The Staunch Calvinist

"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

... of God would be fulfilled (Rev. 10:7). What we just had in chapter 7 was the Eternal State and happiness of the righteous in the New Heavens and New Earth, so why does John, after that vision, give us more pictures of God’s judgment upon the earth? These things obviously cannot be read chronologically.

In chapter 16, we had the outpouring of the seventh bowl, of which it was said that it will finish the wrath of God (Rev. 15:1), and there is a description of the fall of Babylon and Hell for unbelievers. But chapter 18 goes on to describe the nature of Babylon, i.e., the world system and pronounces judgment upon her (chapters 18-19). How many times does God judge Babylon? In CHAPTER 14 (the fourth cycle), there was a pronouncement of judgment against Babylon (Rev. 14:8), which just preceded the harvest of the earth, i.e., the Final Judgment (Rev. 14:14-20). In chapter 16 (the fifth cycle), we have God remembering “Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath” (Rev. 16:19). Well, wasn’t Babylon already judged in CHAPTER 14? Why is then God pouring out His wrath upon her in chapter 16? In chapter 18 (the sixth cycle), we also have the detailed judgment of Babylon. Just how many times is Babylon actually judged? Obviously once. These judgments which are described are not temporary, but final and irreversible. The most satisfying solution is that the cycles describe the same event (the Last Battle and Final Judgment) from different angles.

We had a clear picture of the Final Battle and Last Judgment in chapter 19. The picture of total destruction of the wicked is as clear as and even more exhaustive than Revelation 6:14-17. Having seen that every cycle ends with the Final Judgment and/or Last Battle, what reason do we have to say that what we have in chapter 19 is the Second Coming and Parousia of the Lord Christ, and the Millennium in chapter 20, follows—chronologically—that glorious Second Advent? Everything that we have seen thus far shows us that each cycle ends with the Last Battle and/or Last Judgment. Therefore, isn’t it reasonable to say that chapter 19 ends a cycle and chapter 20 begins another? Yes, I believe so. Chapter 20 does not chronologically follow the Parousia in chapter 19, but starts a new cycle beginning with the Church Age.

Some Objections/Troubles

A common objection against the idea that chapter 20 begins a new chapter by our Premillennial brothers is that Revelation 20:10 says that “the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were”. This indicates that the casting of the beast and the false prophet which is described in Revelation 19:20 happened before the Millennium, and before the casting of the devil in 20:10. Sounds like a decent argument expect that it has no basis in the original text. The verb “were” in the ESV has no textual basis in the Greek. Literally, the passage reads, “and the devil, the one who deceives them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where also the beast and false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” There is no verb in the original in connection to the casting (or time of casting) of the beast and false prophet. If a verb is to be supplied it seems better to say “where the beast and false prophet were cast.” This is in harmony with Revelation 19:20 which describes the slaughter of all the wicked and of the beast and false pro...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary"here, but it will not be treated below. This list is by no means exhaustive. The citations given below are what I could find and what I deemed helpful and understandable for this topic. Many others could be found in the work referenced above.

Didache (50-120 A.D.)

The Didache, which means the Teaching (of the Twelve Apostles) is a document from the first century, which functioned as some kind of church manual. It is believed that it was certainly written before 120 A.D. This places it in the first century or at the most shortly thereafter. What interests us in the Didache is what is written of the Lord's Day in CHAPTER 14:

14 On every Lord's Day—his special day—come together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure. 2 Anyone at variance with his neighbor must not join you, until they are reconciled, lest your sacrifice be defiled. 3 For it was of this sacrifice that the Lord said, "Always and everywhere offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is marveled at by the nations." (Richardson)

Does it have to be pointed out that the echo of Acts 20:7 is very clearly heard in verse 1? The passage is so closely connected with Acts 20:7 that it contains the same elements there and also connects the Lord's Day explicitly with spiritual sacrifices and worship. In verse 3, Malachi 1:11 is cited.

What is more interesting about this passage is the Greek of the first part of verse 1. Literally, it reads, “On every Lord's Day of the Lord.” The Greek phrase is Κατ? κυριακ?ν δ? κυρ?ου (kata kuriaken de kurion)which is a strange way to refer to the Lord's Day. The word kuriaken is used here and it is the strong adjective meaning “belonging to the Lord” which is used in Revelation 1:10. What is interesting is that the word for “day” is absent in the Didache, though this does not cast doubt upon the fact that what is being spoken of here is, in fact, the Lord's Day. What this indicates is that the designation “Lord's Day” was so popular and in Christian usage that it was enough to use kuriaken without “day” (hemera). That this is speaking of the first day of the week is confirmed by its reliance upon Acts 20:7.

It is very interesting to see how biblical language, New Testament language to be specific, is so influential so early on. Neither the author of the Didache nor John invented the designation “the Lord's Day”, but both authors use it expecting their readers to understand to which day they refer. The phrase was in common usage and was coined prior to the writing of the Didache and Revelation.

Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 35-108 A.D.)

Ignatius of Antioch was an early church father who lived in the first century and the beginning of the second. He was martyred in 108 A.D. He wrote a letter to the Magnesians which is relevant to the Lord's Day. There is a shorter and longer version of the letter and of the chapter. Most scholars believe that only the shorter is original. In chapter 9, he speaks about the Jewish Sabbath and the Lord's Day. The longer version further comments upon the Sabbath and the Lord's Day, which will be noted below. In chapter 9, he writes:

If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death...

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

Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints

What do we mean by the Perseverance of the Saints? Does it matter what we do? Are we to be passive and do nothing? What passages support the doctrine of Perseverance? What about passages which speak of falling away and Hebrews 6?

Wayne Grudem defines the perseverance of the saints in this way:

The perseverance of the saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.[1]

In this chapter, I want to mainly do two things: first, argue for the P in the TULIP, the Perseverance of the Saints; and second, examine some passages which are often brought up against the doctrine.

§1 Can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace

  1. Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity. 
    1. John 10:28-29; Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 2:19; 2 Peter 1:5-10; 1 John 2:19[2]
    2. Ps. 89:31-32; 1 Cor. 11:32; 2 Tim. 4:7
    3. Ps. 102:27; Mal. 3:6; Eph. 1:14; 1 Peter 1:5; Rev. 13:8

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 log...

1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...ngyet 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 of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened.
    1. John 6:37, 44; Acts 11:21, 24; 13:48; 14:27; 15:9; 2 Cor. 4:13; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2
    2. Rom 4:11; 10:14, 17; Luke 17:5; Acts 20:32; 1 Peter 2:2
  1. By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word for the authority of God himself, and also apprehendeth an excellency therein above all other writings and all things in the world, as it bears forth the glory of God in his attributes, the excellency of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit in his workings and operations: and so is enabled to cast his soul upon the truth thus believed; and also acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come; but the principal acts of saving faith have immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, and resting upon him alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.
    1. Acts 24:14; 1 Thess. 2:13; Ps. 19:7-10; 119:72
    2. John 15:14; Rom. 16:26
    3. Isa. 66:2
    4. 1 Tim. 4:8; Heb. 11:13
    5. John 1:12; Acts 15:11; 16:31; Gal. 2:20
  1. This faith, although it be different in degrees, and may be weak or strong, yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it, as is all other saving grace, from the faith and common grace of temporary believers; and therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.
    1. Matt. 6:30; 8:10, 26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:20; Heb. 5:13-14; Rom. 4:19-20
    2. James 2:14; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:4
    3. Luke 22:31-32; Eph. 6:16; 1 John 5:4-5
    4. Ps. 119:114; Heb. 6:11-12; 10:22-23
    5. Heb. 12:2

Chapter 15: Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation [Return] [Commentary]

  1. Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, having sometime lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual calling giveth them repentance unto life.
    1. Titus 3:2-5
    2. 2 Chron. 33:10-20; Acts 9:1-19; 16:29-30
  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 fa...

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

...="Ordo"Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation) is:

  1. Election (chapter 3)
  2. Effectual Calling (chapter 10)
  3. Regeneration (chapter 11)
  4. Conversion (CHAPTER 14 Of Saving Faith and chapter 15, the current one on repentance)
  5. Justification (chapter 11)
  6. Adoption (chapter 12)
  7. Sanctification (chapter 13)
  8. Perseverance (CHAPTER 14)
  9. 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.


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...

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 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 (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 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary


CHAPTER 14: Of Saving Faith

What is faith? Is it simply believing something without any and contrary to all evidence? Is it wishful thinking? Dr. Wayne Grudem defines faith as:

Trust or dependence on God based on the fact that we take him at his word and believe what he has said.[1]

The confession in chapter 11 paragraph 2 defines faith as:

Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification...

In this chapter we will explore such things concerning faith as what it is, what is its nature and how it is increased and strengthened. Can we have temporal faith? Can we lose our faith? Such things we will try to deal with here.

§1 The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit

  1. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened. 2
    1. John 6:37, 44; Acts 11:21, 24; 13:48; 14:27; 15:9; 2 Cor. 4:13; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2[2]
    2. Rom  4:11;  10:14, 17; Luke 17:5; Acts 20:32; 1 Peter 2:2

The Grace of Faith

We have already argued that faith is a gift in chapter 11 on Justification. It is something that God gave us to exercise. We Calvinists do not believe that God believes for us, but that our faith finds its origin in God and comes to us through regeneration (1John 5:1, see our discussion on this passage). By this faith, which is granted to us (Phil. 1:19) by the grace of God, we believe and are justified. The Word tells us that "whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). We believe, are justified and received into the arms of God (Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1; 10:9). Again and again we are told that we are justified by faith (e.g. Rom. 3:28-30; 4:5-10; 9:30; 10:4; 11:6; Gal. 2:15-16; Phil. 3:9) and then we understand that even our faith was by grace granted to us by God (Eph. 2:8-9; Acts. 3:16; 18:27; 2Pet. 1:1). So that we can truly say: Soli Deo Gloria! There is no contribution on our part for our salvation except the sin that made it necessary, as Jonathan Edwards said.

This faith is worked in us through the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who regenerates us and gives us new life (John 3:5-8) by which faith comes (1John 5:1). Regeneration precedes faith. The Spirit uses the Word of God preached to us in the Gospel. The Gospel proclamation goes out and the Spirit uses the Gospel proclamation to draw the elect to the Son (John 6:44, 63). 2 Thessalonians 2:14 says that God called us through the Gospel. The Lord did not merely elect a people and leave them. No, He goes out and through the Gospel preachers/witnesses draws them to the Son in faith and repentance. Peter writes:

1Pet 1:22-23 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God

It is through the Word of God that regeneration came and we became Christians. It is not without the Gospel that we became Christians. But it is through the Spirit of God working...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...ata-footnote-id="t4cdf">^ Jamin Hüber in Recovering A Covenantal Heritage: Essays In Baptist Covenant Theology. Edited by Richard C. Barcellos. (Palmdale, CA: RBAP, 2014). pp. 384-385.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 391.
  • ^ Ibid. p. 399.
  • ^ Ibid. p. 400-401.
  • ^ See CHAPTER 14, "Acts 2:39 in its Context (Part 2): Case Studies in Paedobaptist Interpretations of Acts 2:39" by Jamin Hübner in Recovering A Covenantal Heritage: Essays In Baptist Covenant Theology. Edited by Richard C. Barcellos. (Palmdale, CA: RBAP, 2014). pp. 417-448.
  • ^ As quoted in ibid. p. 400. 
  • ^ Stan Reeves. A Reformed Baptist View of I Cor. 7:14.
  • ^ Collins, Believers Baptism. p. 15. Footnotes removed.
  • ^ John M. Frame. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. (P&R Publishing, 2014). p. 1063.
  • ^ John Norcott. Baptism discovered plainly and faithfully, according to the word of God wherein is set forth the glorious pattern of our Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ. 1694. pp. 6-7.
  • ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. p. 967.
  • ^ Mounce, Expository Dictionary. p. 52.
  • ^ Ibid, p. 1104.
  • ^ Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. Baptism, Baptist, Baptize.
  • ^ Strong’s Definitions in The Blue Letter Bible. G907.
  • a, b Joseph Henry Thayer's Greek Definitions. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. See reference for the Strong's number.
  • ^ TDNT, from BibleWorks. Number 123, p. 93.
  • ^ Strong, Systematic Theology. p. 933.
  • ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. p. 967, n4.
  • ^ Louis Berkhof. Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Banner of Truth Trust. 1963). p. 630.
  • ^ The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Edited by J. J. S. Perowne. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Charles J. Ellicott. Commentary For English Readers. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. p. 968.
  • ^ Collins, Believers Baptism. p. 7.
  • ^ William Robertson Nicoll. The Expositor's Greek Testament. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. pp. 968-969.
  • ^ Collins, Believers Baptism. pp. 6-7.
  • ^ Waldron, Exposition of 1689. p. 448.
  • ^ The London Baptist Confession of Faith | Exposition of Chapter 29. Herald of Grace.
  • ^ Norcott, Baptism discovered plainly and faithfully. pp. 19-21.
  • ...

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

    ...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.

    I very much enjoyed these two chapters and benefited from his insights and was strengthened in my position.

    In CHAPTER 14 he lays out the nature of the New Covenant in contrast to the Mosaic Old Covenant. The differences include federal headship, theocracy, carnal perpetuity. He furthermore examines a few things like substitutionary atonement, the efficacy of infant baptism and nature of the Church in light of the knowledge gained about the nature of the New and Old covenants.

    Chapter 15 is titled “The Meaning of Circumcision.” Here he brings up the two texts most often used by Paedobaptists to make the connection between baptism and circumcision. Those are Genesis 17:10 and Romans 4:11. He examines Romans 4:11 and shows the difference between Abraham’s circumcision and infant circumcision. He furthermore argues that the covenant of circumcision was pertaining to the natural seed of Abraham and not the spiritual seed.

    This leads us to the next chapter which is titled “The Error of Integrating the Flesh with the Spirit.” In chapter 16 he seeks to show “the impossibility of applying this verse [Romans 4:11] to new covenant baptism without mixing physical and spiritual realities in the process.” (p. 195)

    Covenantal Dichotomism

    This book is dividing into two parts. The first was the Fatal Flaw where the Paedobaptist Covenant Theology is examined and combated. The second part is dedicated to the study of continuity and discontinuity between the covenants of God.

    Part 2 is a very quick read containing small chapters exploring the connection between the various covenants of God. He focuses on the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic.

    Throughout his work (part 1 as well as part 2), Johnson tried to establish and make clear the distinction between Abraham’s twofold seed. So here he also shows and stresses that. It is crucial not apply those things which pertain to the fleshly seed of Abraham to the spiritual seed.

    I very much enjoyed the second part also. It was a quicker read, but nonetheless helpful and biblical.

    Johnson believes that the covenant with Abraham concerning the fleshly seed under which circumcision was included was a covenant of works. On the other hand the covenant concerning Abraham and his Seed was a covenant of grace as Abraham did not need to do anything. It was a covenant of grace, not the Covenant of Grace (as I seek to capitalize). The Abrahamic Covenant was both conditional and unconditional. It was unconditional for him. He did not do anything to earn such great promises by God, but his fleshly seed had to obey to receive the blessings.

    The Abrahamic Covenant had a dual nature and it depended from which perspective we looked upon it. “…I hold that God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 12 and 17 cannot be separated. I believe that these promises recorded in these two chapters are a part of the same covenant. However, the Abrahamic Covenan...

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

    Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

    In many ways this chapter is dependent upon the previous chapter about the Perseverance of the Saints and we concluded in the previous chapter that the doctrine is indeed biblical. If eternal security is biblical for those who are regenerate and have true faith, may we conclude that God is willing that they have assurance of salvation and have confidence that they will be with God forever? The answer of this chapter is “yes.” The most texts for the doctrine of perseverance at the same time are texts about the assurance that we are called to have in Scripture, therefore, I will reference the exegesis of the relevant texts, if necessary, in the previous chapter.

    §1 Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves

    1. Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed. 2
      1. Job 8:13, 14; Jer. 17:9; Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 18:10-14; John 8:41; Eph. 5:6-7; Gal. 6:3, 7-9[1]
      2. Rom. 5:2, 5; 8:16; 1 John 2:3; 3:14, 18-19, 24; 5:13; 2 Peter 1:10

    Temporary Believers

    The Confession starts first with a word of warning, namely, a warning about false believers. These false believers are said to be “temporary believers” and are “unregenerate men.” They do have assurance, but a vain and false assurance. The temporary believers are the seeds that fell on the rock in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:13). They fell away from their profession because they had no true faith in them which is by nature lasting (1John 2:19). Their faith was merely feel good and not borne out sincere love for God and hatred for sin (repentance). Nowhere does Holy Scripture call such a faith true faith, because it is not. True faith perseveres and justifies forever. We may compare these temporary believers to the people who used to go to church, heard the preaching of the Gospel in a manner which sounded good to them, they were called to come forward and repeat a prayer after the preacher. They did not know much about the faith, they had not been presented a clear and biblical Gospel and after repeating a prayer they were told that they were saved. Such people are told to “accept” Jesus into their hearts and pray (or better, repeat after the preacher) the Sinner's Prayer to be saved. They have no root, they have not been confronted with their sin, righteousness, and judgment. For all that we know they may have heard a false and vile prosperity message and told that God will make them happy, healthy and successful. These people profess to be believers for a while. They may even have assurance in them that they will go to heaven, but their assurance consists in, as the Confession says, "false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and state of salvation”. They look back to a card they signed, to a date and time, to the fact they repeated the Sinner's Prayer and etc., which true conversion and assurance does not consist in. They have been deceived and they deceive themselves with this false ...