Westminster Confession 9.4-5

westminster2If you follow sin you prove that your beloved “fee will” is in bondage.  You are a slave to sin.
I know that saying this to someone who is in rebellion against God and Christ  would not go over too well.  It certainly didn’t when Jesus said the same type of thing to the Pharisees in John 8.  They were good religious people who liked
to think of themselves as being able to do whatever good deeds they set themselves to.  Christ told them that their wills were in bondage like the rest of mankind and made clear that only those that he set free would be truly free.  And elsewhere he made clear they couldn’t  even come to him in faith unless the Father drew them.  So at the end of the day apart from the sovereign grace of the Lord renewing them by the Spirit and granting them the gifts of repentance and faith in Christ they would continue to despise the idea of their wills being in bondage and slavery, and they would delude themselves with notion of the limitless power of their own free will even as they continued in bondage and slavery to sin!!!
We must not be so prideful.  Our confession in chapter 9.4 rightly affirms that it is only when God converts a sinner and translates him into the state of grace that he is enabled to exercise his free will in the direction of God.  Before man can seek God he must be freed by God from his fallen state, his natural bondage to sin in Adam.
But when God transfers us into the state of grace, when he makes us alive in Christ (Eph. 2) he gives us all the resources of grace that we need to begin to freely will and to do that which is spiritually good.  That is why Paul means in Romans 6 when he tells us sin will not have dominion over us…it will not rule over us…it will not keep us in bondage, in slavery why?  Because in Christ we are not condemned under the law but under grace.  We have not only been forgiven but given all the resources of grace including the Spirit of Christ to help us and work in us.
Believers can confidently work out their salvation willing and doing God’s will in obedience to Christ because God works in them enabling them to that end.  He makes us truly free.  And only when we can will and do what is good, right, true, beautiful, and life giving are we truly free.
Philippians 2:12-13, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Now the end of Section 4 reminds us that be reason of the remaining corruption of soul and body we do not perfectly will what is good in this life but at times do also will what is evil.  We are freed from slavery from sin but still must fight and war against it in the power of the Spirit all our lives.  Some battles it wins, but we rise to continue fighting the good fight.  You can think here of the battle spoken of in Galatians 5 between the flesh and the spirit.  You can also think of 1st John chapter 1 which says that those who claim perfection are deceived and the truth is not in them.  So we will the good by God’s grace but not perfectly.
Section 5 reminds us that we will not ever attain perfection in this life but only in the state of glory.  That does not mean we won’t grow and advance and gain victories…we will and should.  However we know that the battle does not end until glory.  Our souls will be perfected in heaven and at the resurrection we will be given bodies perfectly suited for the Spirit and ready to walk in the Lord’s will for all eternity.
Westminster Confession 9.4-5

IV. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin;[8] and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;[9] yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he does not perfectly, or only, will that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.[10]

V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only.[11]


[9] PHI 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. ROM 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

[10] GAL 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. ROM 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 18 For I know that in me(that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

[11] EPH 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. HEB 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. 1JO 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. JUD 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.