Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q30 (Part 1)

Question: WSC 30: How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?

Answer: The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.

Scripture Memory: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

An Explanation: “…Uniting us to Christ…”: Union with Christ is the fount from which all blessings of eternity and time flow forth to believers through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:3-14). Christ is the Reservoir of all blessing from the Father through the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:9). Believers have union and communion with Christ in grace and glory (WLC, 65-66). Our union with Christ is like marriage (He is Bridegroom, we are His bride, Eph. 5:22-33), it is a living union (He is Vine, we are branches, John 15:1-5), a representative union (He is Federal-Covenantal Head and Second Adam, Rom. 5:18-21; 6:3-6), and a mystical union (Christ is Head, we are His body, Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 12:12-13). All of the blessings of justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification are found in, and flow out of our union with Christ in His death and resurrection. “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

“…By working faith in us…”: These blessings in Christ purchased for believers are received by faith alone. The objective bond in our union from God’s side is the Holy Spirit; the subjective bond in our union from our side is faith. Both are granted by the Holy Spirit in our effectual calling. Faith is a gift from God; faith is a Spirit-wrought gift. Fallen man is dead in trespasses and sins unable to respond to the Gospel of God. God the Father grants the faith that we need to receive Him. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship…” (Eph. 2:8-10a). The Lord Jesus says: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out… No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:37, 44).

“…In our effectual calling…”: The calling of God to His own is effectual because it powerfully regenerates (makes alive!) and works faith and repentance, and cannot be resisted. Universal, and external calls of the Gospel can and will be resisted by sinners (Acts 7:51) but the specific, special call of God through the Gospel to His elect will always be effectual or effective (Acts 2:37-41; 16:14). The effectual call is the outworking of the grace of God in calling sinners into fellowship with Christ: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). God illumines our minds to see the glorious Person of Christ, He frees up our wills to freely choose Him by faith as our own, and He warms our hearts (affections) to love and desire Him. This is an irresistible call offered by grace through the power of the Spirit. “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thess. 1:4-5). “…In [Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit…” (Eph. 1:13).

A Prayer: Dear Jesus, you are the true Gift of the Spirit, the Promise of the Father, in that we are united to you in grace and glory for salvation and rich communion. The Father has made you everything for us as believers, let us glory in you and say: “To live is Christ, to die is gain!” (Phil. 1:21).

In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Biggs