After seven straight articles about predestination in chapter three of the Confession, the Westminster Divines thought it wise to clarify how the doctrine is to be used.
The notion that Calvinists are jerks is a common one today because many have not heeded this article. Predestination is a doctrine that needs to be handled carefully. It should result in assurance of salvation, humility, hard work, and worship for those who believe it. Calvinists who make Balaam’s donkey appear to be a more amiable messenger have done something wrong. They do not know what Spirit they are of.
The doctrine of predestination teaches us that we had nothing whatever to do with our salvation. It teaches us that we were so bad, only God could save us. It humbles us by telling us that we could never even have a part in our salvation, then it reassures us by teaching us that the whole of it has already been accomplished for us. Let’s pray that God will use this doctrine to move us to worship and humility.