Tom J. ISBN Reprinted here by permission. Who is the first and chiefest being? God is the first and chiefest being Is. Ought every one to believe there is a God?
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The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit once offered up to God, has fully satisfied the justice of God,32 procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father has given unto Him.
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. To all those for whom Christ has obtained eternal redemption, He does certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them;38 uniting them to Himself by His Spirit, revealing to them, in and by His Word, the mystery of salvation, persuading them to believe and obey,39 governing their hearts by His Word and Spirit,40 and overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom,41 in such manner and ways as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation; and all of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.
This office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from Him to any other.
This number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of His prophetical office;44 and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need His priestly office to reconcile us and present us acceptable unto God;45 and in respect to our averseness and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need His kingly office to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to His heavenly kingdom.
God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God,2 but yet was unstable, so that he might fall from it. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation;4 so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin,5 is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.
When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin,7 and by His grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;8 yet so as that by reason of his remaining corruptions, he does not perfectly, nor only will, that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.
This will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only. Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, He is pleased in His appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call,1 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;2 enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God;3 taking away their heart of stone, and giving to them a heart of flesh;4 renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ;5 yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.
Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit;10 who works when, and where, and how He pleases;11 so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit,12 yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved much less can men that do not receive the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.
Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification;6 yet is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.
God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect,11 and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification;12 nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit in time does actually apply Christ to them. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.
All those that are justified, God conferred, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption,1 by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God,2 have his name put on them,3 receive the spirit of adoption,4 have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father,5 are pitied,6 protected,7 provided for,8 and chastened by him as by a Father,9 yet never cast off,10 but sealed to the day of redemption,11 and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.
The Baptist Catechism