Tag Archives: Westminster Confession of Faith

Be Sure Not to Violate the First Commandment

And how do you do that?  By avoiding the sorts of sins listed in the Westminster Confession-

Q. What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment are,

Atheism, in denying, or not having a God;

Idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God;
the not having and avouching him for God, and our God;

the omission or neglect of any thing due to him, required in this commandment;

ignorance, forgetfulness, misapprehensions, false opinions, unworthy and wicked thoughts of him;
bold and curious searching into his secrets;

all profaneness, hatred of God;

self-love, self-seeking, and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part;

vain credulity, unbelief, heresy, misbelief, distrust, despair, incorrigibleness and insensibleness under judgments, hardness of heart, pride, presumption, carnal security, tempting of God;

using unlawful means, and trusting in unlawful means;

carnal delights and joys;

corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal;

lukewarmness, and deadness in the things of God;

estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God;

praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures;

all compacts and consulting with the devil, and hearkening to his suggestions;

making men the lords of our faith and conscience;

slighting and despising God and his commands;

resisting and grieving of his Spirit, discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us;

and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have, or can do, to fortune, idols, ourselves, or any other creature. (WC 1:105).

Quite a list, isn’t it. Take care to be diligent to avoid them all. That way you’ll keep the First Commandment.

On Marriage and Divorce: The Westminster Confession

Of Marriage and Divorce

I. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at the same time.

II. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness.

III. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent.  Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord.  And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.

IV. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word.  Nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.  The man may not marry any of his wife’s kindred, nearer in blood then he may of his own: nor the woman of her husband’s kindred, nearer in blood than of her own.

V. Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, gives just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.  In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.

VI. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God has joined together in marriage: yet, nothing but adultery, or such wilful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church, or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage: wherein, a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wills, and discretion, in their own case.

You know, if you think about it, that’s all really quite spot on.  The only justification for abandoning the WCF’s attitude is to satisfy our own inclinations.  The Reformed confessions really are quite remarkable.

On the Assurance Which Comes Through Faith

The Westminster Confession observes

Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God; which hope shall never make them ashamed. (WCF 18:1).

It’s important to note several things.  First, the hypocritical and unregenerate deceive themselves if they think they have faith or its assurance.  On the other hand, those who truly love God, do their best to live according to his will, and are satisfied in their conscience that they are, can rest in the assurance that they really do belong to God and rejoice in that affirmation.

The assurance of faith belongs to the ‘doers of the Word’ and not the ‘hearers only’.

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