For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full (II Cor. 10:3-6).

Captive Thoughts” is dedicated to bringing every thought captive to Christ through the study of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, with primary focus on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This effort is a compilation of several years of catechetical study conducted at Westminster Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Westminster, California, by its Christian Education Committee and the author of this site.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q16

The Doctrinal Heading for this section of questions (Q14-19) is Original Sin. (see Harmony Index)
People tend not to think about the implications of their actions. The word “implications” is derived from a Latin word meaning “to interweave, entangle, or entwine”—and so often a careless action leads to a tangled web of trouble. The just-do-it attitude of our culture certainly leads to thoughtless action. But in this, we are not so different from our first parents Adam and Eve, who surely failed to consider in advance the consequences of their rebellion in the garden. That first sin, committed at the beginning of time, has had a devastating effect on all subsequent people and events.
In contrast, Jesus Christ, the second Adam and our new federal head approached every step of his life with careful thought; he fully understood the implications of every step of his saving work—every step necessary and effective to undo the consequences of our first parents’ act of self-will. As a beloved church father put it, “I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.”
As we ponder this lesson, may we as individuals, families, and as a church family consider the covenant implications of our every thought and actions, “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing [all] into captivity to the obedience of Christ” II Cor. 10:5. May we know God’s blessing as we study this week’s catechism question and answer.
WSC Q16. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity[a]; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression[b].
[a] Acts 17:26. See under Question 12.
[b] Gen. 2:17. Compare with Rom. 5:12-20; I Cor. 15:21, 22.
Question #16 asks if all mankind fell in Adam’s first disobedience, and answers that since the covenant was made not only for Adam but also for his natural descendants, all mankind sinned in him and fell with him in his first disobedience.
Comments and considerations:
In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, we find this definition of “posterity:” Descendants; children, children’s children, &c. indefinitely; the race that proceeds from a progenitor. The whole human race are the posterity of Adam. See from there the word “progenitor,” which Webster goes on to define as: An ancestor in the direct line; a forefather. Adam was the progenitor of the human race. “Progenitor” comes from two words—pro, meaning before, and gigno, meaning beget, a word familiar to us from reading Biblical genealogies.
Connection, origin, identity, and our covenant relationship with Adam—all this is clearly taught in Scripture and understood by God’s church. Back in 1828, the federal headship of Adam to the whole human race was even used to form definitions of common words in the dictionary of the day. But in the iWorld* culture in which we now live, such connection, corporate identity, and covenant understandings are pushed aside in favor of hyper-individualism. The iWorld* culture sees no connection to the past, and thus takes no responsibility for the effect of its actions upon others now or in the future; the members of this culture break God’s laws with pride and with seeming impunity. It’s as if people live in a bubble of insensitivity, burst eventually by the reality of outcomes and unintended consequences.
Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression? Scripture is clear and we are surrounded by the evidence. One has to marvel at the realization that must have befallen Adam and Eve the nanosecond after their experiment in self-assertion—their want of conformity unto, and transgression of, the command of God. In the blink of an eye, all changed. They sensed immediately the crushing weight of the implications of their actions; their paradise became a nightmare of sin and hate, for them, their children, their children’s children, …generation unto generation. It would take one willing to pay the price of real active obedience, one willing to obey where Adam wouldn’t and now couldn’t. It would take one who could awake by faith from the crucifixion-induced sleep of death, to break the eternal and cursed nightmare Adam and Eve brought upon their posterity.
In the traditional world, now beginning to fade into memory, people believed in the providence of a sovereign God. We were taught that our times and places, even our family identities, had design, meaning, and purpose. We were to learn, to build relationships, to confront and overcome differences and sinful behaviors—in other words, like Mom used to say, we were to “grow up and learn to get along.” If our fathers failed us, our pastors and teachers pointed us to a Heavenly Father who never does, and never will! In fact, difficult relationships with fellow sinners led us to appreciate the most pleasant of all relationships, with Jesus, the kinsman redeemer who gives us a new identity and an eternal family.
I’ve been speaking in the past tense because such clear teachings from God’s Word are not taught consistently in the homes and schools of our culture anymore. God’s plans, and the implications of his and our actions, are ignored by the iWorld*. May we, however, hold fast to the decrees of the all-wise and sovereign God who established covenant bonds. May we teach those decrees to our children, so that they might understand their identity in Him to whom alone belongs all praise, honor, and glory.  
Note: *iWorld: The present-day society in which the immediate desires and wishes of the individual reign supreme, above the world of traditional morality and relationships, the tWorld of traditional Western cultural value and society.
Training Hearts and Teaching Minds Questions:
1.    This catechism question is based on the idea of covenant and representation. Whatever a representative does, it is as though the people he represents have done it as well. This can be observed the signing of peace treaties today. It would be impossible for all of the people living in two warring countries to get together for a meeting; so each country sends a representative to the meeting. Whatever the representative says, his country is saying. If the representative signs a peace treaty, his country has in fact signed it. Sometimes a people will choose their own representative, and at other times someone in authority may make the choice for them. God chose Adam as the first man to represent all mankind. How should we acknowledge God in this covenant relationship He established? Read Rom. 11:33 and Ps. 145:17.
2.    Because of this covenant relationship in which Adam represents all mankind, what was the result of Adam’s sin upon all of his descendants? See Rom. 5:16.
3.    What does Rom. 5:14 say was one of the effects upon all mankind as a result of Adam’s sin?
4.    In His grace, God provided a new beginning to counter Adam’s fall. Who is the new man? See Rom. 5:15, 18-19.
5.    How is this new man able to save others from the effects of sin and Adam’s fall? See Is. 53:5-6.

Harmony of the Standards:WSC Q# 16, WLC Q# 22 & WCF VI.III
WSC Q16. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
A.  The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity[a]; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression[b]. 
[a] Acts 17:26. See under Question 12.
[b] Gen. 2:17. Compared with Rom 5:12-20; I Cor. 15:21, 22.
WLC Q22. Did all mankind fall in that first transgression?
A.  The covenant being made with Adam, as a public person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation[a], sinned in him, and fell with him in that first transgression[b].
[a] Acts 17:26.
[b] Gen. 2:16-17; compare with Rom. 5:12-20; 1Cor. 15:21-22.
Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the
Punishment thereof.
III.They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed[a]; and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation[b].
[a] Acts 17:26; Compare Gen. 2:16, 17 with Rom. 5:12, 15-19; I Cor. 15:21-22, 45, 49.
[b] Ps. 51:5; John 3:6; Gen. 5:3; Job 15:14; Rom. 3:10-18.
Questions for further study:

Note the progression of understanding and words used from the shorter to larger catechism and confession, words like posterity, public person and imputation and corrupted nature.  What additional light do they bring to our understanding of the first transgression?    

Monday, October 8, 2018

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q15

The Doctrinal Heading for this section of questions (Q14-19) is Original Sin. (see Harmony Index)
We are using Training Hearts, Teaching Mindsby Starr Meade as the source book for the study questions. Those who have a copy of the book and are using it along with this study will have noticed that Questions 14 and 15 are combined. Although we are keeping them separate for this study, it is good to see the connection between them. Question 14 gives us an excellent definition of sin, while Question 15 mentions its entrance onto the stage of human experience.
It is often said that, “what we believe has consequences.” Every human action - no matter how seemingly insignificant - flows from our heart-level beliefs. We know, of course, that what we do also has consequences. Our beliefs lead to actions that result in further consequences. We must give thoughtful consideration to the consequences of sin, both as it relates to our first parents and to our own sinful thoughts and actions that result from unbiblical beliefs. May God grant us grace so that we do “not suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18) as that truth applies to our every thought, word, and deed. May we instead “study to show ourselves approved unto God, rightly dividing (or understanding) the Word of Truth” (I Tim. 2:15).
WSC Q15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
A. The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created was their eating the forbidden fruit.
[a] Gen. 3:6-8, 13; II Cor. 11:3
Question #15 asks what sin our first parents committed, resulting in their fall from their original condition, and answers that they ate the forbidden fruit.
Comments and considerations:
It seems like such a trivial matter doesn’t it? I once thought that if I were God I would have made the test more monumental, more heroic, more challenging, so that it would require iron-willed effort to withstand it. God himself chose merely a forbidden fruit.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things… who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). Our first parents, placing too much trust to their own narrow understanding, driven by mere appearance and the subtle reasoning of an intruder, fell prey to their sinful desire - when in fact they were in want of absolutely nothing in physical possessions and pleasures, owning all that was necessary for life and happiness. Given the perfect happiness of their situation, their dramatic failure is all the more pitiful and tragic.
If, however, we pause to consider the scene more closely, we see that this trivial matter is not so trivial after all. Certainly, the consequences alone make that perfectly clear. In addition, every one of the Ten Commandments was violated through that one act of “disobedience.” 1) Adam and Eve failed to have “no other god” rule and direct them; they heeded another, and took authority upon themselves to determine right and wrong. 2) As image bearers, they marred the glory of God, hiding, of necessity, what he had made to reveal himself as they made garments from figs leaves. 3) As the first offspring of God, they carried his name in vain, even in denying his commandment in which he magnifies his Word above his name (see Ps. 138:2). 4) They ceased to “rest” in the eternal provisions of their God, denying the Sabbath principle for things set apart for God’s disposition alone. 5) They dishonored their supreme Father, their Creator. 6) They brought upon themselves the curse of death, which entered immediately where only life had existed; murder soon became the natural course of man and beast, reflecting the spiritual murder of their crime against God. 7) They fell into a state of shame regarding their nakedness, with all its implications for disunity, betrayal, adultery, and unfaithfulness. 8) They broke this commandment most clearly, as they took the one thing that was off-limits to them. 9) They bore false witness against their God and against one another, believing the author of lies and becoming liars themselves. And finally, 10) they coveted that which belonged to the eternal God, demonstrating the heart of the issue, their want of conformity unto and transgression of the law of God, so making them guilty of all.
What we believe has consequences. The Ten Commandments came many years after the Fall, written by the finger of God on tablets of stone. But Scripture teaches us that God has written eternity on our hearts (Ecc. 3:11), so that we, like our first parents, know his law even though we may not have it in hand (Rom. 2:14). Thus we, like they, are without excuse. Paul warns us not to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18), but rather to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:5).
Jesus said, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) Let us give heed and “be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:11), with its tragic, eternal consequences.
Training Hearts and Teaching Minds Questions:
1.    When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, how did he answer? See Matt. 22:37-40. Now, read Rom. 13:8-10. Knowing ourselves as we do, and our own self-centered motivation, what problem(s) do these passages present concerning sinful attitudes and behaviors?
2.    It might seem that it would have been easy to keep the one, simple command given to Adam and Eve. What can we learn from their fall into temptation? Read II Cor. 11:3.
3.    We are taught from God’s Word that sin is both doing wrong (transgressing the Law) and failing to do right (not conforming to it). Read Rom. 3:23. The word “sin” here means missing the mark (like an arrow missing the target). How is “sin” like missing the mark in glorifying God? See Lev. 20:7 and I Pet. 1:15-16.

Harmony of the Standards:WSC Q# 15 and WCF VI.II.
WSC Q15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
A.  The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit[a].
 [a]  Gen. 3:6, 7, 8, 13; II Cor 11:3
Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the
Punishment thereof.
II.  By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion, with God[a], and so became dead in sin[b], and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body[c].
[a] Gen. 3:6-8; Gen. 2:17; Rom. 3:23
[b] Gen. 2:17; Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 5:12
[c] Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Titus 1:15; Rom. 3:10-19; Rom. 8:6-8; Psa. 58:1-5
Questions for further study:
What key doctrine of reformed understanding finds definition in both the action of our first parents and how Confession VI.I describes the consequences of their action? Ans: Total _________(1)
1. Depravity

Monday, October 1, 2018

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q14

The Doctrinal Heading for this section of questions (Q14-19) is Original Sin. (see Harmony Index)
“In every circumstance and relationship in life, we are usually faced with making a choice. How are we going to respond to it? Are we going to move toward God in the making of that choice or away from him? Satan wants every situation to be a temptation to doubt God and turn away from him. But God wants it to be something that refines our faith and causes us to move toward God and to trust him.”
That quote ought to be printed on a pocket-sized card and pulled out as a quick reference reminder whenever we are faced with a difficult decision, circumstance, or relationship. In every situation, we do indeed have a choice either to pull away or to move toward our God, to embrace our sin or to step further from it, to sin against God’s law or to be conformed to his purpose for our life. Through every choice we make, our life can become more corrupt in willful self-service, or more refined in faith, practice, and meaning.
In the same journal from which I obtained the above quotation, I also extracted another simple question that could be coupled with the above: “What is your purpose for living?” I’ll leave you to chew on both of these thoughts in the context of those things you already know to be true of each of God’s children, and in the light of this week’s catechism question. But one final consideration—for the follower of Christ, sanctification is moving towards that which refines, while at the same time moving away from that which pollutes. Our purpose for living is revealed in the choices we make each day. May our faithful heavenly Father grant us the blessing of unstopped ears and open, obedient hearts in the pursuit of our chief end and purpose—God’s glory and our enjoyment of him.
WSC Q14. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God [a].
            [a] Lev. 5:17; Jam. 4:17; I John 3:4; Rom. 2:23
Question #14 asks what sin is, and answers that it is disobeying or not conforming to God’s law in any way.
Comments and considerations:
I begin each of these weekly considerations with a paraphrase of the catechism. In some places the wording of the original is archaic, and restating the question and answer a little differently is an attempt to make it more easily understood. The case could be made that manmade documents can always be improved, though perhaps I am somewhat presumptuous, thinking that I can improve upon the collective genius displayed in our treasured confessions! Today however, I see no reason to attempt an improvement: sin isany want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God. We can certainly expand upon this definition, but it is an excellent starting point. The only word that we might need to study more deeply is “want,” since we don’t often use it as it is found in this context.
Older dictionaries define “want” as “to be without; to be destitute of, or deficient in; not to have; to lack; as, to want knowledge; to want judgment; to want learning; to want food and clothing.” So we see it defined as lackinga basic necessity to the degree of being deficient, even destitute. Our fathers wanted us to know that our lack of conformity unto the law of God is a desperate situation, not just an anomaly or an inconvenient truth. We can think of a myriad of Scripture texts that make this point vividly clear.
It is important to note that there are two facets of our calling in Christ that are implied here; God calls us untoconformity to his law and away fromthe path of transgression of his law. We will see this further developed as we study sanctification later on—“the work of God’s free grace, whereby we … are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness” (Q35).  Sanctification, like the rest of the Christian life, is a dynamic understood as a continuous process of movement away from sin, and movement forward and unto our God in Christ (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:14).
There is another, more familiar definition of “want,” that is, “to feel need of; to wish or long for; to desire; to crave.” This definition doesn’t fit the context of Q14, but it does mesh with what the catechism question is teaching. We are sinners; we have a very real need, and the knowledge of this ought to cause us to long for an answer to that need. How did Augustine put it? “Our hearts were made for God, and they are restless until we rest in him”(I paraphrase once again). The Scriptures put it this way:
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” (Is. 1:18-19).
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. ….if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:1-4, 7-9).
This is the Good News found in Christ alone.
Training Hearts and Teaching Minds Questions:
1.    Read 1 John 3:4. What does this verse say about sin? According to this catechism answer, what are the two ways we break God’s law? How might we restate the words used here?
2.    If we were to only break one of God’s laws, what does James 2:10-11 say is our relation to all the law?
3.    Doing what God has commanded not to do is sin. But can we sin when we think or plan to sin, without actually carrying the sin out? Read Matt. 5:21-21.
4.    We may think that we are obedient to God when we do not break any specific law. However, what does James 4:17 say regarding knowing what is right and doing it?
5.    When we properly understand this question and answer, we understand that there are two ways we can sin—by omission and commission. Can you explain the difference?
Harmony of the Standards:WSC Q# 14 and WLC Q# 24 
WSC Q14. What is sin?
A.  Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God[a].
[a] Lev. 5:17; James 4:17; I John 3:4; Romans 2:23
WLS Q24. What is sin?
A.  Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature[a].
[a] 1John 3:4; Gal. 3:10, 12; Romans 3:23; James 4:17
Questions for further study:
What do we see that differs from the same question being asked in the two questions

Monday, September 24, 2018

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q13

The Doctrinal Heading for this section of questions (Q12-13) is The Covenant of Works. (see Harmony Index)

While listening to a local Christian radio station, I learned that a debate was scheduled to take place at a particular church that does not hold to a theologically Reformed viewpoint. The topic was Calvinism verses Arminianism. I could not help but wonder what the quality of that debate would be, and which “experts” would take each side. It is interesting that the debate over the issue of free will and sovereign grace continues, and that a fellowship within the Arminian camp is hosting such an event.
This week’s catechism question touches on one of the areas of ongoing debate within the broader church, the issue of freewill and the effects of the fall of Adam. Again we approach our consideration prayerfully, wanting to come, by the Holy Spirit’s aid, to a better understanding of the truth, so that we may be more fully sanctified unto our Lord. This desire is in line with our Lord’s priestly prayer: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
WSC Q13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A. Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God[a].
[a] Gen. 3:6-8, 13; II Cor. 11:3
Question #13 asks if our first parents remained as they were created, and answers that, left to the freedom of their own wills, our first parents sinned against God and fell from their original condition.
Comments and considerations:
We begin with a quote from G.I. Williamson’s excellent Volume I Study in the Shorter Catechism: “God created man in the estate of innocence. He was God’s true image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. But he was not yet confirmed in that blessed condition. God set before our first parents two alternatives. On the one hand, there was the path of perfect obedience. And this path could lead only to life everlasting. ‘The man that doeth them [God’s commandments] shall live in them,’ says Paul (Gal. 3:12). But on the other hand, there was the path of disobedience. And this path could lead only to death. ‘For in the day that thou eatest thereof,’ said God to Adam, speaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, ‘thou shalt surely die’ (Gen. 2:17). It is this that we are to think of when we read, in the Catechism, that our first parents were ‘left to the freedom of their own will.’ This means that our first parents had two important things. 1) First they had liberty to follow the path of obedience unto life or the path of disobedience unto death. … 2) Secondly, they had the ability to choose either one of these two alternatives. In other words, they had the power within themselves (because God had created them with the power) to do good, or evil. As we shall see, in our further studies in the Catechism, it is this power or ability to do either good or evil that was entirely lost in the fall.”
Williamson goes on to explain that “after the first sin, Adam and all other people descending from him remainat libertyto do either good or evil,” but man’s abilityto do good, his free will, is now subject to his fallen condition, for Scripture makes it clear throughout that “there is none that doeth good, no not one” (Rom. 3:12). We will soon see the catechism’s definition of sin, “any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” Apart from this fine definition, sin may be termed in different ways as it manifests itself in the human condition. For example, Adam and Eve’s transgression could be seen as defiance in determining for themselves the definition of right and wrong; they fell prey to faulty reasoning, as they were tempted. Instead of relying on the wisdom and authority of their loving God, they opted to take a self-assertive, independent path, with its unintended and ruinous consequences.
As we will see, the catechism’s definition of sin is straightforward (Q14). Definitions like the one above can be somewhat rational in explaining what happened. Whether we try to rationalize, study to understand why, or simply state the fact as it is, our first parents did fall “from the [wondrous] estate wherein they were created by sinning against God.” The next several questions deal with the fallout of this event—the entrance and destructive effects of sin. But the story doesn’t end there. Question 20 finally pierces the darkness by asking, “Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?” The short answer is, “No, he did not!” Our hearts are filled with unspeakable joy and thanksgiving, for truly “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5b).
Training Hearts and Teaching Minds Questions:
1.    God put man in a place of privilege. Made in the image of God, only man could worship and communicate with God; only man could reason, remember, plan, and decide. But with such a high privilege there also came responsibility. Read Deut. 10:12-13. What responsibility has God called his creation to perform?
2.    When Satan tempted our first parents, what tactic did he use? (Gen. 3:1-6) How did Jesus not succumb to the same tactic? See Matt. 4:4.
3.    When we sin, we may often sin against other persons. But ultimately, against whom are we really sinning? See Ps. 51:3-4.
4.    The first sin of Adam and Eve is called the Fall. Their actions had far reaching effects on all mankind. According to Psalm 14:1-4, how far did their actions reach in the effect of sin on our lives?
5.    From Shorter Catechism Question 10, we learned that God created man in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. What are the effects of the Fall on man’s condition relating to these things? Consider I Cor. 2:14; Is. 64:6; Rom. 1:21-23, 25.
6.    When created, man was given the high privilege and responsibility of ruling over the creatures, taking care of creation, and using his abilities wisely in service to God. What effect did the Fall have upon man and his calling? Read James 4:1-4.

Harmony of the Standards:WSC Q# 13; WLC Q# 21, and WCF VI.I 
WSC Q13. Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A.  Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God[a].
[a] Gen. 3:6-8, 13; II Cor. 11:3
WLC Q21. Did man continue in that estate wherein God at first created him?
A.  Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will, through the temptation of Satan, transgressed the commandment of God, in eating the forbidden fruit, and thereby fell from the estate of innocency wherein they were created[a].
[a] Gen. 3:6-8, 13; Ecc. 7:29; II Cor. 11:3
Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the
Punishment thereof.
I.    Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit[a].  This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory[b].
[a] Gen. 3:13; II Cor. 11:3; Gen. 3:1-14
[b] Romans 5:19, 20, 21
Questions for further study:
We might perceive the Fall and the entrance of sin upon creation as a great tragedy, and indeed the deadly effects of the first transgression are undeniable and quite evident for all to behold. Yet our fathers present another side to the equation recorded is the Confession of Faith.  What might that be? (1)

1. Our God’s wise and holy counsel in the purposing of all to his glory.