Westminster Confession 11.4

westminster2Time matters.  It is common to hear people suggest that it only matters to us but not to God.  They quote 2 Peter 3:8 alluding to Psalm 90:4 which speaks of a day as being like a thousand years to God and go too far with the application.

But what we must remember is that though God is not limited by time, he ordinarily works in an through time just as he does the rest of his creation.

So we should not act as though when the Scriptures speak of God acting in time this is without meaning.  Some have done this in reference to God’s acts of creation and others have done it in God’s acts of Salvation.

As far as God’s acts of creation some have denied that when the Scriptures refer to God as creating in 6 days that this has any real significance.  They use the idea that God is not limited by time to say, “Well since to God a day is like a thousand years or more, the days of Creation could be thousands or even millions of years.”  But that is to ignore the fact that God created time to be marked by ordinary 24 hour days and really does work in and through such days, not to mention the fact that every indication from Genesis is that ordinary days and not metaphorical days are in mind.

As far as acts of Salvation some have confused God’s eternal election of certain sinners to be brought to faith in Christ and so justified through him with his actually doing it in time.  They have taught being eternally elected to be justified is actually to be eternally justified.  This is to confuse what is planned and certain (because it is God’s plan) with the execution of the plan.  In 11.4 our confession plainly denies such confusion and teaches clearly that there is a plan (eternal election of a sinner to be justified through Christ by faith) and an execution of that plan in real time (the Holy Spirit working in their heart to grant them repentance and faith in Christ unto justification).

This may all seem a bit technical but it is fairly important.  Not only does it relate to more broadly understanding the significance of time which has countless applications.  But just Imagine if we thought evangelism was mostly about bringing people into the enjoyment of the justification they already had!  No we seek to bring them to faith in Christ that they might be justified!  And we warn that those who do not repent and believe in real time before it is too late will perish!

Westminster Confession 11.4

IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect,[11] and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification:[12] nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit does, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.[13]

[11] GAL 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 1PE 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, ROM 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

[12] GAL 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. 1TI 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. ROM 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

[13] COL 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. GAL 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. TIT 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.