WCF 3.3-4

The Westminster Confession of Faith

3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some people and angels are predestined to everlasting life and others are foreordained to everlasting death.

4. These angels and people thus predestined and foreordained are particularly and unchangeably intended, and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or decreased. (WCF 3.3-4)

Someone once explained salvation by way of illustration in that God was like a man who walked past a well in the middle of nowhere and heard a whole bunch of His enemies at the bottom of it crying out for help. And so instead of just ignoring their pleas, God was moved with compassion, made a rope and climbed down to the bottom to rescue them. That’s a nice illustration to try and explain God’s compassion and grace when it comes to salvation and creation’s total and utter need of rescuing; but there is something glaringly obvious staring us in the face - it’s a view of salvation that falls so far short in so many ways. Let me explain.

You see when God created all things, He saw that it was very good (Gen 1:1-3, 31; 1 Tim 4:4). This included both the physical and spiritual realms, which included spiritual beings (Ps 104:4, Heb 1:10, 13-14). Now angels were created to be in a living and loving relationship with God (Heb 1:7,14a), yet something happened where Satan and demons appear and they were dead against God and His work (Gen 3:1a c.f Rev 12:7-9, 20:2). The Old Testament teaches that Satan was a rebel (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7a), which persecuted both God’s people (Job 1-2, Zech 3:1-2) and other spiritual beings (Dan 12: 1, Jd 9, Rev 12:7-12) and would even try to take out the coming Messiah (Gen 3:15, Jn 8:44). The New Testament reveals that when Jesus came on the scene, that that was certainly the case (Matt 4:1-11, Mk 1:21-27, Jn 13:27) and nothing has changed. In fact we are warned that Satan and demons are still up to their old tricks (1 Thess 3:5b, Gal 6:12, 1 Pet 5:8-9). All this to say, God’s revelation shows us that though Satan and demons were created by God and know Him personally, they wont repent of their wickedness and will be forever damned (Matt 8:29, Mk 1:24) - in fact some have already been judged and thrown into Hell for the things they did against humans in Noah’s day (2 Pet 2:4, Jd 6), and even Satan is already feeling the effect of the coming day of judgment (Rev 20:1-2).

In the same way humans were created to be in a living and loving relationship with God (Gen 1:26-31, 2:7, Job 33:4) yet rebelled in the Garden with the temptation of being our own gods (Gen 3:1-6, 1 Jn 2:16) and thus sin was bought into the human experience (Gen 3:14-19, 23-24). Now this is the thing, the bible reveals that Adam’s rebellion - as the representative of the human race - it didn’t just bring a curse and sickness, but actually killed us all spiritually, and as we are all born “in Adam”, we are all born under that very curse and are all spiritually dead (Rom 5:12,14, 1 Cor 15:21-22). And so this is where our initial illustration falls short. If God was to stand at the top of the so-called well - nobody, but nobody would be calling out for help, thats because the demoniacs wont and the spiritually dead can’t. So the dreadful news is in and of ourselves all is lost, but this is the good news, God in His incredible mercy and grace actually gives spiritual life to His people which causes them to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved (Ez 37:1-14, Acts 2:21, Heb 2:14-18), and those whom God has chosen will hear the gospel and repent and nothing can ever snatch them out of His saving hands (Mk 4:8,20, Matt 11:15, Jn 10:28-30, Rom 8:30). Jesus sums up this very difficult doctrine like this saying, All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day (Jn 6:37-39, NIV).

Take heart brothers and sisters, for those who see their need for salvation and have called upon the name of the Lord, you can know that God has been at work, at work in your very soul to give you the salvation that has been earned for you through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, which was planned before the very first atom came into being.

Published: April 14, 2024

Updated: April 14, 2024