WCF 6.5 — Pastoral Comments

Posted on Feb 16, 2019 by admin

6.5 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 1 Jn 1:8, 10; Rom 7:14, 17–18, 23; Jas 3:2; Prov 20:9; Ecc 7:20.  2 Rom 7:5, 7–8, 25; Gal 5:17.

This statement of our Confession helps us to answer two important questions with regard to the relationship between a true Christian and sin in this life. First, does a true Christian still retain something of that fallen and corrupt nature, which he inherited from Adam? And second, does a true Christian still sin after his regeneration and conversion to Christ? Our confession answers both these questions with a ‘yes’.

In God’s sovereignty and wisdom, He has chosen not to totally erase or eradicate the corruption of nature that came from Adam even after we have been regenerated, and before we leave this world. And as a result of this remnant of corruption within us, we will still fall into sin from time to time.

The Bible teaches this truth in a number of passages. In 1 John 1:8-10, the Apostle John, writing to Christians, says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” And again in Galatians 5:17, the Apostle Paul writes to the Christians at Galatia, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

One important implication of this truth is that if a person experiences this spiritual struggle and conflict within him between the Spirit and the flesh, then he has very good reason to believe that he is a true child of God. Those who have not been regenerated will not experience this conflict.

If you have never experienced it or if you cannot say with the Apostle Paul (Romans 7:22-23), “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members,” then it is likely that you have never truly been converted to Christ.

However, if this is your experience and you long to be set free from it, then be encouraged that someday, either when you leave this life or when Christ comes again, this remaining corruption will be totally removed and will trouble you no more. At that time, you will be able to love, serve and enjoy God without the burden and hindrance of sin. Thank God for this glorious promise and hope, which is found in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Extracted and translated from:
Westminster Confession of Faith — With Brief Pastoral Comments
© 2019 by Pilgrim Covenant Church
Translation and posted with permission
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