A Followup from Yesterday – God’s Eternal Decree

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God, having out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.

I thought I would do a followup post from yesterday on the special grace of God extended to humanity through the plan of salvation. After the first Adam fell, plunging all of mankind into an estate of sin and misery, only the Divine could rescue them from that estate whereinto they fell. Jesus Christ is called the “Second Adam” because he reversed the effects of the “First Adam” by doing what the first Adam failed to do, namely, keeping the law of God perfectly and without error. Yet, keeping the law of God was not the only requirement. A mere angel could not atone for sin because as the Scriptures say, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7). Only God has the power to impute righteousness in place of sin.

This is that plan of salvation spoken of in the WSC question above, that God came down and dwelt with man and gave His life a ransom for many. The true atonement came at Christ’s time on the cross, for there He suffered the eternal wrath of the Father, to the point of crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46. It is no wonder that there was darkness over the course of that time, for the Eternal Word, Who upheld (and is upholding) the universal in His hands every moment was at that moment suffering damnation in our place. Yet, it was only for a time.

How do we know that the sacrifice amounted to anything? How do we know that the Father thought it to be enough? How do we know that the sacrifice was accepted? He is risen! The Father rose His Son from the dead, and as such, Jesus Christ has become the firstfruits of our own resurrection to come. May we take hope and comfort in that, which leads us into eternal glory. As 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

R.C. Sproul on Man’s Sin and God’s Grace

I came across the below video today and realized that I think I had watched that entire panel on the Ligonier Ministries YouTube channel. Contrary to how this video is labeled, I think Rev. Dr. Sproul answered the question very well and accurately. To think that God has been severely harsh with mankind is not only ignorant but arrogant. He has dealt with us with exceeding grace, and our response should be one of thankfulness.

“This creature from the dirt defied the everlasting, holy God.” ~R.C. Sproul. The fact that God in His mere good pleasure decreed a plan of salvation is gracious beyond what humankind can fathom. Even the angels marvel at this plan of redemption.

Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

The First and Last Westminster Shorter Catechism Questions – Catechism Rundown

I am now reciting all 107 questions of the WSC several times a week (something children used to do in the seventeenth century), and I’m finding it most refreshing. I thought I would give the bookends of the logic with a summary of the questions in-between.

Also, I’ve approved the edit for chapter 1 and am already in chapter 2 for my book Treasure on the Southern Moor! Keep watching and looking; it will be in the bookstore soon.

Westminster Shorter Catechism Rundown:

Q.1: What is the chief end of man?

A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

This question serves to answer the world-famous philosopher question of Why are we here? God created man, as is stated nine questions later in the catechism, and our ultimate purpose is for His glory – that is why we are here and that is what we must set ourselves about to do.

Questions 2-9: Introduces the Scriptures; God (the Author of the Scriptures) in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and His eternal decrees.

Questions 10-19: Introduces mankind, the fall of man, and the path all men are on.

Questions 20-28: Introduces Christ, Savior of our race; the offices Christ holds; and what He did to bring man upon a different path.

Questions 29-38: Explains how Christ’s work is applied to us and the benefits that follow.

Questions 39-81: THIS IS THE LARGEST SEGMENT: Introduces the duty of man, which is the moral law, and gives a summary of the entire moral law, expressed in the Two Greatest Commandments and the Ten Commandments. Explains what is required and forbidden in each commandment.

Questions 82-84: Shows the tragedy of sin upon all mankind and what it deserves.

Questions 85-98: Shows what is necessary for salvation and the means of His continual nourishment and provision for us, giving the Word, Sacraments, and Prayer as special means.

Questions 99-107: An expository on the Lord’s Prayer.

Question 107: What doth the conclusion of the Lords’ Prayer teach us?

A: The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen, teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him; and, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

Much as the first question gives God as the ultimate reason for existence, the last question gives us a clear example from the model prayer how to give the glory back to the Lord. It is as though the Puritans were saying, “To God be the glory, and this is why, because this is what happened, this is what is required, this is what God did for us, and here is how we may glorify Him.”