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Sola scriptura was that Reformation principle that recovered the gospel, leading many to freedom from the bondage of Romanism.
The Confession begins: The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. In a very real sense, the remaining entirety of the Confession will be addressing this saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.
And so, it is essential to establish matters of authority.
The Confession begins with a single-focus on Scripture. Robert Letham states: “The first chapter of the [Westminster] Confession ranks as the most thorough statement of classic Reformed Protestantism on the subject of Scripture and possibly the finest to date from any source.” The 1689 Confession has added the first clause which is not present in either the Westminster Confession or Savoy Declaration (see Introduction), but in the main our Confession closely follows the Westminster Confession throughout this chapter.
Thus we are privileged to begin our study of the Confession by examining the most thoroughgoing confessional statement on the nature and authority of Scripture in Christendom.
The phrase “light of nature” is used four other times in the Confession. General revelation also comes to us through the works if creation.
The works of creation refer to God making all things in six days. Chapter 4, Of Creation, will deal in detail with the works of creation.But since it is the only infallible rule of all saving revelation, we can entrust our souls to its saving instruction. Scripture reveals what our faith is to rest on for salvation, and that is the true gospel, not others which merely pose as the gospel.Having commented on the nature of the rule of Scripture, we now turn to that which the obedience). The word “all” is significant, for if Scripture is the authoritative standard of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, then nothing else is. Chapter 14, Of Saving Faith will address what saving faith is.In context, we understand it to mean that Scripture is the rule of all that a saved person is to practice (i.e. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph.), and Scripture reveals those works God has created for us.I might also recommend chapter 11, Of Justification, where it explains faith related to justification.As we come to the last phrase, there is no need to stumble over saving obedience, as if the Confession were promoting legalism or works-based salvation.This portion has established the starting point: all that we need to know and can know about saving knowledge, faith and obedience are found in the Holy Scriptures. The Scripture is referred to in the field of theology as defines special revelation (also called particular revelation) as “redemptive revelation conveyed by wondrous acts and words.” Special revelation is redemptive or saving revelation (i.e. Special revelation differs from (also called natural or universal revelation)—all terms from the field of theology. Sproul states: The Confession is about to explain the insufficiency or inability of general revelation to redeem sinners.While general revelation is conveyed by God’s wondrous works of creation and providence, it has no words, and it conveys no redemptive or saving revelation. The insufficiency of general revelation to save stands in stark contrast to the saving sufficiency of the special redemptive revelation of Scripture.This is radical even for many Evangelicals today, but it was especially radical for those coming out the Roman Church with her many doctrines and commandments of men.The Judaizers were light-weights compared to all the Roman Church heaps on her adherents.