The Sum Of Saving Knowledge On The Final Judgment


The Lord shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty Angels, ver. 8. In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. ver. 9. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. ver. 10. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.

Wherein we are taught, that our Lord Jesus, who now offers to be Mediator for them who believe in him, shall at the last day, come armed with flaming fire, to judge, condemn and destroy all them who have not believed God, have not received the offer of grace made in the Gospel, nor obeyed the Doctrine thereof; but remain in their natural estate under the Law or Covenant of Works.

Hence let every man reason thus:

What the righteous Judge hath forewarned me shall be done, at the last day, I am sure is just judgement.

But the righteous Judge hath forewarned me, that if I do not believe God in time, and obey the Doctrine of the Gospel, I shall be secluded from his presence and his glory, at the last day, and be tormented in soul and body for ever.

Therefore I am convinced that this is just Judgement.

And I have reason to thank God heartily, who hath forewarned me to flee from the wrath which is to come.

Thus every man may be, by the Law or Covenant of Works, convinced of judgement, if he shall continue under the Covenant of Works, or shall not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.


As for convincing a man of sin, and righteousness, and judgement by the Gospel or Covenant of grace, he must understand three things. 1. That not believing in Jesus Christ, or refusing of the Covenant of Grace, offered in him, is a greater and more dangerous sin, then all other sins against the Law; because the hearers of the Gospel, not believing in Christ, do reject Gods mercy in Christ, the only way of freedom from sin and wrath, and will not yield to be reconciled to God. Next, he must understand that perfect remission of sin and true righteousness is to be had only by faith in Jesus; because God requireth no other conditions but faith, and testifies from Heaven that he is well pleased to justify sinners upon this condition. 3. He must understand that, upon righteousness received by faith, judgement shall follow one the one hand, to the destroying of the works of the Devil in the believer, and to the perfecting of the work of Sanctification in him, with power: and that upon refusing to take righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ, judgement shall follow on the other hand, to the condemnation of the misbeliever, and destroying of him with Satan and his servants forever.

For this end let these passages of Scripture, among many others, serve to make the greatness of the sin of not believing in Christ appear, or to make the greatness of the sin of refusing of the Covenant of Grace, offered to us, in the offering of Christ unto us, let the fair offer of Grace be looked upon as it is made, Isa. 55. 3. Incline your ear and come unto me (saith the Lord) hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting Covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. That is, if ye will believe me, and be reconciled to me, I will by Covenant, give unto you Christ, and all saving graces in him; repeated, Acts 13. 34.

Again consider that this general offer in substance is equivalent to a special offer made to everyone in particular, as appeareth by the Apostles making use of it, Acts 16. 13. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house. The reason of which offer is given Job 3. 16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. Seeing then this great salvation is offered in the Lord Jesus, whosoever believe not in him, but look for happiness some other way, what doth he else but observe lying vanities, and forsake his own mercy which he might have had in Christ? Jonah 2. 8, 9. What doth he else but blaspheme God in his heart? as it is said, 1 John 5. 10. He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son; and this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son; and that no sin against the Law is like unto this sin, Christ testifies, John 15. 22. If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin; but now they have no clock for their sin. This may convince a man of the greatness of this sin of not believing in Christ.

— David Dickson, The Sum Of Saving Knowledge (Edinburgh, 1671).

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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