What are the threefold offices of Christ? What does it mean that Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant? What is Christ's Active and Passive Obedience? Did Christ by His death atone for the Sins of all mankind or only for His elect? What is 'limited' in 'Limited Atonement'? What about passages used against Limited Atonement?
The only begotten Son was from all eternity chosen and ordained (Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 1:19-20) to be the mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5). This means that having Christ to be the Savior of Sinners and the Incarnation were not afterthoughts in God. God did not plan them after the Fall of man, but set them in motion after the Fall. This chooSing and ordaining of Christ as mediator was according to the covenant made between them both, i.e., the Covenant of Redemption (see chapter 7:2). Even before Sin and before the world was, the Lord Jesus was to be the Savior of His people. The Confession goes on to name the threefold offices of Christ as prophet, priest, and king. He is also the head and savior of the church (Col. 1:18; Acts 5:31). The heir of all things (Heb. 1:2), Who will inherit everything and believers are co-heirs with Him (Rom. 8:16-17). He is also the One Who will judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2Tim. 4:1). All these offices and functions were agreed upon by the Persons of the Trinity even before the foundation of the world. God from all eternity gave a people to be His seed and to be by Him in time redeemed (John 17:2, 6; Isa. 53:10) and given all the blesSings of redemption. All these considerations make the Fall a necessity within God's decree. For if there is no Fall, then it means that there is no Sin and therefore, no need of a savior. But if Christ is said to be ordained as Savior even before the creation of the world, then this means that there will be Sinners who will be saved by Him, which makes the Fall an important part of God's plan.
Our Confession states that the Lord Jesus was chosen, called and ordained by God to the office of the mediator. He was chosen by God for this office according to the Covenant of Redemption between them (see chapter 7 on the Covenant of Redemption). We said in chapter 7 that the Covenant of Redemption was the eternal covenant between the Persons of the Trinity, which laid out their roles in the self-glorification of God and the redemption of God’s elect. The Father was to elect a people and give them to the Son. The Son was to redeem the people whom the Father gave to Him. The Spirit was to apply the benefits of Son on their behalf to them and indwell th...
The will of man, by definition and nature, is endued...with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice. This is also one of those things which set us apart from the lower creation. Paragraph 1 does not speak about Adam's will before the Fall; paragraph 2 will do that. Rather, in paragraph 1 the will of man is spoken of generally without reference to it being enslaved to righteousness or Sin. It is by nature free. What does this freedom consist in? That is is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil. Man is not a robot as many non-Calvinists like to caricature Calvinism. No one has done something because they were forced by God in their wills to do so. Rather, they acted with that natural liberty of will which we are endued with. The second thing that the Confession mentions in connection to this natural liberty is that the will is not determined by nature. By nature, the Confession is referring to the natural world or what we call the laws of nature. There are no physical or natural laws forcing man to do good or evil. But as we will soon discover another kind of nature is important for the will, that is, the nature of man.
It is clear from chapter 3 that God is sovereign and ordains even human actions. Therefore, the freedom spoken of here is not autonomous freedom.
Section 1: God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of Sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in dispoSing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree. (See commentary)
His sovereignty, orchestration and ordaining extends to all things whatsoever comes to pass, the good and the bad. Chapter 5 which speaks of God’s providence is even clearer on this:
The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that his determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other Sinful actions both of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, which also he most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth and governeth, in a manifold dispensation to his most holy ends; yet so, as the Sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of Sin.
If even the evil actions of men are under His control, how much more the good actions? For the case that God ordains and is sovereign even over the evil actions of men and yet holds them accountable, see chapter 3 section 1 where I try to argue just that from the biblical texts. Consistent with what the Confession said in chapters 3 and 5, the freedom spoken by the 1689 is not a freedom of will from God’s sovereignty, but freedom of will within God’s sovereign decree.
R.C. Sproul, in Willing to Believe, presents Augustine as having taught the following four conditions of the will:
What is Total Depravity? Are men as bad as they can be? What is Original Sin? Are we born Sinners? What is Federal Headship?
This chapter contains brief comments on the doctrines of Original Sin, Federal Headship and Total Depravity.
God made all things “very good” (Gen. 1:31), including man. He gave a righteous law, the command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). Had he kept it past his time of probation, it would have been unto life. And God threatened death upon the breath thereof, which passed down to all of Adam's children. But Adam and Eve did not long abide in this honour. They fell by the subtlety of the serpent who subdued and deceived Eve (1Tim. 2:14). In turn, Eve seduced Adam to eat of the tree which he willfully did and transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them (Gen. 3:6). Even this was not outside of God's providence and decree (as chapter 5:4 says). But was ordained and permitted according to His wise and holy counsel. God had a purpose in ordaining and permitting the Fall, which was for His own glory, which is the purpose and end of all things which He has ordained.
Our Confession is in agreement with Ecclesiastes 7:29 where it is said that man was created upright, but "they” (man) sought out many (evil) schemes. Adam and Eve received a direct command from God not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17), which (perhaps) caused the knowledge and experience of a new kind of morality, namely evil morality. There was nothing in the fruit that did that, but it was God's way of testing them. The Confession is clear that Adam out of his own will took of the tree and transgressed. He was not coerced against his will and desire, neither was Eve. Of this command, we read in Genesis 2:16-17:
Gen. 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Here, this command is directly given to Adam before the creation of Eve. Whether Eve knew of this command directly from God or not, I am unsure. But I have no doubt that she knew that she should not eat of the tree. Adam had one requirement, if he obeyed he would earn eternal life for himself and his posterity, if not he and his descendants after him will be born Sinful and be condemned–they will die (see chapter 7 on the Covenant of Works). Adam, in the Garden of Eden, stood in the stead of all people that would come...