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Are Mr. Kinnaird's statements in the specifications in accord with the Standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church?
A BRIEF giving the points of argument in defense of my six statements as found in the specifications and with authorities cited from the secondary Standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and from the Scriptures. Submitted in the trial of Elder John O. Kinnaird on January 25, 2003.
Before we begin to answer the question, we wish first to note the following.
On November 23, 2002, the Trial Judicatory refused the request of the defense that the charge, Mr. Wilkening having refused to reformulate it, be properly formulated by the court. Then, the court having refused to reformulate the charge, the Moderator went on to rule that, "The question is whether or not what he (Mr. Kinnaird) says (in the specifications) is in accord with the Standards of the Church and Scriptures." He continued, advising that if the six statements are shown to be in accord with the Standards and the Scripture, then the charge drops. The defense objected to this ruling. It has several defects. First, it is in fact a reformulation of the charge made shortly after the court determined to not reformulate. Secondly, it broadens the charge from a specific, though poorly defined, error, namely, "teaching a doctrine of justification by faith and works", to any contradiction in the statements quoted in the specifications with anything stated in the Standards. Thirdly, it lacks the specificity required of charges. Fourthly, it shifts the burden of proof such that instead of the accuser being required to prove the charge, as in all fair due process procedures, it becomes the defendant who is required to prove that he committed no offense, of any nature whatsoever, against the Standards of the Church or against the Scriptures, in these six statements.
However, the defense is now willing to undertake to show that in fact there is nothing in the six statements that is not in accord with the Standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Scriptures. We do this without prejudice to our objection to the ruling. This brief is offered as argument and citation proving that the six statements are in conformance with the Church's Standards and the Scriptures. Hereafter, we will simply refer to "the Standards" meaning the Church's primary and secondary standards - the Scriptures and the Westminster Confessional Documents.
We turn now to answering the question, "Are Mr. Kinnaird's statements in the Specifications in accord with the Standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church?"
We start by reproducing the charge for purposes of providing background information. The charge and the specifications are reproduced throughout this document, appearing in boldface, exactly, assuming I made no mistake, as they appeared in the original. The statements used in Mr. and Mrs. Wilkening's specifications were selected by the accusers from three works of the accused and were presented as specifications intended to support the charge. Our comments are in regular face. Underlining of words and phrases in the citations from the Standards and elsewhere is added for emphasis.
Arlyn A. Wilkening and Wanda J. Wilkening, members of Bethany Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Oxford, PA, charge Ruling Elder John O. Kinnaird with teaching a doctrine of justification by faith and works, contrary to the Word of God and the Westminster Standards.
THE SPECIFICATIONS; statements by Elder Kinnaird
First Specification (source - Kinnaird's Theological Statements)
"It is not possible that any could be a brother to Jesus Christ and enjoy with Christ, in the Kingdom of Heaven, the presence of God the Father except that one be fully conformed to the image of Christ in true and personal righteousness and holiness. Neither the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, which all Christians receive at justification, nor the infusion of the righteousness of Christ (a false and not-existent concept taught by the Roman Catholic Church) - can suffice for that purpose. Christ does not have an imputed righteousness; His righteousness is real and personal. If we are to be conformed to his image, we too must have a real and personal righteousness."
It is to be noted that the venue, in the above statement, as found in the first specification, is said to be, "with Christ, in the Kingdom of Heaven. [in] the presence of God the Father." It is not talking of the last judgement or of anything in this present life, but rather of the eternal hereafter, a time yet future when the redeemed of Christ expect to enjoy full communion, face to face, with the Father. One objection to my statement appears to be that I am saying "one [must] be fully conformed to the image of Christ in true and personal righteousness and holiness" in order to enter into that communion. Another objection seems to be that I state, "the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, which all Christians receive at justification, can [not] suffice for that purpose." "Purpose" here clearly refers to God's intent that His people should have full communion, face-face, with God in the eternal hereafter. We believe it is these objections, in particular, as well as the broader issue established by the Moderator's ruling, that we must address in our defense. Other objections that we think we have heard expressed seem to be based on inferences that others appear to have drawn; not on something the accused has said or holds to be true. We do not think we have to answer these inferred objections in this brief for two reasons. First, the accuser has not proven that the inferences are arrived at by "good and necessary consequence." They are merely inferences drawn by the accuser as to what he thinks I may mean in spite of my many statements to the contrary of his inferences. Secondly, what the Moderator has ruled is, that what we must prove is that the statements the accused has made, as reported in the specifications, are in conformance with our Standards.
We will show that the Westminster Standards teach, in conformance with the revelation in Scripture, that the impartation of a real and personal righteousness is of the substance of sanctification, though imperfect in this life, and that such a righteousness is the goal toward which sanctification moves us. The Standards teach us that in sanctification "the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed." (WCF XIII.1) Further, they teach us that the works arising out of sanctification have the purpose of glorifying God. And finally, they teach us that in the final glorification our nature is finally and irreversibly changed into one that has perfect righteousness and thus, our sins having been atoned for by the blood of Christ, we can enter into face-to-face communion with God.
The Standards teach us that all saving graces are bestowed on us due to the meritorious work of Christ (the work of Christ being the sole ground of salvation). They further teach that conformance to the image of Christ in righteousness is not achieved by the imputation of the righteous active and passive obedience of Christ. Rather it is accomplished by an infusion of grace changing us from our present sinful self to a future self that is really and personally righteous. We note in passing that the "infusion of grace", of which both we and our Standards (LC Q&A 77) speak, is not the infusion of righteousness of which the Roman Catholic Church speaks and which is denied as a means of justification in WCF XI.1.
We start by showing that the Westminster Standards teach that we will receive a real and personal righteousness imparted in us by the Spirit of the Living God as He applies the salvation wrought for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. "Real and personal" should be understood as meaning that it is not an alien righteousness belonging to another and credited to us but rather one that becomes our very own. The phrase "real and personal" as used in the Confession, in the section on sanctification, and by myself when speaking on the same subject (including glorification) does not mean that the Christian is to be credited with the attainment of such, but rather, the Christian is to be seen as the recipient of a gracious gift, a gift of which he becomes the possessor. The fact that neither I nor the Confession use the phrase "real and personal" to describe the imputed righteousness upon which justification is based does not mean that either the Confession or I question the reality of the imputation to the person justified personally.
Now, we move to a proof that the statements of the accused are in conformance with the Standards. Throughout this brief the proof texts cited by from Scripture for the Confessional statements are those approved by the General Assemblies of the OPC.
The Confession, chapter III, section 6, tells us that God in His Eternal Decree "hath appointed the elect unto glory … [and] foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called…, justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept …,through faith unto salvation.” I Pet. 1:2; Eph. 2:10; II Thess. 2:13; I Thess. 5:9,10; Titus 2:14; Rom. 8:30; 1 Pet. 1:5 We point to the fact that all who are elect in Christ are, through faith, sanctified unto salvation. Note the word unto. The purpose of sanctification is that we might have salvation. Note also that sanctification is said to be one of the means God has foreordained unto the glory of the elect. The question might yet be raised, "Why do we need sanctification?"
Chapter VIII, section 1, adds to the above by declaring, "It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Savior of his church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world: unto whom he did from all eternity give a people, to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified." I Tim. 2:6; Isa. 55:4,5; 1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 8:30 Why, we again ask, in expanded form, "Do we need sanctification and (now we add additionally) glorification?"
Chapter VI, section 2, speaking of the sin of Adam, says, "By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body." Gen. 3:6-8; Rom. 3:23; Gen. 2:17; Eph. 2:1-3; Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Titus 1:15; Rom. 3:10-19 We have herein a solid indication of the answer to our question, "Why do the people of God need to be sanctified and glorified?" The answer is that when Adam sinned, he and all descending from him (WCF VI.3) lost the righteousness wherein mankind was created and, thereby, mankind also lost communion with God. If communion with God is to be restored, righteousness of a real and personal nature must be restored.
The Confession, chapter IX, section 5, says, "The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone, in the state of glory only." Heb. 12:23; 1 John 3:2; Jude 24; Rev. 21:27 We point to the fact that the final state of the redeemed is that of having a will that is perfectly and immutably free to good alone. This final condition, sometimes called the fourth state of mankind, is to be compared to the state of redeemed mankind in this life, the third state. The third state, although based on the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, is said to be less than perfectly righteous, as seen in the following quote from our confession.
The third of the four states of mankind is described in WCF IX.4 thusly: "When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by his grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil." Col. 1:13; John 8:34, 36; Rom. 6:6,7; Phil. 2:13; Rom. 6:14, 17, 18, 22; Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:14-25; 1 John 1:8 10
Clearly, the final perfected state of man, the fourth state described in WCF IX.5, while based on the merits of Christ, comes through sanctification and glorification, not through imputation.
The process involved in the application of redemption, moving us from a state of sin and death as described in chapter IX.3, to a state of perfection, one of grace and salvation, as described in IX.5, is set forth in chapter X, section 1, which reads, "All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace." Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:28,30; Rom. 11:7; Eph. 1:5,11; II Tim. 1:9, 10; II Thess. 2:13, 14; James 1:18; II Cor. 3:3,6; I Cor. 2:12; II Tim. 1:9, 10; I Pet. 2:9; Rom. 8:2; Eph. 2:1-10; Acts 26:18; I Cor. 2:10, 12: Eph. 1:17, 18; II Cor. 4:6; Ezek. 36:26; Ezek. 11:19; Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36:27; I John 3:5; Titus 3:5; I Pet. 1:23; John 6:44, 45; Acts 16:14; Psa. 110:3; John 6:37; Matt. 11:28; Rev. 22:17; Rom. 6:16-18; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29
The permanent and irreversible condition of those who have been transformed from the second state of man (chapter IX.3, "dead in sin") through a new birth, union with Christ, and justification unto the third state of man (IX.4, a "state of grace") is set forth in Chapter XI, section 5 in these words, "God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and, although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance." Rom. 5:1-5; Rom. 8:30-39; Heb. 10:14
Chapter XIII, section 1, reads, "They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." I Thess. 5:23, 24; II Thess. 2:13,14; Ezek. 36:22-28; Titus 3:5; Acts 20:32; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5,6; John 17:17,19; Eph. 5:26; Rom. 8:13,14; II Thess. 2:13; Rom. 6:6,14; Gal. 5:24; Rom. 8:13; Col. 1:10,11; Eph. 3:16-19; II Cor. 7:1; Col.1:8; Col. 4:12; Heb. 12:14 The process of imparting a real and personal righteousness, as opposed to an alien righteousness imputed from another, begins with regeneration, is furthered through sanctification, and culminated in glorification. See below (WCF XXXII.1 and LC Q&A 82 & 86), where the Confessional Standards speak of being made perfect in holiness at glorification.
This is followed by section 3 of chapter XIII, saying, "In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Rom. 7:23; Rom. 6:14; I John 5:4; Eph. 4:15,16; II Pet. 3:18; II Cor. 3:18; II Cor. 7:1
An important distinction is made, in Large Catechism Q&A 77, between the means God uses to bring a person into a state of justification (note the language of WCF XI.5 - "God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and, although they can never fall from the state of justification…") and the means He uses to sanctify them. Of course, to those who do not believe in the reality of sanctification or to those who do not believe in the necessity of sanctification, this may be unimportant. But to those who are committed by oath to the System of Doctrine found in the Creeds and revealed in the Scripture, this is vitally important. In justification, God imputes the righteous active and passive obedience of Christ. In sanctification, God's Spirit infuses grace and enables the one already justified to exercise the grace infused. In justification sin is pardoned. In sanctification sin is subdued. What a wonderful and complete salvation!
Q. 77. Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?
A. Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other, it is subdued: the one doth equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation; the other is neither equal in all, nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection. I Cor. 6:11; Rom. 4:6-8; Ezek. 36:27; Heb. 9:13-14; Rom. 3:24-25; Rom. 6:6,14
That this is all accomplished by God, using the Holy Spirit of Christ, through the alone instrument of faith, is set forth in chapter XIV, sections 1 and 2, in these words, "The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word, by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened. By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein; and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace." Titus 1:1; Heb. 10:39; I Cor. 12:3; John 3:5; Titus 3:5; John 6:44,45,65; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29; II Pet. 1:1; I Pet. 1:2; Matt. 28:19,20; Rom. 10:14,17, I Cor. 1:21; II Pet. 2:2; Acts 20:32, Rom. 1:16,17; Matt. 28:19, II Pet. 1:20-21; John 4:42; I Thess. 2:13; I John 5:9,10; Acts 24:14; Psa. 119:10,11,48,97,98,167,168; John 14:15; Ezra 9:4; Isa. 66:2; Heb. 4:1; Heb. 11:13; I Tim. 4:8; John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Gal. 2:20; Acts 15:11; II Tim. 1:9,10
Chapter XXXII, section 1, declares "The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption: but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them: the souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies." Heb. 12:23; II Cor. 5:1,6,8; Phil. 1:23; Acts 3:21; Eph. 4:10; Rom. 8:23 Thus we again see from our Standards the absolute necessity of our souls, our very basic nature, being made perfect in holiness if we would see God face to face. The Confession speaks to our seeing God face-to-face only after we are perfected in holiness through glorification at death, completing what regeneration and sanctification began. The imputation of the righteous active and passive obedience of Christ did not accomplish this - regeneration, sanctification, and glorification did this according to God's intent and plan that we be fully conformed to the image of Christ in perfect righteousness. What a wonderful salvation - and all based on the merits of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
We rest our case on this point with the following quotations from the Larger Catechism:
Q. 20. What was the providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created?
A. The providence of God toward man in the estate in which he was created, was the placing him in paradise, appointing him to dress it, giving him liberty to eat of the fruit of the earth; putting the creatures under his dominion, and ordaining marriage for his help; affording him communion with himself; instituting the Sabbath; entering into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience, of which the tree of life was a pledge; and forbidding to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.
Q. 25. Wherein consisteth the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually; which is commonly called original sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.
Q. 27. What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?
A. The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God, his displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath, bond slaves to Satan, and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.
Q. 29. What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?
A. The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell‑fire forever.
Q. 32. How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?
A. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provideth and offereth to sinners a mediator, and life and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him, promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation.
Q. 65. What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?
A. The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory.
Q. 69. What is the communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in grace which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is their partaking of the virtue of his mediation, in their justification, adoption, sanctification, and whatever else, in this life, manifests their union with him.
Q. 75. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased, and strengthened, as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise unto newness of life.
Q. 78 Whence ariseth the imperfection of sanctification in believers?
A. The imperfection of sanctification in believers ariseth from the remnants of sin abiding in every part of them, and the perpetual lustings of the flesh against the spirit; whereby they are often foiled with temptations, and fall into many sins, are hindered in all their spiritual services, and their best works are imperfect and defiled in the sight of God.
Q. 79. May not true believers, by reason of their imperfections, and the many temptations and sins they are overtaken with, fall away from the state of grace?
A. True believers, by reason of the unchangeable love of God, and his decree and covenant to give them perseverance, their inseparable union with Christ, his continual intercession for them, and the Spirit and seed of God abiding in them, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Q. 80. Can true believers be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and that they shall persevere therein unto salvation?
A. Such as truly believe in Christ, and endeavor to walk in all good conscience before him, may, without extraordinary revelation, by faith grounded upon the truth of God’s promises, and by the Spirit enabling them to discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of life are made, and bearing witness with their spirits that they are the children of God, be infallibly assured that they are in the estate of grace, and shall persevere therein unto salvation.
Q. 81. Are all true believers at all times assured of their present being in the estate of grace, and that they shall be saved?
A. Assurance of grace and salvation not being of the essence of faith, true believers may wait long before they obtain it; and, after the enjoyment thereof, may have it weakened and intermitted, through manifold distempers, sins, temptations, and desertions; yet are they never left without such a presence and support of the Spirit of God as keeps them from sinking into utter despair.
Q. 82. What is the communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is in this life, immediately after death, and at last perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment.
Q. 83. What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy in this life?
A. The members of the invisible church have communicated to them in this life the firstfruits of glory with Christ, as they are members of him their head, and so in him are interested in that glory which he is fully possessed of; and, as an earnest thereof, enjoy the sense of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, and hope of glory; as, on the contrary, sense of God’s revenging wrath, horror of conscience, and a fearful expectation of judgment, are to the wicked the beginning of their torments which they shall endure after death.
Q. 86. What is the communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death?
A. The communion in glory with Christ which the members of the invisible church enjoy immediately after death, is, in that their souls are then made perfect in holiness, and received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, which even in death continue united to Christ, and rest in their graves as in their beds, till at the last day they be again united to their souls. Whereas the souls of the wicked are at their death cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, and their bodies kept in their graves, as in their prisons, till the resurrection and judgment of the great day.
We move now to the second statement in the first specification.
"It is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on that Day of Judgement."
This statement is a quotation of Romans 2:13 set in its venue of the Day of Judgement. Romans 2:5-16 is bracketed by verses which clearly state the venue to be that of the Day of Judgement. Verses 5 and 6 open the section by saying, "you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God 'will give to each person according to what he has done'." Verse 6 is apparently quoting Psa. 62:12 and/or Prob. 24:12. The section is closed out with Romans 2:16, likewise saying, "This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares." The pronoun "this" has as an antecedent verses 5-15. Our Standards agree with this understanding, using Romans 2:5,6 and 16 as proof texts for the fact that there will be a Day of Judgement, as proof text for the fact that the judgement will be in accord with what we have done in this life, and as proof text that the final judgement will be of all persons that have ever lived, and as proof text that the judgement will be unto eternal life or eternal damnation. Our Standards clearly understand the phrase "through Jesus Christ", in verse 16, to mean "by Jesus Christ" when we appear "before the tribunal of Christ." (WCF XXXIII.1) We will show that this statement of Mr. Kinnaird's is both the teaching of Scripture and of our Reformation forefathers (in the persons of the Westminster Divines). As we have already pointed out, the words in the specification are a direct quotation of Romans 2:13, but with the venue added. We have demonstrated that Romans 2:13 occurs in a venue of the Last Judgement as indicated by Paul who bracketed the passage with verses 5 and 6 before, and 16 after, all attesting to the fact that Paul was speaking of the Last Judgement. Further, the subject matter and discussion within the context lying between these defining verses is also appropriate to and indicative of the subject of the Last Judgement. We repeat again, our Reformation forefathers who wrote the Westminster Confession of Faith, used these same verses (Romans 2:5,6 and 16) as proof texts for their doctrine of the Last Judgement as set forth in Chapter XXXIII, sections 1 and 2.
WCF XXXIII.1 declares, "God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world, in righteousness, by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil." Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27; Jude 6; II Pet. 2:4; II Cor. 5:10; Eccles. 12:14; Rom. 2:16; Rom. 14:10,12; Matt. 12:36,37
WCF XXXIII.2 follows, stating, "The end of God’s appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." Matt. 25:31-46; Rom. 2:5,6; Rom. 9:22,23; Matt. 25:21; Acts 3:19; II Thess. 1:7-10; Mark 9:48
The language of condemnation and justification likewise, as in WCF XXXIII, occurs in the Larger Catechism's descriptions (Q&A 56, 82, 88, 89, 90) of the Day of Judgement. Here the Larger Catechism likewise teaches that there will be a Day of Judgement, that the judgement will be in accord with what we have done in this life, that the final judgement will be of all persons that ever have lived, and that the judgement will be unto eternal life or eternal damnation. Underlining has been added to the following quotations to call your attention to these facts.
Q. 56. How is Christ to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world?
A. Christ is to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world, in that he, who was unjustly judged and condemned by wicked men, shall come again at the last day in great power, and in the full manifestation of his own glory, and of his Father’s, with all his holy angels, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, to judge the world in righteousness.
Q. 82. What is the communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ?
A. The communion in glory which the members of the invisible church have with Christ, is in this life, immediately after death, and at last perfected at the resurrection and day of judgment.
Q. 88. What shall immediately follow after the resurrection?
A. Immediately after the resurrection shall follow the general and final judgment of angels and men; the day and hour whereof no man knoweth, that all may watch and pray, and be ever ready for the coming of the Lord.
Q. 89. What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the wicked shall be set on Christ’s left hand, and, upon clear evidence, and full conviction of their own consciences, shall have the fearful but just sentence of condemnation pronounced against them; and thereupon shall be cast out from the favorable presence of God, and the glorious fellowship with Christ, his saints, and all his holy angels, into hell, to be punished with unspeakable torments, both of body and soul, with the devil and his angels forever.
Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?
A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds, shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted, shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men, and shall be received into heaven, where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery; filled with inconceivable joys, made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels, but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity. And this is the perfect and full communion which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.
The way that good works of a Christian come into play is set forth in chapter XVI, sections 1-6 of the Confession, which declares, "Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, … These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers… glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of his good pleasure: yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them… We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God… by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s judgment. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
While not of the Standards of our Church, the words of the Heidelberg Catechism are also instructive at this point.
86. Q. Since, then, we are delivered from our misery by grace alone, through Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we yet do good works?
A. Because Christ, having redeemed us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit after His own image, that with our whole life we may show ourselves thankful to God for His benefits, and that He may be praised by us; then, also, that each of us may be assured in himself of his faith by the fruits thereof, and that by our godly walk our neighbors also may be won for Christ.
91. Q. But what are good works?
A. Only those which are done from true faith, according to the law of God, and to His glory; and not such as are based on our own opinions or the precepts of men.
The role of the Law, in the life of the Christian, is set forth in chapter XIX, sections 5 through 7, as follows, "The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof… Neither doth Christ, in the gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; yet is it of great use to them… as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly … although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works. So as, a man’s doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law; and, not under grace. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.”
We believe that we have done a through job of demonstrating that the second statement of the first Specification, namely, "It is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous on that Day of Judgement”, is fully in accord with the Standards of this Church, both primary, Scripture, and secondary, Confession and Catechisms. That the same is true of the statements below, from the second and third specifications, follows automatically from all that has already been said together with a few additional Scripture references. The one concept that is in addition to the concepts already discussed and established from our Standards, and that might seem a little new and additional, is the concept that it is God who supplies that which He demands for our salvation on the Day of Judgement. See the first statement under the third specification, below.
Second Specification (source - Kinnaird's sermon, "Though the Waters Roar..")
“Thus we rightly conclude that those inside the city are those who have kept the law of God and those only. So we have a pretty simple answer to our last two questions. Inside the city are those who do righteousness and outside are those who do evil.”
The most clear of my references for this, in addition to those stated both above and below, would be Revelation 21:1-4, 6-8, 10, 16, 27 and 22:10-15.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’... He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars‑‑their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’... And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.... Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life... Then he told me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.’ Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“Romans 2:6-13 puts it this way, 'God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.' Now [by this] we know the decision, the judgement, as to who enters the city and who stays outside (for eternity), will be made, on that Great Day of Judgement, in accordance with what you have done in this life. In fact our scripture lesson says the same thing at verse 12, 'Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.'”
We have already, under the most immediately above statement, as well as many passages cited earlier in this document, reproduced the scriptural proofs which apply here. We ought to also reproduce Romans 2:1-16 and Rev. 22:12 just to once more emphasize the teaching of Scripture for which, having believed and taught it, I am now on trial.
"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God 'will give to each person according to what he has done.' To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self‑seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. "
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. "
Third Specification (source - Kinnaird's presbyterian-opc posting of 1/6/02 @ 3:01 PM)
“These good works are a required condition if we would stand in the Day of Judgement and they are supplied by God to all His people. Every description of the Judgement events speak of these good works. Without them, no one will see God. Our God is not unjust. His judgements are always righteous and in accordance with the facts of the case. On the past two Lord’s Days I shared over 25 texts and passages of Scripture with my Sunday School class on just these two concepts. They were about evenly divided between the concept that our God’s judgements are always righteous and in accord with the facts of the case and the concept that the final judgement will be in accord with what we have done in this life.”
My references for this would be all those cited above and many others that could be added, including the following: Gen. 18:25; Psa. 62:11-12, 85:7-13; Prov. 24:12; Eccl. 12:13-14; Isa. 3:10-11; Jer. 17:10; Hos. 12:2; Matt. 7:15-23, 12:33-37, 16:24-28, 25:31-46; John 5:19-30; Acts 17:29-31; Rom. 2:1-16, 3:3-8, 3:19-26; I Cor. 15:42-58; II Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7-19; Eph. 6:7-8; Col. 3:23-24; II Thess. 1:4-12; Heb. 9:27-28; I John 3:2-10; Rev. 20:11-15, 21:5-8, 21:27, and 22:12
Philippians 2:9-16 is most instructive. What God requires of us, He provides to us. Our salvation is most wonderful. God asks nothing that He does not freely, for the sake the His Son, give to His people. All glory for our salvation be given to God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed‑‑not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence‑‑continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life‑‑in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing."
“Who are these people who thus benefit; who stand on the Day of Judgement? They are those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”
My references for this would be all that cited above; to which more could be added. But certainly Romans 2:13 is most appropriate.
"For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous."
In conclusion, we again say, we believe that we have proven by this brief that I am innocent of the charge based solely on the provisions of the Word of God and of the subordinate standards of the OPC. No judicatory of this Church may deprive an officer of this Church the right to be found innocent by virtue of being in conformance with the Scripture and the Standards in his belief and teaching.
John O. Kinnaird