Westminster Larger Catechism
Navigation Note: The "Topics" portion is not part of the original document. We have added these categories for ease of navigation. Topic Contents are repeated on each page.
Page 4 (Salvation) [Main Page]
- God (Q1-20)
- Man & Sin (Q21-36)
- Christ (Q37-57)
- Salvation (Q58-90)
- The Law (Q91-110)
- The Law (Q111-130)
- The Law (Q131-151)
- Sin and Grace (Q152-160)
- The Sacraments (Q161-177)
- Prayer (Q178-196)
Question 58: How do we come to be made partakers of the benefits which Christ has procured?
Answer: We are made partakers of the benefits which Christ has procured1, by the application of them unto us, which is the work especially of God the Holy Ghost2.
1. John 1:11-12
2. Titus 3:5-6
Question 59: Who are made partakers of redemption through Christ?
Answer: Redemption is certainly applied, and effectually communicated, to all those for whom Christ has purchased it1; who are in time by the Holy Ghost enabled to believe in Christ according to the gospel2.
1. Eph. 1:13-14; John 6:37,
2. Eph. 2:8; 2Cor. 4:13
Question 60: Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?
Answer: They who, having never heard the gospel1, know not Jesus Christ2, and believe not in him, cannot be saved3, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature4, or the laws of that religion which they profess5; neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone6, who is the Savior only of his body the church7.
1. Rom. 10:14
2. 2Thess. 1:8-9; Eph. 2:12; John 1:10-12
3. John 8:24; Mark 16:16
4. 1Cor. 1:20-24
5. John 4:22; Rom. 9:31-32; Phil 3:4-9
6. Acts 4:12
7. Eph. 5:23
[Top of Page]
Question 61: Are all they saved who hear the gospel, and live in the church?
Answer: All that hear the gospel, and live in the visible church, are
not saved; but they only who are true members of the church invisible.
John 12:38-40; Rom. 9:6; 11:7; Matt. 7:21; 22:14
Question 62: What is the visible church?
Answer: The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion1, and of their children2.
1. 1Cor. 1:2; 12:13; Rom.
15:9-12; Rev. 7:9; Ps. 2:8; 22:27-31; 45:17; Matt. 28:19-20; Isa. 59:21
2. 1Cor. 7:14; Acts 2:39; Rom. 11:16; Gen. 17:7
Question 63: What are the special privileges of the visible church?
Answer: The visible church has the privilege of being under God’s special care and government1; of being protected and preserved in all ages, not withstanding the opposition of all enemies2; and of enjoying the communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation3, and offers of grace by Christ to all the members of it in the ministry of the gospel, testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved4, and excluding none that will come unto him5.
1. Isa. 4:5-6; 1Tim. 4:10
2. Ps. 115:1-2, 9: Isa. 31:4-5; Zech. 12:2-4, 8-9
3. Acts 2:39, 42
4. Ps. 147:19-20; Rom. 9:4; Eph. 4:11-12; Mark 16:15-16
5. John 6:37
Question 64: What is the invisible church?
Answer: The invisible church is the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.
Eph. 1:20, 22-23; John 10:16, 11:52
Question 65: What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?
Answer: The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory.
John 17:21, 24; Eph. 2:5-6
[Top of Page]
Question 66: What is that union which the elect have with Christ?
Answer: The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace1, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband2; which is done in their effectual calling3.
1. Eph. 1:22; 2:6-8
2. 1Cor. 6:17; John 10:28; Eph. 5:23, 30
3. 1Peter 5:10; 1Cor. 1:9
Question 67: What is effectual calling?
Answer: Effectual calling is the work of God’s almighty power and grace1,
whereby (out of his free and special love to his elect, and from nothing
in them moving him thereunto)2 he does, in his accepted time, invite and
draw them to Jesus Christ, by his Word and Spirit3; savingly enlightening
their minds,4 renewing and powerfully determining their wills5, so as they
(although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made willing and able
Answer: his call, and to accept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein6.
1. John 5:25; Eph. 1:18-20;
2. Titus. 3:4-5; Eph. 2:4-5, 7-9; Rom. 9:11
3. 2Cor. 5:20; 6:1-2; John 6:44; 2Thess. 2:13-14
4. Acts 26:18; 1Cor. 2:10, 12
5. Ezek. 11:19; 36:26-27; John 6:45
6. Eph. 2:5; Phil. 2:13; Deut. 30:6
Question 68: Are the elect only effectually called?
Answer: All the elect, and they only, are effectually called1; although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the Word2, and have some common operations of the Spirit3; who, for their willful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ4.
1. Acts 13:48
2. Matt. 22:14
3. Matt. 7:22; 13:20-21; Heb. 6:4-6
4. John 6:64-65; 12:38-30; Acts 18:25-27; Ps. 81:11-12
Question 69: What is the communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
Answer: The communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is their partaking of the virtue of his mediation, in their justification1, adoption2, sanctification, and whatever else, in this life, manifests their union with him3.
1. Rom. 8:30
2. Eph. 1:5
3. 1Cor. 1:30
Question 70: What is justification?
Answer: Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners1, in which he pardons all their sins, accepts and accounts their persons righteous in his sight2; not for any thing wrought in them3, or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them4, and received by faith alone5.
1. Rom. 3:22, 24-25; 4;5
2. 2Cor. 5:19, 21; Rom. 3:22-25, 27-28
3. Titus 3:5, 7; Eph. 1:7
4. Rom. 4:6-8; 5:17-19
5. Acts 10:43; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9
[Top of Page]
Question 71: How is justification an act of God’s free grace?
Answer: Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified1; yet inasmuch as God accepts the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son2, imputing his righteousness to them3, and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith4, which also is his gift5, their justification is to them of free grace6.
1. Rom. 5:8-10, 19
2. 2Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 7:22; 10:10; Matt. 20:28; Dan. 9:24, 26; Isa. 53:4-6, 10-12; Rom. 8:32; 1Peter 1:18-19
3. 2Cor. 5:21
4. Rom. 3:24-25
5. Eph. 2:8
6. Eph. 1:7
Question 72: What is justifying faith?
Answer: Justifying faith is a saving grace1, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit2 and Word of God3, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition4, not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel5, but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin6, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation7.
1. Heb. 10:39
2. 2Cor. 4:13; Eph. 1:17-19
3. Rom. 10:14, 17
4. Acts 2:37; 4:12; 16:30; John 16:8-9; Rom. 5:6; Eph. 2:1
5. Eph. 1:13
6. John 1:12; Acts 10:43; 16:31
7. Phil. 3:9; Acts 15:11
Question 73: How does faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?
Answer: Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it1, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification2; but only as it is an instrument by which he receives and applies Christ and his righteousness3.
1. Gal. 3:11; Rom. 3:28
2. Rom. 4:5; 10:10
3. John 1:12; Phil. 3:9; Gal. 2:16
Question 74: What is adoption?
Answer: Adoption is an act of the free grace of God1, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ2, whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children3, have his name put upon them4, the Spirit of his Son given to them5, are under his fatherly care and dispensations6, admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow heirs with Christ in glory7.
1. 1John 3:1
2. Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:4-5
3. John 1:12
4. 2Cor. 4:18; Rev. 3:12
5. Gal. 4:6
6. Ps. 103:13; Prov. 14:26; Matt. 6:32
7. Heb. 6:12; Rom. 8:17
Question 75: What is sanctification?
Answer: Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they whom God has, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit1 applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them2, renewed in their whole man after the image of God3; having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts4, and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened5, as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life6.
1. Eph. 1:4; 1Cor. 6:11;
2. Rom. 6:4-6
3. Eph. 4:23-24
4. Acts 11:18; 1John 3:9
5. Jude 1:20; Heb. 6:11-12; Eph. 3:16-19; Col. 1:10-11
6. Rom. 6:4; 6:14; Gal. 5:24
[Top of Page]
Question 76: What is repentance unto life?
Answer: Repentance unto life is a saving grace1, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit2 and Word of God3, whereby, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger4, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins5, and upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ to such as are penitent6, he so grieves for7 and hates his sins8, as that he turns from them all to God9, purposing and endeavoring constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience10.
1. 2Tim. 2:25
2. Zech. 12:10
3. Acts 11:18, 20-21
4. Ezek. 18:28, 30, 32; Luke 15:17-18; Hosea 2:6-7
5. Ezek. 36:31; Isa. 30:22
6. Joel 2:12-13
7. Jer. 31:18-19
8. 2Cor. 7:11
9. Acts 26:18; Ezek. 14:6; 1Kings 8:47-48
10. Ps. 119:6, 59, 128; Luke 1:6; 2Kings 23:25
Question 77: Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?
Answer: Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification1, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputes the righteousness of Christ2; in sanctification his Spirit infuses grace, and enables to the exercise thereof3; in the former, sin is pardoned4; in the other, it is subdued5: the one does equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation6; the other is neither equal in all7, nor in this life perfect in any8, but growing up to perfection9.
1. 1Cor. 1:30; 6:11
2. Rom. 4:6, 8
3. Ezek. 36:27
4. Rom. 3:24-25
5. Rom. 6:6, 14
6. Rom. 8:33-34
7. 1John 2:12-14; Heb. 5:12-14
8. 1John 1:8, 10
9. 2Cor. 7:1; Phil 3:12-14
Question 78: Whence arises the imperfection of sanctification in believers?
Answer: The imperfection of sanctification in believers arises from the remnants of sin abiding in every part of them, and the perpetual lusting of the flesh against the spirit; whereby they are often foiled with temptations, and fall into many sins1, are hindered in all their spiritual services2, and their best works are imperfect and defiled in the sight of God3.
1. Rom. 7:18, 23; Mark
14:66-72 ; Gal. 2:11-12
2. Heb. 12:1
3. Isa. 64:6; Exod. 28:88
Question 79: May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace?
Answer: True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God1, and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance2, their inseparable union with Christ3, his continual intercession for them4, and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them5, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace6, but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation7.
1. Jer. 31:3
2. 2Tim. 2:19-21; 2Sam. 23:5
3. 1Cor. 1:8-9
4. Heb. 7:25; Luke 22:32
5. 1John 2:27; 3:9
6. Jer. 32:40; John 10:28
7. 1Peter 1:5
Question 80: Can true believers be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and that they shall persevere therein unto salvation?
Answer: Such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavor to walk in all good conscience before him1, may, without extraordinary revelation, by faith grounded upon the truth of God’s promises, and by the Spirit enabling them to discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of life are made2, and bearing witness with their spirits that they are the children of God3, be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and shall persevere therein unto salvation4.
1. John 2:3
2. 1Cor. 2:12; 1John 3:14, 18-19, 21, 24; 4:13, 16; Heb. 6:11-12
3. Rom. 8:16
4. 1John 5:13
[Top of Page]
Question 81: Are all true believers at all times assured of their present being in the estate of grace, and that they shall be saved?
Answer: Assurance of grace and salvation not being of the essence of faith1, true believers may wait long before they obtain it2; and, after the enjoyment thereof, may have it weakened and intermitted, through manifold distempers, sins, temptations, and desertions3; yet are they never left without such a presence and support of the Spirit of God as keeps them from sinking into utter despair4.
1. Eph. 1:13
2. Isa. 1:10; Ps. ch. 88
3. Ps. 22:1; 31:22; 51:8, 12; 87:1-12; Song of Sol. 5:2-3, 6
4. 1John 3:9; Job 13:15; Ps. 73:15, 23; Isa. 54:7-10
Question 82: What is the communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
Answer: The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is in this life1, immediately after death2, and at last perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment3.
1. 2Cor. 3:18
2. Luke 23:43
3. 1Thess. 4:17
Question 83: What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy in this life?
Answer: The members of the invisible church have communicated to them in this life the firstfruits of glory with Christ, as they are members of him their head, and so in him are interested in that glory which he is fully possessed of1; and, as an earnest thereof, enjoy the sense of God’s love2, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and hope of glory3; as, on the contrary, sense of God’s revenging wrath, horror of conscience, and a fearful expectation of judgment, are to the wicked the beginning of their torments which they shall endure after death4.
1. Eph. 2:5
2. Rom. 5:5; 2Cor. 1:22
3. Rom. 5:1-2; 14:17
4. Gen. 4:13; Matt. 27:4; Heb. 10:27; Rom. 2:9; Mark 9:44
Question 84: Shall all men die?
Answer: Death being threatened as the wages of sin1, it is appointed unto all men once to die2; for that all have sinned3.
1. Rom. 6:23
2. Heb. 9:27
3. Rom. 5:12
Question 85: Death, being the wages of sin, why are not the righteous delivered from death, seeing all their sins are forgiven in Christ?
Answer: The righteous shall be delivered from death itself at the last day, and even in death are delivered from the sting and curse of it1; so that, although they die, yet it is out of God’s love2, to free them perfectly from sin and misery3, and to make them capable of further communion with Christ in glory, which they then enter upon4.
1. 1Cor. 15:26, 55-57; Heb.
2. Isa. 57:1-2; 2Kings 22:20
3. Rev. 14:13; Eph. 5:27
4. Luke 23:43; Phil 1:23
[Top of Page]
Question 86: What is the communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
Answer: The communion in glory with Christ, which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness1, and received into the highest heavens2, where they behold the face of God in light and glory3, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies4, which even in death continue united to Christ5, and rest in their graves as in their beds6, till at the last day they be again united to their souls7. Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day8.
1. Heb. 12:23
2. 2Cor. 5:1, 6, 8; Phil 1:23; Acts 3:21; Eph. 4:10
3. 1John 3:2; 1Cor. 13:12
4. Rom. 8:23; Ps. 16:9
5. 1Thess. 4:14
6. Isa. 57:2
7. Job 19:26-27
8. Luke 16:23-24; Acts 1:25; Jude 1:6-7
Question 87: What are we to believe concerning the resurrection?
Answer: We are to believe, that at the last day there shall be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust1: when they that are then found alive shall in a moment be changed; and the selfsame bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave, being then again united to their souls forever, shall be raised up by the power of Christ2. The bodies of the just, by the Spirit of Christ, and by virtue of his resurrection as their head, shall be raised in power, spiritual, incorruptible, and made like to his glorious body3; and the bodies of the wicked shall be raised up in dishonor by him, as an offended judge4.
1. Acts 24:15
2. 1Cor. 15:51-53; 1Thess. 4:15-17; John 5:28-29
3. 1Cor. 15:21-23, 42-44; Phil. 3:21
4. John 5:27-29; Matt. 25:33
Question 88: What shall immediately follow after the resurrection?
Answer: Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and final judgment of angels and men1; the day and hour whereof no man knows, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming of the Lord2.
1. 2Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6-7,
14-15; Matt. 25:46
2. Matt. 24:36, 42, 44; Luke 21:35-36
Question 89: What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
Answer: At the day of judgment, the wicked shall be set on Christ’s left hand1, and, upon clear evidence, and full conviction of their own consciences2, shall have the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them3; and thereupon shall be cast out from the favorable presence of God, and the glorious fellowship with Christ, his saints, and all his holy angels, into hell, to be punished with unspeakable torments, both of body and soul, with the devil and his angels forever4.
1. Matt. 25:33
2. Rom. 2:15-16
3. Matt. 25:41-43
4. Luke 16:26; 2Thess. 1:8-9
Question 90: What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?
Answer: At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds1, shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted2, shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men3, and shall be received into heaven4, where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery5; filled with inconceivable joys6, made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels7, but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity8. And this is the perfect and full communion, which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.
1. 1Thess. 4:17
2. Matt. 10:32, 25:33
3. 1Cor. 6:2-3
4. Matt. 25:34, 46
5. Eph. 5:27; Rev. 14:13
6. Ps. 16:11
7. Heb. 12:22-23
8. 1John 3:2; 1Cor. 13:12; 1Thess. 4:17-18
[Top of Page] [Topics] [Next Page]