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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

...quake, and heavy hail” connected with the appearance of God and of these things.

Isn’t it strange, we have already seen two Final Judgments in Revelation. The first one was in 6:16-7:17 and the second we just read about in 11:15-19. How could this be, if we should read the Apocalypse literally and chronologically? How many ends does the world have? Obviously one. But what do we do with, until now, two End of the World being described? The only satisfying solution to me is that they’re both describing the same event. But if this is the case, then the book of Revelation is not to be read chronologically, but cyclically. A further proof for this is CHAPTER 12.

Vision 4: Revelation 12-14

We just had a vision of the Last Judgment and the consummation of all things in Revelation 11:15-19 at the sounding of the seventh trumpet at whose time the mystery of God was fulfilled (Rev. 10:7). But the vision which we get in CHAPTER 12 is very strange if the Apocalypse is to be read chronologically.

CHAPTER 12 describes the birth of a male child who is to rule all the nations. A great sign appears in heaven, which is a woman clothed with the sun, has the moon under her feet and is crowned with twelve stars, recalling Joseph’s dream (Gen. 37:9). The twelve stars symbolized the twelve sons of Jacob who make up Israel, the people of God under the Old Testament. The woman here is the faithful remnant of Israel which lived close to God and was waiting for the birth of the Messiah. Satan, knowing that what God promised in Genesis 3:15 was about to come to pass, goes after the woman to destroy the child which is born of her. The woman gave birth to a child who was destined “to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rev. 12:5). This is clearly the Lord Jesus Christ, but what does the birth of Jesus have to do with the Final Judgment and consummation we just read about with the blowing of the seventh trumpet? Obviously, we cannot read the visions of the Apocalypse chronologically. We clearly see that they present huge problems to us, such so that you would have to go from the Final Judgment and at once to the birth of Christ, which is very strange. It is strange only if one insists upon reading the Apocalypse chronologically, rather than cyclically.

The Male Child is then “caught up to God and to his throne” before the Dragon was able to destroy Him. This is a reference to Christ’s Ascension in which He was seated at the right hand of God (Rev. 3:21; Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:33; 5:31; 7:55; etc…). While the Male Child is caught up to the throne of God, the woman, still symbolizing the people of God, but now out believing Jews and Gentiles, flees to the wilderness, which is a place “prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days” (Rev. 1:6). 3,5 years was also the time of her persecution (Rev. 11:2) and testimony (Rev. 11:3, 7), but it is also the time when the Church is in the wilderness. This clearly is based upon the 40 years of wilderness wandering of Israel in which God provided for their needs. The Lord provided manna for Israel the whole time they were in the wilderness, caring for them and bearing them on His wings, but the day they entered Canaan was the day that the manna stopped (Josh. 5:12). The wilderness symbolizes also that this is a time of trial, as Israel was tried by the the Lord. It is a time of difficulty, not easiness. Even though all these things are true, the wilderness is designed by God for the good of ...


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

...rong, they were considered as fallen in Adam and in need of redemption. They were not considered  as  innocent. But as those who were in need to be holy and blameless (Eph. 1:4). Those who were elected are effectually called (chapter 10), justified (chapter 11), adopted (CHAPTER 12), sanctified (chapter 13) and are kept by his power (chapter 17through faith (chapter 14). God bestows every spiritual blessing upon those who are in Christ (Eph. 1:3) to bring them in Christ and to keep them for and in Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1). Only the elect are redeemed by Christ. Other people may appear to have redemption and to be called and justified. We are often deceived by hypocrites, but they cannot deceive God. These spiritual blessings enumerated here belong to the elect alone.


As affirmed in 2:1, God is the Sovereign of this world Who moves it to His appointed end. It doesn't just run on its own. So is it also with election, He doesn't merely elect and leave it at that, He also ordains the means by which His elect will come to know Him. We saw that above with the Golden Chain of Redemption how the link of being predestined is followed by the effectual calling of the Spirit, and then justification. God ordains the means by which His people are brought into loving communion with the Trinity.

God has loved us, chosen us, sanctified us, sanctifies us and has called us through the proclamation of the glorious Gospel of His beloved Son (2Thess. 2:13-14). And as we have tried to do an exposition of the Golden Chain of Redemption, we saw that the effectual calling came after predestination. Those whom God has chosen for eternal life, He also calls through the proclamation of the Gospel as is said in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. He doesn’t leave the elect to themselves, but He sends His messengers to proclaim the Gospel to them, which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).

2Thess. 2:13-14 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice the emphasis on justification, adoption, and sanctification in this passage. This has nothing to do with ideas of “being elect and doing whatever sin you want because you're elect.” In fact, it is the opposite. We are to live holy lives unto the glory and honor of God, our Redeemer because we are chosen. We are to be "zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14). Notice that Paul is not ashamed to talk of election and evangelism side by side. He thanks God for His love for them and His election of them, but he also acknowledges that God called the Thessalonians through the proclamation of the Gospel by Paul. He does not see a conflict between sovereign election and evangelism, and neither do Calvinists.

For more on God's effectual calling see chapter 10; for justification see chapter 11; for adoption see CHAPTER 12; for sanctification see chapter 13.

The fact that God ordains both the ends as well as the means is not only logical but also Scriptural. By logical, I mean that a simple reflection on the passages which speak of God's sovereignty over history (as in paragraph 1) would lead us to conclude that He must both ordain the ends and the means to the ends ordained. Such is the case with election as we saw from 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. God elects and...


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

...ace (e.g. John 10:28-29; 1John 2:19). If we follow what was said in the previous chapters, as this paragraph begins by enlisting these things, we cannot but expect such a declaration. If God is absolutely sovereign over all things (chapters 3 and 5), even electing, calling, justifying, adopting (CHAPTER 12) and sanctifying us, how can it be that God could fail in His purpose and we be lost to eternal perdition? It cannot. The elect will certainly persevere in the state of grace...to the end. This is the essential difference between true and false faith. True faith perseveres to the end (1John 2:19). This is because the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Rom. 11:29), in other words, He does not change His mind. Therefore, the elect are safe and He will grant them all these things which are necessary for their final salvation and perseverance.

This does not mean that the journey will be easy. In fact, the Confession speaks of storms and floods that arise and beat us. Nonetheless, no one and nothing can shake us off that foundation and rock which by faith we are fastened upon. In these storms and floods and by the temptations of Satanthe sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured for us (so also with our assurance, see chapter 18:4). This does not mean that God has changed; he is still the same. But we are being attacked by the enemy and are fighting or giving into temptation and are in need of restoration. Even in these storms and floods, we may be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation and the enjoyment of our purchased possession. The fact that the elect cannot lose their salvation is further shown from the fact that we are engraven upon the palm of His hands (Isa. 49:16) and our names having been written in the book of life from all eternity (Rev. 13:8; 20:15). All this is given for the confidence and encouragement of the believers in God’s faithfulness, goodness, grace, promise, and power. 


The Impossibility Of Final Apostasy For The Elect

The biblical and Reformed doctrine of perseverance is a great mountain, which gives the saints assurance and faith in God’s almighty power in overcoming sin in us and completely saving us. The doctrine does not teach, contrary to non-Protestant caricatures, that Christians after being saved can do whatever they want to do and still remain saved. Rather, the doctrine teaches that those who have the Spirit of God indwelling in them will persevere in the faith by the almighty power of God. The Lord will chastise, sanctify and lead them toward a holier life.

That the doctrine is true and biblical may be seen from many ways (see paragraph 2), including (1) the decree of election, (2) regeneration, (3) justification and (4) Christ’s obedience.

Election: It has pleased God from all eternity to select a particular people in the Lord Jesus Christ whom He will redeem from sin to be with Him forever without any consideration of foreseen faith or works, merely because of His good pleasure. Seeing that their salvation was not dependent upon them, how would their perseverance be (completely) dependent upon them? There is no debate among Calvinists about whether the elect can lose their salvation. Someone who accepts Unconditional Election must believe in perseverance. It is logically necessary, for to contend otherwise is to say that God has unconditionally chosen a person to be saved, but has not chosen to preserve that p...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

... beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance. 3 
  1. Matt. 6:12; 1 John 1:7-2:2; John 13:3-11
  2. Luke 22:32; John 10:28; Heb. 10:14
  3. Ps. 32:5; 51:7-12; Matt. 26:75; Luke 1:20
  1. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament. 1
    1. Gal. 3:9; Rom. 4:22-24

CHAPTER 12: Of Adoption [Return] [Commentary]

  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
    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

Chapter 13: Of Sanctification [Return] [Commentary]

  1. They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, are also farther sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; 4 the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness, 5 without which no man shall see the Lord. 6 
    1. 1 John 3:3-8; 1 John 2:29; 3:9-10; Rom. 1:7; 6:1-11; 15:16; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 3:12; Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Cor. 1:2, 6:11
    2. 1 Thess. 5:23; Rom. 6:19, 22
    3. 1 Cor. 6:11; Acts 20:32; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5-6
    4. John 17:17, Eph. 5:26; 3:16-19; Rom. 8:13
    5. Rom. 6:13-14; Gal. 5:17, 24; Rom. 8:13; Col. 1:11; Eph. 3:16-19; 4:22-25; 2 Cor. 7:1
    6. Heb. 12:14
  1. This sanctification is throughout the whole man, yet imperfect in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war;the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. 3
    1. 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 John 1:8, 10; Rom. 7:18, 23; Phil. 3:12
    2. 1 Cor. 9:24-27; 1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7
    3. Gal. 5:17; 1 Peter 2:11
  1. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail,yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, pressing after an heavenly life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King, in His Word hath prescribed them. 3
    1. Rom. 7:23
    2. Rom. 6:14; 1 John 5:4; Eph. 4:15-16
    3. 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Matt. 28:20

Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith [Return] [Commentary]

  1. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving...

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

...g (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

    There is none that doth good and sinneth not; everyone sins (Ps. 130:3). This is the sad reality of fallen man and even of redeemed man. Even Christians, through the power and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them...fall into great sins (David's adultery in 2 Sam. 11). Those who underestimate the power of sin will certainly fall into it. Sin is powerful and deceiving and it calls us back to itself because it wants us to be its slaves again. But this is the good news when we fall into sin: God hath, in the covenant of grace, mercifully provided that believers so sinning and falling be renewed through repentance unto salvation (Jer. 32:40; 1John 1:8-9). We are not saved again, but we are renewed and are back in a harmonious relationship with God. The promise of 1 John 1:9 is very dear to me: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What a gracious and an amazing God we serve. He saved us from all kinds of corruptions and sins, forgiving it completely and keeps to forgive and renew us!


    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...


    Welcome To The Staunch Calvinist

    Welcome to The Staunch Calvinist. This is a place where Calvinistic Theology will be displayed. A place where the Doctrines of Grace will be explained and defended. This is a place where the Sovereignty of God is cherished and promoted. We hope you will be ministered to through the material on the website. Our goal is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and honor Him. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

    The following document may help you to understand the Biblical case for ‘Calvinism’: God's Absolute Sovereignty – A case for Calvinism

    I have two sections dedicated to the Doctrines of Grace: defining the Doctrines of Grace & defending the Doctrines of Grace, which are taken from the document above. In the general section, you will find some book reviews and the resources from which I mainly drew the content of the “God’s Absolute Sovereignty” document.

    As a Reformed Baptist, I started the 1689 Confession section wherein I seek to explain the chapters and make a biblical case for what is said on a particular subject. As of 18/09/2016, the commentary is complete:

    1. Of the Holy Scriptures
    2. Of God and the Holy Trinity (the attributes of God and a case for the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity)
    3. Of God’s Decree (I make a case for predestination, election, reprobation and absolute sovereignty even over evil and sin)
    4. Of Creation
    5. Of Divine Providence
    6. Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof (Total Depravity)
    7. Of God’s Covenant (1689 Federalism)
    8. Of Christ the Mediator (including a case for the Substitutionary Atonement, Active and Passive Obedience of Christ, Definite Atonement and answers to passages used against the doctrine)
    9. Of Free WIll (with the help of Jonathan Edwards, the consistency of moral agency being found in carrying one's desires, the inconsistencies of libertarian free will, explanation of necessity and inability)
    10. Of Effectual Calling (with a case for infant salvation)
    11. Of Justification (faith is a gift and regeneration precedes faith)
    12. Of Adoption
    13. Of Sanctification
    14. Of Saving Faith
    15. Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation
    16. Of Good Works
    17. Of The Perseverance Of The Saints (A positive case for the Reformed doctrine and responses to passages such as Hebrews 6 and the like)
    18. Of The Assurance Of Grace And Salvation
    19. Of The Law Of God (Threefold Division of the Law, the Decalogue before Moses, a brief exposition of the Decalogue, ceremonial and civil laws, the abiding moral law under the New Covenant in the OT prophecy and the NT, Threefold Uses of the Law, The Law and the Gospel)
    20. Of The Gospel, And Of The Extent Of The Grace Thereof
    21. Of Christian Liberty And Liberty of Conscience
    22. Of Religious Worship And the Sabbath Day (A case for the Regulative Principle of Worship and the Christian Sabbath)
    23. Of Lawful Oaths And Vows
    24. Of The Civil Magistrate
    25. Of Marriage
    26. Of The Church
    27. Of the Communion of Saints
    28. Of Baptism And The Lord's Supper
    29. Of Baptism
    30. Of The Lord's Supper
    31. Of The State Of Man After Death And Of The Resurrection Of The Dead (Intermediate State Hades, Sheol, Heaven; A Case for Amillennial Eschatology; critique of Premillennialism)
    32. Of The Last Judgment (Endless punishment in Hell contra Annihilationism)
    ...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

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    Chapter 29: Of Baptism

    What is baptism? What does it symbolize? Can I be saved without being baptized? Are professing believers alone to be baptized? What about infant baptism? What is the baptismal formula? How is baptism to be performed? Is it by sprinkling, pouring or immersion?

    Let me start with a personal testimony. I was born in Iraq to an Armenian (not Arminian) family. The church of the Armenian people is the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is an Orthodox church and it is very much similar to Roman Catholicism. Infants would be baptized around 40 days old or something around that time. That was not different in my case. Throughout my youth, I saw my infant baptism as the basis that I was a Christian. What made it also difficult was the fact that in Iraq, everyone would have their religion on their ID card. I even served as an altar boy in the church when I was little. But to be honest, I did not know the Gospel, yet I was not ashamed to proclaim that I am Christian, but don't ask me what the Gospel is! Thus, throughout my youth, I saw my baptism as the ground that I am a Christian, even though I did not pray often or did not know why Christ died. The Armenian Church, by the way, believes in baptismal regeneration and baptism by dipping the infant thrice in a bowl of holy water. My family came to the Netherlands in 2008 and I finally knew what freedom was, but not the freedom of the Gospel (yet). Two years or so after that, I met with an old friend and stayed with him a few days. He saw that I did not pray before bed, so he questioned me. He told me about prayer and how proper is it to pray to God and thank Him for everything. I told him that I don't want to be religious. He directed me to videos and episodes of Zakaria Botros (Arabic), who shares the Gospel with Muslims via TV and exposes Islam. Through his videos and episodes, I came to know the true Gospel and was saved by God's grace. After that, there grew in me a desire to study His Word, so I bought Bibles and study Bibles and started reading the Scriptures daily. Around that time, I started attending a Baptist church. I did not know that it was a Baptist church. We went there with some friends of mine and by God's grace, kept attending church on the Lord's Day.

    I started reading the Bible and I could not find anything about the baptism of infants or that baptism as the basis of my faith and all the things which I had simply assumed in my youth. So I set out to study this matter and came to the conclusion that infant baptism was unscriptural and what happened to me as an infant, was not biblical baptism. On a Saturday night, I fell on my knees and asked the Lord if He wanted me to be baptized that He would give me some sign. The next day, the Lord's Day, the preacher talked about discipleship and following Christ no matter what and he said something like, “It doesn't matter what your family will think of you if you want to be baptized”, which I saw as a sign from heaven. My family would not have been happy about my baptism because they think that my baptism as an infant was valid. Moreover, the Armenian Church is a national church. It does not get new converts, for example. Most infants are baptized and declared Christian, even if they know not the Gospel. Therefore, the only baptism that is practiced and that I have heard of is infant baptism.

    I still feel guilty for asking the Lord for a sign when I had already concluded that believers’ bap...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures - Commentary

    ...drin (6:6-14; 15:8), which is compatible only with a post-exilic date several hundred years after the book’s presumed historical setting.[41]

    Dr. Knuteson likewise writes that the Apocrypha is a source of some Roman Catholic doctrines:

    the books in the Apocrypha endorse many false doctrines that are totally at variance with the clear teaching of the Word of God. Suicide is justified in 2 Maccabees 14:41-46. Prayers to the dead are encouraged in CHAPTER 12, verses 41-45. Almsgiving is considered efficacious for the forgiveness of sins according to Tobit 12:9. The Book of Wisdom teaches the heresy of the pre-existence of souls in 8:19-20. The Book of Judith portrays her as using deception, guile and outright lying with the apparent approval of God (9:10-13). It is in these books that the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory is found along with many other unscriptural concepts. The internal evidence is totally against the acceptance of these so-called "hidden and concealed" books as being a part of God's holy and "breathed-out" Word (see 2 Timothy 3:16). Isaiah 8:20 sums up the proper attitude of all Bible-believing Christians regarding these spurious books. "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."[39]

    In light of these things, even when these books contain not only historical, geographical, but even theological errors, the Roman Catholic Church accepts them, because it lends support to her false doctrines.

    Geisler and MacKenzie give us several reasons not to accept the Apocrypha as Scripture:

    First, no apocryphal books claim to be written by a prophet. Indeed, as already noted, one apocryphal book even disclaims being prophetic (1 Macc. 9:27). Second, there is no divine confirmation of any of the writers of the apocryphal books, as there is for prophets who wrote canonical books (e.g., Exod. 4:1-2). Third, there is no predictive prophecy in the Apocrypha, such as we have in the canonical books (e.g., Isa. 53; Dan. 9; Mic. 5:2) and which is a clear indication of their propheticity. Fourth, there is no new messianic truth in the Apocrypha. Thus, it adds nothing to the messianic truths of the Old Testament. Fifth, even the Jewish community, whose books they were, acknowledged that the prophetic gifts had ceased in Israel before the Apocrypha was written (see quotes above). Sixth, the apocryphal books were never listed in the Jewish Bible along with the “Prophets,” or any other section for that matter. Seventh, never once is any apocryphal book cited authoritatively by a prophetic book written after it.[42]

    The Apocrypha not only should be rejected because it was not received by those to whom the Word of God was entrusted, neither appealed to by our Lord or His Apostles, but also because it contains historical, geographical, and theological errors and contradictions.


    §4 The Authority of the Holy Scripture

    1. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, 1 but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God. 2
      1. 2 Tim. 3:15; 3:16; John 10:35; 13:18, 34-35; 19:34-36, 24; 1 John 5:9; Rom. 1:2; 3:2; 9:17; 15:4; Acts 1:16; 2:16, 24ff; Matt. 5:17-18; 4:1-11; 13:35; 22:32; 22:41ff; 26:54; Gal. 3:8, 16; 1 Cor. 10:11; Luke 16:17; 22:37; 2 Peter 1:19-21
      2.  Luke 15:27-31; Gal. 1:...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 13: Of Sanctification - Commentary

    ...fied by the Spirit (1Cor. 6:11). Our regeneration, justification, and sanctification are the work of the Spirit. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 Paul says again that our sanctification is through the Spirit of God within us. If the Spirit was not given to us we would have been hopeless. But it is the Spirit through Whom God works in us. It is the Spirit whom He has given to us (Ezek. 36:25-27). It is the Spirit who works in us fruit that is acceptable to God (Gal. 5:22-23). It is through the Spirit that the war against the flesh and sin is waged (Rom. 8:1-13). See more on the Spirit in CHAPTER 12.

    The Lord Jesus prays to His Father that His people may be sanctified in the truth and this truth He identifies as His Word (John 17:17). The means whereby we are sanctified and become more like Christ is through meeting the God revealed in Jesus Christ in the Word that His Spirit wrote down for us (1Sam. 3:21). In Acts 20:32 Paul commends and puts the Ephesians into the hands of God and the word of His grace, which Paul says that it "is able to build [us] up". Where would we find the will of God except in the Word of God through which we are made more like Christ? Both through the Spirit and the Word that the Spirit inspired humans to write down as the rule of all faith and practice, God sanctifies us and makes us more like Christ.

    Dominion of Sin Destroyed

    We wrote of this in chapter 9 on the Will in the State of Grace. There I wrote about the fact that we are no longer under the dominion of sin, but there still remains corruption and sin in our body. We are no longer slaves to sin, but that does not mean that we no longer sin, but it does mean that we cannot live in a continued lifestyle of sin and still be regenerate (1Jn 3:9-10).

    Paul writes:

    Rom 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

    This is a continuous process wherein we battle and are at war with our lusts and sins, here we through the means of grace as the Word and Spirit continually war against our lusts. It's not something that happens at one moment as justification, but it's an ongoing continuous process throughout our life on earth.

    Man Made Able to Obey God

    Before regeneration and faith we were unable and unwilling to do that which is pleasing to God, but now we are made able by God and His Spirit to walk in His ways and do that in which He has pleasure. Ezekiel 36:25-27 is my favorite passage on this regard because it addresses my depravity and provides a solution for my helplessness. It is God who promises to work in us His pleasure and to cause us to walk in His ways. It is God who has given the regenerate His Holy Spirit through Whom the fruits pleasing to God are brought forth (Gal 5:22-23). It is He who has made us a new creation (2Cor 15:17) with a new nature, i.e. a new heart and a new spirit which desires to do the will of God and is no longer a slave of sin.

    To similar effect is Philippians 2:11-12 which we briefly looked at above. Another passage is Hebrews 13:20-21 which is a source of great comfort:

    Heb 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 

    It is the God of peace, thanks to Whom we too who have been justified by Chr...


    A Review of Jeffrey D. Johnson's The Fatal Flaw

    ... a covenant of works, or vice versa?” The dilemma is conditions and covenant-breakers within the old covenant.

    In chapter 9 the author identifies the fatal flaw of Paedobaptist covenant theology, it is the fact that they label the Mosaic Covenant of Works as a covenant of grace. The fact that the Mosaic contains covenant breakers and condition is contrary to the notion of a covenant of grace as he sought to argue in the previous chapters. In chapter 9 he also looks to “the problem of making the covenant of grace breakable.” (p. 121)

    The next two chapters he examines the deficiencies (chapter 10) and purpose (chapter 11) of the Old Covenant.

    In CHAPTER 12 and 13 he writes about the discontinuity between the Old and New covenants. He identifies four aspects in which they differ:

    1. Different Participants – Based from the Abrahamic promise of “to you and your seed” Presbyterians argue for the continuity of that promise for all the administrations of the Covenant of Grace, unless there is a prohibition or exclusion of infants. But Johnson counters by saying that the reference to “you and your seed” Paul sees as referring to Christ in Galatians 3:15, therefore this promise is not referring to unbelieving Jews, rather to Christ and those who are in Him (Gal 3:29). The promises were made to Abraham and his seed, which is Christ and all who are in Him.
    2. Different Substances – This is the obvious conclusion if the Mosaic was not an administration of the Covenant of Grace. While the New and Mosaic covenants are two different covenants and not merely administrations of the Covenant of Grace, that does not mean that they don’t have similarities. The Old Covenant foreshadowed the New Covenant. The earthly things pointed to the spiritual realities of the New Covenant. For example, people entered the Old Covenant by their birth within the nation of Israel, but people enter into the covenant by the new birth – by being born from above. Under the Old Covenant circumcision was an outward and fleshly act, while under the New Covenant it is a spiritual thing and it refers to regeneration. Johnson believes that Paedobaptists are wrong to “cling to the shadows of infant circumcision. In so doing, they mix the ineffectual and temporary shadows of the old covenant with the eternal realities and power of the new covenant.…by connecting infant circumcision…with baptism.” (p. 157)
    3. Different Durations – The Old Covenant was destined to pass away. God did not intend it to be eternal. The fact that it had passed away is clear for example from Hebrews 8:13. While the New Covenant is called the “eternal covenant” in Heb 13:20. The Old Covenant was abolished in order to establish the New (Heb 8:6-11).
    4. Different Efficacies – “The old covenant did not contain or offer grace (unmerited mercy – justification, or inward power – sanctification) to its members, while the new covenant does.” (p. 163) The efficacy of the Mosaic was depended upon the obedience of the people as can be seen in many places in the Old Testament (e.g. Ex 19:5-6; Deut 30:19; Gal 3:10). But the efficacy of the New Covenant is not depended upon man, but upon the God-Man. It is He who provides that which God requires. He is the Covenant Keeper and by His doing we are made righteous and have a loving relationship with God. Chapter 13 is dedicated to the discussion of this topic along with questions concerning the law, justification and sanctification established by the New Covenant....