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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

...tion as a mere ordinal in a simple process of counting objects identical in kind. In fact, precisely the reverse is true in all three passages; in each case it is a matter of different kinds, indeed, of polar opposites. Whatever idea of priority still attaches to protos in these passages, it is thoroughly subordinated in all of them to the function of expressing in combination with an antonym (“new,” “second,” or “last”) a sharp antithesis.[35]

We have no reason to believe that this way of contrast and antithesis is changed from CHAPTER 21 to 20. We have every reason to believe that it is so because even Premillennialists admit that the Millennial Reign of Christ happens prior to the Eternal State, and therefore belongs to the “old” and “former” things. If that earthly Millennial reign belongs to the present world, the use of “first” and “second” in the same passage (Rev. 20:5-6) becomes very interesting as those words are also found in CHAPTER 21 (Rev. 21:1, 4, 5, 8). Therefore, seeing that these things do not merely speak about sequence, but rather quality and antithesis, we believe that the First Resurrection belongs to this side of eternity in Heaven, while the second resurrection is the general resurrection of all the dead. The First Death is the physical death which is shared by all people (except those at the time of the Rapture), which believer are not exempt from. The First Death ushers the believer into a new existence as they reign with Christ in Heaven, while it ushers the unbeliever into conscious disembodied torment, waiting until the resurrection and judgment of the last day. We conclude with the words of Vern Poythress who writes:

As the second death implicitly includes and accompanies an act of bodily resurrection, so the first resurrection implicitly includes and accompanies bodily death. We find an allusion to just this bodily death in 20:4, the souls of those who had been beheaded. The phrase refers to those who have suffered martyrdom for not worshiping the Beast. These are now disembodied souls living in the presence of God and of Christ, as represented in 6:9-10. The important thing to see is that these souls are living, triumphant, because of their union with Christ and victory through his blood (12:11).[33] [emphasis original]

Blessed and Holy

Because of these things believers are blessed when they die. Revelation 14:13 says:

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

They are blessed because they rest from their sins and persecution and they are reigning with Christ. They have the fulfillment of the promise made to them in Revelation 2:26; 3:21. Their rest does not imply that they are inactive or that they are not reigning. Meredith Kline writes that “the biblical concept of sabbath rest includes enthronement after the completion of labors by which royal dominion is manifested or secured (cf., e.g. Isa. 66:1).”[35] The Church is also told by the Savior to “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10-11). The believers will receive this crown after their death. Moreover, as Revelation 20:6 says in connection with the Millennium:

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

... #ffd700;"gospel be the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and is, as such, abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are dead in trespasses may be born again, quickened or regenerated, there is moreover necessary an effectual insuperable work of the Holy Spirit upon the whole soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual life; without which no other means will effect their conversion unto God.
  1. Ps 110:3; 1 Cor 2:14; Rom. 1:16-17
  2. John 6:44; 1 Cor. 1:22-24; 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4, 6

CHAPTER 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience [Return] [Commentary]

  1. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel, consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the rigour and curse of the law, and in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the fear and sting of death, the victory of the grave, and ever- lasting damnation: as also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto Him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind.
    All which were common also to believers under the law for the substance of them; but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of a ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected, and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.
    1. John 3:36; Rom. 8:33; Gal. 3:13
    2. Gal. 1:4; Eph. 2:1-3; Col. 1:13; Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:14-18; 8:3
    3. Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; 1 Thess. 1:10; Heb. 2:14-15
    4. Eph. 2:18; 3:12; Rom. 8:15; 1 John 4:18
    5. John 8:32; Ps. 19:7-9; 119:14, 24, 45, 47, 48, 72, 97; Rom. 4:5-11; Gal. 3:9; Heb. 11:27, 33-34
    6. John 1:17; Heb. 1:1-2a;7:19, 22; 8:6, 9:23, 11:40; Gal. 2:11f.; 4:1-3; Col 2:16-17; Heb. 10:19-21; John 7:38-39
  1. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also.
    1. James 4:12; Rom. 14:4; Gal. 5:1
    2. Acts 4:19; 5:29; 1 Cor. 7:23; Matt. 15:9
    3. Col. 2:20, 22-23; Gal. 1:10; 2:3-5; 5:1
    4. Rom. 10:17; 14:23; Acts 17:11; John 4:22; 1 Cor 3:5; 2 Cor 1:24
  1. They who upon pretence of Christian liberty do practice any sin, or cherish any sinful lust, as they do thereby pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction, so they wholly destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righeousness before Him, all the days of our lives.
    1. Rom. 6:1-2
    2. Luke 1:74-75; Rom. 14:9; Gal. 5:13; 2 Peter 2:18, 21

Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day [Return] [Commentary]

  1. The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the mig...

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 1: Of the Holy Scriptures - Commentary

...We may indeed be corrected in our interpretation of Scripture by these things, but Scripture is not judged or corrected by them. If, in the writings of men we find things for which we see no warrant in the infallible Word, we are not bound to believe these. But if in the Word we find doctrines which we don’t want to believe, we are sinning and are disobeying God Whose Word Scripture is. Sola Scriptura teaches that the Bible alone can bind the conscious to obedience, since it alone is the Word of God, and God alone is the Lord of the conscious (see CHAPTER 21).

On the other hand, Roman Catholics believe that sacred tradition and Scripture share the same authority. That’s why these can believe unbiblical doctrines and practice unbiblical things as prayers to the dead, infant baptism, penance, the assumption of Mary, the ever-virginity of Mary, Mary as Queen of Heaven, Popery, infallibility of the Pope, Purgatory and the list goes on, which have no warrant in Scripture, but they find in “Sacred Tradition.” Lest I be accused of misrepresenting them, here are a few statements from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. First, they say that they have the same source:

"Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".[11]

Sacred Tradition is described to be divine and together with the Holy Scripture “to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.” I beg to differ. You would be hard-pressed to find a single passage in Scripture which attributes the things attributed to Scripture to “Sacred Tradition.” It is interesting at this point to note, that it was Sola Scriptura, dependence upon the Scripture alone as the highest authority, which ignited the Reformation. Scripture and Sacred Tradition allows the Roman Catholic Church to bind the consciousness of men with man-made doctrines, which the Holy Scriptures know nothing about. But since it is the assertion of the Roman Catholic Church that both Scripture and Tradition have the same divine source, then it is reasonable to assume that Tradition is to be obeyed also. Our problem really is that tradition is nowhere described in such a way in the only special revelation of God—the Bible, therefore, “Sacred Tradition” is not of God. Moreover, this “Sacred Tradition” is binding only as interpreted and explained by the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, basically, they accept as tradition what accords with their doctrine and deny that which disagrees with them. The words of Jesus to the Pharisees come to mind, "in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7-8). And by teaching the tradition of men they make “void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down” (Mark 7:13). Since Scripture is not the sole and final authority for the Roman Catholic Church, they can teach their false doctrine as authoritative and as binding upon the consciousness of their members, without any warrant from Holy Writ. In this way, by teaching “Sacred Tradition” and attributing to “Sacred Tradition” the same things as attributed to Scripture,...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 16: Of Good Works - Commentary

... says, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Matt. 15:8-9 from Isa. 29:13). From this passage, we learn that whenever we add things to the Lord's commandments and teach them as if they were the Lord's, we dishonor Him and worship Him falsely. Therefore, the Confession is explicit that “Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his Holy Word”, so that only God would be the Lord of the conscience (see also CHAPTER 21 on the liberty of the conscious).

It is God who teaches us through His will “what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). And it is God who is and determines the criteria of what good works constitute. It is His holy character as revealed in His Word. It is also God who works in us His good works. We cannot really do any good works which are pleasing in His sight without His will and direction.  That's why Paul tells us that “...it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). The Holy Spirit in Hebrews 13:21 tells us that it is God who “equip[s] you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight”. The glory of the New Covenant is the fact that we have God's Law on our hearts and given the ability by the Spirit to obey God from the heart (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:25-27). In fact, God has created us believers and predestined us from all eternity that we should walk in good works (Eph. 2:10).

Therefore, good works, first of all, are commanded by God and derived from His Law, and moreover, they are brought forth by God in us. It is God who is the measure of what is good. Whatever reflects His holy character is good, and whatever does not, is evil. He is the standard. It is written, “...the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed” (1Sam. 2:3).

2Tim 3:6-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Performed In Faith

For works to be truly “good” in God's sight, they have to be done in faith. Romans 14:23 tells us “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Therefore, anything that is not done in and through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord, is sin and not really a “good work” in the sight of God. Even if a billionaire would donate all his money and give it to the poor, strictly in God's eyes that would not be a good work because it lacked a crucial component, namely, good works are to be performed through faith in Jesus Christ.

We perform our works in thankfulness to God for our identity in Christ and that we are able through faith to please God (Heb. 11:6). We don't perform them thinking that we are better than others, or that God will love us more, but we perform them to the glory of God and to display His goodness to us. If our faith is really living, then it will inevitably produce good works. Paul speaks of the Thessalonians’ “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thess. 1:3). They did good while believing and hoping in the Lord Jesus Christ. Their works came as a result and were supported by their living faith. In his second letter Paul says:

2Thess 1:11-12 To this end...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience - Commentary

...

CHAPTER 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

Are Christians free? How are Christians free? What does this liberty consist in? Are we free to sin?


§1 The Liberty Which Christ Hath Purchased For Believers Under The Gospel

  1. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel, consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the rigour and curse of the law, and in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, 2 from the evil of afflictions, the fear and sting of death, the victory of the grave, and ever- lasting damnation: 3 as also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto Him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind. 4
    All which were common also to believers under the law for the substance of them; but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of a ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected, and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of. 6
    1. John 3:36; Rom. 8:33; Gal. 3:13[1]
    2. Gal. 1:4; Eph. 2:1-3; Col. 1:13; Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:14-18; 8:3
    3. Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; 1 Thess. 1:10; Heb. 2:14-15
    4. Eph. 2:18; 3:12; Rom. 8:15; 1 John 4:18
    5. John 8:32; Ps. 19:7-9; 119:14, 24, 45, 47, 48, 72, 97; Rom. 4:5-11; Gal. 3:9; Heb. 11:27, 33-34
    6. John 1:17; Heb. 1:1-2a;7:19, 22; 8:6, 9:23, 11:40; Gal. 2:11f.; 4:1-3; Col 2:16-17; Heb. 10:19-21; John 7:38-39

The Children Of God Are Freed From

Oh, brothers and sisters, how thankful should we be to our Lord for the many liberties which He has blessed us with as His children. The Confession mentions ten things which we have been freed from. As His children and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are slaves to no one, but God. Paradoxically, true freedom comes from slavery to none other than Christ. We belong to Him and we are called to walk in freedom (Gal. 5:1). We are under grace and are free, but our freedom does not consist in doing our own will, but the will of the Father and seeking His good pleasure. We were called out of the bondage of sin to walk in the freedom of God and the Gospel.

1. The guilt of sin

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Before The Throne of God Above, verse 2.

Christ, our precious Lord and Savior, makes an end of our sin and thereby also end of the guilt of sin. The guilt of sin does not only consist in the psychological terror of breaking God’s Law, but also the moral culpability and responsibility for breaking His Law, for sin is the breaking and transgressing of His Law (1John 3:4 KJV). Christ, our High Priest, “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26) and thereby made also an end to the condemnation and punishment of sin for His people. Romans 8:1 declares that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Why? Because of His sacrificial work on their behalf. He has satisfied the wrath of God on their behalf and has been punished according to the demand of the law in place of His elect (Rom....