Saturday, February 28, 2015


Matthew12:36-37 Jesus said, “I tell you, on the Day of Judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
God the Father has ordained a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom he has given all power and judgment. In that day not only will the apostate angels be judged, but all the people who have lived on earth will appear before the court of Christ to give an account of their thoughts, words, and actions. They will be judged according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.

God’s purpose in arranging for this day is to show forth the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect and the glory of his justice in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. At that time the righteous will go into everlasting life and receive that fullness of joy and refreshment which will come from the presence of the Lord. But the wicked, who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, will be thrown into eternal torment and punished with everlasting destruction away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power.

Christ wants us to be completely convinced that there is going to be a day of judgment, as a deterrent to sin for everyone and as an added consolation for the godly in their suffering. He has also made sure that no one knows when that day will be, so that we may never rest secure in our worldly surroundings. But, not knowing what hour the Lord will come, we must always be alert and may always be ready to say, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”


The Westminster Confession of Faith

Friday, February 27, 2015


1 Corinthians 15:20-23 Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

After death, the bodies of human beings decompose and return to dust. Their souls, which do not die or sleep, have an immortal existence and immediately return to God who created them. The souls of the righteous are then perfected in holiness and are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory and wait for the full redemption of their bodies.

The souls of the wicked are thrown into hell, where they remain in torment and complete darkness, set apart for the great day of judgment. Scripture recognizes only these two places, and no other, for souls separated from their bodies.

Those who are alive at the last day will not die but will be changed. At that time all the dead will be raised with the very same bodies and no other than the same bodies they had before, although with different characteristics, which will be united again to their souls forever.

By the power of Christ the bodies of the unjust shall be raised to dishonor. But by his Spirit the bodies of the just will be raised to honor and be made according to the pattern of his own glorious body.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Matthew18:15-18 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
As king and head of his church, the Lord Jesus has directed the establishment of church government, separate from civil authority, which is to be administered by officers of the church.
To these officers are committed the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which empower them to free people from the guilt of sin or to bind them to it; to close the kingdom of heaven to the unrepentant by the Word and condemnation; and to open the kingdom to repentant sinners by the ministry of the gospel and by withdrawing condemnation as the occasion demands.

Condemnation by the church is necessary in order to reclaim and regain spiritual brothers who have committed some serious offense; to deter others from committing similar offenses; to purge that leaven which might contaminate the whole lump; to vindicate the honor of Christ and the holy profession of the gospel; and to avoid the wrath of God, which might justly fall on the church, should it allow his covenant and the sacraments to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.

            The best way to accomplish these purposes is for the officers of the church to act in accordance with the severity of the offense and the guilt of the offender by warning the offender, excluding him from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper for a time, or excommunicating him from the church.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


1 Corinthians 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Jesus instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in his church until the end of the world as a perpetual remembrance of his sacrifice in death and as the seal of all the benefits of that sacrifice for true believers. This sacrament commemorates Christ’s offering up of himself, by himself, on the cross once for all.

It also signifies the spiritual nourishment and growth of believers in Jesus and their additional commitment to perform all the duties they owe him. Finally it is a bond and pledge of believers’ communion with Jesus and with each other as members of his mystical body.

The bread and wine in this sacrament, properly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, so relate to him crucified that they are sometimes called the body and blood of Christ. Even so, they still remain in substance and nature only bread and wine, as they were before their sacramental use.

Worthy receivers, physically partaking of the visible substances of this sacrament, do then also by faith actually and in fact, but not physically or bodily, spiritually receive and feed on Christ crucified and on all the benefits of his death. The body and blood of Christ are actually spiritually present to the faith of believers in the administration of this sacrament, just as the bread and wine are physically present.

Although ignorant or ungodly people may partake of the physical substances in this sacrament, they do not receive what is signified by them. By their unworthy coming to the Lord’s Table they are guilty of his body and blood and bring judgment upon themselves. Therefore, they should be warned not to partake of the holy mystery of this sacrament.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Colossians 2:9-12 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ. By baptism a person is solemnly admitted into the visible church. Baptism is also a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of the believer’s engrafting into Christ, of rebirth, of remission of sins, and of the believer’s yielding to God through Jesus Christ to walk in newness of life. By Christ’s own direction this sacrament is to be continued in his church until the end of the world.

The physical substance to be used in this sacrament is water. The person is to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit ordinarily by a lawfully called minister of the gospel.

Dipping the person into the water is not necessary. Baptism is correctly administered by pouring or sprinkling water on the person. Not only those who actually profess faith in and obedience to Christ are to be baptized but also the infants of one or both believing parents.

Although it is a great sin to condemn or neglect this sacrament, baptism is not inseparably connected with God’s grace and salvation. One can be saved and reborn without baptism, and, on the other hand, everyone who is baptized is not therefore unquestionably reborn.

The effectiveness of baptism is not tied to that moment in time in which it is administered. However, by the correct use of this sacrament the grace promised in it is not only offered but actually embodied and conferred by the Holy Spirit to everyone (adult or infant) to whom that grace is given, according to the purpose of God’s own will and in his appointed time.

The sacrament of baptism should be administered only once to a person.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Monday, February 23, 2015


John 6:26-27  Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace. They were instituted by God along with that covenant to represent Christ and his benefits, to confirm our position with and in him, to demonstrate a visible difference between those who belong to the church and the rest of the world, and solemnly to engage believers in the service of God in Christ according to his Word.

In every sacrament there is a spiritual relationship or sacramental union between the sign and the thing signified. And so the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.

The grace revealed in or by sacraments in their right use does not come from any power in them. Neither does the effectiveness of a sacrament depend on the devoutness or the intention of whoever administers it. Rather the power and effectiveness of the sacraments are the result of the work of the Spirit and rest on God’s Word instituting them, since his Word authorizes their use and promises benefits to worthy receivers of them.

There are only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospel: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Ordinarily, neither of these may be administered by anyone but a lawfully ordained minister of the Word.

The sacraments of the Old Testament signify and reveal in substance the same spiritual things as those of the New.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Ephesians 3:14-19  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
All believers are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by his Spirit and by faith, and have fellowship with him in his grace, suffering, death, resurrection, and glory. United to one another in love the saints have fellowship in each other’s gifts and grace and are obliged to perform those public and private duties which nourish their mutual good, both spiritually and physically.

By their profession of faith saints are bound to maintain a holy fellowship and communion with each other in the worship of God and in the performance of other spiritual services for their mutual improvement. They are also bound to help each other in material things according to their different abilities and needs. This fellowship is to be offered, as God gives the opportunity, to everyone in every place who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus.

This communion whom the saints have with Christ in no way means that they share in his godhead or are equal with him in any respect—to affirm either is impious and blasphemous. Neither does their communion with each other take away or infringe the right each person has to own and possess goods and property.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Colossians 1:18-20  Jesus Christ is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
There is no other head of the church than the Lord Jesus Christ.

The catholic or universal church is invisible and consists of all the elect who have been, are, or ever will be gathered into one under Christ, the head. The church is his body and spouse, the fullness of God, who fills all in all.

The visible church is also catholic or universal under the gospel, i.e., it is not confined to one nation as previously under the Mosaic Law. It consists of everyone in the world who professes the true religion together with their children. The visible church is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ and the house and family of God, outside of which people cannot ordinarily be saved.
In order to gather and perfect the saints in this life until the end of the world Christ has given the ministry, Scriptures, and ordinances of God to this universal visible church, and by his own presence and Spirit he enables the church to function in this way according to his promise.

This universal church has been sometimes more and sometimes less visible. Particular churches, which are members of it, are also more or less pure, depending on how the gospel is accepted and taught, how the ordinances of God are administered, and how public worship is performed.

The purest churches under heaven are subject both to impurity and error. Some churches have so degenerated that they are not churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, there will always be a church on earth to worship God according to his will.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Friday, February 20, 2015


Matthew 19:4-6  The Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
Marriage is a union between one man and one woman, designed by God to last so long as they both shall live. Marriage is designed for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the safeguarding, undergirding, and development of their moral and spiritual character; for the propagation of children and the rearing of them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

All persons who are able with judgment to give their consent may marry, such marriages are valid before God in the eyes of the church. But no marriage can be fully and securely Christian in spirit or in purpose unless both partners are committed to a common Christian faith and to a deeply shared intention of building a Christian home. Christians should seek as partners in marriage only persons who hold in common a sound basis of evangelical faith.

The distinctive contribution of the church in performing the marriage ceremony is to affirm the divine institution of marriage; to invoke God’s blessing upon those entering the marital relationship in accordance with his Word; to hear the vows of those who desire to be married; and to assure the married partners of God’s grace within their new relationship.

The divine intention is that persons entering the marriage covenant become inseparably united, allowing for no dissolution except by the death of either husband or wife. However, the weaknesses of one or both partners may lead to gross and persistent denial of the marriage vows. Only in cases of extreme and irremediable unfaithfulness (physical or spiritual) should separation or divorce be considered.  

The remarriage of divorced persons may be sanctioned by the church in keeping with the redemptive gospel of Christ, when sufficient penitence for sin and failure is evident, and a firm purpose of and endeavor after Christian marriage is manifested.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Romans 13:1-2 The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
God, the supreme Lord and King of the whole world, has ordained civil authorities to be over people under him for his own glory and the public good. For this purpose he has armed civil authorities with the power of the sword to defend and encourage those who are good and to punish wrongdoers.

It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute offices of civil authority when that is their calling. In the administration of such offices they should take care to support true religion, justice, and peace, according to the beneficial laws of each government, and in so doing they may lawfully under the New Testament wage war on just and necessary occasions.

Civil authorities may not take on themselves the ministering of God’s Word and the sacraments, the administration of spiritual power, or any interference with matters of faith. Nevertheless it is the duty of civil authorities to protect the church of our Lord, without giving preference to any denomination of Christians, so that every person with church affiliations or duties will be able to function with complete and unquestioned freedom.  

It is the duty of civil authorities to protect the person and good name of everyone so that none are abused, injured, or insulted on account of religious faith or lack of it. It is also their duty to see to it that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies are held without disturbance

It is people’s duty to pray for those in authority, to honor them, to pay them taxes and whatever is owed them, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to them for conscience’s sake. Unbelief or different religious views on the part of civil authorities does not mean that they are to be disobeyed by believers, including clergymen, in the legitimate pursuit of their duties.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Matthew 5:33-34 Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Lawful oaths are part of religious worship. On proper occasions believers may solemnly swear and call God to witness that what they assert or promise is true, and they may ask God to judge them according to the truth or falsehood of what they swear.

The name of God is the only name by which men should swear, and that name is to be used with holy awe and reverence. Therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious and mighty name or to swear at all by any other name is sinful. Just as in important matters an oath is warranted by the Word of God, under the New as well as the Old Testament, so a lawful oath, required by legitimate authority in such matters ought to be taken.

Whoever takes an oath ought to consider fully the importance of such a solemn act, and so he should swear to nothing but what he is completely convinced is true. No one may bind himself by an oath to anything but what is good and just, to what he believes to be true, and to what he is able and determined to perform. It is a sin to refuse to swear an oath about anything good and just, when it is required by lawful authority.

A vow is similar to an oath promising something and should be made with similar religious care and performed with similar faithfulness. No one may vow to do anything forbidden in the Word of God, anything hindering a duty commanded in the Word, or anything not in his own power, which he has neither the ability nor warrant from God to perform.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Exodus 20:8-10 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.  

The acceptable way of worshiping the true God is established by God himself. God’s revealed will so defines and outlines proper worship that neither the imaginations and devices of men nor the suggestions of Satan are to be followed. God is not to be worshiped in any other way than that prescribed in Holy Scripture. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and only to him, not to angels, saints, or any other creature. Since the fall this worship must involve a mediator, and there is no other mediator than Christ alone.

The ordinary worship of God includes: the reverent and attentive reading of the Scriptures, the sound preaching and conscientious hearing of the Word in obedience to God with understanding and faith; singing of psalms with grace in the heart; and the proper administration and right receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ.

God is to be worshiped everywhere in spirit and in truth; in private families daily; privately by individuals daily; and regularly in solemn public gatherings, which are not to be carelessly or willfully neglected or forsaken, since God calls us to join other believers in public worship.

In his Word God has similarly commanded all men in every age to keep one day in seven holy unto him as a Sabbath. From the beginning of the world up to the resurrection of Christ, this Sabbath was the last day of the week. Since the resurrection of Christ it has been changed to the first day of the week, called the Lord’s Day in Scripture, and is to be continued until the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Monday, February 16, 2015


John 8:31-32 Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
In the Gospel, Christ has purchased for believers freedom from the guilt of sin, from the condemning wrath of God, and from the curse of the moral law. He has also freed them from the evil world we live in, from enslavement to Satan, from the dominion of sin, the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and from everlasting damnation. In Christ believers have free access to God and can obey him, not out of slavish fear, but with a childlike love and a willing mind.

God alone is Lord of the conscience and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any way contrary to or different from his Word in matters of faith or worship. And so, believing any such teachings or obeying such commandments of men for conscience’s sake actually betrays true freedom of conscience. Requiring implicit or absolute, blind obedience also destroys freedom of conscience as well as the free use of reason.

Those who practice any sin or nourish any sinful desire on the pretext of Christian freedom destroy the whole purpose of Christian freedom, which is, that, having been rescued out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear and in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our lives.

God intends that the authorities he has ordained on earth and the freedom Christ has purchased should not destroy but mutually uphold and preserve each other. And so, those who oppose any lawful power or the lawful exercise of power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, on the pretext of Christian freedom, are actually resisting God.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Galatians 3:24  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ.

God gave Adam a law as a covenant of works. He required Adam and all his descendants to obey this law, individually, completely, perpetually, and in precise accordance with its provisions. God promised life for keeping it and threatened death for disobeying it, and he gave man the power and ability to keep it.

After the fall this law continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness and was given, as such, by God on Mount Sinai in the Ten Commandments, written on two tablets. The first four commandments establish our obligations to God and the remaining six our obligations to human beings.

In addition to this law, ordinarily called the moral law, it pleased God to give the people of Israel, as a pre-Christian assembly of believers, ceremonial laws, containing many typical ordinances. Some of these ordinances pertain to worship and foreshadow Christ. All of these ceremonial laws are now nullified under the New Testament

God also gave the Israelites, as a political body, various judicial laws. These expired with the state of Israel and make no further obligation on God’s people than seems appropriate in contemporary legal codes.

The moral law, however, does pertain to everyone, saved and unsaved, forever, not just with respect to its content but also in relationship to the authority of God, the Creator, who gave it. In the gospel Christ does not in any way remove this obligation, but rather strengthens it.

Although true believers are not justified or condemned by the law as a covenant of works, the law is nevertheless very useful to them and to others. As a rule of life, it informs them of God’s will and of their obligation to obey it. It also reveals to them the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts, and lives, so that, examining themselves from its point of view, they may become more convinced of the presence of sin in them. Thus they gain a better awareness of their need for Christ and for the perfection of his obedience.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Saturday, February 14, 2015


1 John 3:18-20 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deeds and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Hypocrites and other unregenerate men may deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions about their being in God’s favor and about their being saved. Their presumptions will die with them.

However, those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus, who honestly love him and try to walk in good conscience before him, may in this life be assured with certainty that they are in a state of grace.

This certainty is not based on the fallible hope of guesswork or probabilities. Rather, it is the infallible assurance of faith, established on the divine truth of the promises of salvation. There is also the inner evidence of spiritual insight, given to us by God, to which these promises are directed. And there is the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God. This Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance. By him we are sealed until the day of redemption.

Therefore it is every believer’s duty to establish the certainty of his calling and election so that his heart may be filled with peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, with love and thankfulness to God, and with strength and cheerfulness of obedience. These are the true products of assurance, which is never conducive to an undisciplined life.

The assurance true believers have of their salvation may be shaken, lessened, or interrupted for various reasons: from neglecting to preserve it; from committing some particular sin, which wounds the conscience and grieves the Spirit; from some sudden or strong temptation; or from God’s withdrawing the sense of his presence and allowing them to walk in darkness. Nevertheless, they are never completely without God’s seed, the life of faith, the love of Christ and of other believers, and the sincere heart and obedient conscience, out of which the Spirit may revive this assurance in due time and by which they are in the meantime kept from complete despair.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Friday, February 13, 2015


John 10:27-29  “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”
Those whom God has accepted in his Son and has effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit can never completely or finally fall out of their state of grace. Rather, they shall definitely continue in that state to the end and are eternally saved.

This endurance of the saints does not depend on their own free will but on God’s unchangeable decree of election, flowing from his voluntary, unchangeable love. It also depends on the effectiveness of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, on the indwelling Spirit and indwelling seed of God in the saints, and on the nature of the covenant of grace. All these establish the certainty and infallibility of their preservation.

Nevertheless, the temptations of Satan, the world, and their old carnal nature, along with neglect of the means of their preservation, may lead believers to commit serious sins and to continue in them for a time. They consequently displease God and grieve his Holy Spirit, have some of the fruit of God’s grace and his comforts taken away from them, have their
hearts hardened and their consciences wounded, hurt and offend others, and bring temporal judgments on themselves.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Hebrews 6:10-12 God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Good works are only those works identified as good by God and commanded by him in his holy Word. They do not include other works, no matter how well-intentioned in design or zealously promoted by men.

These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruit and evidence of a true and living faith. By them believers show their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance of salvation, edify their brothers in the Lord, and become ornaments of all those who profess the gospel. Good works in believers silence the criticism of the enemies of the gospel. They also glorify God by showing that believers are the workmanship and creation of Jesus Christ, because their aim is that holiness of living which leads to eternal life.

Believers get the ability to do good works entirely from the Spirit of Christ. In addition to the other particular effects of God’s grace already received, believers must be directed by the Holy Spirit in order to will and to do what pleases God. However, they are not therefore to grow spiritually lazy, waiting for some special guidance from the Spirit before doing anything commanded by God. Rather, they should diligently attempt to identify what good works God has commanded in his Word and then try their best to do all of them, praying earnestly and daily for the empowering and enabling of the Holy Spirit, who lives in them.

Those believers who do the best that can be done in obeying God in this life can never do more or even as much as he requires. Indeed they fall short of much which they are bound to do.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Acts 17:30-31 “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Repentance which leads to life is the blessed product of the gospel working in believers’ lives. Along with the doctrine of faith in Christ, it is a doctrine to be preached by every minister of the gospel.

In this repentance the sinner is able to see his sins as God sees them, as filthy and hateful, and as involving great danger to the sinner, because they are completely contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God. Understanding that God in Christ is merciful to those who repent, the sinner suffers deep sorrow for and hates his sins, and so he determines to turn away from all of them. And turning to God, he tries to walk with him according to all his commandments.

Although repentance is not any satisfaction for sin and does not cause the forgiveness of sins (since forgiveness is an act of God’s voluntary grace in Christ), yet it is necessary to all sinners, and no one may expect to be forgiven without it.

            Just as there is no sin so small that it does not deserve damnation, so there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent. Believers should not be satisfied with general repentance. Rather, it is everyone’s duty to try to repent of every individual sin individually.

Everyone is also bound to confess privately his sins to God and to pray for forgiveness for them. Confession, prayer for forgiveness, and the forsaking of sins which have been forgiven will find God’s mercy.

Similarly, anyone who sins against his spiritual brother or the church should be willing to confess, privately or publicly, to demonstrate sorrow for his sin, and openly to state his repentance to those whom he has hurt. They in turn are to be reconciled to him and to receive him in love.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Ephesians 1:16-20  I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ.
The gift of faith makes it possible for the souls of the elect to be saved by believing in Jesus Christ. This gift is the work of the Spirit of Christ in the hearts of the elect and is ordinarily accomplished by the ministry of the Word. It is also increased and strengthened by the Word, by prayer, and by the administration of the sacraments.

            By this faith a Christian believes whatever is revealed in the Word to be the true, authentic, authoritative statement of God himself. By this faith the believer also acts according to what particular passages in the Word say. By faith the believer humbly submits to and obeys God’s various commands. He trembles at God’s awesome threats, and eagerly embraces his promises about this life and the life to come.

But the chief actions of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting on Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, in the power of the covenant of grace.

            This faith has different degrees of strength and weakness. It may be attacked and weakened often and in many ways, but it gets the victory. In many believers it matures and becomes completely assured through Christ, who both creates and perfects our faith.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Monday, February 9, 2015


Colossians 1:9-12  We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father. 

Those who are effectually called and regenerated have a new heart and a new spirit created in them. They are additionally sanctified, actually and personally, by the power of Christ’s death and resurrection and by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them. The power of sin ruling over the whole body is destroyed, and the desires of the old self are more and more weakened and killed. At the same time the ability to practice true holiness, without which no one will see the Lord, is brought to life and strengthened by all the saving graces.
Sanctification works in the whole person, but not completely or perfectly in this life. The old sinful nature retains some of its control in body, mind, and spirit. And so a continual and irreconcilable war goes on in every believer. The old nature tries to get its way in opposition to the Spirit, and the Spirit fights to assert its authority over the flesh.
Although the old nature temporarily wins battles in this warfare,8 the continual strengthening of the sanctifying Spirit of Christ enables the regenerate nature in each believer to overcome. And so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Ephesians 1:3-6  In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved….

Adoption is an act of God's grace by which he brings people into the number of his redeemed family, and makes them partakers of all the blessings he has provided for them. Adoption represents the new relations into which the believer is introduced by justification, and the privileges connected to being in God’s family.

God guarantees the adoption of all those who are justified in and for the sake of his only son, Jesus Christ.

The privileges of those adopted include: an interest in God's peculiar love (John 17:23; Romans 5:5-8), a spiritual nature (2 Peter 1:4; John 1:13), the possession of a spirit becoming children of God (1 Peter 1:14; 2 John 4; Romans 8:15-21), present protection, consolation, supplies (Luke 12:27-32; John 14:18), fatherly discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11), and a future glorious inheritance (James 2:5; Philippians 3:21).

Those adopted enjoy the liberties and privileges of God’s children, have his name put on them, receive the Spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, and are enabled to cry, Abba, Father.

They are pitied, protected, provided for, and disciplined by him as a father. They are never cast off, however, and are sealed until the day of redemption and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Saturday, February 7, 2015


John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”

Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies. He does not pour righteousness into them but pardons their sins and looks on them and accepts them as if they were righteous—not because of anything worked in them or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone. He does not consider their faith itself, the act of believing, as their righteousness or any other obedient response to the gospel on their part. Rather, he imputes to them the obedience and judicial satisfaction earned by Christ. For their part, they receive and rest on Christ and his righteousness by faith (and this faith is not their own but is itself a gift of God).

Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the only means of justification. In the person justified, however, it is always accompanied by all the other saving graces and is not a dead faith, but works by love.

            By his obedience and death Christ completely discharged the debt of all those who are so justified, and he made the correct, real, and full satisfaction to his Father’s justice on their behalf. Since Christ was voluntarily given by the Father for them, and since his obedience and satisfaction were accepted in their place and not for anything in them, their justification is the result only of his free grace—so that both the perfect justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

God continues to forgive the sins of those who are justified. Although they can never fall from the state of justification, they may by their sins come under God’s fatherly displeasure and not have a sense of his presence with them until they humble themselves, confess their sins, ask for forgiveness, and renew their faith in repentance.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Friday, February 6, 2015


Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
At the right time, appointed by him, God effectually calls all those and only those whom he has predestined to life. He calls them by his Word and Spirit out of their natural state of sin and death into grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. He enlightens their minds spiritually with a saving understanding of the things of God. He takes away their heart of stone and gives them a heart of flesh. He renews their wills and by his almighty power leads them to what is good. And so he effectually draws them to Jesus Christ. But they come to Jesus voluntarily, having been made willing by God’s grace.

This effectual call is freely made by God and is entirely an act of his special grace. It does not depend on anything God foreknew or foresaw about the person called, who is completely passive. God himself gives life and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He thereby enables each person to answer his call and to accept the grace he offers and actually gives.

            Others may be called by the ministry of the Word, and the Spirit may work in them in some of the same ways he works in the elect. However, they never truly come to Christ and therefore cannot be saved. And, of course, people, not professing the Christian religion, cannot be saved in any other way at all, no matter how hard they try to live a moral life according to their own understanding or try to follow the rules of some other religion. To say they can be saved is extremely harmful and should be denounced.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Ephesians 2:1-5 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked... among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. 

God has given man a will, which by nature is free, i.e., it is not forced or necessarily inclined toward good or evil.

In his state of innocence man had complete freedom and the natural ability to will and to do what is good and pleasing to God. God also made man so that he could lose that freedom.

Man fell into a state of sin by his disobedience and so completely lost his ability to will any spiritual good involving salvation. Consequently,  fallen man is by nature completely opposed to spiritual good, is dead in sin, and is unable by his own strength either to convert himself or to prepare himself for conversion.

When God converts a sinner and brings him into a state of grace, he frees him from his natural enslavement to sin. By God’s grace alone, freely given, sinful man is enabled to will and to do what is spiritually good. However, since the old sinful nature also remains, the believer cannot consistently or perfectly will to do what is good but also wills evil.

The will of man is perfectly free and permanently inclined to good alone only in the state of glory.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Hebrews 12:23b-25 You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. (NIV)
In his eternal purpose it pleased God to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, to be the mediator between God and man.1 Jesus is the prophet, priest, and king, the head and savior of his church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world. From all eternity God gave him a people to be his seed and to be in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified by him.

The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, is truly the eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father. In the fullness of time he took on himself the nature of man, with all the essential qualities and ordinary frailties of man—except that he was sinless. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary out of her
substance. The person Jesus is truly God and truly man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.

By his perfect obedience and sacrifice, offered up to God once and for all through the eternal Spirit, the Lord Jesus has completely satisfied the justice of his Father and purchased not only reconciliation but also an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for everyone whom the Father has given to him.

Christ insures with absolute certainty that everyone for whom he purchased redemption actually accepts and receives it. He makes intercession for them, reveals the mysteries of salvation to them in and by the Word, and effectively persuades them to believe and obey by his Spirit. He governs their hearts by his Word and Spirit and overcomes all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom in such ways as are most in agreement with his wonderful and unknowable administration of things.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Hebrews 1:1  Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

The distance between God and his creation is so great, that, although reasoning creatures owe him obedience as their creator, they nonetheless could never realize any blessedness or reward from him without his willingly condescending to them. And so it pleased God to provide for
man by means of covenants. (Isaiah 40.13-17)

The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works. In it life was promised to Adam and through him to his descendants, on the condition of perfect, personal obedience. (Genesis 2:16-17)

By his fall, man made himself incapable of life under that covenant, and so the Lord made a second, the covenant of grace. In it he freely offers sinners life and salvation through Jesus Christ. In order to be saved, he requires faith in Jesus and promises to give his Holy Spirit to all who are ordained to life so that they may be willing and able to believe. (Romans 3:20-24)

This covenant of grace was administered differently 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 given to the Jewish people, all foreshadowing Christ.

Under the gospel Christ himself, the substance of God’s grace, was revealed. The ordinances of this New Testament are the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They are available to all nations, Jews and Gentiles, and in them the spiritual power of the covenant of grace is more fully developed. There are not then two essentially different covenants of grace, but one and the same covenant.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Monday, February 2, 2015


Genesis 3:4-5 The serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.  Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Our first parents were led astray by the cunning temptation of Satan and sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. It pleased God to allow them to sin, because in his wisdom and holiness he planned to order their sin to his own glory.

By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and fellowship with God, and so became dead in sin and completely polluted in all their faculties and parts of body and soul.

Since Adam and Eve are the root of all mankind, the guilt for this sin has been imputed to all human beings, who are their natural descendants and have inherited the same death in sin and the same corrupt nature.

This original corruption completely disinclines, incapacitates, and turns us away from every good, while it completely inclines us to every evil. All actualized sins proceed from it.

During life on earth this corrupt nature remains in those who are regenerated, and, although it is pardoned and deadened in Christ, yet it and all its impulses are truly and properly sinful.

Every sin, both original and actual, transgresses the righteous law of God and brings guilt on the sinner. Every sinner is consequently subjected to the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and death, with all the resultant miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Genesis 50:19-20     Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

God, who created everything, also upholds everything. He directs, regulates, and governs every creature, action, and thing, from the greatest to the least, by his completely wise and holy providence. He does so in accordance with his infallible foreknowledge and the voluntary, unchangeable purpose of his own will, all to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

God’s providence extends even to the fall and to all other sins of angels and men. These sins are not simply allowed by God, but are bound, ordered, and governed by him in the fullness of his wisdom and power so that they fulfill his own holy purposes. However, the sinfulness still belongs to the creature and does not proceed from God, whose holy righteousness does not and cannot cause or approve sin

In the fullness of his wisdom, righteousness, and grace God often allows his own children to be tempted in various ways and for a time to pursue the corruption of their own hearts. God does this to chastise them for their previous sins and to reveal to them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness in their hearts, so that they may be humbled. In addition to various other just and holy results, believers are thereby raised to a closer and more constant dependence on God for their support and are also made more alert in detecting and resisting opportunities to sin.

It is different for the wicked and the ungodly. As punishment for their previous sins, God, the righteous judge, spiritually blinds and hardens them in their own sinfulness. From them God not only withdraws his grace, by which they might have been spiritually enlightened, but sometimes he also withdraws whatever gift of spiritual understanding they already had and deliberately exposes them to the opportunities for sinning which their corrupt nature naturally seeks. He thereby gives them over to their own desires, to the temptations of the world, and to the power of Satan, and so it happens that they harden themselves even under those circumstances which God uses to soften others.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

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