《西敏信条教牧简释 13.3》

Posted on Jan 18, 2022 by admin

13.3    在这一争战中,虽然败坏的残余或许一时得胜1,可是,靠着那使人成圣的基督之灵所不断供给的力量,重生的部分终必得胜2;因此,圣徒会在恩典中长进3,因着敬畏上帝,得以逐渐成圣4。1罗7:23;2罗6:14;约壹5:4;弗4:15、16;3彼后3:18;林后3:18;4林后7:1

13.3   In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail;1 yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome;2 and so, the saints grow in grace,3 perfecting holiness in the fear of God.4

1 Rom 7:23; 2 Rom 6:14; 1 Jn 5:4; Eph 4:15–16;  3 2 Pet 3:18; 2 Cor 3:18;  4 2 Cor 7:1.


Sanctification is sometimes known as the Christianising of the Christian. It is the process by which the believer is internally transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit so that he becomes more and more like Christ as he dies unto sin and grows in personal righteousness and holiness. The apostle Paul is no doubt referring to sanctification when he declares felicitously, “we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18). All true believers, as we are given to confess, are “[growing] in grace” and “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”


However, we must not assume that this growth is a linear growth. Despite the helpful illustration to distinguish between justification and sanctification, we are not really like bottles that can be filled. We do not, as it were, become more holy as holiness is poured into us to fill us up at a constant rate so that we eventually become full of holiness. No, no; the reality is more like a war. It is a war between our spirit and our flesh, between the new man and the old man, or between the “regenerate part” of us and our “remaining corruption.” The army representing the spirit will win because our King has triumph. The flesh will fail because Satan has already been defeated. But there are many battles in this war; and sometimes the flesh will win the battle over the spirit as we give in to temptation. Indeed, sometimes we may even backslide so much that the flesh seems to be winning the war. But overall, the battle lines are moving against the remnant of our corruption.


This is the reality we are given to confess, for: “through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome, and so the saint grows in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” In other words, the Christian has the capacity to be victorious in his struggle against sin. Paul speaks about this victory in Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” John confirms: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 Jn 5:4). A defeated Christian is a contradiction of terms, for though sin remains, it no longer reins (*reigns?).


Are you battling against sin, beloved brethren? If you are, thank God that a work of sanctification has begun in you. Do not be discouraged when at times you seem to have no victory. Keep looking to Christ the Captain of your Salvation. Keep seeking the help of the Spirit of Christ to supply what you need for your battles so that you will progressively make gains in your sanctification. Remember: “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Rom 8:37)!

原文作者: 林集章 、蔡林斯 、欧阳效正
中文譯者: 何恩杰,刘行
來源: Westminster Confession of Faith — With Brief Pastoral Comments  

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