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Wendelin's "Christian Theology": Doctrine of God's Post-Fall Government

THESIS I:  Hitherto the government of rational creatures before the fall.  Now follows the government of the same after the fall:  which consists in judging and ongoing ruling.


THESIS II:  God exercises judgment in rewarding and punishing.


THESIS III:  God rewards the good Angels, who persisted in their integrity, by confirming them in their concreated integrity and goodness, so that they might not be able or willing ever to fall away from God.

EXPLANATION:  The mode of this confirmation thus stands:  The help of altogether efficacious grace was given to the good Angels, whereby their understanding is so illuminated, that it is not able to err concerning the apprehension and adjudication of truth:  and in this way the will is governed, so that it might be able directed only to the good.


THESIS IV:  God punishes apostate Angels, or sinful men.


THESIS V:  He strictly punishes the apostate Angels, by subjecting them to eternal torments, without any hope of pardon.

EXPLANATION:  Scripture testifies to this, Matthew 25:41, Depart from me into eternal fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels.  Jude 6, The Angels, which, with their first estate not kept, left their own habitation, He hath reserved in eternal chains under darkness unto the judgment of that great day.


THESIS VI:  He in like manner strictly punishes reprobate sinful men.  But the Elect temperately:  whom, even if He should condemn them to death, yet by His gracious mercy He renews and delivers from death.

EXPLANATION:  Only reprobates are punished strictly:  whom alone from eternity God decreed to punish strictly, that is, to subject to eternal torments.  Whence with the Devils they are commanded to depart into eternal fir, Matthew 25:41.


THESIS VII:  The restoration of men is their transfer from the state of mortality and infelicity, accomplished through Christ, the Son of God, the θεάνθρωπος/Theanthropos/God-man.


THESIS VIII:  The parts of this restoration are two:  (1.)  The exhibition of the Mediator; (2.)  the application of the same.

EXPLANATION:  I.  We here consider this restoration as the external work of God:  the antecedent of which was the eternal decree of restoration, which embraces in itself the appointment of the Mediator:  which is the eternal decree of the Most Holy Trinity, that the Son of God might take up flesh in time, and satisfy divine justice by suffering for the sins of men, and restore them to favor with God.

That the Mediator was ordained from eternity, is evident:  because we are said to be elect in Christ before the foundations of the world were laid, Ephesians 1:4.  The impulsive cause of this appointment was:

1.  The Love of God towards fallen and miserable men.  John 3:16, God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.  Romans 5:8, God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  In this love of God all things are admirable:  (1.)  With respect to the Person loving.  For, God loved, who in Himself has consummate perfection, and was able to receive no advantage from man, or his love, indeed, He is most grievously offended by man, 1 John 4:10, 11.  (2.)  With respect to the person loved.  For, God loved man, hostile, an enemy, ungrateful, Romans 5:8.  (3.)  With respect to the gifts given out of love.  To man God gave His own Son, and Himself in His Son, John 3:16; 1 John 2:24, and all things with the Son, Romans 8:32.  (4.)  With respect to the manner of giving.  For, He gave out of mere and abundant grace, without any seeking or desire on man’s part, Romans 10:20.  (5.)  With respect to the duration.  For, the love of God is eternal, which had no beginning, nor is going to have any end, Ephesians 1:4; Jeremiah 31:3; John 13:1.

2.  The heinousness of our sins, which were not able to be expiated, except by the suffering and death of the incarnate Son of God, that is, a Person who is both God and man at once.  Isaiah 53:5, He (the Messiah or Christ) is afflicted with sorrow for our defections:  the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

II.  The Mediator is the θεάνθρωπος/Theanthropos/God-man, standing between God and man, reconciling the sinner to provoked Deity through satisfaction.

It was necessary that the Mediator be Man; so that He might be able to die for sinful men, who were liable to death (according to that saying, in the day that thou eatest, etc., thou shalt surely die[1]).  For, since man sinned, it was also necessary for man to pay, according to the arrangement of divine justice.

It was also necessary that the Mediator be God.

(1.)  Because of the magnitude of the evil lying upon us and to be removed from us, which was fourfold:  1.  the weight of divine wrath; 2.  the gravity of sin; 3.  the rule of death; 4.  the tyranny of the Devil:  which no one was able to remove, to abolish, and to conquer, except God.

(2.)  Because of the magnitude of the good to be restored to us, which was the image of God, which to restore in us was belonging to God alone, who had first created man in His own image.

* (3.)  Because of the infinite righteousness and mercy required in the Mediator; which only is applicable to God.  This necessity is evident from this:  That, of the infinite debt, He, as God, was willing to remit nothing:  which, so that it might be paid, He gave Himself as the price, who was infinitely just and merciful in inflicting upon Himself infinite punishment.

(4.)  Because of the exercise of all power in heaven and on earth:  when it was necessary that He be true God, Matthew 28:18.

A Mediator of this sort, God and man, was promised in the Old Testament, Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Jeremiah 23:5, 6; and then exhibited in the New Testament, Matthew 16:16; John 1:14; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Romans 1:3, 4; 9:5; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 1:1, 2; 5:20.

III.  A distinction of mediation is to be observed, into substantial and operativeSubstantial or οὐσιώθης mediation is that whereby Christ is the Mediator between God and us, a middle person through the hypostatic union of the two natures.  Operative or ἐνεργητικὴ mediation is that whereby Christ according to each nature discharges the mediatorial office:  which consists in apotelesmata, which are the theandric works of the θεανθρώπου/Theanthropos/ God-man Mediator.

[1] Genesis 2:17.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday

Westminster Shorter Catechism: 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?

Answer: All mankind by their fall lost communion with God,1 are under his wrath and curse,2 and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.3 

1 Gen. 3:8,10,24.

2 Eph. 2:2,3; Gal. 3:10.

3 Lam. 3:39; Rom. 6:23; Matt. 25:41,46.

20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?

Answer: God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life,1 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.2 


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
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