The Westminster Confession Of Faith. Section III.3-5

“By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.” (3) This third part to section III states the biblical truth that God is completely sovereign. Before anyone were born, he determined their futures, “even the wicked for the day of doom” (Pr. 16:4 Cf. Pr. 8:23). Paul referred back to Jacob and Esau. “As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.’” (Rom. 9:13) The death of the wicked is what all humanity deserved, based upon the covenant made through Adam, and the choice we all made to rebel. Therefore, the wonder is that mercy should come to any (Eph. 1:4-5). “What if God, wanting to show his wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of Hid glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.” (9:22-23)

From the account of the Fall, we learn that there was a prior ‘fall’ of the angel Satan, and with further revelation we learn that others fell with him, but there are elect angels as well (Mt. 25:41; I Tim. 5:21). “These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished (Jn. 13:18; I Tim. 5:21; II Tim. 2:19; II Pet. 2:4).” The Lord knows who are his own, who are predestined unto election, whereas the wicked are predestined unto reprobation. “Those of mankind that are predestined unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, has chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory (Eph. 1:4, 9, 11; Rom. 8:28-30; II Tim. 1:9; I Th. 5:9).” There is also a particular election of the remnant within the larger elect nation of Israel (Mt. 24:22; Rom. 11:5).

“Out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto (Rom. 9:11, 13, 16; Eph. 1:4, 9), and all to the praise of his glorious grace (Eph. 1:6, 12).” The elect are such by grace through faith, all of which is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9). The elect will also not be lost. “We are assured from Scripture that they who believe ‘were ordained to eternal life’ and that they were ‘chosen to salvation’ (Acts 13:48; 2 Thess. 2:13).”1 “Election itself originated in divine sovereignty, and had no other cause than the good pleasure of God’s will (Eph. 1:5). The divine purpose is one, embracing the means as well as the end; but according to our conception of the operations of the divine mind, the end is first in intention, and then the means are appointed by which it is to be carried into effect,…that God had a respect to the mediation of Christ.”2

1. Shaw, (87)

2. Ibid., (92)

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