WCF. VI. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof – 5-6. Q&A

Blogging through and answering the questions from G. I. Williamson’s The Westminster Confession of Faith for Study Classes for personal review and comprehension.

WCF. VI. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof.

Sections 5-6.

1. Is the believer both “the old man” and “the new man”?

No. A believer is not two persons. A believer is only “the new man.”

2. Prove this to be correct from Scripture.

Colossians 3:9-10, Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Also, see 2 Corinthians 5:17.

3. What does “perfectionism” teach?

“Perfectionism” teaches on the absence of all sin when a believer becomes a new creation in Christ (or at the least they teach on the absence of all known and/or conscious sin).

4. What does “antinomianism” teach?

“Antinomianism” teaches that a believer may indeed sin, but he will blame-shift and deny responsibility for sinning, claiming it is the influence of the “old man or nature within me,” thus denying that Christians ought to stive to be perfect. “Antinomian” literally means anti-law; “antinomianism” demonstrates it is anti-law because it shirks personal responsibility before the Law of God, e.g. The antinomian thinks: It isn’t my fault that I just committed this sin! That sin flowed from the old man or nature within me.

5. Give a Scripture reference to refute “perfectionism.”

1 John 1:8, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Also, see 1 John 1:10, James 3:2, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 7:14-25, and Psalm 51.

6. Give a Scripture reference to refute “antinomianism.”

“Certain expressions of the apostle Paul may be quoted in what can be made to seem to support this view. He says, for example, “it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Rom. 7:17). . . . But putting this construction on these statements of Paul is false because it overlooks completely the ways in which Paul “takes the blame” for this situation. “I am carnal,” he says (7:14). “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (7:18). Paul does not pretend that he can blame his sins on “the old man” a though they were not his. He does indeed inform us that his sins arise from the motions of his old nature as they survive in him. Yet he clearly indicates that he must fight against them and continue doing so until they are wholly destroyed. So the antinomian ends up saying the same thing the perfectionist says: “I have no sin.” In this he deceives himself and shows that the truth is not in him. For both the remaining corruption, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin” (78-79).

7. What is the difference between the status of the indwelling sin in the unregenerate man and the regenerate man?

The difference between the status of the indwelling sin in the unregenerate man and the regenerate man hinges upon dominion: the unregenerate man is under the dominion of sin, but the regenerate man is under the dominion of Christ, therefore he is not under the dominion of indwelling sin. “The true state of the case is this: in an unregenerate person corruption rules, but in a regenerate person the Spirit of God and the law of God have dominion (Rom. 8:7-14)” (79).

8. What pernicious error is suggested (and condemned) in Rom. 6:1-2?

The pernicious error suggested and condemned in Romans 6:1-2 is antinomianism, i.e. “the most wicked though of all . . . which suggests that sin is somehow less heinous if it is committed by a Christian.” “We might rather,” Williamson says, “that sin is much more heinous if it is committed by the Christian” (80). See Romans 6:1-2: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

9. Why is sin more heinous in a believer than it is in an unbeliever?

Sin is more heinous in a believe, Williamson says, because there is greater reason for the believer to overcome sin, e.g.:

  • A Christian has strength that the non-Christian does not have;
  • A Christian has knowledge that the unbeliever lacks;
  • A Christian, most of all, has the realization of the terrible consequences of sin because he has seen what it cost the Saviour to blot them out.

10. What is “willful sin”?

“Willful sin” is the antinomian practice of sinning–living in sin–because one is not concerned with overcoming sin.