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"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards

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

...li
  • Isa. 53:9; Luke 1:35; John 8:46; 14:30; Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22; 1 John 3:5
  • Rom. 1:3-4; 9:5
  • See point 1 above
  • Acts 2:22; 13:38; 17:31; 1 Cor. 15:21; 1 Tim. 2:5
  • Rom. 1:3-4; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-11
  • The Son of God is very and eternal God (e.g., John 1:1; 20:28; Rom. 9:5). He is God from all eternity. He is one substance and equal with (Phil. 2:6; John 5:18) God the Father and the Holy Spirit (see Chapter 2). He made the world (John 1:3) and furthermore, He upholdeth and governeth all things he hath made (Heb. 1:3). He does not only create, but also preserve all that He has made and lead them to their predetermined end. This eternal and blessed God, when the fullness of time was come (Gal. 4:4), took upon Him man’s nature (Phil. 2:6-7; Heb. 2:14; 4:15). This is the miracle and wonder of the Incarnation. He truly became man and was not half man and half God. He took human nature with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, except for sin (Heb. 4:15), for that is not an essential property of human nature (Heb. 2:14). Sin is a distortion of human nature as it was created by God. He took upon Himself all things which make humans human and including our limitations. These things were perfectly present in the Lord Jesus Who is God and man.

    The Lord Jesus in His nature was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:35). His human life had a beginning in time 2000 years ago. But His divine nature is without beginning. Furthermore, His conception was not a human work, but a divine miracle by the Holy Spirit. He was not born by “ordinary generation” (chapter 6:3). In this way, the promise of the Protoevangelium was fulfilled in the birth of the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15). He was from Judah (Gen. 49:10), of the seed of Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 22:18; Gal. 3:16) and David (2Sam. 7:12-16; Rom. 1:3), as the Scriptures promised and taught. His divine nature, as well as His human nature, is perfect. They are distinct and inseparably joined together in one person. Jesus does not have a divine person and a human person. Rather, He is one person with two distinct natures. Then the Confession goes on to explain what this joining of the two distinct natures is not. It is not the conversion of one nature to something else. It is not the composition (adding, combining) of two natures into one, thus creating something new. Nor is it the confusion (fusing, mixing) of the natures. The Lord Jesus is one person Who is very God and very man. He is truly God and truly man. Nonetheless, there is but one Christ. There is not a human Christ and a divine Christ. There is only one Christ Who is both divine and human. Therefore, He is the only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), being able to represent both parties.


    The Son of God, Eternal God

    The Son of God is God from all eternity, in and of Himself. His deity is not derived or dependent upon the Father or the Spirit. Each Person of the blessed Trinity is divine in and of Himself. The Son has been God forever, see for example John 1:1, 14; 17:5; Isaiah 9:6. See also our discussion of the Trinity in Chapter 2 of the Confession.

    The Brightness of the Father’s glory

    The Lord Jesus is the physical representation of God. Truly, to see Him was the same as to see God the Father (John 14:9-10). He is described as the One Who has “exegeted” the Father to us (John 1:18). Hebrews 1:3 describes Him as the “radiance o...


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

    ... is different in His being than man. Even before the Fall, this distance was so great. Paragraph 1 does not only speak of covenants in general but specifically of the first covenant—the Covenant of Works with Adam. All reasonable creatures owe obedience to Him because He is their creator (Luke 10:17; Rom. 1:23-25). They must honor and worship Him because He created them and caused them to be (see Chapter 2:2). They owe Him obedience and worship, but even in their innocence, they could never have attained the reward of life. This is in reference to the Adamic Covenant of Works which promised life upon perfect obedience. Even in the original Covenant of Works, God promised this reward of life by some voluntary condescension. This voluntary condescension to communicate with man and promise Him rewards God has expressed by way of covenant. In other words, a covenant made by God is His way of communicating with us, giving us rewards for obedience and punishments for disobedience. We, by nature, owe Him obedience, therefore, there is no reason for Him to reward our obedience. If He rewards our obedience then it must be upon another ground. This other ground is by way of covenant.


    Introduction to Covenant Theology

    Covenant theology (also known as Covenantalism, Federal theology, or Federalism) is a Calvinist conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible. It uses the theological concept of covenant as an organizing principle for Christian theology. The standard description of covenant theology views the history of God’s dealings with mankind, from Creation to Fall to Redemption to Consummation, under the framework of the three overarching theological covenants of redemption, works, and grace.[2]

    Covenant Theology helps us to see the story of the whole Bible. Covenant Theology unites the people of God and their purpose. Covenant Theology believes that covenant is the framework by which the Bible is understood and which God has established to achieve His purpose with the world. Covenant Theology is opposed to Dispensationalism, which seeks to divide the people of God, their purpose and focuses on the discontinuity of the covenants (for Dispensationalism in connection with eschatology, see here). Dispensationalism teaches that redemptive history is divided by dispensations (times), while Covenant Theology believes that redemptive history is divided by covenants. In this chapter, I will try to lay out how I understand 1689 Baptist Covenant Theology and make a case for it from Holy Writ. I’ve been greatly helped by the following books and men:

    I don’t pretend to ...


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

    ...er light of the written law, which cannot be wounded and seared like our consciences. When we sin without knowing the written moral law continually, we even distort our conscience to approve of that which is unlawful. Even our conscience is tainted by sin and is not exempt from corruption. Therefore, there is a greater knowledge of sins being “counted” or “charged” when there is a written moral law. But, the second sense is much greater and to the point of the passage. b) The passage speaks of something in the hypothetical: if there was no moral law, then people would not be judged according to their sins. But based on what he established in Chapter 2, the apostle teaches that all have access to the moral law of God, therefore this refers to a hypothetical and not the actual situation. Furthermore, the apostle, in the same passage at hand, acknowledges that all in Adam die. But why do they die? They die because we all sinned in Adam and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Death came from sin. But what is sin? As 1 John 3:4 says, sin is lawlessness or “the transgression of the law” (KJV). To sin is to disobey the law and to break it. But if sin did exist before the giving of the Mosaic Law to Israel, then this necessarily implies the existence of the moral law, which was transgressed before Moses. If the effects of sin were present before Moses, how can sin then not be imputed? It certainly was imputed and it was severely punished by God, just think of the Flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah.

    3. “Sin is not counted where there is no law” is a truism just like “sin is the transgression of the law.” The apostle does not, in fact, say that there was absolutely no law before Moses, but rather he clearly has in mind the whole law of Moses (moral, ceremonial and civil), which was not given before Moses. He goes on in v. 14 to yet again confirm the effects of sin upon the world before Moses and thereby again establish the moral law.

    4. To conclude, we have in this passage and from this idea, namely—that the existence of sin presupposes the existence of the moral law of which sin is the transgression—that the moral law did pre-exist Moses and is known by all men, whether in written form or from their conscience. God did, in fact, punish sin before Moses, therefore this proves that even without the written revelation of God people did sin and violate God’s law and brought God’s judgment upon themselves. Therefore, there is certainly “a law of universal obedience written in [our] heart” which God demands that we obey and every falling short to obey that law is a transgression and sin.

    The Threefold Division Of The Law

    This is an awkward place to argue for it, but I must, since the Confession goes on in the following three paragraphs to talk about the moral, ceremonial and judicial law. Basically, the threefold division of the law stresses the superiority of the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments above the ceremonial and judicial/civil, which were abrogated and fulfilled by the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord of Glory. I have benefited from:

    It has been a classic Christian doctrine to divide the Law of Moses or...


    John Owen's Case For Particular Atonement

    .../strong (slightly edited by me):

    1. From the fact that the new covenant, which Christ’s death ratified, is not made with all men (chapter 1).
    2. From the fact that the gospel, which reveals faith in Christ to be the only way of salvation, is not published to all men (chapter 1).
    3. From the dilemmas involved in asserting that the divine intention in Christ’ death was to redeem every man (Chapter 2).
    4. From the fact that Christ is said to die for one of the two classes (elect and reprobate) into which God divided men, and not for the other (Chapter 2).
    5. From the fact that Scripture nowhere asserts that Christ dies for all men, as such (Chapter 2).
    6. From the fact that Christ died as sponsor (surety) for those for whom He died (chapter 3).
    7. From the fact that Christ is a Mediator, and as such a priest, for those for whom He died (chapter 3).
    8. From the fact that Christ’s death cleanses and sanctifies those for whom He died, whereas not all men and sanctified (chapter 3).
    9. From the fact that faith (which is necessary for salvation) was procured by the death of Christ, whereas not all men have faith (chapter 4).
    10. From the fact that the deliverance of Israel from Egypt is a type of Christ’s saving work (chapter 4).

    The next five arguments form a group on their own. They have a common form and are all taken from the biblical terms in which Christ’s work is described.

    1. (i). From the fact that Christ’s death wrought redemption (deliverance by payment) (chapter 5).
    2. (ii). From the fact that Christ’s death effected reconciliation between God and men (chapter 6).
    3. (iii). From the fact that Christ’s death made satisfaction for sins (chapter 7, 8, 9).
    4. (iv). From the fact that Christ’s death merited salvation for men (chapter 10).
    5. (v). From the fact that Christ died for men (chapter 10).
    6. From particular texts: Gen. 3:15: Matt. 7:33; 11:25; John 10:11ff.; Rom. 8:32-34; Eph. 1:7; 2 Cor. 5:21; John 17:9; Eph. 5:25 (chapter 11).

    These are great chapters, especially chapters XI-XV, which deal with important essential benefits of Christ's death in some detail as they retain to the subject of atonement. I'd like to take a quick look at a few of his arguments.

    The New Covenant (Arg. I)

    The Covenant of Grace, i.e., the New Covenant according to 1689 Federalism, is made only with the elect (see chapter 7 for more on Covenant Theology). If that is truly the case, then we have a problem with universal atonement. For more see chapter 7 on Jeremiah 31:31-34; chapter 17 here and here.

    Owen's basic argument is as follows:

    The first argument may be taken from the nature of the covenant of grace, which was established, ratified, and confirmed in and by the death of Christ; that was the testament whereof he was the testator, which was ratified in his death, and whence his blood is called “The blood of the new testament,” Matt. 26:28. Neither can any effects thereof be extended beyond the compass of this covenant. But now this covenant was not made universally with all, but particularly only with some, and therefore those alone were intended in the benefits of the death of Christ.[16] (Book III, chapter 1)

    The Two Classes of Men (Arg. IV)

    Owen's argument here is that since the Bible separates people into two categories, namely, believers and unbelievers, and various other designations of the groups, therefore, when Christ is said to die for one, it is implicit that He did not die for the other. In his own words:

    ...

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

    ...man cannot bring himself to accept such a doctrine, yet the child of God who believes this precious doctrine loves it magnifies the Lord through it and finds his rest in it. The Confession is clearly and unashamedly Calvinistic in its view of the absolute, free, irresistible, micro-managing sovereignty of God. Every molecule moves the way it does because God from all eternity has willed that it be so. From eternity past to eternity future nothing will occur to the mind of God which He didn’t already know and ordain. He possesses all knowledge, actual and possible (Chapter 2:2). The Confession doesn’t go into the Hyper-Calvinistic error of disregarding man’s will and responsibility, but rather affirms that the liberty of second cause agents (men) are established because of God’s decree. The liberty here discussed is obviously not the mythical libertarian free will. There is no such thing as libertarian free will. Libertarian free will says that one can go against all inclination and nature, which is impossible and ridiculous. Jonathan Edwards, in his The Freedom of the Will, shows the absurdity and impossibility of such a will. Rather, moral agency or free will, biblically defined, would be the freedom to do whatever one desires. The Bible speaks about a limitation upon the desires and inclinations of the natural man; this limitation is our sinful natures from which sinful actions are born. See !--cke_bookmark_600S--!--cke_bookmark_600E--chapter 9 for our discussion of man’s free will, moral inability, moral necessity, and libertarian free will.

    God orders every event in such a way that He is sovereign over every step, yet at the same time, the second cause agent is not being coerced to do anything against their desire, but out their own desires and freedom carries whatever God has from all eternity decreed. We may not understand how this is done, but I believe that such is the testimony of Scripture. It is not for me to understand how the two work together, rather, it is for me to believe that it is such if I see both in Holy Writ. On a personal level, there is no truth that I cherish more than knowing the Triune God and knowing Him as the only Sovereign. It is not merely “in the head” doctrine, but it is a doctrine that I praise God for, cherish and find comfort in daily.

    Some years ago, I came across the Doctrines of Grace through the Facebook page called Reformed Memes Daily and I remember seeing something from Romans 9:18. I was amazed that the Bible had such things to say and wanted to study this issue. Apparently, I had not read that passage before. It was not easy, but I promised God that I would believe anything that His Word teaches, no matter how painful. Through my study, I tried to collect as many verses as possible in regard to God’s sovereignty as are relevant and that I could find from daily Bible reading and other books. More about my journey can be read here. The document where I put these verses was the reason that this website was made; it is found here.

    What I will seek to provide below is a case for God’s absolute control of everything, thus justifying paragraph 1 of this chapter. Here we will touch on issues that are relevant to chapter 5 (Of God’s Providence), but we will direct the interested reader from chapter 5 back to paragraph 1 of chapter 3. Under the section General Sovereignty, I will deal with texts which speak of God’s sovereignty over history and His counsel. Under Particular Sovereignty, I wi...


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

    ...sus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

    We cannot disconnect this passage from the whole context of Chapter 2. The apostle is speaking throughout the chapter about the false teachers from the church. Beginning with the fact that they brought destructive heresies, so great that they even denied “the Master who bought them” and thereby “bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” See chapter 8 on my interpretation of this difficult passage when brought up against Definite Redemption, but the interpretation works also against the idea that these people were once true Christians. He goes on and on in describing them and telling the faithful that their destruction is certain and judgment is coming upon them. Then comes our passage.

    Herein Peter describes them as people who had at one time “escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. Does this mean that they were regenerate? I don’t think so. Peter himself is against any such idea that God could lose any of His elect (see 1 Pet. 1:3-5 above) and other passages that we discussed. Rather, the idea given is that through the false teachers’ involvement with the community of believers they had learned what the godly way of living is. When you find yourself at church and with the community of believers, even if you’re an unbeliever you will learn to do and not do certain things. The community of believers is a safe place where godliness is practiced and the “defilements of the world” are shunned. These persons in v. 20 have, through their involvement with the believing community, escaped those things, but they were not internally changed. They are “slaves of corruption” and overcome by corruption who promise lies (2 Pet. 2:20).

    In their last state, i.e., after denying their once-held profession, their situation is worse for now they have seen how we ought to live, they had heard the Word of God and it speaks about how we should live godly lives. They had seen the power of God in the church and are rejecting it. They now know the way of righteousness, but reject it. Therefore, their judgment is much harsher, because their knowledge is much greater of what is right and what is wrong (see Luke 12:47-48). They would have received a lighter punishment if they were ignorant of biblical teaching and Christ, but as they were living in the community of believers and hearing the Word of God, they have greater knowledge than someone who hasn’t heard of Christ, therefore, they will receive a severe beating. As the dog returns to its vomit, so likewise these people are returning to “the defilements of the world” and are being overcome by sin. This passage doesn’t prove that they once were truly believing, for if they were truly believing they would have remained (1 John 2:19).


    §2 This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will

    1. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy...

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

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    Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

    How are we to worship God? What is the Regulative Principle? Is it taught in the Scriptures? What are the elements of worship? What are circumstances? Are we only to sing the Psalms? Can we use musical instruments in public worship? 

    Is there a specific day of worship? What is the Sabbath? Which day is it? When was it first instituted? How is it that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath? Where does Scripture teach the change of the day? What about Romans 14:5-6; Galatians 4:9-11; Colossians 2:16-17? Don’t these passages teach the abrogation of the Sabbath? How is the Sabbath to be kept?


    §1 The Regulative Principle Of Worship

    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 might. 1 But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. 2
      1. Jer. 10:7; Mark 12:33[1]
      2. Gen. 4:1-5; Exod. 20:4-6; Matt. 15:3, 8-9; 2 Kings 16:10-18; Lev. 10:1-3; Deut. 17:3; 4:2; 12:29-32; Josh. 1:7; 23:6-8; Matt. 15:13; Col. 2:20-23; 2 Tim. 3:15-17

    The light of nature or natural revelation as we call it shows that there is a God, Who hath lordship and sovereignty over all (Rom. 1:19-23). That there is a God, no one will be able to deny when they stand before God. Both creation and the Creator testify to God. This is basic Romans 1. Furthermore, this God is just, good and doth good unto all (Ps. 145:9) as evidenced by the things which we have and receive. Therefore, He is to be worshiped and served with the whole of our being. Yet He is not to be worshiped as we like. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by Himself (Ex. 20:4-6; Deut. 4:2; 12:29-32). It is God Who determines how He is to be worshiped. This acceptable way is limited by His revealed will, i.e., Holy Scripture. The unacceptable way of worshipping God as according to the imagination and devices of men (Acts 17:29; Col. 2:23), the suggestions of Satanvisible representations (Ex. 20:4-6) and any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures (Lev. 10:1-3) is abominable to God and He is not pleased with it. God is not to be worshiped as we think He would like to be worship. Why should we think of ways of worshipping Him when He has revealed how He desires to be worshiped? Neither is He to be worshiped through or by any visible representations. This excludes all images and statues of the persons of the Godhead as well as the saints who according to Roman Catholic theology can act as intercessors between us and God/Jesus. The most important aspect of what is called the Regulative Principle of Worship is expressed in the last clause: any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. Not only is He to be worshiped according to His revealed will, but He is not to be worshiped through that which He has not revealed. If it is not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures, it should not be an element of His worship. If it is prescribed in the Holy Scriptures, it should.


    There Is A God

    Creation testifies to everyone w...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

    ...entary/1049"chapter 30), we come to remember what Christ the Lord has done for our salvation. He died on the cross to take away our sin from us and give us His righteousness. He left us a sign and a remembrance of His offer on the cross. As we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we are then spiritually and by faith communing with the living Christ. It is not possible to commune with the living Christ through faith, and yet our faith still remain the same. As we learn to sit at His table, so we will also learn to delight in Him and thus grow in our faith. In baptism (Chapter 29), we declare that we are unashamed followers of the Lord Christ. We make it our aim to obey and please Him by doing that which He commanded. Obedience to His commands obviously increases our faith. We do not want to be hearers only, but doers of His Word, doing what He says and trusting in His promises.

    As we have communion with the saints and hear about what God is doing in their lives, we are encouraged and moved to bless and praise God for His graces. As we see people who walk very closely with the Lord Jesus, we are moved by their example to imitate the Lord Jesus and walk in the way of the Lord. As we are encouraged by fellow-believers to trust in God and hear of His faithfulness, our faith increases in Him.


    §2 By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word for the authority of God himself 

    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, 2 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. 5
      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

    This faith is not only the sole instrument of our justification but is also that by which we believe to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, because of the authority of God Himself (1 Thess. 2:13; chapter 1:4). By this faith, we also see an excellency in the Word above all other writings. The Bible is not like anything else, but it is dear to us because it is the Word of the God Who saved us by amazing grace! It reveals to us 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. In other words, the Bible is the self-revelation of God (see chapter 1). It is primarily a revelation of God and by revealing its Author, it calls us to put our faith in Him and trust His Word. We respond differently and properly upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth. We seek to yield obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promi...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

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    Chapter 26: Of the Church

    What is the church? What is the visible and invisible church? Who is the head of the church? What power does the church have? What is church discipline? What offices are there in the church? What about church membership? What does an elder do and who can become an elder? What does a deacon do and who can become a deacon? What is the work of the pastor? How is a church to govern itself?

    This is the longest chapter in the Confession. Without question, this chapter is different than the sister confessions. The doctrine of the church was and is one of the most important distinctions between paedobaptists and Baptists. Covenant Theology, as noted in chapter 7, is an important difference between our Reformed paedobaptist brethren and us, Reformed Baptists. Practically, 1689 Federalism manifests itself in the doctrine of the church. One of the primary distinctive of Baptist ecclesiology is regenerate membership. Furthermore, the distinction that only those baptized upon a profession of faith may be members of a local church. This distinction and difference must be placed in the light of the huge agreement concerning almost all other areas of the Confession. Our forefathers basically copy-pasted from the Congregationalists and Presbyterians. Alan Dunn observes the following on the historical setting of this chapter:

    On the one hand, our Confession was written in an attempt to distinguish us from the false Roman Catholic Church. We will encounter statements in which Roman Catholic teaching is refuted. On the other hand, our Confession aligns us with churches that proclaim the gospel and worship Christ in obedient submission to Scripture.

    Among such Biblically orthodox churches however, there are yet differences held with honest Biblical conviction. Therefore, our Confession also expresses our Baptistic and Reformed distinctives in contrast to our Presbyterian and non-Reformed brethren.[1]


    §1 The Universal Church Consists Of The Whole Number Of The Elect

    1. The catholic or universal church, 1 which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. 2
      1. Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 1:22; 4:11-15; 5:23-25, 27, 29, 32; Col. 1:18, 24; Heb. 12:23[2]
      2. Eph. 1:22; 4:11-15; 5:23-25, 27, 29, 32; Col 1:18, 24; Rev. 21:9-14

    The catholic (meaning universal) church, which is called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:2; Heb. 12:23). The universal church does not consist only of New Covenant Christians, but of the whole number of the elect who have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ. Notice that the church consists of the elect who are gathered, i.e., converted. In their unregenerate state, the elect are not part of the universal church until they are gathered into Christ. Christ is the head (Col 1:18) and the church is the spouse (Eph. 5:25), the body (Col 1:18) and the fullness (Eph. 1:23) of Christ.


    The word “catholic” means universal and hereby, our forefathers are agreeing with the last part of the Apostles’ Creed: 

    I believe in the Holy Spirit, 9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, 10. the forgiveness of sins, 11. the resurrection of the body, 12. and the life everlas...


    1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

    ...nbsp;1
    1. Isa. 8:20; John 10:34-36; Acts 15:15-16
    1. The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.1
      1. Matt. 2:29, 31-32; Acts 28:23-25; Eph. 2:20

    Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity [Return] [Commentary]

    1. The Lord our God is but one only living and true God1 whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; 2 whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; 3 a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; 4 who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; 5 working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty. 8
      1. Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10; 1 Cor. 8:4,6; 1 Thess. 1:9
      2. Isa. 48:12
      3. Ex. 3:14; Job 11:7-8; 26:14; Ps. 145:3; Rom. 11:33-34
      4. John 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17; Deut. 4:15-16; Luke 24:39; Acts 14:11, 15; James 5:17
      5. Mal 3:6; James 1:17; 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23-24; Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8; Isa. 6:3; Rom. 16:27; Ps. 115:3; Ex. 3:14
      6. Eph. 1:11; Isa. 46:10; Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36
      7. Ex. 34:6-7; 1 John 4:8
      8. Heb. 11:6; Neh 9:32-33; Ps. 5:5-6; Nahum 1:2-3; Ex. 34:7
    1. God, having all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself, is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; 1 he is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things, and he hath most sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth2 in his sight all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain; he is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands; 4 to him is due from angels and men, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased to require of them. 5
      1. John 5:26; Acts 7:2; Ps. 148:13; 119:68; 1 Tim. 6:15; Job 22:2-3; Acts 17:24-25
      2. Rev. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rom. 11:34-36; Dan. 4:25, 34-35
      3. Heb. 4:13; Rom. 11:33-34; Ps. 147:5; Acts 15:18; Ezek. 11:5
      4. Ps. 145:17; Rom. 7:12
      5. Rev. 5:12-14
    1. In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, 1 of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undividedthe Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Sonall infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is...