Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q20.1

WSC Question 20, Part I: 

Answer: 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.

An explanation: A glorious truth is made known in the Scriptures! Although man has fallen into sin, and by nature he is unable to do any good, or perform righteousness as God requires, and he is totally helpless to save himself from his predicament, God has sent hope for rescue and redemption. God has not left mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery!! Romans 3:21-22 says: “…Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” God provides a perfect righteousness for salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ for all who believe!

Man’s salvation is nothing deserved, but only by grace. Only by grace, because of God’s “mere good pleasure” is salvation possible in Christ (Matt. 11:25-26). God’s good pleasure is something that He alone decided to do, in order to show forth His goodness and power, and to save and redeem a people for Himself, for His own glory! (Eph. 1:3-14). Jesus gives hope to HIs people by saying to them, “Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

The Covenant of Works with Adam and the entire human race had been broken; there was no hope to attain salvation through works of the Law (Rom. 3:20). Though the Law of God is holy, righteous, and good (Rom. 7:12), there was no power in the Law to transform man’s sinful heart, no power in the Law to give life, and there was nothing good that dwelled in man by nature to do the works of God (Rom. 7:18; Gal. 3:10, 21). Only God, and God alone could give hope in this hopeless predicament of sinfulness (cf. Eph. 2:12).

And He did!! Two of the most glorious and hope-filled words in Scripture declare it: “But God…” (Eph. 2:4a). Although man was sinful, enslaved, dead in trespasses and sins, unable in himself to do any good for God, God who is rich in mercy, saved a people through the Covenant of Grace, because of the perfect righteousness found in Christ (Gal. 3:16)! It is by grace we have been saved, and not of works—no one can boast—salvation is of the LORD, and the LORD alone!! (Eph. 2:1-10; Tit. 3:4-7). What man could not do, what the Law could not do, “God has done…”

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:3-4).

A Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, my salvation is only because of your good pleasure and grace. Let me be ever thankful for your mercies in Christ Jesus. Thank you for rescuing me from your just wrath and what my sins deserve, and to give me salvation and a perfect righteousness in Jesus! Thank you for revealing this to me, and giving me all the power and grace needed to take hold of the promises of the Covenant of Grace in Christ. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to teach me your ways, to cause me to love your Law, and to walk NOT according to the flesh, but by the Spirit!

More in Part II…

In Christ’s love,
Pastor Biggs