Catechism Insight – Doctrinal Standards WSC #20 (1 of 4 weeks)

Doctrinal Standards WSC #20 (1 of 4 weeks)

  • Q. Did God leave all mankind to die in sin and misery?
  • A. From all eternity and merely because it pleased Him God chose some to have everlasting life. These He freed from sin and misery by a covenant of grace and brought them to salvation by a redeemer.

Memory Verses

  • “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (I Peter 2:9-10, ESV).

Study Passage: 1 Peter 1:13-2:10

Support Passages: Genesis 3:15, 9:8-17, 12:1-3, 15:1-21; Romans 8:28-30

Bible Story: Genesis 19:1-26


  • In order to begin to understand the doctrine of election, we must fully comprehend God’s sovereignty, the result of sin in man’s life, and the grace of God.
  • The Bible clearly teaches that God is sovereign over everything. God is in control of everything: He sets up governments (Romans 13:1), He ordains where people will live, at what period of time they will live, and when they will die (Acts 17:26). God reigns over Satan and his demons and is able to take the worst they could possible do and turn it into our greatest good (Romans 8:28). God knows what all of our needs are, and He takes care of them (Matthew 5:8). He takes care of and provides for all the plants and animals (Matthew 6:26-28).  He knew that Adam and Eve, while created perfect, would sin and be in need of a savior. That Savior, Jesus Christ, was chosen before the world was formed, and was destined to come to the earth, die, and rise again for the forgiveness of sins (I Peter 1:20). God controls everything through His permissive will, that which He allows, and through His ordained will, that which He actively brings about.
  • In order to fully understand predestination, we must understand the consequence of sin. The result of sin is death both physically and spiritually. When someone is physically dead, they are one hundred percent bound by their condition. They cannot move, they cannot speak, and they cannot change their state of deadness. The same is true when someone is spiritually dead. They cannot change from death to life, they cannot seek what is spiritually good, and they cannot choose to follow the life found in Christ because they are spiritually dead. As it is written in Romans 3:10–18 (ESV):  “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. 13 Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. 14 Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known. 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  Mankind, in its sinful state, is at odds with God and is completely spiritually dead.  Just as Christ called Lazarus out of the grave and gave him life, God is the only one who can bring to life a dead soul, creating the desire to follow after Him.
  • In order to understand how God chooses to save only some through His grace and love, we need to comprehend the true meaning of grace. As we know, the consequence or result of sin is death. Every human being is a sinner and is justly condemned to Hell and punishment. God would be just and righteous to send every individual to Hell, saving no one. God is not obligated to save anyone, but He does. He chooses to save some. This is the true meaning of grace: God shows His grace by saving some when all deserve Hell. Most often we ask ourselves the question, “Why doesn’t God save all or at least more?” Actually, the more biblical question we should ponder is, “Why does God save any?” We often consider the salvation our Lord provides as an obligation required of Him when in reality it is purely a gift that He has chosen to give to some. His salvation is not given out of duty but rather out of His gracious and merciful heart. The response of those who have received His grace should be nothing less than great humility and thankfulness for what the Creator of the universe has done for us.

Discussion Questions

  • What is man’s spiritual condition because of sin? Explain
  • The Bible teaches that the result of sin is death. It also teaches that those who sin are slaves to sin. Discuss the characteristics or abilities of someone who is dead or a slave.
  • What are the desires of someone who is spiritually dead?
  • If all of mankind is sinful and, therefore, spiritually dead and slaves to sin, do we have the ability to choose and follow after Christ? Explain
  • If no one can choose to follow after Christ, why do some people receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and follow His commands? Explain
  • The story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave illustrates exactly how God gives spiritual life to the spiritual dead (John 11:1-44).  Discuss the similarities.


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"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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