Obadiah Sedgwick (c. 1600-1658) was a noted puritan preacher and a member of the Westminster Assembly from 1643 to 1649. Some of his works have been recently reprinted, including The Anatomy of Secret Sins and The Doubting Believer. His work on covenant theology entitled, The Bowels of Tender Mercy Sealed in the Everlasting Covenant, hasn’t seen the light of day, although it is now available on Google Books. In this rather lengthy book, Sedgwick tackles the relationship between justification and sanctification (see pp. 488-493). My goal is to present some of what he says on this topic in three articles.  
 
In expounding the stated doctrine that God promises to sanctify and justify his people, Sedgwick first lists six differences between these “two distinct or several gifts [see also WLC 77].”
  1. Justification is a change of the state—the person transitions from a state of “death and wrath” to a state of “life and love”—whereas sanctification is a change of heart—he who was unholy is now made holy.
  2. Justification is concerned with the guilt of sin and delivers us from condemnation, whereas sanctification deals with the “filth of sin” and delivers us from the dominion of sin.
  3. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us in justification and depends upon the merit of Christ, but in sanctification “there is grace infused into us, by which we made conformable unto the image of Christ,” and depends upon the Spirit of Christ.
  4. “The matter of justification,” that is, Christ’s personal righteousness by which we are justified, is perfect, whereas the “matter of our sanctification,” that is, our own personal righteousness, is imperfect. This difference demonstrates the need for the imputation of the righteousness of Christ in justification.  Only perfect righteousness is able to stand before the just judgment of God.
  5. There is no difference among believers with respect to justification since all “are justified alike.” One Christian is not more justified than another because they all have the full remission of their sins and they all have the same righteousness imputed to them. However, there is a difference regarding sanctification as “some are stronger and higher, and some are weaker and lower in grace.”
  6. The remaining sin in the believer does not affect his justification but “there is something of sin remaining in the sanctified person, which is contrary to that grace which is wrought in us by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:17).”
 
After stating the differences between justification and sanctification, Sedgwick proceeds to discuss the connection or unity between them. He notes “a four-fold conjunction of these two great gifts of God unto his people.”
  1. The promises of justification and sanctification are joined at the hip. They are often mentioned in Scripture side by side (Jer. 33:8; Micah 7:19; Heb. 8:10, 12).
  2. Every person who is effectually called receives both gifts. Everyone is justified and sanctified; everyone partakes of mercy and grace (2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:7).
  3. True Christians desire both gifts. They want to be free from the guilt and pollution of their sins, even as David cried out for pardon (Ps. 51:1) and for sanctifying grace (Ps. 51:10).
  4. Both gifts are found in Jesus, the head of his church and the mediator of the covenant (Eph. 5:23, 26; Titus 2:19; 1 Pet. 2:24).
 
In the next article, we will consider two more points regarding the relationship between justification and sanctification. And then in the final article we will, in good puritan fashion, look at three uses of this doctrine.
One great advantage as an Anglican is the fixed order of public worship and daily prayer. In the same way a Dutch Reformed believer is refreshed by the Heidelberg Catechism in their evening worship every Lord's Day, the Anglican is strengthened in the liturgy that sets our worship and public prayer in the Articles of Religion. Continuing through the Thirty-Nine Articles, the next section is on the believer's response to God's graciously giving himself to his people in justification. An Anglican rejoices that the truly good news of the gospel is that we are brought into God's house, we enter his courts, and we will dwell with him forever by the meritorious work of Christ alone. As a necessary corollary then, Articles 12, 13, and 14 set out to define biblically and to expose the errors of our gratitude displayed in our good works. 
 
XII—Of Good Works

Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s Judgement; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.
 
Archbishop Parker added this article in 1563. The summary we have here may find fuller expression in the Anglican Homilies (4 and 5) that concern our faith and its fruit in our good works in Christ. The article describes our good works after justification as being the fruits of faith in our sanctification. But they are unable to put away our sins and endure the severity of God’s judgment. In other words, we must not confuse our justification with our sanctification. Our good works cannot put away our sins. There is no merit in them. But the more tender conscience may be encouraged to know that what we do “in Christ” is pleasing and acceptable to our heavenly Father.
 
Notice also how faith and good works assumes this union: insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit. Time and again the Homilies underline that our faith does not lie idle in our hearts, but it is “lively” and “fruitful” that is, an absence of good works after justification is contrary to his or her new nature in Christ. Homily 5 goes into greater detail concerning what manner of good works this lively faith produces is in no sense to be considered the same as the “papistical superstitions and abuses” that are meant to bestow merit. Rather the moral law of the Ten Commandments summarizes the manner of our good works. As we read in article 7 on the Old Testament that “…no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.” It is for this reason that Cranmer in his order for the Lord’s Supper in the Book of Common Prayer clearly distinguished between the sacrifice of Christ in our justification there, that is on Calvary, the offering of our obedient sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our sanctification in Christ in his prayers of oblation, or self-offering now, that is after we have received his sacrament symbolizing Christ’s death:
And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.
 
And we most humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
There is great comfort in these prayers to know God has planned the good works in which He wants us to walk because they then remind us why we were created and the purpose for which we were redeemed (Eph. 2.8-10). Our lives are not random and meaningless. At every point, there is a good work for us to walk in. God needs no one and no thing to make him glorious. He is the origin and author of his glory. But it is his work of redemption that is the most amazing way in which he manifests his glory in creation. Because he glorifies himself by calling us, by calling you and me, sinful as we are, to participate in his glory. God glorifies his people and enables them to reflect his glory through their worship and obedience in their lives each day.
 
The bond between God and his people in union with Christ that is set out so well in Cranmer’s order for the Lord’s Supper and here in article 12, also sets the logical order to our good works. There are many benefits that are ours in God’s house that we have through Christ. But there are many things that must happen to afford those benefits to us. We must be justified. We must be sanctified. We must be adopted in his family. There is an essential distinction then, between our justification due to the grace of God alone and our sanctification, which is being affected by the inward working of the Holy Spirit as we are progressively being transformed, growing in holiness or Christ-likeness.
 
As a reformed evangelical I stand between the Westminster Directory for Public Worship and the 1552/1662 Book of Common Prayer. The exhortations in the DPW that set out the heart of the minister of the gospel in prayer, preaching and the administration of the sacraments Anglicans should know better. The place of our good works in the prayers of humble gratitude before our heavenly Father set by the 1552/1662 Prayer Book should be better known as well.
 
For previous articles in this series, see:
  1. Introduction
  2. One God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity (Art. 1)
  3. The Incarnation and Atonement (Art. 2)
  4. The Work of Christ (Arts. 3-4)
  5. The Holy Spirit (Art. 5)
  6. The Rule of Faith: Part 1 (Art. 6)
  7. The Rule of Faith: Part 2 (Art. 7)
  8. The Rule of Faith: Part 3 (Art. 8)
  9. Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude: Part 1 (Art. 9)
  10. Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude: Part 2 (Art. 10)
  11. Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude: Part 3 (Art. 11)
For this 500th anniversary year of the Protestant Reformation, Hendrickson Publishers is reprinting a wonderful selection of sermons from Martin Luther. So far there are three volumes of sermons for Advent and Christmas Day, the Sunday after Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Epiphany, and Lent and Easter, which also includes Ascension Day, Pentecost Sunday, and Trinity Sunday. I recently immersed myself in this final volume on a trip and want to commend it to you for three reasons—aren't I ever the preacher!
 
First, we need to tap into the well of historic Christian preaching. I say this not only that you will be able to quote lines from Luther in your sermons, but as a preacher, there are so many preaching textbooks available to us that the task can become formulaic. Reading Luther's sermons is reading a man who was undergoing similar pressures I undergo as a pastor and preacher, but doing so under the added weight of the world on his shoulders. In his preaching you hear how the Holy Spirit worked through him in his particular moment.
 
Second, sermons such as these help those of us who at least occasionally preach seasonal or festival sermons that highlight the work of our Lord. I’ve made the case elsewhere for an historic Reformed practice of the evangelical feast days (I'm not that Puritan), so I won’t do that here. What I want to say here is that as a preacher who has done this over the course of 17 years in one congregation, this practice can lead to panic and despair: “I’ve preached 10 Easter sermons; I have nothing else to say!” Have no fear, Luther is here! Reading such sermons would also be a valuable meditative practice for all Christians as well.
 
Finally, these particular sermons on the season of Lent and Easter, as well as the particular days of Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity are treasures. For example, his first sermon in Lent is on the fasting and temptation narrative of Jesus Christ from Matthew 4. After denouncing false fasting (trying to emulate Christ’s 40 days/night, doing it in a man-made way, and worst of all, as a good work before God), he says this: “It would have been better had people been drunk day and night than to fast thus” (2). Typical Luther! On the contrary, there are two kinds of true fasting: that which we voluntarily undergo and that which God imposes on us (2). It’s this first kind that he focuses in on for instruction and admonition. Matthew 4 is for our instruction: “we should know how Christ has served and helped us by his fasting, hunger, temptation, and victory; also, that whoever believes on Christ shall never suffer need, and that temptation shall never harm him (3). It’s also for our admonition: “that we may in the light of this example also cheerfully suffer want and temptation in the service of God and the good of our neighbor” (3).
 
Read Luther, not only the theologian, but the preacher. It is good for your soul.
In Oliver Heywood’s The Family Altar, he spends most of his time addressing the heads of household whom he presumed would institute family worship. However, not every 21st century household takes the same form as Puritan households in the 17th century. Indeed, it seems unlikely that even in that day and age every family had servants, as Heywood assumes, or that they enjoyed the presence of both a mother and father. We know that there are some households where, for any number of reasons, single mothers are left to raise the children, there are no children at all, or there is only a single person living alone. More to the point, there may be a male head of household who does not care about the things of God. What should be done in these situations?
 
I am not sure that Heywood can give us the answer to all of these questions, for he begins his task with the assumption that households consist of a patriarch, matriarch, children, and servants. Even so, there are some principles within the pages of The Family Altar that could be helpful for those living in situations that do not fit the norm, or at least what was perceived to be the norm in the 17th century. 
 
Heywood does address a few words to women, encouraging them to value the worship of God in their homes more than fine decorations. “This devotional altar will be the best ornament to your houses; no pictures, stately rooms or household goods will be such neat and splendid furniture as this worship of God; the finest hanging and most beautiful paintings, are but sordid and disgusting filth to this; it is this that renders a beggar’s cottage far more honourable than a prince’s palace without it.”
 
When it comes to women leading family prayer, Heywood is open to the idea if they are working under the leadership of the male head of household. However, he does not come to a firm conclusion on this particular point, leaving the door open without providing a ringing endorsement.
“Some have thought, that a wife in a family, may in some cases perform family duty, and that this honour may be given to the weaker vessel to do the office of religious exercise, as well as partake in the government of the family: doubtless she is to pray: and it hath been judged by learned men that she may and must pray in the family with her husband’s leave, and in her husband’s presence, only she should cover her face with a veil, in token of her subjection. This they think is meant by a woman praying or prophesying with her head covered, not in the church where she was not to speak, but in the family when she performed that piece of worship…But I am not positive herein, and leave it to the consideration of others.”
There are few of us today who would say that women must cover their heads while praying in their own homes, but Heywood does not come to a firm conclusion here as he does in some other areas. He sees the question as one that has not been definitively settled. Perhaps we should be more impressed by the fact that he suggests women can lead in prayer at all. But what about women in homes where the men are not behaving in a godly manner? Heywood clearly teaches that heads of household are not immune from the commands of God: if anything, their responsibility is greater.
“Rule your dependants with love, and they will obey in love; if you shew good-will to their souls, with good-will they will do you service, as to the Lord; holiness creates reverence; tenderness produceth ingenuous subjection; affection maintains authority more than domineering rigour; let it appear that you rule your families under God, and for God.”
Heywood also gives instruction to women and dependents in cases where the head of household is drunk or not leading worship properly. This could also be applied to any case where they are behaving in an ungodly manner or clearly failing in their duties to the family.
“Yet if thou art convinced that the party praying speaks nonsense or blasphemy, instead of praying, thou art bound in conscience to shew thy dislike of it, lest God be dishonoured and offended with the whole family, the man hardened in sin, thy own conscience defiled, and thyself in danger of playing the hypocrite, in pretending to join with what thy soul abhors; in this case thou must withdraw, and get alone, and mourn over it…And it is also thy duty, humbly and modestly to take a proper season to speak to thy master, as Naaman’s servants did to him, when they saw him wrong, and you know it did good; and Abigail told her husband Nabal of his fault and danger, and ‘his heart died within him.’ Who can tell what good such a word in season may do?”
If all this should fail, Heywood urges dependents, “See if any other member in the family will undertake that exercise, or whether the master will give you leave to pray in the family…If all this avail not for family worship, and necessity detains you there, as you love your souls, spend more time, and take more pains in secret…” Therefore, he considers prayer so important that it must be performed even if it is forbidden, but with as much respect for the head of household as possible.

Our friends at Eerdmans Publishing have given us two (2) giveaway copies of The Peril and Promise of Christian Liberty: Richard Hooker, the Puritans, and Protestant Political Theology. Deadline is Friday, August 18.

Enter here.

In this final installment of the series on union and communion with Christ, I will continue to consider practical benefits of this doctrine. More specifically, I will look at how we might use this doctrine to spur us on towards love and good deeds.
 
Thomas Lye, in his sermon entitled, The True Believer’s Union with Christ Jesus, said that our union with Christ should help us to reject “solicitations unto sin,” or to put it more positively, to be faithful to Christ. As every Christian knows, life is full of temptations. We might be led away from following Christ by people or things. Also, we might be enticed to be unfaithful by the remaining sinful desires in our own hearts. But when temptation comes to us “like a Potiphar’s wife, and offers deadly poison in a golden cup,” we should respond in faith by saying, “I would consent, but that I am united unto Christ…But now I cannot gratify this lust, but I must needs be disloyal to my Christ, my Husband to whom I am married.”
 
In the movie Die Hard 2, officer John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, is walking in Dulles international airport. A beautiful, young woman comes up to him and hits on him. McClane rebuffs her advances by lifting up his left hand and showing her the wedding ring on his finger. He is a married man. He already belongs to someone. And that means that he can’t embrace another. When someone or something hits on you and encourages you to forsake the Lord Jesus use your union with Christ in the same way that officer John McClane used his wedding ring. Remind yourself that you are married to Christ and therefore you can’t be disloyal to him.
 
Union with Christ is also a help to feed our faith and to strengthen us so that we might keep God’s commandments. When the race that God sets before us is hard we need to remind ourselves that in Christ we are not only justified but also sanctified. John Ball noted that “Christ himself cannot be divided, nor the participation of his benefits. If by communion in his death, we be delivered from the curse and malediction of the Law; by the power of his Resurrection, we are raised up to live unto God.” This means that we should be persuaded that God is working in us so that we might work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
 
In the Disney animation film, The Lion King, Simba is the heir of the Pride Lands, but living in self-imposed exile because he wrongly believes he was responsible for his father’s death. When he is confronted to return, Simba refuses because he is unsure of his right and ability to be king. Eventually, he changes his mind, returning to take his rightful place as the leader of the Pride Lands. The pivotal moment occurred when Simba’s Father speaks to him from the clouds: “Remember who you are! You are my son! You are the king!” Christian, remember who you are! You are united to Christ, you share in his resurrection life, so go and run with confidence the race that God has set before you.
 
Finally, union with Christ should encourage us to “walk lovingly, tenderly, toward believers (T. Lye).” We are united together in Christ, therefore, we should love one another and walk together in peace. In fact, it is to our own detriment if we don’t since we are one body. Lye rightly observed, “By your divisions, you do but dig your own graves.” Lye then wrote and with his words I will bring this series to an end:
I shall close all with that of the apostle in Eph. iv. 3-6, wherein he draws this arrow to the very head: ‘Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ Why? Because ‘there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.’ Let me add, You are one with Christ the head: it is your duty, therefore, and it will be your privilege, honour, safety, to be one with another.”
As the Thirty-nine Articles turn from the examination of our guilt, Article 11 comforts those humbled by Articles 9 and 10. These speak of the "fault and corruption of the nature of every man, wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God." Here is the good news of God’s grace: justification is not by works, but purely by the merits of Christ. It is also here that we have the first example of the relational character of the Anglican confession in our historical formularies where the article directs the Christian believer to the First and Second Book of Homilies (See also Article 35).
 
XI—Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
 
The doctrine of justification by faith alone lay at the heart of the Reformation and was promulgated as early as 1536 in the Ten Articles (Article 5) that preceded Cranmer’s 1553 Forty-Two Articles. 1553 was much shorter, more of a note pointing to the Homily of Justification (its proper title is A Sermon of the Salvation of Mankind by Christ Our Saviour, From Sin and Death Everlasting) to discover what the reformed Church of England understood on by justification by faith alone. It is clear that Archbishop Parker again drew from the reformed Württemberg Confession in writing a fuller definition here. 
 
For Cranmer and the Anglican divines that followed him, this is a first order doctrine. The explanatory Homily of Justification says that “this is the strong Rock and foundation of the Christian Religion… whosoever denieth, is not to be accounted for a Christian man” (Bray, Homilies 26). Any teaching that contradicts this article is heretical. A Christian must believe it. Notice also how the article says clearly that it is a doctrine, “very full of comfort.” The next time we will read this description is in article 17, Of Predestination and Election. The language is deliberate, as both underline the necessity of God’s grace alone for such truths to be possible for a lawless and rebellious humanity.
 
The Roman Catholic Council of Trent confused justification and sanctification. Rome taught that the grace of God, earned by Jesus, is infused into the soul of the believer at baptism. The believer then cooperates with God in living a holy life and thus, on the final day, the believer will be justified by God on the basis of the good works achieved in cooperation with grace: “[adults] may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace” (Session 6 Chapter 5). In contemporary Catholicism, justification is the forgiveness of sins, but also includes, “the sanctification and renewal of the inner man” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, rev. ed.; 2012 [paragraph 1989]). For the Roman Catholic, justification is a process that entails the ongoing appropriation of God’s righteousness by which one is continually justified: As the Catholic Catechism says, “Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life” (paragraph 2027). The glory of justification is human merit. It is the fact that God graciously provides his Spirit so that sinners can live lives that please God and establish merit, in other words, to enable them to live lives that are meritorious. 
 
But the article says the opposite: “We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not of our own works or deservings." The ground of our justification is the external, forensic work of Christ alone. How opposed is the Anglican doctrine of justification from the Roman Catholic, and how opposed to the teaching of the Apostle Paul in Galatians, Romans, and in many other places in the Bible. We are justified by faith alone in Jesus Christ, based upon what he has done for us not what we do. Not by the works of the Law but by the hearing of faith. Our position is so certain that the future judgment has been declared now—and in declaring it so, God has made it so. We are his children; we are new creations (2 Cor. 5:17-21). This is what the article means when it says that its doctrine is "very full of comfort." The believer can have total assurance of salvation before God. 
 
It is the pondering of depths of God’s gift of justification by the power of the Holy Spirit, that we produce the fruits of a saving faith. As Cranmer writes at the conclusion of his homily on justification:
And the said benefits of God deeply considered, do move us for his sake also to be ever ready to give ourselves to our neighbours, and as much as lieth in us, to study with all our endeavor, to do good to every man. These be the fruits of true faith, to do good as much as lieth in us to every man; and above all things and in all things to advance the glory of God, of whom only we have our sanctification, justification, salvation, and redemption. To whom be ever glory, praise, and honor, world without end. Amen. (Bray, 30).
 
Anglicans offer the true and full gospel that is the whole Christ. The sinner is not only not guilty, but we are perfectly righteous in Christ. He is also working in you to make you holy; he is sanctifying you that you will more and more die to sin and live to righteousness. 
 
For previous articles in this series, see:
  1. Introduction
  2. One God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity (Art. 1)
  3. The Incarnation and Atonement (Art. 2)
  4. The Work of Christ (Arts. 3-4)
  5. The Holy Spirit (Art. 5)
  6. The Rule of Faith: Part 1 (Art. 6)
  7. The Rule of Faith: Part 2 (Art. 7)
  8. The Rule of Faith: Part 3 (Art. 8)
  9. Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude: Part 1 (Art. 9)
  10. Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude: Part 2 (Art. 10)
The family worship (see parts #1, #2) that Oliver Heywood envisioned contained three basic elements: reading scripture, singing Psalms, and prayer. To this we might add reading from works of great theologians or famous sermons, but only as a means for explaining Scripture. They would not be the sole point and purpose of worship. Within the pages of The Family Altar, Heywood gave numerous other instructions on how family worship should take place. Here are some of his suggestions.
 
1. When should families pray?
“1) You must be sure to pray for a blessing at meals, 1 Tim. 4:4, 5. 2) Take your family at meal time to seek God, and read his scriptures, to sing God’s praise, and to perform family duty, morning and evening. 3) Let it be a stated time, if possible, known to the family, that none may plead excuse for their absence: but that the whole family may attend. 4) Yet if some extraordinary accident intervene, you must not think yourselves so precisely bound to a time, as to be perplexed in conscience for omission, but take another more convenient time, which may more directly suit your occasions.” (Works, 4:407)
2. And what if someone cannot be there for family worship time due to travel or other activities?
“But if possible, so arrange your worldly concerns, as not to hinder your family exercise, prudent foresight may be of great service here: but if your calling be such, that this cannot be, do as the Israelites did, gather double the day or night before, two omers for a man or family, lay in for the day following, what may stand you in stead by pleading with God, for what you will need.” (Works, 4:407-408)
3. Make sure that you are hearing the Word of God preached properly in church, for that will benefit your family worship time.
“Attend upon a powerful ministry. There you will hear directions, motives, precepts, promises, scripture arguments to quicken and direct you in this practice; there you may gain knowledge of God the object of worship, of Christ the mediator and advocate, of the Holy Ghost that must assist you; there you will get a good understanding of God’s mind and will, which will furnish you with ability, and further your acquaintance with God.” (Works, 4:378)
4. If you are unsure how to pray or feel you are not good at it, you should pray even more, for “by running men learn to run, by writing they learn to write: so by praying you will best learn to pray.” (Works, 4:386)
 
5. By the same token, if you want to be a pious family, spend time with other pious families.
“Frequent Christian society; converse with pious, praying persons, this will help you in family exercises and worship, not only as it is a good example, but as it assimilates you to them, and also as it provokes to a holy emulation, it will make you shame with yourselves, that such as had no better assistance or higher education than you, have yet attained to such knowledge, gifts, and elocution; this will make you admire the grace of God in them, and think it not impossible, but that the same grace may do as much in you.” (Works, 4:383)
6. When you move into a new house, mark the occasion with prayer.
“Dedicate your houses to the Lord. So did God’s servants of old, when they had built a new house they dedicated it, Deut. 20:5; when they had been banished from it, and were restored, they again dedicated it as David did, when Absalom had polluted it.” (Works, 4:372-373)
7. Whenever God answers prayer with a blessing, do something to memorialize the occasion. Heywood says “when you experience signal mercies, set up an Ebenezer, and say, ‘hitherto hath the Lord helped us’…” (Works, 4:387)
 
8. It is alright to use set prayers, but one should not depend upon them entirely, for “every Christian, even the meanest and weakest hath the gift and spirit of prayer…” (Works, 4:411)
 
9. Prayer must not be merely an intellectual exercise or emotional exclamation, but something deeper. He writes “study not to speak fine but fit words, not many but weighty, proceeding from thy heart, directed unto God, and pertinent to the matter in hand.” (Works, 4:377)
 
10. Know the success or your family worship time does not ultimately rest in your own abilities, but the power of God.
“The weaker you think yourselves…the more likely you are to depend on the right means of your acceptance, that is, the Spirit of Christ for assistance, and the merit and intercession of Christ for acceptance.” (Works, 4:418)
In my previous post, I provided a sketch of Patrick Gillespie’s arguments for the distinction between the Covenant of Redemption and the Covenant of Grace. Yet some have objected to this distinction by appealing to Westminster Larger Catechism 31, which states, “The Covenant of Grace is made with Christ, as the Second Adam, and in him, with the elect as his seed.” The argument goes that Christ since Christ is the primary party in both covenants, there is one covenant instead of two, with eternal and temporal aspects. In light of this argument, Gillespie’s last chapter in his Ark of the Covenant shows how Christ is the sum of the Covenant of Grace without eliminating the need for the Covenant of Redemption. This material helps us better understand WLC 31 in its context and it directs us to look to Christ himself as the chief blessing and promise of the Covenant of Grace.
 
Gillespie began by citing Isaiah 42:6 and 49:8, both of which refer to God giving Christ as a covenant for the people (453). This involves summing up the covenant in him and committing the whole business of the covenant to him (454). Citing Ps. 89:19. Gillespie listed several reasons why Christ is the sum of the Covenant of Grace.
 
First, “all this covenant is comprised in Christ.” This means that Christ is the covenant “originally and fundamentally.” He is its ancient foundation from the beginning of the world. Citing Gen. 3:15. His is the eternal foundation of this covenant in the decrees of God. This point draws from the Covenant of Redemption and puts it forward as the foundation of the Covenant of Grace, highlighting Christ’s relationship to both covenants. Citing Tit. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:9. 2 (455). Christ is thus the covenant “primarily and by propriety.” The covenant was made with him as “the chief party” (456) Citing Ps. 89:3, 33; Is. 55:3 (mistakenly listing Is. 53). He is the covenant eminently as the chief blessing of the covenant. Jn. 4:10. Jn. 3:16. He is the covenant “comprehensively or summarily” (457). All the parties of the Covenant of Grace are comprehended in him. This is based on the union of Christ’s two natures in one person (which I plan to treat in the next post). His person is on both sides of the covenant (458) and “he contracts for both the parties” (458).
 
Gillespie’s second broad point as that, “the sum of all the articles of the covenant is in Christ” (458). While this appears redundant with the preceding point, he advanced his argument in the following ways. He noted that the sum of the covenant promises consists in God being our God and we being his people. Though Christ is not the cause of God’s covenant love he is the cause of God’s relation to us (459). Citing Ps. 89:26. God becomes ours only through union with Christ. We come to God in Christ and God comes to us in him. This includes every benefit of the covenant, such as justification, adoption, and sanctification (see WLC 69). His next four points were briefer.
 
Third, the sum of the mutual stipulation is in Christ. He obtains the consent of both parties. Citing Prov. 8:22-23, 30. He received the covenant to fulfill it on both sides (460). Citing Ps. 89:17, 19. Christ is the stipulation on both sides of the covenant, as given and received. The gospel covenant craves stipulations and duties from us, but “it filleth the hand with Christ” to make the payment of our rent.
 
Fourth, Christ is the sum of all of the blessings and promises of the covenant. Again citing Is. 42:6 and Gen. 3:15. (461)
 
Fifth, “Christ is the sum of all the properties of the covenant” (461). It is free in Christ. Citing Is. 53:10-12 (462). He is not the cause of the eternal transaction with the Father concerning the elect, but he is the cause of all covenant graces in the elect. It is everlasting because of Christ. Citing Prov. 8:23; Ps. 89:30-35; Is. 53:10 (463). The covenant is also well ordered in Christ. It is stable and sure in Christ (464). Citing Heb. 13:8. It is a perfect covenant by which we are made complete in our perfect Savior. Citing 1 Cor. 1:30.
 
Sixth, the transaction of the covenant is comprised in Christ. The covenant of grace is a “soul-satisfying covenant, and he is a soul-satisfying Christ” (465).
 
Seventh, “Christ is the sum of all covenant blessings.” Citing Col. 3:11, etc. In this way, Gillespie demonstrated why Christ was the sum of the Covenant of Grace without negating his prior arguments for a distinct Covenant of Redemption between the Father and the Son, which was the foundation of the Covenant of Grace with the elect.
 
While WLC 31 does not negate the need for the distinction between the Covenants of Redemption and Grace, noting that God makes this covenant with the elect in Christ teaches us something important. In his uses, Gillespie argued that we must not only come to God with Christ, but we must actually be in Christ (474). One difference between the Covenants of Redemption and Grace lies in their parties. The parties of the eternal covenant are God and Christ respecting the elect while the parties in the temporal covenant are God and the elect in Christ. Through saving union with Christ alone believers receive all of the benefits of redemption in communion with Christ (See WLC 65-90, which couches the application of the gospel to the elect in these terms). Gillespie added that while “temporary” believers come to Christ for salvation only, true believers find in Christ something better than salvation (475). In other words, true Christians must regard Christ himself as the highest blessing of the Covenant of Grace, since Christ is the sum and substance of God’s covenant with him. It is better to know Christ than to be justified, adopted, and sanctified, though when we receive Christ through faith we have all of these things and more in him.

As you may know, our friends at Reformation Heritage Books are currently typesetting, editing, and re-publishing the The Works of William Perkins. Thanks to them, we have one (1) hardcover set and one (1) ebook set of the first 4 volumes to give away.

If you are in the U.S., enter here for the harcover set.

If you are outside the U.S., enter here, for the ebook set.

The deadline to register is Friday, August 4.