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The Staunch Calvinist

"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

  • ^ Penal substitutionary atonement.
  • ^ Heinrich Meyer. Critical and Exegetical NT. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. Chapter 28, p. 609, n. 3.
  • ^ Ibid., Chapter 28, p. 615.
  • ^ The Free Dictionary. Intercede.
  • ^ Ibid., Intercession.
  • ^ Matt. Slick, CARM. Active Obedience
  • ^ Wayne Grudem. The Active Obedience of Christ. Monergism.com. 
  • ^ GotQuestions.org. What is propitiation?
  • ^ The Free Dictionary. Reconcile.
  • ^ Ibid., Retroactive.
  • ^ John Owen. An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  • ^ David N. Steele, Curtis C. Thomas, S. Lance Quinn. The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented. (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Publications. 2004). pp. 6-7.
  • ^ As cited in Nathan W. Bingham, Charles Spurgeon on Calvinism — Definite Atonement. (28-03-2012, Ligonier Ministries).
  • ^ The argument was cited from Reformed.org.
  • ^ John Owen. The Death Of Death In The Death Of Christ. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust. 1959, 2013 reprint). p. 45.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 67-68.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 68.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 69.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 70-71.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 71-74.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 89.
  • a, b Ibid., p. 96.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 98.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 99.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 100.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 101.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 111.
  • a, b Ibid., p. 113.
  • a, b, c Ibid., p. 121.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 124.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 131.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 131-132.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 132.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 137.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 146.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 150.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 152.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 174.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 175-176.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 176-177.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 179.
  • a, b Ibid., p. 180.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 309.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 182.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 190-191.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 194-195.
  • ^ Ibid., p. 221.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 195-196.
  • ^ Ibid., pp. 302-303.
  • ^ A.W. Pink. The Sovereignty of God. (Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos. 2008). p. 292.
  • ^ The ESV says “created”. See its definition and usage.
  • ^ LSJ Gloss, G2932 κτάομαι.
  • ^ Gary D. Lon. Redemption in II Peter 2:1.
  • ^ Chris. Limited Atonement and 2 Peter 2:1.
  • ...

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

    ...ootnote-60" rel="footnote"[60] The Sabbath was known and instituted from the beginning of creation (as it was argued above), but we must not forget the Fall. Through the Fall all kinds of corruption entered into our human experience, not the least was the neglect of the Sabbath, which man would have perfectly kept in his unfallen state. Which brings us to our next point.

    Positive Command

    A positive command is one which God, as Sovereign Lord, commands His people to observe. The Lord’s Supper and Baptism are described as positive commands in Chapter 28. The Confession has already asserted that in the Law of Nature it is evident that man is to worship God, yet the day is not known through the Law of Nature but must be revealed by God through Special Revelation. That is the positive aspect of the Sabbath. The day, whether the seventh or the first, is a positive and express command of God, which does not have its basis in the moral law. The specific day, in and of itself, is neither evident from nature nor is it essentially moral. Whether the seventh, first or fifth day, no day is of the essence for the Sabbath. The specific day has to be specified by Divine Revelation. Dr. Waldron explains:

    The term ‘positive’ used here in the Confession means something in addition to the law of nature and general revelation…It is a positive commandment revealed only by special revelation.[65]

    Dr. Joseph Pipa describes positive law as “a commandment of God that is not morally necessary (i.e., is not inherently right or wrong)…Such laws are binding only on the person or nation to whom they were given.” Natural (non-positive) moral laws are commanded because they are good. On the other hand, positive moral laws are good because they are commanded. The goodness of the one is in itself (as the virtue reflects the nature of God), while the other is good because God commands it. Notice carefully that our claim is that the specific day is a positive command, not the Sabbath as a whole!

    A law or a commandment being positive moral law in no way diminishes the fact that it is binding and obligatory. Hopkins writes concerning the specific day that it “is from his positive will and command, and therefore is as binding and forcible as if it were a law of nature engraven on our hearts; unless the same authority alters it that did first enjoin it. For this being a positive law, is therefore good and necessary, because commanded.”[66] Robert Dabney writes that the worship of God should also have a public and corporate aspect of it, which necessitates a specific day:

    That it is man’s duty to worship God, none will dispute. Nor will it be denied that this worship should be in part social; because man is a being of social affections, and subject to social obligations; and because one of the great ends of worship is the display of the Divine glory before our fellow creatures. Social worship cannot be conducted without the appointment of a stated day; and what more reasonable than that the Divine authority, who is the object of this worship, should meet this necessity, by Himself fixing the day for all mankind?[67]

    There is nothing inherently (in and of itself) moral about the seventh or first days of the week. What makes one day moral and obligatory is the command of God. Now we move to the more controversial part concerning the nature of the Sabbath.

    Moral Command

    What does it mean that the Sabbath commandment is moral? It basically means that it is et...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary


    Baptism and Membership

    We may briefly note the connection between baptism and church membership. Baptists have traditionally only admitted into church membership those who have been biblically baptized. That baptism is an initiatory sign, all denominations of Christianity admit, from Protestant to Catholic. Baptism is “a sign of his [the believer] fellowship with [Christ], in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life” (Chapter 28:1). In other words, baptism is a sign of regeneration. Baptism is an outward sign which points to an inward change. As we have argued over and over again, since a church should be composed of believers, wouldn’t it logically follow that a church should be composed of baptized believers? If baptism is a sign of fellowship and union with Christ, and churches should be composed of those who are united to Christ, then shouldn’t only those be admitted to membership? A church is a place and a context where the commands of Christ are to be obeyed. His marching orders included the command to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). That’s Christianity 101. Therefore, why should a (Baptist) church admit someone to membership who hasn’t yet taken the first step?

    There are a few indications in Scripture concerning the relation of baptism and church membership. For instance, we noted above the fact that believers were added to the church at Jerusalem. Acts 2:41 says, “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Notice that the receiving, the being baptized and the being added concerns the same group of people. Not only faith and baptism are connected here, but baptism and membership are also closely connected. It is a logical step. Dagg summarizes the basic case:

    As profession is necessary to church-membership, so is baptism, which is the appointed ceremony of profession. Profession is the substance, and baptism is the form; but Christ’s command requires the form as well as the substance. In reading the Scriptures, it never enters the mind that any of the church-members in the times of the apostles were unbaptized. So uniformly was this rite administered at the beginning of the Christian profession, that no room is left to doubt its universal observance.[37]

    Mark Dever notes concerning the importance of baptism for church membership:

    Paul’s assumption in his letters seems to be that those who are baptized have experienced new life (Romans 6), those who have had their hearts circumcised (Colossians 2). Baptism, then, is essential for membership in a church because if one were to be admitted by a church, only to refuse such a clear command of Christ, then such an unbaptized person claiming to follow Christ would simply be immediately disciplined until they either decided to follow Christ’s commands, or stopped having the church’s endorsement of their claim to follow Him. There will never be anything that Jesus calls you to do that will be easier than baptism.[38]

    While baptism is required for church membership, based on Acts 2:41 there also seems to be a natural connection between being baptized and then becoming a member. This seems to be the rule in the New Testament. There were no random baptism services visited by persons from various places or congregations. The believers who were baptized on Pentecost were added to the Jerusal...

    1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

    ...s, yet, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended to all the household of faith, even all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus; nevertheless their communion one with another as saints, doth not take away or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions.
    1. Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24-25
    2. Acts 11:29-30; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 2; Rom. 15
    3. 1 Tim. 5:8, 16; Eph. 6:4; 1 Cor. 12:27
    4. Acts 11:29-30; 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 2; 6:10; Rom. 15
    5. Acts 5:4; Eph. 4:28; Exod. 20:15

    Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper [Return] [Commentary]

    1. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world.
      1. Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:24-25
      2. Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 1:13-17; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 Cor. 11:26; Luke 22:14-20
    1. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.
      1. Matt. 24:45-51; 28:19-20; Luke 12:41-44; 1 Cor. 4:1; Titus 1:5-7

    Chapter 29: Of Baptism [Return] [Commentary]

    1. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.
      1. Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27
      2. Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16
      3. Rom. 6:4
    1. Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.
      1. Matt. 3:1-12; Mark 1:4-6; Luke 3:3-6; Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; John 4:1-2; 1 Cor. 1:13-17; Acts 2:37-41; 8:12-13, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 11:16; 15:9; 16:14-15, 31-34; 18:8; 19:3-5; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21; Jer. 31:31-34; Phil. 3:3; John 1:12-13; Matt. 21:43
    1. The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
      1. Matt. 3:11; Acts 8:36, 38; 22:16
      2. Matt. 28:18-20
    1. Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance.
      1. 2 Kings 5:14; Ps. 69:2; Isa. 21:4; Mark 1:5, 8-9; John 3:23; Acts 8:38; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12; Mark 7:3-4; 10:38-39; Luke 12:50; 1 Cor. 10:1-2; Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5, 8; 2:1-4, 17

    Chapter 30: Of the Lord’s Supper [Return] [Commentary]

    1. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.
      1. 1 Cor. 11:23-26; Matt. 26:20-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-23
      2. Acts 2:41-42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33-34
      3. Mark 14:24-25; Luke 22:17-22; 1 Cor. 11:24-26
      4. 1 Cor. 11:24-26; Matt. 26:27-28; Luke 22:19-20
      5. Rom. 4:11
      6. John 6:29, 35, 47-58
      7. 1 Cor. 11:25
      8. 1...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

    ...f sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life. 3
    1. Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27[1]
    2. Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16
    3. Rom. 6:4

    Baptism is an ordinance of “positive and sovereign institution” (Chapter 28:1) and it is an ordinance of the New Testament. Baptism is a sign of...fellowship (e.g., Gal. 3:27) and union with Christ for the party baptized. Baptism is a sign, i.e., something visible representing something invisible (union with Christ). Baptism signifies our fellowship with Him, in His death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5). As we are submerged in the water, we picture the Lord’s death and ours. As we come out of the water, we picture the Lord’s resurrection and ours. Baptism signifies our union with Christ or as it is here called, our being engrafted into Him (Gal. 3:27; see chapter 27). It signifies the washing away or remission of sins (Acts 22:16). It also signifies our giving up into God or our determination to submit to God, through Jesus Christ and to live and walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4), which we have received from the Lord and which baptism pictures. Notice that baptism is called a sign and not the cause or an instrument of fellowship with Christ. It does not cause those things enlisted, but pictures these realities visibly. Which brings us to the subjects of Christian Baptism in the next paragraph.

    That baptism is an institution and ordinance of our Lord is very clear from Matthew 28:18-20. There, we are given the command to make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching them. It is a given for Christians that it is Christ Who instituted it for all believers just like He did the Lord’s Supper. But what is baptism actually? According to the Confession, it is a sign. Being a sign means that it points beyond itself to something else and this something is the work of Christ on behalf of believers. Baptism has a mode in which it is to be performed and also specific subjects who should be its recipient. Hercules Collins in 1691 defined baptism as “an external washing, plunging or dipping a profest Believer, in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”[2] As the previous chapter explained, baptism is a “positive and sovereign institution”. This means that it is dictated by the will and directions of the Institutor. We dare not play around with it, add or take things from what He has commanded. We should be terrified if we neglect anything which He has commanded concerning this ordinance, or add to His ordinance. We dare not rest our case upon consequences, analogies, or even church history. The Sovereign Institutor has spoken His mind in the Holy Scriptures. Benjamin Keach, therefore, observed that “because Baptism (as well as Circumcision was) is a mere positive Law, and wholly depends on the Will and Pleasure of the Law-giver”[3].

    Therefore, it is also our purpose to approach this subject asking what our Master says concerning it in His inerrant, sufficient, and infallible Word.

    What Baptism Signifies

    Christian Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in token of his previous entrance into the communion of Christ’s death and resurrection,—or, in other words, in token of his regeneration through union with Christ.[4]

    Baptism signifies the new life and the blessings thereof, which the believer has received through faith and repentance. The Confession describes it as “a sign of fellowship with” Christ. Baptism shows our union with Christ, j...

    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)

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

    ...lics and Lutherans, Zwingli did not believe that water baptism administers faith.
  • Pre-credobaptism – Baptism comes before the infant having faith. It does symbolize faith and union with Christ, but does not guarantee it. This is the Reformed Paedobaptist position. The Westminster says: “The efficacy of Baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited, and conferred, by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongs unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in His appointed time.” (Chapter 28, paragraph 6)
  • Presumptive Regeneration – I’ve not had much interaction with the Dutch Reformed position here in Holland and I’ve heard only mischaracterizations of it, so I can’t say if this is the position of every church here (I live in the Netherlands). But through the influence of Abraham Kuyper, the church sought to bring baptism closer to faith. This position basically says that we believe that infants have faith and are Christian until proven otherwise. “Although it is not certain that baptism regenerates all infants, the church assumes regeneration until proven otherwise.” (p. 15)
  • Baptismal Regeneration – This is the position which Johnson identifies with the Federal Vision theologians, which basically says that baptism impart faith to all infants to whom it is administered, elect and non-elect. Baptism regenerates all covenant children. Zwingli divided the sign and the sacrament, Federal Vision says “God’s promise assures us there is basic, fundamental unity between the sign and the thing signified. The water and the Spirit cannot be divided.” (p. 16, from The Federal Vision, edited by Steve Wikins and Duane Garner)
  • Paedofaith – Some Federal Vision theologians claim that covenant children are regenerate from the womb. Basically, Christian parents receive Christian and thus believing children from God. “God gives us children with faith. Covenant children begin life as believers, not in need of conversion, but endurance (cf. Heb. 10:36). They should be received and raised as children of God.” (p. 18, from Mark Horne, Why Baptist Babies?)
  • Although it was really nice to know about all the different positions about infant baptism, the author seeks to directly combat one position and that is the Westminster position (positions 4 and 5). It’s not like from the earliest days of infant baptism that the church understood it was the sign of the Covenant of Grace, or that it did not wash away sin. That is clearly not the case.

    The old church practiced infant baptism for other reasons, than the Reformed Paedobaptist churches since the Reformation.

    Although I do not believe that infant baptism is a biblical practice, but I must agree with Jeffery Johnson that the Westminster position of Covenant Theology and infant baptism is the closest to the Scripture from the above options. For some people to be truly “Reformed” you have to hold to Covenant Theology which supports the practice of infant baptism, forgetting that there is a difference between Baptist and Presbyterian Covenant Theology. If you would like to learn more about 1689 Baptist Covenant Theology, which is called 1689 Federalism see my attempt to make a case for it when expositing the 7th chapter of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith here.

    The Westminster Position

    The author spends s...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 30: Of the Lord's Supper - Commentary

    ...-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-23[1]
  • Acts 2:41-42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33-34
  • Mark 14:24-25; Luke 22:17-22; 1 Cor. 11:24-26
  • 1 Cor. 11:24-26; Matt. 26:27-28; Luke 22:19-20
  • Rom. 4:11
  • John 6:29, 35, 47-58
  • 1 Cor. 11:25
  • 1 Cor. 10:16-17
  • The supper of the Lord is a “positive and sovereign institution” (Chapter 28:1) by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He commanded it to be observed in His churches, unto the end of the world (1 Cor. 11:26). Why did He command it to be observed? ...for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of Himself in His death (1 Cor. 11:24-26). The Lord Supper signifies and shows forth the Lord’s suffering on our behalf, His body being broken for us and His blood being shed for our forgiveness. It is also given for the confirmation of the faith of believers to remind them of the sacrifice of Christ which is their only ground of hope and peace with God. It is for their spiritual nourishment, and growth in Him because the Lord comes very close to us as we partake of His supper and sit at His table. It reminds us also of all the duties which we owe to Him thanks to His sacrifice on our behalf. But it is also a bond and pledge of our communion with Him, and with each other. Since we are all in union with Christ and as we partake of His blood and body, we also partake and are united with each other as believers. Christ unites all believers together and this is also signified by the Lord’s Supper and it is a pledge of it (i.e., a solemn promise or undertaking to keep this communion).

    Institution And Command Of Observation

    The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance that is directly commanded by Christ. It’s not a deduction from multiple passages, but a direct and positive command of the Sovereign Christ. It is meant to cause us to look back to the perfect sacrifice of Christ of Himself by Himself for the perfection of all the elect of God. We are to look back to the sacrifice and look forward to the Parousia when He will fulfill and bring to pass all the benefits of His sacrifice. We read of the institution of this blessed ordinance in Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-23 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. I will use Paul’s text as the basis (which was taken from Luke’s Gospel) to discuss the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

    1 Cor. 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes

    Before being betrayed by Judas, the Lord Jesus instituted a New Covenant meal in which His disciples would always have a way to remember and celebrate His work of redemption on their behalf. They were celebrating the Jewish Passover as the New Covenant Mediator instituted the New Covenant meal. The Passover was the remembrance of God’s great deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. The Lord’s Supper is a token and a sign of even a greater deliverance, i.e., the deliverance from the bondage of sin through the blood of Christ. This ordinance, Christ institutes simply based upon His authority as the New Covenant High Priest and Medi...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper - Commentary

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    Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

    What does it mean that the ordinances are positive institution? What is the difference between the Reformed and Roman Catholic understanding of the sacraments? Who may administer the ordinances?

    §1 Ordinances Of Positive And Sovereign Institution

    1. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world. 2
      1. Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:24-25[1]
      2. Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 1:13-17; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 Cor. 11:26; Luke 22:14-20

    Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances and commandments of positive and sovereign institution. They have been instituted and commanded by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver and are, therefore, to be obeyed and continued in His church to the end of the world (Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:26). What does it mean that the ordinances are of positive and sovereign institution? It means that Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are moral commandments which are added to the moral law already existing. They are not things which of themselves are moral, but they are moral because they have been instituted and appointed by the Lord Jesus. They are given to us as a law, which the Lord Jesus Christ, by His power and authority as Head, King and Lawgiver of the church has instituted. Finally, baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only ordinances under the New Covenant which the Confession speaks about. Christ has given us only to ordinances which we ought to obey, not seven sacraments according to Roman Catholic teaching.

    Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are two ordinances or sacraments which the Lord Jesus by sovereign authority instituted and commanded us to observe. Now, what does the word “positive” mean in the sentence “positive and sovereign institution”? Does it mean something that is happy and good, over against something negative and bad? No, that is not the contextual meaning of the word. Rather, by “positive institution” or “positive command,” the Confession means an institution or a command that is not inherently moral. A person who has not read the Bible or heard of the God of the Bible, still knows that murder is wrong and lying is bad. But, can it be argued that they know that not being baptized is sin and not partaking of the Lord’s Supper is sin? Obviously not. So, these things, just like the command of Genesis 2:16-17 in the Garden, are things which are not inherently moral, but become moral when God commands them. They are things that are good because commanded, in contrast to pure moral laws that are commanded because they are good. The Lord Christ, by His own power and authority, established two ordinances for the New Covenant people of God. But, what do we mean by ordinance or sacrament? A.H. Strong writes, “By the ordinances, we mean those outward rites which Christ has appointed to be administered in his church as visible signs of the saving truth of the gospel. They are signs, in that they vividly express this truth and confirm it to the believer.”[2] They are the only visible signs which God has given His people to show the truths of the gospel with. He has not allowed us to use images of any of the blessed Persons of the Trinity (see here), but has given us the bread and wine, and the waters of baptism as signs which symbolize the truths of the gospel.

    These ...