Every year during the season of Advent I do a four part series in to match up with the four Sunday’s of Advent. In 2014 we explored the various heresies which facilitated the controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries. In 2015 we took an in depth look at the Niceno-Constantinopolitian Creed. This year, we will take a look at the eight clauses of chapter eight of the Westminster Confession of Faith. Each week we will tackle two clauses.
5. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience, and sacrifice of himself, which he, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.
This section teaches us three important truths. First, that it was both the active and passive righteousness of which satisfies God. It is not just that Christ died, but that he lived perfectly. Second, we see that the work of the Holy Spirit is central in Christ’s ministry. The perfect obedience and sacrifice which he gave to the Father to satisfy justice, was given through the Holy Spirit. Finally, the benefit which Christ purchased for us is not just that we are no longer at war with God, but we have become his sons and daughters. This section also notes that only those whom the Father has appointed to be the Son’s had the benefit purchased on their behalf, affirming the doctrine of Particular Atonement.
6. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated unto the elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent’s head; and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world; being yesterday and today the same, and forever.
All saints throughout history were saved by this sacrifice, even though it happened in a point in time. These benefits were displayed to the saints by means of the promises given, types demonstrated, and through the sacrificial system which prefigures Christ.