (Gen. 1; Heb. 11:3; Col. 1:16; Acts 17:24).

Scripture Verses

Isaiah 44:24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,

Isaiah 45:12 I made the earth
and created man on it;
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded all their host.

Exposition

We learn from this section that the world had a beginning. This might be considered one of the most obvious truths that can be stated, but is one that has always required confirmation by divine revelation, due to man’s impudent mythologies. Continue reading

It is as God decreed

WCF, Chapter 3
Introduction

God’s plan includes all things – everything! Nothing is too insignificant or complex to be included. God’s decree is not contingent upon anything, except His own decree. God decress the outcomes of human events. God decrees that some will be obedient and some will remain in their sin.

He shows mercy to whom he shows mercy and hardens whom he hardens. In order to display his grace, his power and control over sin and salvation, as well as to humble men’s hearts, who quickly make their obedience the cause and not the result of God’s mercies. God decrees the means. Section 6 refers to calling, repentance, justification, sanctification etc. These are addressed individually throughout the rest of the Confession. 

Today we may wonder If God has elected certain men to salvation, then why pray, preach, witness, etc.? Right, this was asked last week. Continue reading

The Triune God

Introduction to WCF, Chapter 2

Nature confesses there is a God. As Calvin stated:

“There exists in the human minds and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead” (Institutes, 3.1)

The Christian’s knowledge of the Godhead is special because it is relational; it is covenantal. We know who God is because of what he does and what he tell us of himself.  The Lord’s creation, actions and disclosures recorded in the bible are the source for our special knowledge of him. Knowledge that goes beyond mere instinct or a vague “sense;” the God of the bible is relational and personal. Continue reading

How Then, Do We Intrepret the Bible?

WCF, Chapter 1, Section 8-10

Section 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 (Matt. 5:18); so as, in all controversies of religion, the Church is finally to appeal unto them (Isa. 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39, 46).

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 (John 5:39), therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come (1 Cor. 14:6, 9, 11–12, 24, 27–28), that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship Him in an acceptable manner (Col. 3:16); and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope (Rom. 15:4). Continue reading

Sanctification versus Justification

Westminster Larger catechism Q. 77.

Q. Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?

A. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputes the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification of his Spirit infuses grace, and enables to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other, it is subdued: the one doth equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation the other is neither equal in all, nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection.

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 13, Section I.

They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

We see here the continuity and organic nature of these doctrines. Here are mentioned all the proceeding aspects of the Ordo Salutis; Effectual calling, regeneration, reception of a new heart and new spirit. They are not rigid. They are not spokes on a wheel. They are the roots, sinews, leaves, buds and branches of a glorious tree. They together make one thing. Continue reading

Is there a Proof Text for everything?

WCF, Chapter 1, Section 6-7

Section 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 (2 Tim. 3:15–17; Gal. 1:8–9; 2 Thess. 2:2). Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the

Quadruple combination opened to the Book of Is...

Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word (John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:9–12): 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 (1 Cor. 11:13–14; 14:26, 40).

2 Timothy 3:15-17 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

2 Thessalonians 2:2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—

1 Corinthians 2:9-12 But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

1 Corinthians 14:26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

1 Corinthians 14:40 But all things should be done decently and in order. Continue reading

Why leave books out of the bible?

WCF, Chapter 1, Section 2-5

Section 2

Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testament, 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, Habakkuk , Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi Continue reading

Does God Still Speak to us?

WCF Chapter 1, Section 1

Proposition 1&2

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 inexcusable yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation.

Romans 1:19-20 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

1 Cor.  2:13-14 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Exposition

LCQ. 2. How doth it appear that there is a God?

A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.

LCQ. 60. Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?

A. They who, having never heard the gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that religion which they profess; neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone, who is the Savior only of his body the church.

There are things that can be discerned, fully and sufficiently of God, by human beings, from nature– specifically; his goodness, wisdom, and power. The Phrase “the works of Creation” refers to the production of the universe. The phrase “works of providence” refers to its maintenance. “The light of nature” is a reference to the consciousness of God that he has imprinted on the human mind.

Nature cannot lead men to salvation after the fall, no matter how diligently one may follow it. Yet nature is reliable within its limitations and in terms of God’s intention, for it declares plainly that there is a God. Since it is God who reveals himself through these means, his revelation is utterly without defect as far as it goes, which is far enough for us to know plainly that there is a God. By the light of nature, men are without excuse when recognizing a good maker of all things. Continue reading