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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 12: Of Adoption - Commentary

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Chapter 12: Of Adoption

In this chapter, we will try to find what the Bible says about us being the children of God. What does it mean to be children of God and how do we become children of God? These are the questions that we will try to answer.


§1 Make partakers of the grace of Adoption

  1. All those that are justified, 1 God vouchsafed, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of Adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name put upon them, 4 receive the spirit of Adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, 5 are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a Father, yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.7
    1. Gal. 3:24-26[1]
    2. 1 John 3:1-3
    3. Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:4-5; Rom 8:17, 29
    4. Rom. 8:17; John 1:12; 2 Cor. 6:18; Rev. 3:12
    5. Rom. 8:15; Eph. 3:12; Rom. 5:2; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18
    6. Ps. 103:13; Prov. 14:26; Matt. 6:30, 32; 1 Peter 5:7; Heb. 12:6; Isa. 54:8-9; Lam. 3:31; Eph. 4:30
    7. Rom. 8:17; Heb. 1:14; 9:15

The Golden Chain of Romans 8:29-30 continues. After our justification, the Lord takes us into His fold and adopts us for the sake of Christ as children and heirs of Him. This is done to all who are justified. It is not a privilege only of some believers, but the privilege of all the believers. All who are justified are also made children of God. “Vouchsafe” is an old word meaning “to condescend to grant or bestow something.” Just like God condescended to make a covenant with man (Chapter 7:1), so likewise the Lord condescends and by grace gives us privileges that we actually do not deserve. It is by grace—something that we deserve.

In and for Christ

The privilege of Adoption is found only in the beloved Son of the Father–in the Lord Jesus Christ. We should not look anywhere else, but only in Christ through Whom Adoption into God’s family is possible. Yes, there is indeed a sense in which all are children of God in that He has created them, but the Bible never focuses on that (Acts 17:26-27). The New Testament, again and again, speaks about our Adoption into God’s family centered in the Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul says in Galatians 3:26 that it is in Christ that we are children of God. It is not that we simply are His creation, but we are children and we are adopted into God’s family in Christ and through faith. Thus, the faithless are not admitted into God’s family. This privilege is only in Christ and through faith. This is a blessed privilege in virtue of the Covenant of Grace and not the Covenant of Works in Adam for all men.

We are made children by regeneration. We are spiritually born of God and thus in this way and through Christ, we are rightly children of God. We are adopted and received as children through faith and regeneration (John 1:12-13). It was God’s purpose even before the foundation of the world that we would be welcomed into His family through Christ (Eph. 1:5). God predestined us for the grace and privilege of Adoption. God elected us so that we would be His children for the glory of His holy Name and the praise of His grace. It was God’s purpose that we would be redeemed and cleansed from sin so that we would be adopted into His fold through Christ (Gal. 4:4-5). Through Christ we are made heirs of God’s p...


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

...he Father has promised Him:

Rom. 8:16-17 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 

Gal. 4:7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Through Christ and God's amazing grace, we, after becoming children of God by Adoption, share in the blessings and promises made to Christ. Unfathomable grace!

Christ the Judge

Acts 17:30-31 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” 

Christ is not only the Savior of the world (John 4:42; 1John 4:14), but He is also its righteous Judge. The Lord Jesus will come in vengeance toward those who have not obeyed the Gospel and demand from them an account for every sin and transgression of His Law (2Thess. 1). The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus will judge both the living and the dead (2Tim. 4:1). Both believer and unbeliever will stand before Him, everyone must give an account (Act 10:42; Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:22-23; Rom. 2:5, 16;14:9-10; 1Cor. 4:5; 2Cor. 5:10; 2Tim. 4:1). See chapter 32.

Some may object that only God can judge and God is the judge, but then how could Christ be the judge? Well...the simple answer is because HE IS God. Only God can judge and furthermore, the Father has appointed and wanted the Son to be the judge so that people will honor and worship the Son just as they honor and worship the Father, thus showing His full divinity and equality with the Father –

John 5:22-23 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 

He is our Savior also. On the day that He will come the believers will not be condemned by Him, but hear the words of commendation and the worlds of love –

Matt. 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

But those who will stand on his left will be righteously judged according to the fruit of their hearts – their works, and be condemned by Him to the flames of Hell –

Matt. 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31) and to stand before Him who can see you as you are (Rom. 2:16) and require an account of everything (Matt. 12:36).

Dear reader, do not face the Lord in judgment while today is the day of salvation. Repent, therefore, and place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness alone so that when He comes you will not be terrified, but rejoice with the saints and not be taken away by judgment –

2Thess. 1:9-10 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 

Christ's S...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...ovidence

  • Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the punishment thereof

  • Of God's Covenant

  • Of Christ the Mediator

  • Of Free Will

  • Of Effectual Calling

  • Of Justification

  • Of Adoption

  • Of Sanctification

  • Of Saving Faith

  • Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation

  • Of Good Works

  • Of the Perseveraance of the Saints

  • Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

  • Of the Law of God

  • Of the Gospel and the Extent of Grace thereof

  • Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

  • Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

  • Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

  • Of the Civil Magistrate

  • Of Marriage

  • Of the Church

  • Of the Communion of Saints

  • Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper

  • Of Baptism

  • Of the Lord's Supper

  • Of the State of Man after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead

  • Of the Last Judgement

  • (More) Scriptural references have been added from Sam Waldron's excellent Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.


    Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures [Return] [Commentary]

    1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience 1, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable 2; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation 3. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church 4; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary 5, those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased. 6
      1. Isa 8:20; Luke 16:29; Eph 2:20; 2 Tim 3:15-17
      2. Ps 19:1-3; Rom 1:19-21, 32; 2:12a, 14-15
      3. Ps 19:1-3 with vv. 7-11; Rom 1:19-21; 2:12a, 14-15 with 1:16-17; and 3:21
      4. Heb 1:1-2a
      5. Prov 22:19-21; Luke 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 3:1; Deut 17:18ff; 31:9ff, 19ff; 1 Cor 15:1; 2 Thess 2:1-2, 15; 3:17; Rom 1:8-15; Gal 4:20; 6:11; 1 Tim 3:14ff; Rev 1:9, 19; 2:1 etc.; Rom 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19-21
      6. Heb 1:1-2a; Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Eph 2:20
    2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these: 
      ...
      OF THE OLD TESTAMENT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
      Genesis Matthew
      Exodus Mark
      Leviticus Luke
      Numbers John
      Deuteronomy Paul's Epistle to the Romans
      Joshua  I Corinthians & II Corinthians
      Judges Galatians
      Ruth Ephesians
      I Samuel & II Samuel Philippians
      I Kings & II Kings Colossians
      I Chronicles, II Chronicles I Thessalonians & II Thessalonians
      Ezra I Timothy & II Timothy
      Nehemiah To Titus
      Esther To Philemon
      Job The Epistle to the Hebrews
      Psalms Epistle of James

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation - Commentary

    ...s of Christ
    1. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith 1 founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel; and also upon the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made, and on the testimony of the Spirit of Adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; 4 and, as a fruit thereof, keeping the heart both humble and holy. 
      1. Rom. 5:2, 5; Heb. 6:11, 19-20; 1 John 3:2, 14; 4:16; 5:13, 19-20
      2. Heb. 6:17-18; 7:22; 10:14, 19
      3. Matt. 3:7-10; Mark 1:15; 2 Peter 1:4-11; 1 John 2:3; 3:14, 18-19, 24; 5:13
      4. Rom. 8:15-16; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 4:6-7
      5. 1 John 3:1-3

    What Assurance Is Founded On

    Assurance is not founded upon the guesswork (conjectural) and probable persuasion of the believer, but it is rather founded upon the work of God within and for the believer. This paragraph points us to the infallible assurance which we have about our salvation in Christ. In the words of Dr. Waldron:

    The single and basic emphasis of this paragraph is that assurance, genuine assurance, is infallible. The term ‘infallible’ comes from two Latin words which mean, literally, ‘not deceiving’, i.e. not liable to mistakes or deception, incapable of error, not liable to fail. The Confession is asserting that there is an assurance of salvation which will not deceive us, about which we cannot be mistaken, which goes beyond mere probability. This should reassure the one who says, ‘I want to have assurance, but I am so fearful of being mistaken and deceiving myself.’ There is an assurance of salvation which you may have, which will not deceive you, which is infallible.​[2]

    Blood and Righteousness of Christ

    Our assurance is founded upon Christ's perfect work on behalf of His people by which He has perfected and sanctified us forever (Heb. 10:10, 14) and thereby He has set us apart for the honorable use of God. We know that we are not saved because of our works and our performance, but solely because of Christ's work on our behalf which should be the basis of our assurance. I know that I am saved, know God, or better – I'm known by God, not because I have seen the list of God's elect, or had an extraordinary revelation, but because I trust in Christ alone for my salvation. I have no righteousness of my own, but God has supplied me with the perfect righteousness of Christ. I may feel like I'm filthy, but God sees me clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ and therefore, based on that I'm acceptable to God. I believe that it is God who works in me to do His pleasure. Anything good that comes from me, comes because God is at work in me and not because of my efforts. The reason that I seek to be obedient is not because of my free will, but because God is very gracious to me and wants my good, which is staying within His will for His glory. See my comments on the book of Hebrews in the chapter on Perseverance about the perfect work of Christ on behalf of His people, which is the basis of our assurance (see here).

    The Work of the Holy Spirit

    Our hope and infallible assurance are also founded upon the inward work of the Spirit. These promises, which are the promises of the Gospel, include the promise that we may and can know that we have eternal life and know God (e.g. 1John 2:3; 3:24; 5:13). These promises are believed and held onto by us because of the g...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 3: Of God's Decree - Commentary

    ...m he has foreknown, etc. He then shows, by the very order of election, that the afflictions of the faithful are nothing else than the manner by which they are conformed to the image of Christ; and that this was necessary, he had before declared. There is therefore no reason for us to be grieved, or to think it hard and grievous, that we are afflicted, unless we disapprove of the Lord’s election, by which we have been foreordained to life, and unless we are unwilling to bear the image of the Son of God, by which we are to be prepared for celestial glory.

    But the foreknowledge of God, which Paul mentions, is not a bare prescience, as some unwise persons absurdly imagine, but the Adoption by which he had always distinguished his children from the reprobate. (269) In the same sense Peter says, that the faithful had been elected to the sanctification of the Spirit according to the foreknowledge of God. Hence those, to whom I have alluded, foolishly draw this inference, — That God has elected none but those whom he foresaw would be worthy of his grace. Peter does not in deed flatter the faithful, as though every one had been elected on account of his merit; but by reminding them of the eternal counsel of God, he wholly deprives them of all worthiness. So Paul does in this passage, who repeats by another word what he had said before of God’s purpose. It hence follows, that this knowledge is connected with God’s good pleasure; for he foreknew nothing out of himself, in adopting those whom he was pleased to adopt; but only marked out those whom he had purposed to elect. […]

    (269) Much controversy has been about the meaning of the verb προέγνω,  in this place. Many of the Fathers, such as [Jerome ], [Chrysostom ], and [Theodoret ], regarded it in the sense of simple prescience, as having reference to those who would believe and obey the gospel. The verb is found only in this place, and in the following passages, Rom 11:2; Act 26:5; 1Pe 1:20; 2Pe 3:17. In the second, and in the last passage, it signifies merely a previous knowledge or acquaintance, and refers to men. In 1Pe 1:20, it is applied to Christ as having been “foreordained,” according to our version, “before the foundation of the world.” In this Epistle, Rom 11:2, it refers to God, — “God hath not cast away his people whom he foreknew;” and according to the context, it means the same as elected; for the Apostle speaks of what God did “according to the election of grace,” and not according to foreseen faith.

    The noun derived from it is found in two places, Act 2:23, and 1Pe 1:2. In the first it evidently means decree, foreordination, and in the second, the same; where it is said, that those addressed by the Apostle were elected, “according to the foreknowledge of God, κατὰ πρόγνωσιν Θεοῦ, through the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience;” they were not then elected, according to God’s foreknowledge or foreordination, because of their obedience. This entirely subverts the gloss put on the verb in this passage.

    The usual meaning given to the verb here is fore-approved, or chosen. [Grotius ], [Turrettin ], and others, consider that γινώσκω has the same meaning with the verb ידע, in Hebrew, which is sometimes that of approving or favoring, or regarding with love and approbation. So the compound verb may be rendered here, “whom he fore-approved, or foreknew,” as the objects of his choice: and this idea is what alone comports with the rest of the passage.

    [Stuart ] prefers ano...


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

    ...yle="color: #cc99ff;"creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for Adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies

    As Christians suffer at the present time, they should not focus on their suffering, but instead look foward to the glory which will be revealed to them in the future, as it was in the case of Christ (e.g. Heb. 12:2). Paul personifies the creation in saying that even the creation wants to break loose from the bondage of sin and the futility to which God subjected it. Not only man was cursed, but the whole creation was cursed because of man (Gen. 3:17). Paul says that “the creation was subjected to futility” (v. 20) and is in “bondage of corruption”, but this bondage, by God’s grace and design, is temporary. God subjected the creation to futility and vanity, in hope so as to restore and renew it in and through Christ. The futility spoken of is the same vanity which is so often spoken of in the book of Ecclesiastes (Eccl 1:2, 4; etc…). The Greek word ματαιότης (mataiotes, G3153), is the same here as in the LXX of Ecclesiastes. It is defined as: “what is devoid of truth and appropriateness…perverseness, depravity…frailty, want of vigour”[11] by Thayer. The whole creation was subject to vanity, futility and depravity because of man’s sin. But since the sin problem was solved by the Savior, so also the effects of sin on the world will be removed from the world by the Savior. There will be a time, Paul says, in which “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (v. 21). The creation will share in the same liberty and freedom from bondage which the children of God share in, namely, freedom from the bondage of sin and corruption. The glory of the LORD will fill the whole earth and He will be its light.

    Paul compares the post-Fall Creation to the pains of childbirth. These pains will stop with the birth of the child. This is the time when the children of God will also receive liberty from the bondage of sin in body and soul. In v. 23, Paul connects the personified longings of the creation and the real longings of the children of God together. They both want their complete redemption from sin and bondage, as they eagerly wait for that time when it will fully be accomplished and applied. Then our Adoption will be consummated. We are adopted now, Adoption is a present reality (e.g. Rom. 8:15). But Paul teaches here that there is also a future aspect of our Adoption in glorified body and soul. The “redemption of our bodies” (v. 23) is the resurrection to life, when our soul is united to our imperishable, immortal, and glorious body. That is the Christian hope. That is what Paul was hoping for (Acts 23:6; 24:21).

    In this passage, Paul pinpoints the redemption of the earth at the same time of the redemption of God’s children’s bodies, i.e., the resurrection, which as we argued above happen at the Parousia of Christ. We deny the cultural conception of Heaven as being somewhere over the clouds and were "good people" look down on us....


    John Owen's Case For Particular Atonement

    ... through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
  • Heb. 9:12; Gal. 3:13; 1Pet. 2:24.
  • Sanctification:
    1. Heb. 13:12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.
    2. Heb. 1:3; 9:14; 1John 1:7; Eph. 1:3; 5:25-27; Phil. 1:29.
  • Adoption:
    1. Gal. 4:4-5 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive Adoption as sons.
    2. Eph. 1:14; Heb. 9:15.
  • The obvious question now is: “Is God able to accomplish that which He intends?” We see that by the blood-shedding of Christ, the Father intends for the Son to be an actual ransom (Matt. 20:28) and to actually save, and not try to save sinners (Luke 19:10; 1Tim. 1:15). He is said to deliver us from “the present evil age” and not to try to deliver us by the self-giving of Himself for our wickedness (Gal. 1:4). Well…did He or did He not? Not only do we see the intention of the atonement in Scripture, but also its effects and application, which correspond to the intention of God in it.

    The Work of the Trinity

    Secondly, he enquires about the intention of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity in the work of redemption. What did the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit plan to accomplish through the death of Christ? This is still how many Calvinists at the present time argue for Definite Redemption (i.e. James White). What effect did God want the atonement to have, and is He able to bring it to pass?

    • God the Father (book I, chap. 3):
      1. “The sending of his Son into the world for this employment”:
        • John 3:16-17; 5:37; 10:36;  Rom. 8:3-4; Gal. 4:4-5; Isa. 19:20; 48:16.
        • An authoritative imposition of the office of Mediator:
          • Purpose: Ps. 2:7-8; 110:1, 4; Heb. 1:2; Rom. 1:4; 8:29.
          • Inauguration: John 5:22; Acts 2:36; Heb. 3:1-6; Dan. 9:24 [“anointing of the most Holy”]; Matt. 3:15-17; Heb. 10:5; 1:3; 2:7-8; Matt. 28:18; Phil. 2:9-11.
        • “entering into covenant and compact with his Son concerning the work to be undertaken”:
          • The Father’s promise to assist the Son in the accomplishment of redemption: Isa. 63:8-9; Zech. 13:7; Isa. 63:2-3 and 53:4-5; 49:2-3; Ps. 2:2, 4, 6; 118:22-23; Matt. 21:42; Isa. 28:16; Matt. 21:44.
          • The Father’s promise of “a happy accomplishment and attainment of the end of his great undertaking”: Isa. 49:5-6, 6-12; 53:10-12.
      2. “laying the punishment due to our sin upon him”:
        • Zech. 13:7; Matt. 26:31; Isa. 53:4, 6, 10; 2Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13.
    • God the Son (book I, chap. 4):
      1. The “agent in this great work”:
        • Heb. 5:6-7; Matt. 3:17; John 4:34; 6:38; 17:4; Luke 2:49.
      2. The Incarnation:
        • John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; 1Tim. 3:16 KJV; Heb. 2:13-14.
      3. His Sacrifice:
        • Heb. 9:14; Rev. 1:5; Eph. 5:25-26; Dan. 9:26 KJV [“but not for himself”]; John 17:19; Rom. 5:6; John 1:29; Isa. 53:7; John 10:17-18; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:2; 1Pet. 2:24; Heb. 1:3; Matt. 26:28.
      4. His Intercession:
        • Ps. 2:8; John 14:2-3; Heb. 9:11-12, 24; 1John 2:1-2; John 17:9; 11:42; Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:33-34; John 17:24; Heb. 10:14.
    • God the Holy Spirit (book I, chap. 5):
      1. The In...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary

    ...an style="color: #ffd700;"in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 

    Acts 3:25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’

    Luke 1:72-73 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 

    Rom. 9:4-5 They are Israelites, and to them belong the Adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. 

    Gal. 3:16-17 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 

    Gen. 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

    Dr. Sam Waldron, in his commentary on chapter 7 of the 1689, notes the unity of the covenants in light of Ephesians 2:12:

    The thematic unity of the covenants means that they have a single ultimate theme or purpose. The text that epitomizes and summarizes this point is Ephesians 2:12, which literally translated speaks of ‘the covenants of the promise’. What specific promise Paul has in mind may not be clear, but it is clear that all the covenants were the development of one single promise, not many promises. This thematic unity can be seen in a key recurring phrase or theme that occurs in the divine covenants: ‘I will be your God and you shall be my people’ (Gen. 17:7-8; Exod. 25:8; 6:6-7; 2 Sam. 7:14; 2 Chron. 23:16; Jer. 31:33; Rev. 21:3). The great promise of all the covenants is fulfilled in Christ and in the New Covenant (John 1:14; Matt. 1:22-23). Now emphatically God is with man.

    The reference in Ephesians 2:12 to ‘the covenants of the promise’ is crucial. It asserts that all the divine covenants relate to the unfolding of the single promise of salvation. If Paul is referring specifically to the promise of a Redeemer initially given in Genesis 3:15, then the following (very brief) survey of the divine covenants manifests their relation to this promise. The covenant with Noah is given as a framework in which creation will be preserved by common grace until the fulfilment of the promise. The covenant with Abraham formally initiates that community through which the promised Redeemer will come. The Mosaic covenant provides the necessary regulation and legislation for that community at the time when it has ceased to be a family and has become a nation. In so doing God also provides a full revelation of the nature and necessity of the response owed to his covenant grace. In the Davidic covenant God’s rule over his people is given concrete manifestation. In so doing the line through which the Redeemer would come is specified. In the New Covenant the Redeemer appears and accomplishes redemption, thus bringing to fruition all the types and predictions of the earlier covenants. He inaugurates the final form of the covenant community.

    The crucial point in all of this for us is...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 15: Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation - Commentary

    ...-Calling-Commentary/1029"Effectual Calling (chapter 10)
  • Regeneration (chapter 11)
  • Conversion (chapter 14 Of Saving Faith and chapter 15, the current one on repentance)
  • Justification (chapter 11)
  • Adoption (chapter 12)
  • Sanctification (chapter 13)
  • Perseverance (chapter 14)
  • Glorification
  • See this helpful picture by Tim Challies.

    It is important to note that here we are speaking of the logical order of salvation and not how we experience salvation. In chapter 11, I argued for “Regeneration Precedes Faith”. From our experience, the new birth and faith in the Lord Jesus happened at the same time. So, when we speak of the Ordo Salutis, we do not mean the order in time, but logically. This has to do more with causation and which one is dependent on the other. Repentance is in stage four. Repentance and faith together are under conversion and they describe what conversion is. There would not be a conversion if there was no regeneration. There would be no regeneration if there was no effectual calling. There would be no effectual calling if there was no sovereign election in eternity past. One is dependent upon the other and springs forth from the other.


    §2 God has mercifully provided that believers so sinning and falling be renewed through repentance unto salvation

    1. Whereas there is none that doth good and sinneth not, and the best of men may, through the power and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them, with the prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins and provocations; God hath, in the covenant of grace, mercifully provided that believers so sinning and falling be renewed through repentance unto salvation. 3
      1. Ps. 130:3; 143:2; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20
      2. 2 Sam. 11:1-27; Luke 22:54-62
      3. Jer. 32:40; Luke 22:31-32; 1 John 1:9

    Paragraph 1 dealt with unbelievers turning to Christ, now paragraph 2 deals with Christians turning back to Christ after sin and restoring their relationship to their merciful Savior.

    Forgiveness

    Christians can testify that they sin daily and seek God's forgiveness for known and unknown sins daily. But sometimes we fall into greater sins. It is a greater sin to commit adultery in actuality, than in the heart, obviously. Both are a sin, but one is greater than the other. It is a greater sin to murder someone than to merely hate someone. It is possible for Christians to fall into the “greater” sins.  There have been believers who have committed adultery, been involved in sexual immorality, stolen, cheated and done other things which God has forbidden. They have fallen into sin, but they have not fallen beyond recovery...if they truly were believers! This is the test of true believers: a true believer will always be brought back to repentance by God. It may take days, months or years, but the Shepherd will not lose any of His sheep and will seek them out one by one.

    We may sometimes think too highly of ourselves and our ability to overcome sin, and also think too lowly of the remaining corruption in us and the fallen world around us. With such a mindset we leave ourselves open to Satan's attacks. We may think “no, not me” and “I will not fall into that sin”, but we forget about the “power and deceitfulness of [our] corruption dwelling in [us]” which makes it all the more easy for us to fall into sin. God would be just and holy if He were to abandon us the moment we sin again after being in Christ and leave us in our sin, yet as our Father and t...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints - Commentary

    ...hat those who fell away had never been members of the Church. And doubtless the seal of God, under which he keeps his own, remains sure, as Paul says, (2Ti 2:19.) But here arises a difficulty, for it happens that many who seemed to have embraced Christ, often fall away. To this I answer, that there are three sorts of those who profess the Gospel; there are those who feign piety, while a bad conscience reproves them within; the hypocrisy of others is more deceptive, who not only seek to disguise themselves before men, but also dazzle their own eyes, so that they seem to themselves to worship God aright; the third are those who have the living root of faith, and carry a testimony of their own Adoption firmly fixed in their hearts. The two first have no stability; of the last John speaks, when he says, that it is impossible that they should be separated from the Church, for the seal which God’s Spirit engraves on their hearts cannot be obliterated; the incorruptible seed, which has struck roots, cannot be pulled up or destroyed.

    He does not speak here of the constancy of men, but of God, whose election must be ratified. He does not then, without reason declare, that where the calling of God is effectual, perseverance would be certain. He, in short, means that they who fall away had never been thoroughly imbued with the knowledge of Christ, but had only a light and a transient taste of it.[7]

    And the great Baptist commentator John Gill says the following:

    but they were not of us: they were of the church, and of the same mind with it, at least in profession, antecedent to their going out; for had they not been in communion with the church, they could not be properly said to go out of it; and if they had not been of the same mind and faith in profession, they could not be said to depart from it; but they were not truly regenerated by the grace of God, and so apparently were not of the number, of God's elect: notwithstanding their profession and communion with the church, they were of the world, and not of God; they were not true believers; they had not that anointing which abides, and from which persons are truly denominated Christians, or anointed ones:

    for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us; in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the fellowship of the church, as true believers do: if their hearts had been right with God, they would have remained steadfast to him, his Gospel, truths, and ordinances, and faithful with his saints; for such who are truly regenerate are born of an incorruptible seed, and those that have received the anointing which makes them truly Christians, that abides, as does every true grace, faith, hope, and love; and such who are truly God's elect cannot possibly fall into such errors and heresies as these did, and be finally deceived, as they were:

    but [they went out]; "they went out from us", so the Syriac version reads;

    that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us; the word "all" is left out in the Syriac version. The defection and apostasy of these persons were permitted by God, that it might appear they had never received the grace of God in truth; and their going out was in such a manner, that it was a certain argument that they were not of the elect; since they became antichrists, denied the deity or sonship of Christ, or that he was come in the flesh, or that he was the Christ, and therefore are said to be of the world, and not of God...