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

Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator

What are the threefold offices of Christ? What does it mean that Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant? What is Christ's Active and Passive Obedience? Did Christ, by His death, atone for the sins of all mankind or only for His elect? What is 'limited' in 'Limited Atonement'? What about passages used against Limited Atonement?


§1 It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus

  1. It pleased God, 1 in His eternal purpose, 2 to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both, 3 to be the mediator between God and man; the prophetpriest, and king; head and saviour of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified. 5
    1. Isa. 42:1; John 3:16[1]
    2. 1Pet. 1:19-20
    3. Ps. 110:4; Heb. 7:21-22; Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 2:4-6
    4. 1 Tim. 2:5; Acts 3:22; Heb. 5:5-6; Ps. 2:6; Luke 1:33; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23; Heb. 1:2; Acts 17:31
    5. Rom. 8:30; John 17:6; Isa. 53:10; Ps. 22:30; 1 Tim. 2:6; Isa. 55:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:30

The only begotten Son was from all eternity chosen and ordained (Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 1:19-20) to be the mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5). This means that having Christ to be the Savior of sinners and the Incarnation were not afterthoughts in God. God did not plan them after the Fall of man, but set them in motion after the Fall. This choosing and ordaining of Christ as mediator was according to the covenant made between them both, i.e., the Covenant of Redemption (see chapter 7:2). Even before sin and before the world was, the Lord Jesus was to be the Savior of His people. The Confession goes on to name the threefold offices of Christ as prophet, priest, and king. He is also the head and savior of the church (Col. 1:18; Acts 5:31). The heir of all things (Heb. 1:2), Who will inherit everything and believers are co-heirs with Him (Rom. 8:16-17). He is also the One Who will judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2Tim. 4:1). All these offices and functions were agreed upon by the Persons of the Trinity even before the foundation of the world. God from all eternity gave a people to be His seed and to be by Him in time redeemed (John 17:2, 6; Isa. 53:10) and given all the blessings of redemption. All these considerations make the Fall a necessity within God's decree. For if there is no Fall, then it means that there is no sin and therefore, no need of a savior. But if Christ is said to be ordained as Savior even before the creation of the world, then this means that there will be sinners who will be saved by Him, which makes the Fall an important part of God's plan.


Christ the Elect

Our Confession states that the Lord Jesus was chosen, called and ordained by God to the office of the mediator. He was chosen by God for this office according to the Covenant of Redemption between them (see chapter 7 on the Covenant of Redemption). We said in chapter 7 that the Covenant of Redemption was the eternal covenant between the Persons of the Trinity, which laid out their roles in the self-glorification of God and the redemption of God’s elect. The Father was to elect a people and give them to the Son. The Son was to redeem the people whom the Father gave to Him. The Spirit was to apply the benefits of Son on their behalf to them and indwel...


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

... prosperity and peace, and all the other things which they expect, is not justified by the text of Revelation 20.

A greater problem still is the apostasy at the end of the Millennium. Those who will rebel against Christ and will go against the Church, their number is said to be “like the sand of the sea” (Rev. 20:8). While Christ is reining upon and over the earth in His glorified body, people, as much as the sand of the sea, are able to rebel against His reign. But that’s not the only problem, the chronological reading of chapters 19-20 seems to give support that the Millennium in chapter 20 is preceded by the Second Coming of Christ in Chapter 19. Well, if we read the Apocalypse in chronological order it may support that idea. But Chapter 19 describes a great and a total slaughter of unbelievers:

Rev. 19:17-21 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

Can somebody in all honesty tell me that “yes, there are a tons of unbelievers who will survive this great slaughter”? It is pretty clear to the unbiased reader that this describes the total destruction of all the wicked. The description is very exhausting. But here comes the Premillennial problem: where do the “their number is like the sand of the sea” rebels come from at the end of the Millennium? The only ones remaining alive after this great slaughter are said to be Christ and His army (Rev. 19:19). Therefore, it must be taught that believers will populate the earth and bring children who will be unbelievers under the physical and glorious reign of Christ, so that their number at the end of the Millennium is “like the sand of the sea.” And/Or one has to teach that it is possible to fall away from true and geniune faith.

I believe that 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 is a great passage for Amillennialism and a great passage against any form of Premillennialism. See here for a little more on this passage, but let it suffice to say that the passage teaches nothing of a Millennium, but more importantly to my purpose here, death is said to be the last enemy (v. 26). Christ will reign until He destroys the last enemy, moreover, Christ’s reign is described to be hostile in that it is said to be a reign whose purpose is to “put all his enemies under his feet” (v. 25). When we go further in this chapter, in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 Paul gives us a more detailed description of the coming of Christ and the Rapture. Verse 52 says, “the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed”: this is the Rapture which will happen just before the Millennium, according to Premillennialism, and after the Millennium accor...


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

...ws the Law of God and the Lawgiver and they are obligated to obey, their disobedience and rejection of the true God lead to their demise. The Ten Commandments sealed and made sure the Law that was given in the Garden to man. It did not leave “maybes” and “ifs.” It made certain what the Law of Creation was by summarizing it for us in stone. Because our nature is sinful, our conscience could at times approve of that which is wicked and condemn that which is good. But God left no “maybes” when He gave the Law on Sinai. For more see Chapter 19 on God's Law generally and this section, specifically.

Shadows & Types

One important aspect of Covenant Theology is the Christ-centered interpretation of Scripture, both in the Old and the New Testaments. If we believe that the whole Scripture testifies of Christ (Luke 24:27, 44; John 1:45; 5:39, 45-47; Acts 3:22-24; 10:43; 13:27-29) and His work, we must look for shadows and types (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 10:1). I want to provide such a section on all the covenants, answering the question: What does this covenant reveal about the New Covenant/Covenant of Grace, about Christ our Lord and about His people?

God Living With Man

In this covenant, we learn of the Creator God, Who is also the covenant Lord, committed to having a relationship with His image-bearers. But His image-bearers, after some time, chose to rebel rather than obey Him. This pictures every one of us and what we, even believers, so often do. This harmonious relationship, in which God walked among man (Gen. 3:8) in the Garden, was hindered by the Fall. Still, God was and is committed to living with man and we see the realization of this plan in the New Heavens and New Earth:

Rev. 21:1-3 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God

The harmony that existed before the Fall between God and man dwelling together is restored in the New Earth never to be broken again. What man ruined, God has renewed, restored and perfected.

Federal Headship

In this covenant, we also learn about Federal Headship, Adam's representations of all his descendants. He stands in the place of all his posterity. His obedience and disobedience affect the whole race, not only himself. In the New Testament, especially in Romans 5:12-21, this subject of the Federal Headship is taken up by Paul (as we briefly touched the subject). He not only speaks of Adam's headship but also of Christ's. Christ is the Head of the new humanity–the redeemed humanity in Him. We have received grace upon grace because of Him. Because of His obedience, because of His perfect work on our behalf. Because we are in Him, we, therefore share in His blessings. Read and study Romans 5:12-21. It's deep. Read more about Adam's Federal Headship in chapter 6.

The Seed

Right after the Fall, God displays awesome grace in not destroying and sending Adam and Eve straight to Hell for their rebellion, but in promising a Seed who would crush the serpent's head. Genesis 3:15 is what is called the proto-Evangelium. It is the first telling of the Gospel. It was promised by God to Adam and Eve. God promise...


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

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Chapter 19: Of the Law of God

Introduction

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

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

Defining Our Terms

Natural Law

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

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

Moral Law

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

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

And then Dr. Barcellos adds:

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


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary

...

The Second Commandment

Exod. 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

First of all, we have dealt with this commandment briefly in Chapter 19 on the Law of God (see here for that). What does this commandment concern itself with? In the simple, brief or basic form of the commandment, it says, “You shall not make yourself a carved image” or “You shall not have any idols.” The first commandment says “You shall have no other gods.” What is then the difference between the first and the second commandments? I believe the difference lies in this:

  1. The first commandment teaches us not to have any other god or object of worship other than the LORD God.
  2. While the second commandment teaches us how we are not to worship this one God.

It is here necessary to dispel the idea that we sometimes may have of the ancients. No one thought that the idol itself (i..e, the image) was the deity they're worshiping. Rather, the idolaters wanted to get to the deity through that dumb idol. Second, we need to reconsider the idolatry of the golden calf. It is often thought that Israel quickly went astray after others gods in that instance. But in actuality, that is not the case. They had clearly seen the power of God working among them. They were not so dumb as to quickly go after others gods. They knew that there is but one God and He had manifested Himself clearly to them. Well, what was their sin then? Their sin was to worship God through the golden calf! Israel tried to worship God in a way which He explicitly forbad in the Second Commandment, which was declared by God in their hearing. Aaron, who made the golden calf, said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD” (Ex. 32:5). That’s the Tetragrammaton! A feast to Yahweh, the true God. As to the “gods” in vv. 1 and 4, the word Elohim is plural even when speaking of the true God, therefore, its translation, among other things, is dependent on the context and the margins mention that it also can be translated “a god” and not “gods.” Support for seeing that it is speaking of a singular god is seen in Aaron’s declaration above. The feast is to be to Yahweh, and not to other false gods. They tried to worship Yahweh in a way which He clearly had forbad in the Second Commandment. They tried to make representations of Him, which He clearly forbad and His wrath was kindled against them. It is generally understood in the Reformed tradition that the Second Commandment has to do with worship. Therefore, the Westminster Larger Catechism says:

Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature: Whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any repr...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...000;"yet are they never destitute of the seed of God and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the meantime, they are preserved from utter despair.
  1. Heb. 6:11-12; 2 Peter 1:5-11
  2. Ps. 51:8, 12, 14; Eph. 4:30
  3. Ps. 30:7; 31:22; 77:7-8; 116:11
  4. Isa. 50:10
  5. 1 John 3:9; Luke 22:32; Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:5; Ps. 42:5, 11

Chapter 19: Of the Law of God [Return] [Commentary]

  1. God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience written in his heart, and a particular precept of not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.
    1. Gen. 1:27; Eccles. 7:29; Rom. 2:12a, 14-15
    2. Gen. 2:16-17
    3. Gen. 2:16-17; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10,12
  1. The same law that was first written in the heart of man continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the fall, and was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables, the four first containing our duty towards God, and the other six, our duty to man.
      1. 1st Commandment: Gen. 35:1-4; Exod. 18:11; Job 31:28; 42:1-2; Josh. 24:2
      2. 2nd Commandment: Gen. 35:1-4; Lev. 18:21, 27
      3. 3rd Commandment: Exod. 5:2; Lev. 18:21, 27; Job 2:9
      4. 4th Commandment: Gen. 2:2-3; Exod. 16; Gen. 7:4; 8:10, 12; Mark 2:27
      5. 5th Commandment, Gen. 3:17; 9:20-27; 37:10
      6. 6th Commandment: Gen. 4:3-15; John 8:44; Exod. 1:15-17; Job 24:14
      7. 7th Commandment: Gen. 12:17; 39:7-9; Lev. 18:20, 27; Job 24:15; 31:1
      8. 8th Commandment: Gen. 3:11; 30:33; 31:30-32; 40:15; 44:8-9; Job 24:14
      9. 9th Commandment: Gen. 3:4, 13-14; 12:11-13; 27:12; 29:25; Job 24:25; 27:4; 36:4; John 8:44
      10. 10th Commandment: Gen. 3:6; 6:2, 5; 13:10-11; Exod. 15:9-10; Job 31:1, 9-11
    1. Rom. 2:12a, 14-15
    2. Exod. 32:15-16; 34:4, 28; Deut. 10:4
  1. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties, all which ceremonial laws being appointed only to the time of reformation, are, by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only law-giver, who was furnished with power from the Father for that end abrogated and taken away.
    1. 1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Cor. 6:17; Jude 23
    2. Col. 2:14, 16-17; Eph. 2:14-16
    3. Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:16-17
  1. To them also he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution; their general equity only being of moral use.
    1. Luke 21:20-24; Acts 6:13-14; Heb. 9:18-19 with 8:7, 13; 9:10; 10:1
    2. 1 Cor. 5:1; 9:8-10
  1. The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.
    1. Matt. 19:16-22; Rom. 2:14-15; 3:19-20; 6:14; 7:6; 8:3; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; ...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 13: Of Sanctification - Commentary

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Chapter 13: Of Sanctification

Now that we were elected, called and justified we enter into the Christian life, which is one of growth in holiness with ups and downs. In this chapter, we will deal with the question concerning what sanctification is and what Scripture says about it.


§1 Through The Virtue Of Christ's Death And Resurrection, Are Also Farther Sanctified, Really And Personally

  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[1]
    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

Those who have been saved have a new heart and a new spirit created in them in accordance with the promise of the New Covenant (Ezek. 36:25-27). What this means is that they have a new nature and no longer are they enslaved by the old sinful nature inherited from Adam. This is all through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection. Christ's work is the basis that we have a new nature. After having this new nature created in them, they are farther sanctified, really and personally (1Thess. 5:13; Rom. 6:22). To be sanctified means to be set apart. If we are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit it means that we are being made more like Christ. This sanctification is through the same virtue as our receiving the new nature, i.e., by Christ's death and resurrection. The way that He sanctifies us is by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them (John 17:17; Rom. 8:13; Eph. 3:16-19; 5:26). Word and Spirit is also how He calls us to Himself (chapter 10:1). It is also how He keeps us for and to Himself. By this new nature and sanctification, the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed (Rom. 6:13-14). The dominion is destroyed, but sin is not yet uprooted. We are to fight. Several lusts of the flesh are more and more weakened and mortified (killed). Not only are we fighting and overcoming sin and temptation, but we are also progressing toward holiness in being more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving grace. This is so that we would practice all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). The Lord grants us holiness and calls us to holiness so that we would see Him.


United, Called and Regenerated

I refer the interested reader to the previous chapters where we dealt with these things. I lightly touched upon our union with Christ in chapter 8 paragraph 5 (see chapter 27, paragraph 1 for more detail). We dealt with the effectual call or Irresistible Grace in chapter 10 and Regeneration and Justification were dealt with in chapter 11.

Sanctification

The answer to question 35 "What is sanctification?" of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is as follows:

...

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 1: Of the Holy Scriptures - Commentary

...y for our spiritual growth. We need special revelation to know the will of God more certainly and more clearly. Certainly, we know the law of God by virtue of us being made in the Imago Dei, and therefore, we know some things concerning the will of God and right and wrong. But as we noted above, just like general revelation has been corrupted through the Fall, so likewise our perception of the moral law is corrupted and not clear. Therefore, it pleased God to reveal His perfect law to us in the Bible with words, so that His people would more clearly know what He said and what He meant (see Chapter 19). The Scripture is necessary for us as Christians because it is our spiritual food. Our Master, as the God-Man, repeatedly appealed and relied on Scripture, how much more should we? When tempted by Satan, the Lord famously said:

Matt. 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Notice that even in upholding the necessity and authority of Scripture, the Lord Christ appeals to Scripture (Deut. 8:3). We do not truly live by physical bread and food alone, but we are to live by every word of God. Notice how the Scripture is here described. It is said to be “word[s] that comes from the mouth of God.” It has its origin with the God of the world and it is Him speaking by His mouth to us. We are to feed and live on this Word. The Lord does not say that we should feast on the Word, implying that we read and study it occasionally. But the Word ought to be like bread to us—every day’s food. We are to read and study Scripture daily so as to grow in our faith and in our relationship with God.

In 1 Peter 1:23-2:2, the Apostle Peter speaks about the “imperishable…[and]…the living and abiding word of God” (v. 23), which “remains forever” (v. 25; cf. Isa. 40:8) and which is “the good news that was preached to you” (v. 25). He goes on in chapter 2 to speak of us as “newborn infants” who “long for the pure spiritual milk” (2:2), which is the word of the Lord about which he is writing. Just like newborns cannot survive without the milk of their mothers, in the same way, Christians are dependent upon the Word of God.

The subject of mediation and delight of the Psalmist is “the law of the LORD” (Ps. 1:2). He does not occasionally think about the Word of God, rather, “he meditates day and night” on the Word of God. It is an essential part of his life. It is the light in which he walks (Ps. 119:105). He stores up God’s Word in his heart and has the desire to learn more from God (Ps. 119:11-12, 18, 20). His delight is in God’s Word (Ps. 119:16) and on it he meditates (Ps. 119:15, 23, 27, 48, 78, 148). And so goes the 119th Psalm praising God for giving us His Law and His Word as a guide and self-revelation. A Christian cannot be spiritually healthy without the Word of God.

Although general revelation reveals that there is a God, yet it is not enough to save us. General revelation condemns. That’s why special revelation is necessary for salvation and special revelation inscripturated in Holy Writ is necessary for Christian discipleship and spiritual growth.

Scripture Is The Self-Revelation Of God

The Scripture is the Word of God, which is our ultimate standard in all matters. It is the self-revelation of God to us. It is to be trusted, cherished, studied and obeyed. In the Scriptures, we have the God of the Universe speaking to us in human words, so that...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 9: Of Free Will - Commentary

... has no power to forgive, but it condemns all who do not obey it (Gal. 3:10). Rather, he says that the law actually brings the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20; 7:7). The law is not the problem; sin is the problem (Rom. 7:8), which uses the “holy and righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12) commandments to produce sin in us. Where there is no law, there is no sin (Rom. 5:13) because sin is lawlessness (1John 3:4), but all are indeed under the law either the one written on stone or on the conscience (Rom. 2:12-15; see Chapter 19). Sin has no power without the law (Rom. 7:8), but since we were under the law as a covenant of works (i.e., in the State of Sin), sin reigned over us and used even the good and holy to produce more sin and impurity. Thus Paul says that in a sense he was alive or unaware of his sin apart from the law, but when he understood the requirements of the law, he died (Rom. 7:9-11).

The problem of why the law is ineffective to bring life and sanctification to a person under the State of Sin is because the law is spiritual (Rom. 7:14). It is not designed to produce life and sanctification in the lives of those under sin, but only condemnation and fear. For the law to produce righteousness and sanctification, its subject must be those who are spiritual (Col. 2:13-15). Spiritual does not mean non-physical, but rather a person who is led by the Holy Spirit. This is indeed the promise of the New Covenant in which God promises that He will cause us to obey and delight in the law (Ezek. 36:25-27; Jer. 31:31-34). But the problem is that corruption still remains in us and we still sin (Rom. 7:14). Now we come to the controversial aspect of this chapter. The commentators are divided whether v. 14 and following refers to Paul in the present or in the past. I believe that it refers to Paul in the present, i.e., when he is regenerated and under grace and not law. I believe that this is the case because of the following reasons:

  • Paul speaks in the present tense and does not speak in the past tense. That is a bit strange if he was describing a time before his conversion, while he does speak in the past tense about his conversion (Rom. 7:5, 7, 9).
  • When he sins he calls that “the very thing that I hate” (Rom. 7:15). How is it possible for an unregenerate person to hate his sin? Everything that an unregenerate person does is sin (Rom. 6:20; 14:23).
  • There is a struggle between his desires (Rom. 7:16), which would not be there if he was under the dominion of sin and condemnation of the law (Gal. 5:18-21).
  • He has desires for what is right but does not the ability to carry it out (Rom. 7:17-20). He wishes he would do the good, but sin seduces him. Can this be said of the unregenerate?
  • He delights in the law of God in his inner being, in his spirit (Rom. 7:22). Is this a description consistent with an unregenerate man?

Those are the reason I believe that Paul is speaking of his present experience as a Christian. That would not be a problem if we do not expect the apostles to be perfect. The whole human race is sinful, Christian or not Christian. But the one is freed from the dominion of sin; the other still walk in it. Paul describes a struggle of desires in himself. He does not understand some things that he does. He sometimes does the sin which he hates and then does not understand why he did that. Many of us can concur. When we sin it seems to us at that present time to be nothing, but once we realize what we have done we look...