Does the Westminster Confession teach “Common grace” or a remnant of the image of God in man?

Head—Paragraph —Teaching
III 5 Free grace brings unconditional election
IV 2 Image of God is knowledge, righteousness and true holiness
IV 5 God is gracious to his people
IV 6 God withholds grace from reprobate
VI 1,2 Total depravity of man, fallen from righteousness
VII 3 Covenant of grace is ratified by Christ and for the elect
VIII 3 Christ is full of grace
X 1,2 Grace and salvation comes by Christ causing among his people a willingness to come and respond to his effectual call
XI 3 Justification is by grace
XII Adoption is by grace and God is on a throne of grace
XIII 3 We are called to grow in grace
XV 1,3 Repentance is an evangelical grace. Grace is in Christ.
XVI 3 Graces are received by the Holy Spirit
XVII 2 Covenant of grace
XVIII 1,2 Elect may be assured of being in a state of grace by their faith, love, godly walk and evidence of graces
XIX 7 The law is not contrary to grace of the gospel
XXVI 1 We have fellowship in Christian grace and communion in each other’s graces
XXVII, XVIII 1,1 The sacraments (baptism and Lord’s Supper) are signs and seals of the covenant of grace and put a visible difference between church and world
From the above references grace is only for God’s elect, it is always particular just as the atonement was, and it renews them in the image of God, calling them out and separating them from the ungodly world who being totally depraved have nothing of that image.

Communion with God the Son (6)

JOHN OWEN ON GRACE:

1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness (beauty). So we say, “A graceful and comely person,” either from himself or his ornaments. This in Christ  is the subject of near one-half of the book of  Song of Solomon; it is also mentioned, Psalm. 45: 2 and John 1:14, “Thou art fairer than the children of men;grace is poured into thy lips.”  Those inconceivable gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency;

2. Grace of free favour and acceptance. “By this grace we are saved;” that is, the free favour and gracious acceptation of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent expression, “If I have found grace in thy sight;” that is, if I be freely and favourably accepted before thee. So he “giveth grace” (that is, favour) “unto the humble,” James 4:6; Gen. 39:21, Acts 7:10; 1 Sam. 2:26;  Paul introduces most of his epistles or ends them with a doxology that equates grace with Jesus Christ-indeed there is NO GRACE outside of Christ-JK.

3. The power of God producing the fruit of the Spirit, saving, sanctifying and renewing our natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, “his grace was sufficient for him;” that is, the assistance against temptation which he afforded him, Titus 2:10, I Peter 5: 10-12, Col. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:6, 7; Heb. 12: 28.

There is no grace outside of Christ for mankind in general, specifically the reprobate wicked-JK

The Land (12)

The Land (Cont)

Sung Psalm 43

Reading Judges 11:12-28

Jephthah recounts the history of Israel in his dispute with the king of Ammon showing that the Land east of the Jordan was rightfully the possession of Israel and for 300 years.

Ruth is the story in which her future mother-in-law Naomi leaves God’s church in Israel along with husband Elimelech and her two sons which resulted in the death of all three men. By grace she is brought back to the land and provided with a godly husband Boaz.

The Gleaners

David (I Sam.26:19) implies that being forced to leave Israel and the temple was actually leaving God’s worship and Psalm 43 may well have been penned under those circumstances when hunted by Saul.

Naboth had his land coveted by Ahab but he knew it being his father’s inheritance stood for his eternal salvation and a place in the new heavens and earth, so he refused to part with it and put his seal on his faith and hope by dying for that inheritance (c.f.Esau).

Ahab and Naboth.

Next week prepare by reading Ezekiel 48 (or 40-48).

Communion with God the Son (5b)

John Owen continues: I shall only add that of Prov. 9:1–5, “Wisdom has builded her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars; she has killed her beasts; she has mingled her wine; she has also furnished her table. She has sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whose is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” The Lord Christ, the eternal Wisdom of the Father, and who of God is made unto us wisdom, erects a spiritual house, wherein he makes provision for the entertainment of those guests whom he so freely invites. His church is the house which he has built on a perfect number of pillars, that it might have a stable foundation: his slain beasts and mingled wine, wherewith his table is furnished, are those spiritual fat things of the gospel, which he has prepared for those that come in upon his invitation. Surely, to eat of this bread, and drink of this wine, which he has so graciously prepared,
is to hold fellowship with him; for in what ways or things is there nearer communion than in such?

GRACE EMPOWERS

“And because the number of the saints is gathered by no preceding merits, as was said, but only by the gratuitous will of God concerning such, correctly John, about to write to the seven churches which are located in Asia, puts forth the heading of his greeting, saying: Grace to you and peace from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:4-5). For, grace is said to be something that has been given freely, not something paid as a reward, but something conferred freely through kindness. For, when this grace shined within us, we, from enemies were led back to friendship with our Creator, from ungodly were made godly, and from servants of sin were adopted as children of righteousness. Every day we are illuminated by this preceding grace so that we may be able to see where we should place our step regarding good work. We are guarded by subsequent grace so that in the end we are not bitten by a serpent in the heel. By this grace we are incited to good work, but having been incited, unless that grace supports what it has incited, we are unable to complete that same work. On this Paul says: The will is present with me, but to do good I do not find (Rom. 7:18). Accordingly, therefore, the will that is present with you, is only because you received it by grace, as you yourself said in another passage: What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Cor. 4:7) Therefore, just as the will was present with Paul because he received this very thing by grace, so he did not find it to do good unless that very grace, which gave him the will, supported it. Accordingly also, the same Apostle says again: It is God who works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). For, John, Peter, and Paul, when they were about to write to believers, put forth this grace in the heading of their greetings in their writings.”
Ambrose Autpert (730-784), Expositio in Apocalypsin. On Rev 1:3

Thanks Andy Underhill (USA)

Communion with God the Son (5)

Our fellowship with him is characterized by: (1.) Sweetness. (2.) Delight. (3.) Safety. (4.) Comfort.

Safety: “His banner over me was love,”  Song of Songs 2:4. The banner is an emblem of safety and protection, — a sign of the presence of an host. Persons belonging to an army do encamp under their banner in security. It is also a token of success and victory,Ps. 20: 5. Christ has a banner for his saints; and that is love. All their protection is from his love; and they shall have all the protection his love can give them. This safeguards them from hell, death, — all their enemies. Whatever presses on them, it must pass through the banner of the love of the Lord Jesus. They have, then, great spiritual safety; which is another ornament or excellency of their communion with him.

Support and consolation, (2:6), “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand
does embrace me.” Christ here has the posture of a most tender friend towards any one in sickness and sadness. The soul faints with love, — spiritual longings after the enjoyment of his presence; and Christ comes in with his embraces. He nourisheth and cherisheth his church, Eph. 5:29; Now, “the hand under the head,” is the support of sustaining grace, in pressures and difficulties; and “the hand that does embrace,” the hand upon the heart, is joy and consolation; —in both, Christ rejoicing, as the “bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride,” Isaiah 62:5. Now, thus to lie in the arms of Christ’s love, under a perpetual influence of support and refreshing, is certainly to hold communion with him. And hereupon,  (Song of Songs) 2:7, the spouse is most earnest for the continuance of his fellowship, charging all so to demean themselves, that her Beloved be not disquieted, or provoked to depart. In brief, this whole book is taken up in the description of the communion that is between the Lord Christ and his saints;

John Owen (abridged)

Friendship of David and Jonathan reflects something of Christ’s covenant love to his people:

Communion with God the Son (4)

Characterised by delight.

The spouse is quite ravished with the sweetness of this entertainment, finding love,
and care, and kindness, bestowed by Christ in the assemblies of the saints. Hence she cries out, 2:5 “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love.” Upon the discovery of the excellency and sweetness of Christ in the banqueting-house, the soul is instantly overpowered, and cries out to be made partaker of the fullness of it. She is “sick of love:” overcome, with the mighty acting of that divine affection, after she had once tasted of the sweetness of Christ in the banqueting-house. Her desire deferred, makes her heart sick; therefore she cries, “Stay me,” etc.; — “I have seen a glimpse of the ‘King in his beauty,’ — tasted of the fruit of his righteousness; my soul melteth in longing after him. When a person is fainting on any occasion, these two things are to be done:— strength is to be used to support him, things are given to refresh his spirits. The beloved needs strengthening grace to support her in that condition, to do her duty; and refreshing of the Holy Ghost, to revive her until she come to a full enjoyment of Christ. And thus sweetly and with delight is this communion carried on.

Our faith

Our faith in Christ, a marvelous gift of God is the human side of our justification. God justified us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ with into which we are baptized by the Spirit who simultaneously works faith in us. 

We are “kept by the power of God through faith (the means) unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 

I Peter 1:5-7.

Note it is our faith in Christ, very precious faith, not as some posit, the faithfulness of Christ or our faith in the faithfulness of Christ. The object of our faith is Christ and it is we who believe and are kept believing till faith gives way to sight! Then faith and hope will be done away and only love, which is eternal, love between us and our Saviour will remain forever.

Communion with God the Son (3)

Owen continues:  Our fellowship with him is characterized by: (1.) Sweetness. (2.) Delight. (3.) Safety. (4.) Comfort.
(1.) Sweetness: “He brought me to the banqueting-house,” or “house of wine.” It is all set forth under expressions of the greatest sweetness and most delicious refreshment, — flagons, apples, wine, etc. “He entertains me,” saith the spouse. This is grace and mercy, — love, kindness, supplies revealed in the gospel, declared in the assemblies of the saints, exhibited by the Spirit. This “love is better than wine,” Song.1: 2 “not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Gospel dainties are sweet refreshments; whether these houses of wine be the Scriptures, the gospel, or the ordinances dispensed in the assemblies of the saints, or any eminent and signal manifestations of special love (as banqueting is not every day’s work.)

Communion with God the Son (2)

The bride compares him to the apple-tree among the trees ( Song of Songs 2:3) of the because he has the two eminent things of trees, which the residue of them have not:—

1. Fruit for food; 2. Shade for refreshment.

Of the one she eats, under the other she rests; both with great delight.  These are desirable things, to an hungry, weary soul (such alone seek for shade and fruit). “In Christ,” saith she, “there is fruit, fruit sweet to the taste; yea, ‘his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed,’ ” John 6:55. “Moreover, he has brought forth that everlasting righteousness which will abundantly satisfy any hungry soul, after it has gone to many a barren tree for food, and has found none. Besides, he abounds in precious and pleasant graces, whereof I may eat; yea, he calls me to do so, and that abundantly.” These are the fruits that Christ bears. They speak of a tree that brings forth all things needful for life, in food and raiment. Christ is that tree of life, which has brought forth all things that are needful unto life eternal. In him is that righteousness which we
hunger after; — in him is that water of life, which whoso drinks of shall thirst no more. Oh, how sweet are the fruits of Christ’s mediation to the faith of his saints! Shades for refreshment and shelter; — shelter from wrath without, and refreshment because of weariness from within. When the heat of wrath is ready to scorch the soul, Christ, interposing, bears it all. Under the shadow of his wings we sit down constantly, quietly, safely, putting our trust in him; and all this with great delight. Yea, who can express the joy of a soul safe shadowed from wrath under the covert of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus! There is also refreshment in a shade from weariness. He is “as the shadow of a
great rock in a weary land,” Isaiah 32:2. From the power of corruptions, trouble of temptations, distress of persecutions, there is in him quiet, rest, and repose, Matt. 11:27, 28.
John Owen