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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel


Of the Salvation of God's Elect, and of the Covenant of Grace.

Question 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A. God having out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery; and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.


Q. 1. Are same persons chosen to salvation, and others left?
A. Yes: God bath chosen some to salvation, and passed by others; as the Scriptures speak; See Romans 8:30. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called. And Jude 4. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, &c.

Q. 2. Did God choose some, because he foresaw they would be better than others?
A. No: God's choice was not on foreseen works, but merely of his grace, and good pleasure of his will; Ephesians 1:5, 6. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.

Q. 3. Is this election of God made in time, and that according as men use their free-will, or from eternity?
A. Election is an eternal act of God before the world was, and depends not on man's using his free-will; as appears from Ephesians 1:4. According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love.

Q. 4. Shall all that are elected be called and saved?
A. Yes, the scripture is full and plain for it; Acts 13:48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Romans 8:30. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, &c.

Q. 5. By whom are the elect saved?
A. By Christ, the only Redeemer; Titus 3:4, 5, 6. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Q. 6. Is there no other way of salvation but by Christ?
A. No; no other way is revealed in scripture; Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Q. 7. What learn you from God's election?
A. What cause we have to admire free-grace in our choice, who were no better than others; Ephesians 2:3. And were by nature children of wrath even as others.

Q. 8. What is the second instruction?
A. It teaches us humility; we made not ourselves to differ, but the free-grace of God made the difference; 1 Corinthians 4:7. For who maketh thee to differ from another?

Q. 9. What is the third instruction?
A. It teaches us diligence to make our election sure to ourselves, by our calling; 2 Peter 1:10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.

Q. 10. What is the fourth instruction?
A. It is matter of comfort to God's elect, amidst all dangers in the world; 2 Timothy 2:19. Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.

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