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Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 5.6

We know that God uses evil for good in the case of the elect, but how does God act toward the reprobate?

As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, does blind and harden, from them He not only withholds His grace whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which they had, and exposes them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God uses for the softening of others.

Westminster Confession of Faith: 5.6

In essence, God gives sinners over to their sin and hardens their hearts. This is taught in Romans 1, where we are given a picture of men being given over to more and more sin. This is not the final manifestation of God’s wrath, but it is a form of it (Romans 1:18). • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 5.5

Last week’s article explained how God can use evil while not being the author of it. This week’s article explains how this doctrine often works in the case of believers.

The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does 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; 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.

Westminster Confession of Faith 5.5

Christians who fall into seasons of defeat with a particular sin will often feel that God has abandoned them. They pray for deliverance from their cruel taskmaster, but no relief is given and they consequently feel as if God is standing off in the distance, unwilling or unable to help. • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 5.4

Calvinists are often accused of making God out to be the author of evil, even though the reformed confessions say just the opposite. Because of these accusations, however, some Calvinists will define a difference between God’s ordaining of something and His permitting or allowing it. Today’s article from the Westminster Confession addresses this issue:

The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds 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.

Westminster Confession of Faith 5.4

While the Scriptures do speak of God permitting certain things to happen, they also speak of God ordaining every single thing that happens (Ephesians 1:11). There might be more verses that speak of God permitting things than there are that speak of His ordaining all things, but this is not a right way to understand the Scriptures. Verses are not foot soldiers, battling one another on the ground until the last one is left standing. We seek to believe all the verses and and we trust that they are all consistent.

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Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 5.3

God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at His pleasure.

Westminster Confession of Faith 5.3

Last week we discussed the fact that when your friend spills coffee on your lap, God as the first cause used second causes like physics to burn your lap. God built rules into the world. We have discovered many of these rules discovered through science. Some of them, we can understand how they work. Others, we merely pretend to understand.

As the one who wrote the rules, however, God is not bound by them. We observe the movements of planets and see that this movement is what causes day and night. The movement is caused laws within physics and can’t be stopped—except when one fellow got the idea to call on the God who built the thing to make it it all stop. God condescended and the heavenly bodies heeded a sort of divine pause button. • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 5.2

Many people misunderstand what Calvinists believe. The Westminster Confession can often be very helpful in clarifying Calvinist beliefs and that is the case this week.

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

Westminster Confession of Faith: 5.2

Some people think that Calvinists teach that because God is the first Cause for all things, that means that there are no other causes. This article firmly refutes that belief by stating the opposite. Although God is the first Cause, yet He in His providence He causes things to occur by means of second causes. This plays itself out in a variety of ways. It can be through things like physics and chemistry or it can be through human decision and action. Often, it’s through a combination. • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 4.1

Moving on from God’s eternal decree, the next chapter in the Westminster Confession deals with creation.

It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, 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.

Westminster Confession of Faith: 4.2

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Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.8

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 doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, 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. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.

Westminster Confession of Faith: 3.8

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.

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.7

The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, 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 praised of His glorious justice.

Westminster Confession of Faith 3.7

When thinking about election and reprobation, we must remember that because all men fell with Adam, God is not obligated to save anyone. When you give a gift to a family member, other people do not have the right to demand that you therefore give them a gift as well. Salvation is a gift and God dispenses it as He pleases.

The Potter, says Paul, has rights over the clay (Romans 9:21). He has the right to save whom He will and pass over whom He will. If His goal were to promote pots in general, then creating some destined for destruction would be silly. But His goal is His own glory, so He uses some pots to show His grace and some to show His justice. In all this He not only maintains His righteousness, but also manifests it.

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.6

This post is a continuation of my series on the Westminster Confession.

As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

Westminster Confession of Faith 3.6

One of the teachings that keeps Calvinism from becoming stagnant is the belief that God has ordained the means whereby the elect are saved. That means is faith, but how can anyone believe without hearing? Moreover, how will they hear unless someone is speaking? (Romans 10:14) • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.5

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, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, 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; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

Westminster Confession of Faith 3.5

If you’ve ever felt like you have nothing to offer God, then this doctrine is very good news. If you’ve ever thought that there is nothing in you that makes you more acceptable to God then your unbelieving neighbors, this doctrine says that you are right and that it’s all a part of the plan. • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 3.2

Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions; yet has He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

Westminster Confession of Faith 3.2

A common explanation for God’s election of certain persons and not others is to say that God chose the elect based on foreseen faith. This position not only lacks biblical evidence, it also runs directly contrary to biblical teaching regarding God’s sovereignty and man’s depravity. • • • Read More • • •

Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 2.2

This week we’re looking at article two in chapter two of the Westminster Confession of Faith:

God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, 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; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.

Westminster Confession of Faith 2.2

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Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 2.1

Chapter two of the Westminster Confession of Faith concerns God, the Holy Trinity. Section one begins by affirming God’s oneness:

There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long- suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

Westminster Confession of Faith: 2.1

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Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 1.9

This week, we’re looking at the last point in the first chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith:

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.

Westminster Confession of Faith 1.9

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