WCF 3.6 — Pastoral Comments

Posted on May 20, 2018 by admin

3.6  As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto.1 Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,2 are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified,3 and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation.4 Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.5

1 1 Pet 1:2; Eph 1:4–5; 2:10; 2 Th 2:13; 2 1 Th 5:9–10; Tit. 2:14; 3 Rom 8:30; Eph 1:5; 2 Th 2:13;  4 1 Pet 1:5;  5 Jn 17:9; Rom 8:28–39; Jn 6:64–65; 10:26; 8:47; 1 Jn 2:19.

Like the previous paragraph, this paragraph is best appreciated against the backdrop of the pernicious errors of Semi-Pelagianism or Arminianism which has infected the Church. Many believers today do not think that it is really necessary to be so precise. However, if we think about it carefully, we will quickly realise that the battles which our fathers in the faith fought are far from over. Unless we appreciate the battle-lines, we can easily fall into the pales of heresy to the endangerment of our souls and the souls of our children.

You see, properly understood, Arminianism is really “another gospel: Which is not another” (Gal 1:6-7). It is not merely a different shade of the true gospel, but a totally different species altogether. It is essentially the same error that Paul condemns when he declares: “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:9).

So which truths denied by Arminianism are affirmed in this chapter? Well, mainly two.

The first is that God’s design for redemption is particular-for the elect only. This is stated twice in this paragraph! Positively, we are given to confess that “God hath appointed the elect unto glory” and that “they who are elected… are redeemed by Christ.” Negatively, we are reminded that “neither are any other redeemed by Christ … but the elect only.” This truth is clearly taught in Scripture in numerous places. For example, the Lord himself says: “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep” (Jn 10:15). Christ came to redeem the elect, not to make salvation possible for the world as Arminianism supposes. i

The second truth that is emphasised is that God would see to it that all whom He elected would be sovereignly brought into the kingdom and then kept in their journey unto glory by His power and spiritual provisions. We may put it this way, Arminianism teaches that a person is saved when he exercises his own faith in co-operation with the Spirit of God, and then if he continues to make use of the helps that the Spirit would provide along the way, he would make it to glory. But if he fails, then he would lose his salvation. The Scripture and our Confession teach otherwise. We are taught rather that since man is totally dead in trespasses and sin, the only way that the elect may be saved is to be quickened and “effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season.” But God’s work of salvation does not end there. Those who are effectually called unto faith in Christ are also “justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power through faith unto salvation.” The elect are saved, being saved, and shall be saved. This is taught in numerous places in Scripture such as Romans 8:29-39, Ephesians 1:3-14; 1 Peter 1:2-9, etc.

Oh what a great privilege it is to be child of God enjoying His unchanging love day by day unto eternity!

i The Arminian view would make salvation contingent upon man’s response which would contradict the biblical doctrine that fallen man is by nature dead in sin and trespasses unable without a sovereign change of heart to respond even to the gospel. At the same time, it would also throw a question on the sovereignty of God for in the Arminian scheme, God loves the world and desires to save everyone, but He is powerless to do so without the co-operation of man!


Westminster Confession of Faith — With Brief Pastoral Comments
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