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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel

Of Peace of Conscience.

Q. 1. What doth the word peace signify in scripture?
A. In the language of the Old Testament it signifies all temporal good; 1 Sam. 25:6. Peace be both to thee, and peace be in thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast. And in the New Testament all special good; as 2 Thessalonians 3:16. Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always.

Q. 2. What are the kinds of special peace?
A. There is a twofold peace; one without us, by reconciliation; Romans 5:1. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God. And peace within us, by way of consolation; Colossians 3:15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.

Q. 3. What did our peace cost Christ?
A. It cost him bloody stripes and sufferings; Isaiah 53:5. The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed.

Q. 4. Can none have true peace but such as are in him?
A. No; others may have false peace; Luke 11:21. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. But believers only have true peace; Romans 5:1. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Q. 5. Have all believers peace in their consciences at all times?
A. No, they are always in a state of peace, but have not always the sense of peace; Isaiah 1:10. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.

Q. 6. What is that which hinders the sense of peace in believers?
A. Their sins against the Lord, and grieving of his Spirit; Isaiah 59:2. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God; and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Q. 7. What maintains the state of peace when the sense of peace is lost?
A. Christís continual and potent intercession with the Father for us; 1 John 2:12. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not: And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Q. 8. What is the best way to maintain our peace with God?
A. Strict walking by gospel rules; Galatians 6:16. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them.

Q. 9. Doth this peace come and go with outward peace?
A. No; we may enjoy this when no peace is to be had in the world; John 16:33. T These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Q. 10. What is the first instruction from hence?
A. That the wicked are in a sad case at all times, but especially in evil times; Isaiah 57:20-21. But the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

Q. 11. What is the second instruction from hence?
A. That the chief care of a Christian should be to keep his peace with God; Jeremiah 17:17. Be not a terror to me; thou art my hope in the day of evil.

Q. 12. What is the last instruction from hence?
A. Let the saints long to be in heaven, the state of full and perfect peace; Isaiah 57:2. He shall enter into peace; they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.

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