Does The Westminster Confession Contradict Calvin On Assurance And Faith?

For much of the 20th century it was a datum, a given, for many students of Calvin and the Reformed tradition that many of the English Reformed (especially the Westminster Assembly) abandoned Calvin and the Reformation doctrine of the faith and assurance. . . . Continue reading →

Dort 5.1–3: Reformed Realism On Sanctification

One of the lesser known aspects of the battle with the Remonstrants (Arminians), was that they, the Remonstrants, were not satisfied with the Reformed doctrine of sanctification. That continues to be a problem today. In the 18th and 19th centuries powerful voices within what we today call “evangelicalism” were also dissatisfied with the older doctrine. They wanted more. Some of them, deeply influenced by the Remonstrants, articulated a doctrine of Christian perfection, a doctrine that believers can, if they will, attain “entire perfection” (sinless sanctification) in this life. In our day, even among some who think of themselves as Reformed (principally because they identify with the Reformed doctrines of election and the atonement) teach a version of perfectionism. Since no one in this life ever actually achieves sinless perfection, such an approach to the Christian life is bound to create a crisis of assurance. Continue reading →

There Is Only One Stage Of Justification

In recent years, however, within ostensibly confessional Protestant circles, some have been advocating versions of a two-stage doctrine of justification. One version of this proposal is that we may be said to be justified initially by grace alone, through faith alone but only finally justified on the basis of our sanctification. Some give the whole basis of our final justification to our inherent sanctification and righteousness and others only part of the basis. Continue reading →

Calvin: Assurance Fills Our Sails

The seducers that had infiltrated the Galatians and corrupted the purity of the gospel…Paul stops here, and says that if we are being forced and obliged to perform this task for God and to enter into this covenant with him, Jesus Christ . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 86: Why Good Works? (3)

Sanctification has another function in the Christian life: to bolster assurance. This doctrine has also been controversial in some circles. There is a view that says that sanctification can play no role whatsoever in assurance. There is also an approach that says that, in seeking assurance, the first place a believer looks is to his sanctification. Continue reading →

Calvin On Freedom From Bondage To The Law

Yet, when Paul speaks of the law creating servitude, he is speaking here of the way in which the Galatians misapplied the law… Furthermore, we believe that it is impossible to keep the law of God, but that the law simply reveals . . . Continue reading →

God’s Immutable Purpose in Christ

A Strong Source of Assurance

Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, He has out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of His own will, chosen from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own . . . Continue reading →

Faith-The Instrument By Which We Embrace Christ

We do not mean, however, properly speaking, that it is faith itself that justifies us — for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ, our righteousness. But Jesus Christ is our righteousness in making available to us all his . . . Continue reading →