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"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary

...wo words found in Rev. 20:4-6) and mixes two different senses of them in one passage: spiritual (pertaining to our present spiritual resurrection life in Christ), and physical, referring to Christ’s resurrection (though anastasis is not explicitly used in a spiritual sense, it is clearly synonymous with syzao and zoe).[27]

Sam Storms cites the following passages against Alford’s Dictum, ‘John 2:18-22; 11:25-26; Matthew 8:22; Luke 9:24; John 6:49-50; and possibly 1 Peter 3:1; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 9:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21. Amillennialists have almost uniformly appealed to John 5:25-29 as a clear exception to Alford’s dictum. Here a “spiritual” and a “physical” resurrection are spoken of in the same context.’[28]

Revelation 20:5 reads, “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” The first sentence is of a parenthetical nature. The focus is upon the believing and their present reign with the Lord Christ. With the addition of this parenthetical sentence, John is indicating the thing which the unbelieving dead are not experiencing. Yet the passage says that the wicked “did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.” Does that imply that they will come to life? Well, for Premillennialists who contend for the understanding of “coming to life” in both v. 4 as well as v. 5 meaning bodily resurrection, they do not take v. 5 in a “literal” sense. What am I saying? Notice that v. 5 describes what the first resurrection is with the words “This is the first resurrection.”

Let us assume the Premillennial line of argumentation for a moment: The first resurrection is bodily and it is the believer’s reign with Christ on the earth, and in this, the unbelieving dead did not share. The coming to life and reining is described as the first resurrection. Two things are included in the definition of “the first resurrection”, both the coming to life, which Premillennialists believe is a physical resurrection, and reining with Christ. But there is a problem. If a “literal” reading should be followed and “they came to life” consistently interpreted in the same way in both v. 4 as well as v. 5, we would have a problem. What is exactly the problem? The problem is that v. 5 says that the unbelieving dead did not come to life “until” the thousand years were ended. Well, since the coming to life included reining with Christ and was called the “first resurrection” does that mean that the “rest of the dead will come to life” and reign with Christ after the Millennium? No Premillennialist says such a thing, and therefore they are not closely following Alford’s Dictum. They insist that the first resurrection is a physical resurrection, but the first resurrection is explicitly defined as the saints’ coming to life and reigning with Christ, yet they will not say that the wicked will come to life and reign with Christ after the Millennium. They are not being “literalists” or “straightforward” with the text.

That is a smaller problem for us Amillennialists as well, but the question must be answered: Does until imply a change of condition at its termination? Anthony Hoekema writes:

The Greek word here translated “until,” achri, means that what is said here holds true during the entire length of the thousand-year period. The use of the word until does not imply that these unbelieving dead will live and reign with Christ after this period has ended. If this were the case, we would ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator - Commentary

...

I would like to go over some passages of Scripture which speak of His suffering and bearing of sin done on our behalf. In paragraph 8, I will attempt to make a case for the Reformed doctrine of Particular Redemption, i.e., Christ only died to purchase the elect, not every single human being on the planet. That Christ suffered for us and in our place is clear in many passages, I would only be scratching the surface here. It is generally accepted in Evangelical/Protestant Christianity that Jesus died on our behalf and in our place to take our sin and its punishment upon Himself. I would like to take a look at Isaiah 53; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53 is unquestionably one of the clearest prophecies concerning Jesus’ death and life. It speaks of Him being rejected and despised by the people, but more importantly, it speaks of His atoning death on behalf of us.

Isa. 53:4-6 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquitiesupon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all

Do not think that I will be able to successfully unpack all the glories that are here contained. It is such a rich and glorious passage, and you get awestruck by the fact that this was written 700 years before the birth of our Lord. It explicitly and clearly describes His atoning death on our behalf. Isaiah, writing to the old covenant people of God, those who were looking to the coming of the Servant of Yahweh, says that it is sure and certain that this Servant is the One who has taken upon Himself our grief and sorrows. He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). He bore upon Himself our sorrows and grief, even though they were not His. In bearing our sorrows and griefs, we saw Him as Someone that was stricken by God. As someone who was being punished by God. That was certainly what the Jews thought was happening, seeing the Lord of glory helpless on the cross. He was being afflicted, but v. 6 says it was not for His own sins. It was rather for our transgressions and iniquities. He certainly was being crushed, afflicted and smitten by God, but for sin not His own. For our sin. For our transgression of God’s Law, for our guilt before God. He was the spotless Lamb of God. He could not have been justly punished by God because He was sinless. There would be nothing in Him to arouse the wrath of God or to cause God to punish Him, but every reason to pour out His love upon the sinless Son. But because the spotless Son of God bore our sin upon Himself, now He was the object of divine justice. Moreover, the punishment that He underwent was amazingly the source of our peace. It is through His punishment on our behalf and His suffering that He has brought us peace. The peace that we have in God, comes from the fact that He was punished in our place.

Rom. 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faithwe have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our peace comes from the fact that Jesus atoned for our sin and we receive the benefits of that atonement through faith. It is because of the fact that Jesus died as a substitute that we can now come to God with the empty hand of faith. When we d...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

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Chapter 26: Of the Church

What is the church? What is the visible and invisible church? Who is the head of the church? What power does the church have? What is church discipline? What offices are there in the church? What about church membership? What does an elder do and who can become an elder? What does a deacon do and who can become a deacon? What is the work of the pastor? How is a church to govern itself?

This is the longest chapter in the Confession. Without question, this chapter is different than the sister confessions. The doctrine of the church was and is one of the most important distinctions between paedobaptists and Baptists. Covenant Theology, as noted in chapter 7, is an important difference between our Reformed paedobaptist brethren and us, Reformed Baptists. Practically, 1689 Federalism manifests itself in the doctrine of the church. One of the primary distinctive of Baptist ecclesiology is regenerate membership. Furthermore, the distinction that only those baptized upon a profession of faith may be members of a local church. This distinction and difference must be placed in the light of the huge agreement concerning almost all other areas of the Confession. Our forefathers basically copy-pasted from the Congregationalists and Presbyterians. Alan Dunn observes the following on the historical setting of this chapter:

On the one hand, our Confession was written in an attempt to distinguish us from the false Roman Catholic Church. We will encounter statements in which Roman Catholic teaching is refuted. On the other hand, our Confession aligns us with churches that proclaim the gospel and worship Christ in obedient submission to Scripture.

Among such Biblically orthodox churches however, there are yet differences held with honest Biblical conviction. Therefore, our Confession also expresses our Baptistic and Reformed distinctives in contrast to our Presbyterian and non-Reformed brethren.[1]


§1 The Universal Church Consists Of The Whole Number Of The Elect

  1. The catholic or universal church, 1 which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. 2
    1. Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 1:22; 4:11-15; 5:23-25, 27, 29, 32; Col. 1:18, 24; Heb. 12:23[2]
    2. Eph. 1:22; 4:11-15; 5:23-25, 27, 29, 32; Col 1:18, 24; Rev. 21:9-14

The catholic (meaning universal) church, which is called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:2; Heb. 12:23). The universal church does not consist only of New Covenant Christians, but of the whole number of the elect who have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ. Notice that the church consists of the elect who are gathered, i.e., converted. In their unregenerate state, the elect are not part of the universal church until they are gathered into Christ. Christ is the head (Col 1:18) and the church is the spouse (Eph. 5:25), the body (Col 1:18) and the fullness (Eph. 1:23) of Christ.


The word “catholic” means universal and hereby, our forefathers are agreeing with the last part of the Apostles’ Creed: 

I believe in the Holy Spirit, 9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, 10. the forgiveness of sins, 11. the resurrection of the body, 12. and the life everlastin...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 19: Of the Law of God - Commentary

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Chapter 19: Of the Law of God

Introduction

What is the relationship between the Christian and the Law? Do we have to obey the Law? What is the threefold division of the law? Are we saved by the Law? What are the threefold uses of the Law? What is the moral law and is it binding on all people? What are the Ten Commandments? Were the Ten Commandments known before Sinai? What is the relationship between the believer and the Ten Commandments? What is the doctrine of the Law and the gospel?

There is a lot of work to be done in this chapter and I think that this is a crucial chapter, one that I want to study myself. I do believe what is confessed here, but I do also want to be able to make a biblical case for it. The case that I will lay down is obviously convincing to me, I will not be able to address every objection that may come up. What I want to lay down here is the binding authority and nature of the Decalogue on all people, whether saved or unsaved; what the relationship of the Christian is to the Law and such questions.

Defining Our Terms

Natural Law

The Natural Law is the Law of God as revealed in creation and which man knows by virtue of the fact that he’s a creature made in the image of God (see here on the image of God). Natural Law may be discovered by reason and innate knowledge. The Reformed Baptist theologian Richard Barcellos writes the following concerning the substance and form of the Moral Law:

Protestant Scholasticism taught that the Decalogue summarily contains the Moral Law and is the inscripturated form of the natural law, as to its substance. A distinction was made between substance and form. Substance is one; form (and function) may vary. For example, when the Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 98 says, “The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments,” it refers to the fact that the substance (i.e., the underlying essence) of the Moral Law is assumed and articulated in the propositions of the Decalogue as contained in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. The form (and function) fits the redemptive-historical circumstances in which it was given. The substance, or underlying principles, are always relevant and applicable to man because he is created in the image of God. The application may shift based on redemptive-historical changes, such as the inauguration of the New Covenant, but its substance and utility never changes.[1]

Moral Law

The Moral Law, on the other hand, is the Law which is revealed and summarized by God in the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue, which is the substance of the Natural Law. Richard Muller is quoted in Barcellos on the definition of the Moral Law, saying:

specifically and predominantly, the Decalogus, or Ten Commandments; also called the lex Mosaica …, as distinct from the lex ceremonialis …and the lex civilis, or civil law. The lex moralis, which is primarily intended to regulate morals, is known to the synderesis [the innate habit of understanding basic principles of moral law] and is the basis of the acts of conscientia [conscience–the application of the innate habit above]. In substance, the lex moralis is identical with the lex naturalis …but, unlike the natural law, it is given by revelation in a form which is clearer and fuller than that otherwise known to the reason.[2]

And then Dr. Barcellos adds:

As noted above, the Moral Law is summarily comprehended in the Decalogue, not exhausted by it. Though the formal promulgation of the De...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

...ns 2:20, Paul is able to say that “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God”. Faith is not a passive thing for Paul; it is his drive or power of life. The apostle speaks of faith “as the element or atmosphere in which the Christian lives. He is, as it were, steeped in faith.”[37] Schaff observes that “faith is the living element in which Paul moved.”[43]

The last passage that I want to look at here is 2 Corinthians 5:7 wherein Paul says that “we walk by faith, not by sight.” In order to rightly understand the passage, we must first note the context. He speaks about our physical body and the body of our resurrection at the beginning of the chapter and encourages the readers by reminding them about these truths. That God has destined us and prepared our resurrection bodies is guaranteed by the fact that He “has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 5:5). Because of holding these truths before our eyes, Paul says “So we are always of good courage” (2 Cor. 5:6a). While we are in the body, we are physically away from the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6b). How so? Then comes our passage: “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” Then, in v. 8, to be away from the body is to be “at home with the Lord.” We must observe that there are three contrasts presented in this passage: (1) earthly home vs. heavenly home (2 Cor. 5:1-4); (2) being in the body vs. being away from the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6); (3) being away from the body vs. being at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). This passage simply teaches that while we are still in the body, we are physically or “seeingly” away from the Lord. We do not see him with our eyes, yet we behold Him by faith. But when that time comes when we will meet Him, we will see Him “face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). To walk by faith is to conduct our lives by faith in the Son of God. This passage does not say that faith is not based upon evidence as some skeptics allege.

As James Boyce says at the outset of his chapter on faith:

As disbelief was so prominent in the sin of the first Adam so faith is most prominent in the redemption through the second Adam.

It holds an important connection with every act and condition of salvation. It is by faith that men come into vital union with Christ, through faith that they are justified, through faith that they can acceptably worship, through faith that the Christian lives, through faith that his sanctification progresses, it being the means of his conquering the world, of his exercising hope in his future, and becoming more and more identified with Christ in his spiritual reign here and hereafter. These facts evince its importance and the necessity of fully understanding what is meant by it.[44]

These blessings are ours in Christ “by virtue of the covenant of grace.” This is the New Covenant of Grace, in which God provides that which He requires, for His glory. To say that these blessings are by virtue of the covenant of grace is another way of saying that we did not earn them. It is also to say that they belong only to believers. They are not given to us because we deserve them. We receive these blessings of faith because Christ fulfilled every possible condition for us to receive these blessings of the covenant. How great and incomprehensible is the wisdom of God in planning the way of salvation to His own glory and the salvation of His people! All glory to the Triune Sovereign!

Faith and Repentance

While faith and repentance are not explicitly connected in t...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 30: Of the Lord's Supper - Commentary

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Chapter 30: Of the Lord’s Supper

What is the Lord’s Supper? Are we obliged to observe it? What does it signify? What is the Roman Catholic view? What is the Reformed view? Why should the Roman Catholic view of Transubstantiation be rejected? Doesn’t Christ saying ‘this is my body’ mean that the bread and wine are Christ’s literal body and blood? How is the Lord’s Supper a means of grace? Who may partake of the Lord’s Supper?

This is, I believe, the most anti-Roman Catholic chapter in the Confession. This chapter provides a positive presentation of the Reformed view on the Lord’s Supper and rejects the repugnant doctrine of Transubstantiation. It is important for us to understand the different views on the Lord’s Supper. The most important of those different views is the Roman Catholic view of Transubstantiation. In this case, I will try to let Roman Catholics themselves explain to us their doctrine and then provide a biblical case of what the Lord’s Supper is and what it is not.


§1 The Supper Of The Lord Jesus

  1. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, 3 for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, 4 confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; 7 and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other. 8
    1. 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Matt. 26:20-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-23[1]
    2. Acts 2:41-42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33-34
    3. Mark 14:24-25; Luke 22:17-22; 1 Cor. 11:24-26
    4. 1 Cor. 11:24-26; Matt. 26:27-28; Luke 22:19-20
    5. Rom. 4:11
    6. John 6:29, 35, 47-58
    7. 1 Cor. 11:25
    8. 1 Cor. 10:16-17

The supper of the Lord is a “positive and sovereign institution” (chapter 28:1) by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He commanded it to be observed in His churches, unto the end of the world (1 Cor. 11:26). Why did He command it to be observed? ...for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of Himself in His death (1 Cor. 11:24-26). The Lord Supper signifies and shows forth the Lord’s suffering on our behalf, His body being broken for us and His blood being shed for our forgiveness. It is also given for the confirmation of the faith of believers to remind them of the sacrifice of Christ which is their only ground of hope and peace with God. It is for their spiritual nourishment, and growth in Him because the Lord comes very close to us as we partake of His supper and sit at His table. It reminds us also of all the duties which we owe to Him thanks to His sacrifice on our behalf. But it is also a bond and pledge of our communion with Him, and with each other. Since we are all in union with Christ and as we partake of His blood and body, we also partake and are united with each other as believers. Christ unites all believers together and this is also signified by the Lord’s Supper and it is a pledge of it (i.e., a solemn promise or undertaking to keep this communion).


Institution And Command Of Observation

The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance that is directly commanded by Christ. It’s not a deduction from multiple passages, but a direct and positive command of the Sovereign Christ. It is meant to cause us to look back to the perfect sacrifice of Christ of Himself by Himself for the perfection of all th...


2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 'he died for all'

...the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)

“Can it get plainer than this? Don’t you see that it says ‘he died for all.’” Well, we could take the “all’s” there to mean “every individual who has ever lived on this planet”, but we will lose biblically consistency.

This is going to be a little bit lengthy and that because I decided that we must deal with the clear context of the passage about Christ's death for a specific people rather than addressing verses 14-15 only.

The context speaks of the ministry of reconciliation which we as believers and evangelists have received to share with the world. We are to call everyone to repentance and faith in Christ.

In verse 14 Paul says that the love of Christ controls, constrains and compels us based on the fact that Christ has died for all. But we must dig deeper to understand the meaning of the word “all” in this context.

We must illustrate what verses 14 and 15 are saying in a table:

The action The Result
One has died for all All have died
He died for all “...no longer live for themselves, but for him who for their sake died and was raised”

The death of Christ was also the death of all. How can this be if this speaks of all men without exception? For all men were already dead in sin and trespasses because of Adam (Eph 2:1-3), but this speaks of Christ substitutionary death. This is seen from the fact that Paul speaks of us being united to Christ in His death. See for example Gal 2:20 –

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Who else but the elect can say these words? Can any reprobate truly say that they were united with Christ in His death and they frustrated the purpose of His death? Because from Gal 2:20 it is clear that the result from being united with Christ in His death is to live with and for Him. So much so that Paul says that He no longer lives, because he considers himself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ (Rom 6:11). When the Lord Christ died on the cross for our sin, we also died with Him. We were united with Him in His death and that is the assurance to Paul in Rom 6:5 that we also will be united with Him in the resurrection.

Now we go back to 2 Corinthians, there the all are all who are in Him. All who are in the covenant which the Christ mediat...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgment - Commentary

... man according to their works. John 5:27 likewise says that the Father “has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” Acts 10:42 says that “he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” 2 Timothy 4:2 says also the same. Paul says in Romans 2:16 that “God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 says that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” Matthew 25:31ff likewise records Christ as the One separating the sheep and the goats in the Final Judgment. When we read passages which speak about God being the Judge, that is absolutely true, because Christ is God and the Father wants all to honor the Son just like they honor the Father. Therefore, He has given the Son the authority to execute judgment.

All Men

Returning to our passage in Acts 17:31, we see the subjects of this judgment being the world. Scripture teaches that both believers and unbelievers will appear before God in the Last Judgment. This is evident from Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 7:21-23; 12:36-37; 25:31ff; Acts 17:30-31; Romans 2:6-16; 14:10-12; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Revelation 11:18; 21:11-15. Sometimes Scripture is so explicit that it refers to believers having to stand before the judgment seat of God (Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; Ps. 50:4-6). Other times, the Scriptures warns of the judgment against the wicked (Matt. 10:15; 11:22, 24; 2 Pet. 2:9; 3:7), but they both will stand before the throne of God on the last day, that is what Scripture teaches. Not only men but angels also will come into the Judgment (Matt. 8:29; 1 Cor. 6:3; 2 Cor. 2:4; Jude 1:6).

Angels

The Confession states that even the apostate angels will be judged. This is a Day of Judgment not only for men but also for angels. This is obviously based on Scripture. In Matthew 8:29, we read the demon speaking about a time in which he, along with his companions, will be tormented. In Jude 1:6, we read that “the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority”, God “has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day”. In 2 Peter 2:4, says that “God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment”. There is a time at which these angels will have to stand before the throne of Christ to be judged and condemned. Finally, 1 Corinthians 6:3 says, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels?” There are a lot of questions and speculations about this passage and the idea. Who are meant by the angels? Are good angels also included? Then this would probably be the only passage where good angels are subjects of judgment. Are they fallen angels? Then this will agree with other passages (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 1:6), therefore, it seems to me that the passage is speaking of fallen angels. But I cannot be dogmatic because generally the word “angel” is used positively. In other places where it means fallen angels, the context makes that clear (2 Pet. 2:4 “angels when they sinned”; Jude 1:6 “angels who did not stay within their own position”). Therefore, it seems that the New Testament is not clear whether good angels will be subjects for the judgment, although I doubt that they will be. What is clear is that fallen angels surely will subjects of the Last Judgment.

What is the nature o...


John Owen's Case For Particular Atonement

...00ffff;"deliver us from the present evil age”, which was the purpose and “the will of our God and Father”. Does He or does He not deliver? We should not forget that the Father always hears the Son and never rejects Him (John 11:42). In Galatians 4:4-5, the purpose of Christ being born under the law was “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Will He fail in His and the Father's purpose or will He accomplish all that He intends?

Lastly, Owen appeals to 2 Corinthians 5:21, which says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God's purpose in counting and placing all our sins upon Him was so that we might, through Him, become “the righteousness of God.” Who are those who become the “righteousness of God”? It is most evident that they are not all men without exception, but only those who believe, in other words, only the elect. The purpose of God in the giving of His Son and of making the Sinless sin, was so that He may justify us.

Owen draws his first section to a close saying that:

the Father and his Son intended by the death of Christ to redeem, purge, sanctify, purify, deliver from death, Satan, the curse of the law, to quit of all sin, to make righteousness in Christ, to bring nigh unto God, all those for whom he died, as was above proved: therefore, Christ died for all and only those in and towards whom all these things recounted are effected; — which, whether they are all and every one, I leave to all and every one to judge that hath any knowledge in these things.[10] (book II, chapter 3)

Accomplishment

Now we turn our attention to the accomplishment of the atonement. What does Holy Writ say that was accomplished by the atonement?

Scripture teaches that Christ secured “an eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12). For whom did He secure this, but for those who are saved? They are also the same who are said to have their conscience purged by His offering, through which He secured this great redemption (Heb. 9:14). Christ is said to have made “purification for sins” for sins (Heb. 1:3). In fact, Hebrews 9:26 is much stronger, declaring that the purpose of His coming was “to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

Christ is said to “bear our sins” in 1 Peter 2:24. This means nothing less than Christ's substitutionary atonement. Christ bore our sins and their punishment upon Himself. The purpose for Christ bearing our sins is “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” After citing the purpose, Owen says:

And what was the effect? “By his stripes we are healed:” which latter, as it is taken from the same place of the prophet where our Saviour is affirmed to “bear our iniquities, and to have them laid upon him” (Isa. 53:5, 6, 10–12), so it is expository of the former, and will tell us what Christ did by “bearing our sins;”[11] (book II, chapter 3)

He underwent the punishment for our sins which we should have received and thereby we have been healed.

Reconciliation with God is one of the fruits of Christ's accomplishments as is said in Colossians 1:21-22; Ephesians 2:13-16; Romans 5:8-10. “Peace and reconciliation, deliverance from wrath, enmity, and whatever lay against us to keep us from enjoying the love and favour of God, — a redemption from all these he effected for his church “with his own blood,” Acts xx. 28.”[12] (book II, chapter 3)

By His self-giving, He accomplished b...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling - Commentary

...ods-Decree-Commentary/1022#Reprobation"Reprobation. That this is the case may be seen from the passages which describe, for example, what things keep us from heaven. Nowhere do we read of people being sent to hell because of Adam’s sin. Let us admit that the Bible is simply silent on whether there are children in hell/Hades. You may check all the references that Dr. MacArthur gives where things are described which keep us out of heaven, in no list is there anything other than willful disobedience to the Law of God. They are choices that we consciously make and sinful lifestyles that we live in. Furthermore, we are also judged according to our works. 2 Corinthians 5:10 declares, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” We are to answer for what we have done in our body. Notice that we do not have to answer for Adam’s sin. Adam’s sin makes us incapable of righteousness and faith apart from the sovereign Holy Spirit. But we will not answer for Adam’s sin, but our own. Romans 2:6 says, “He will render to each one according to his works”. The Son of Man “will repay each person according to what he has done” (Matt. 16:27; see also 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 2:23; 20:12; 22:12; see also chapter 32). All this serves to demonstrate that we are not judged for Adam’s sin, but for our own personal sinning and that this judgment is according to what we have done in the body.

How Are They Saved?

It is certainly a special operation of the Spirit unlike the one we know wherein He regenerates them. The Confession in this paragraph states, “Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.” They are saved by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit and by the Lord Jesus Christ. They are saved from damnation. Had they been sinless or not subjects of damnation, there would be no need for them to be saved. This is also the case for all who are incapable of being outwardly called. For those who are capable of being outwardly called, the Confession in the first paragraph said that this happens “by his Word and Spirit”. But since these persons under consideration in paragraph 3 are not capable of being outwardly called, they are saved by the special operation of the Holy Spirit and by Jesus Christ, their Savior.

We don’t have many examples, therefore, we must be careful in this. But there is the example of John the Baptist who was saved from the womb. Luke 1:15 says that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. This language of being filled with the Holy Spirit is always associated with believers, never with unbelievers. See for example Luke 1:41, 67; 4:1; Acts 2:4; 4:8; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52; Ephesians 5:18. In every instance, it speaks exclusively about believers, therefore we have the warrant to believe that John was indeed regenerated and given the Holy Spirit even from the womb—before he was born, he was already saved. Therefore, it is perhaps also the case with those who die in the womb or infancy. The important thing is that they are saved by the Spirit and through Christ’s blood, not because of their righteousness.

Conclusion

God is absolutely sovereign over life and death, salvation and damnation. It is not luck or fate whi...