Westminster Confession of Faith 1647
Page 3 (Chapter 6-10) [Main Page]
CHAPTER VI - Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof
I. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory.
Gen 3:13; 2Cor 11:3; Rom 11:32.
II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
Gen 3:6, 7, 8; Eccl 7:29; Rom 3:23; Gen 2:17; Eph 2:1; Titus 1:15; Gen 6:5; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:10 to 19.
III. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.
Gen 1:27, 28 and Gen 2:16, 17 and Acts 17:26 and Rom 5:12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 1Cor 15:21, 22, 49; Ps 51:5; Gen 5:3; Job 14:4; Job 15:14.
IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
Rom 5:6; Rom 8:7; Rom 7:18; Col 1:21; Gen 6:5; Gen 8:21; Rom 3:10, 11, 12; James 1:14, 15; Eph 2:2, 3; Matt 15:19.
V. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be, through Christ, pardoned and mortified, yet both itself and all the motions thereof are truly and properly sin.
1Jn 1:8, 10; Rom 7:14, 17, 18, 23; James 3:2; Prov 20:9; Eccl 7:20; Rom 7:5, 7, 8, 25; Gal 5:17.
VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner; whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.
1Jn 3:4; Rom 2:15; Rom 3:9, 19; Eph 2:3; Gal 3:10; Rom 6:23; Eph 4:18; Rom 8:20; Lam 3:39; Matt 25:41; 2Thess 1:9.
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CHAPTER VII - Of God’s Covenant with Man
I. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of Him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.
Isa 40:13, 14, 15, 16, 17; Job 9:32, 33; 1Sam 2:25; Ps 113:5, 6; Ps 100:2, 3; Job 22:2, 3; Job 35:7, 8; Luke 17:10; Acts 17:24, 25.
II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.
Gal 3:12; Rom 10:5; Rom 5:12-20; Gen 2:17; Gal 3:10.
III. Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein He freely offers unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.
Gal 3:21; Rom 8:3; Rom 3:20, 21; Gen 3:15; Isa 42:6; Mark 16:15, 16; John 3:16; Rom 10:6, 9; Gal 3:11; Ezek 36:26, 27; John 6:44, 45.
IV. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a Testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.
Heb 9:15,16,17; Heb 7:22; Luke 22:20; 1Cor 11:25.
V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law, it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come: which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called, the Old Testament.
2Cor 3:6, 7, 8, 9; Heb 8-10 chapters; Rom 4:11; Col 2:11, 12; 1Cor 5:7; 1Cor 10:1-4; Heb 11:13; John 8:56; Gal 3:7, 8, 9, 14.
VI. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance, was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper: which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory; yet, in them, it is held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.
Col 2:17; Matt 28:19, 20; 1Cor 11:23, 24, 25; Heb 12:22-28; Jer 31:33, 34; Matt 28:19; Eph 2:15, 16, 17, 18, 19; Luke 22:20; Gal 3:14, 16; Rom 3:21, 22, 23, 30; Ps 32:1 and Rom 4:3, 6, 16, 17, 23, 24; Heb 13:8; Acts 15:11.
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CHAPTER VIII - Of Christ the Mediator
I. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man; the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Savior of His Church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world: unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed, and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
Isa 42:1; 1Pe 1:19, 20; John 3:16; 1Tim 2:5; Acts 3:22; Heb 5:5, 6; Ps 2:6; Luke 1:33; Eph 5:23; Heb 1:2; Acts 17:31; John 17:6; Ps 22:30; Isa 53:10; 1Tim 2:6; Isa 55:4, 5; 1Cor 1:30.
II. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.
John 1:1, 14; 1Jn 5:20; Php 2:6; Gal 4:4; Heb 2:14, 16,17; Heb 4:15; Luke 1:27, 31, 35; Gal 4:4; Luke 1:35; Col 2:9; Rom 9:5; 1Pe 3:18; 1Tim 3:16; Rom 1:3, 4; 1Tim 2:5.
III. The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure, having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety. Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father, who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.
Ps 45:7; John 3:34; Col 2:3; Col 1:19; Heb 7:26; John 1:14; Acts 10:38; Heb 12:24; Heb 7:22; Heb 5:4, 5; John 5:22, 27; Matt 28:18; Acts 2:36.
IV. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that He might discharge, He was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it, endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body; was crucified, and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death; yet saw no corruption. On the third day He arose from the dead, with the same body in which He suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of His Father, making intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.
Ps 40:7, 8 and Heb 10:5-10; John 10:18; Php 2:8; Gal 4:4; Matt 3:15; Matt 5:17; Matt 26:37, 38; Luke 22:44; Matt 27:46; Matt 26 and 27 chapters; Php 2:8; Acts 2:23, 24, 27; Acts 13:37; Rom 6:9; 1Cor 15:3, 4; John 20:25, 27; Mark 16:19; Rom 8:34; Heb 9:24; Heb 7:25; Rom 14:9, 10; Acts 1:11; Acts 10:42; Matt 13:40, 41, 42; Jude, 6; 2Pe 2:4.
V. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of His Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him.
Rom 5:19; Heb 9:14, 16; Heb 10:14; Eph 5:2; Rom 3:25, 26; Dan 9:24, 26; Col 1:19, 20; Eph 1:11, 14; John 17:2; Heb 9:12, 15.
VI. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after His incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated unto the elect in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein He was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent’s head; and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world: being yesterday and today the same, and for ever.
Gal 4:4, 5; Gen 3:15; Rev 13:8; Heb 13:8.
VII. Christ, in the work of mediation, acts according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself: yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature, is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.
Heb 9:14; 1Pe 3:18; Acts 20:28; John 3:13; 1Jn 3:16.
VIII. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, He doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation, effectually persuading them by His Spirit to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by His Word and Spirit, overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, in such manner, and ways, as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.
John 6:37, 39; John 10:15, 16; 1Jn 2:1, 2; Rom 8:34; John 15:13, 15; Eph 1:7, 8, 9; John 17:6; John 14:26; Heb 12:2; 2Cor 4:13; Rom 8:9, 14; Rom 15:18, 19; John 17:17; Ps 110:1; 1Cor 15:25, 26; Mal 4:2, 3; Col 2:15.
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CHAPTER IX - Of Free Will
I. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined to good or evil.
Matt 17:12; James 1:14; Deut 30:19.
II. Man, in his state of innocence, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good, and well pleasing to God; but yet mutably, so that he might fall from it.
Eccl 7:29; Gen 1:26; Gen 2:16, 17; Gen 3:6.
III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.
Rom 5:6; Rom 8:7; John 15:5; Rom 3:10, 12; Eph 2:1, 5; Col 2:13; John 6:44, 65; Eph 2:2, 3, 4, 5; 1Cor 2:14; Titus 3:3, 4, 5.
IV. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.
Col 1:13; John 8:34, 36; Php 2:13; Rom 6:18, 22; Gal 5:17; Rom 7:15, 18, 19, 21, 23.
V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone, in the state of glory only.
Eph 4:13; Heb 12:23; 1Jn 3:2; Jude 24.
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CHAPTER X - Of Effectual Calling
I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.
Rom 8:30; Rom 11:7; Eph 1:10, 11; 2Thess 2:13, 14; 2Cor 3:3, 6; Rom 8:2; Eph 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 2Tim 1:9, 10; Acts 26:18; 1Cor 2:10, 12; Eph 1:17, 18; Ezek 36:26; Ezek 11:19; Php 2:13; Deut 30:6; Ezek 36:27; Eph 1:19; John 6:44, 45; Ps 110:3; John 6:37; Rom 6:16, 17, 18.
II. This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
2Tim 1:9; Tit 3:4, 5; Eph 2:4, 5, 8, 9; Rom 9:11, 1Cor 2:14; Rom 8:7; Eph 2:5, John 6:37; Ezek 36:27; John 5:25.
III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases; so also, are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
Luke 18:15, 16, and Acts 2:38, 39 and John 3:3, 5 and 1Jn 5:12 and Rom 8:9 compared; John 3:8; 1Jn 5:12; Acts 4:12.
IV. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess. And, to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.
Matt 22:14; Matt 7:22; Matt 13:20, 21; Heb 6:4, 5; John 6:64-66; John 8:24; Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Eph 2:12; John 4:22; John 17:3; 2Jn 9, 10, 11; 1Cor 16:22; Gal 1:6-8.
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