BPC.ORG | Home | Westminster Shorter Catechism Project | Question 38 | Flavel

Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel

Of Christ's acquitting Believers.

Q. 1. What is it to be acquitted by Christ?
A. It is to be discharged and cleared from all the guilt of sin, and punishment due to it by the law, upon the account of Christís righteousness imputed by God, and received by faith; Romans 5:1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 8:1. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.

Q. 2. How many ways are believers acquitted?
A. They are acquitted now in the court of heaven; Romans 8:38. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Godís elect? It is God that justifieth. in the court of their own consciences; 1 John 3:21. Beloved, if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God. And in the day of judgment: both particular, Hebrews 9:27. As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. And general; Acts 3:19. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. Their sins are then blotted out.

Q. 3. How doth Christís acquittance now, differ from that at judgment?
A. They differ in respect of publicness; this is secret in the believerís bosom, and that open before men and angels; Revelation 3:5. 1 will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Q. 4. What is the second difference?
A. They differ in respect of subjective certainty and assurance. A believer may doubt of this, but not of that; 1 Corinthians 4:4-5. For I know nothing of myself, yet am I not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me, is the Lord; therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come.

Q. 5. What is the third difference betwixt them?
A. They differ in point of consolation: this way always bears proportion to the certainty of it. Hence that day is called the tune of refreshing; when Christ blots out their sins by sentencial justification; Acts 3:19. Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

Q. 6. Do believers then lie under condemnation till that day?
A. No; they are truly and fully justified now; John 5:24. He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. But this sentence is not yet published by Christís own mouth, as it shall be then.

Q. 7. On what account shall they be acquitted in that day?
A. On the very same account and score they are now, viz. For the imputed righteousness of Christ in the way of free grace; Ephesians 1:7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

Q. 8. Must the saints be summoned to Christís bar in that day?
A. Yes; they must appear as well as others; 2 Corinthians 5:10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. But not to the same end; John 5:29. And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Q. 9. What is the first inference hence?
A. How sure is a believerís justification, being so ratified privately and publicly in this world, and that to come.

Q. 10. What is the second inference?
A. Though the day of judgment be awfully solemn, it should not be dreadful to believers: they should look for, and hasten to the coming of the day of God; 2 Peter 3:12. Looking for, and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, &c.

Q. 11. What is the third inference?
A. That faith is a grace of absolute necessity, and unspeakable excellency; Romans 5:1-2. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.

Q. 12. What is the last inference?
A. All unbelievers are in a miserable state now; John 3:18. He that believeth not, is condemned already. And worse in the world to come; Matthew 25:41. Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and h is angels.

[ Go To Top Of This Page ]

This document is available at http://www.bpc.org/resources/flavel/wsc_fl_038_b.html
Corrections or Information: webmaster@bpc.org