WCF 1.5 — Pastoral Comments

Posted on Nov 29, 2017 by admin

1.5 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 mans 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 1 Tim 3:15; 2 1 Jn 2:20, 27; Jn 16:1314; 1 Cor 2:1012; Isa 59:21.

We saw previously that the Scripture does not derive its authority from anything external. Rather, it has intrinsic authority since it is the Word of God. But the question is: How can we be persuaded and assured that it is indeed the Word of God, and is therefore true and has authority over us? We may answer this question in different ways. Some of us are moved by the teaching of the Church through the ages. Some are encouraged by how the saints were willing to suffer on account of the Word and how many lives were dramatically transformed by the ministry of the Word. Others are impressed by the content of Scripture: by its heavenly expressions, the majesty of its style, the power of its teaching, and its internal consistency. Yet others marvel at the intricate way in which Scripture reveals Gods plan of salvation for man. We can probably think of many other reasons such as the fact that so many predictions of the Scripture have been fulfilled with astonishing accuracy (eg. Ps 22:16-18; Mk 13:2), and the way that Scripture has amazingly survived so many attempts to eliminate it. But all these notwithstanding, we must confess that ultimately, the one indisputable reason why we are fully persuaded and assured of the truth and authority of the Scripture is none other than the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.” This is difficult to explain to anyone who has not experienced the quickening work of the Holy Spirit and His testimony in the heart. But the apostle Paul was alluding to this testimony when he asserts that God hath revealed… unto us by His Spirit [the things which He hath prepared for them that love Him]: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God (1 Cor 2:10). And it also explains why even those who cannot articulate any reason for their confidence in the Word are willing to die for it. Beloved, do you have this confidence? If not, cease not to pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes and your heart.

Westminster Confession of Faith — With Brief Pastoral Comments
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