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

...ize our infants since they are part of the covenant just like in Abraham's time. Circumcision is replaced by baptism in the New Covenant administrations of the Covenant of Grace. The outward form is different, but the substance is still the same. Therefore, the promise of "you and your seed" applies to believers in the New Covenant and their natural offspring (as they interpret Acts 2:39). Such is the reasoning of our Presbyterian brethren. With such thinking, I can see some possibility of infant baptism being right, but there is more that needs to be examined before declaring infant baptism biblical. See Chapter 29 for more on baptism and the Covenant of Grace.

This is not only the Presbyterian understanding but even some Reformed Baptists' understanding. I think Richard Barcellos was right in observing that many Reformed Baptists assumed a Covenant Theology like their Presbyterian brethren, while not looking at the distinct Covenant Theology of our Baptist forefathers. In a recent Reformed Baptist book, this idea was promoted:

It is absolutely imperative to understand that while there is just one Covenant of Grace, there are different methods of administrating it; each being of gracious promise serving the first manifestation of the Covenant of Grace (Genesis 3:15), culminating in the New Covenant, and enjoyed in eternal glory. This is not a flattening of Scripture nor is it “a reductionism which has the tendency of fitting Scripture into our theological system rather than the other way around.” On the contrary, the one Covenant of Grace exponentially builds, increases, and heightens throughout redemptive history until it crescendos in heaven.[23]

Other Reformed Baptists contend that this view of "a single covenant, multiple administrations" is not the view of the signers of the 1689 Confession, but the Westminster Confession. There is a lot of similarity between the two Confessions, therefore, it is not strange for some Reformed Baptists to believe that our Confession (whether they've compared the two chapters or not, I do not know) must probably say the same thing as the Westminster Confession minus infant baptism. Therefore, they still operate according to the "one covenant, multiple administrations" model of Covenant Theology and not what we will now discuss, which we believe is the actual view of the Particular Baptists in the 17th century, but more importantly, a more biblical view.

1689 Federalism

Works like Pascal Denault's have raised doubts about the idea that our Baptist forefathers shared the same idea of administration in Covenant Theology with our Presbyterian brethren. In his work, Denault argues that for what has come to be known as 1689 Federalism. He goes back to the sources from the 17th century, the same period when the 1689 (which was actually written in 1677), the Savoy Declaration of Faith (1658) and the Westminster (1646) were written to see what the framers of the confessions actually believed. It appears from his research that many Baptists did not actually share the same understanding of Covenant Theology with their Paedobaptist brethren. There were some who did share Presbyterian covenantal view, no doubt. 1689 Federalism teaches that the Confession is not teaching the “one covenant, different administrations” model of Covenant Theology of Paedobaptists. But as it is obvious from the Westminster that it does teach the “one covenant, different administrations” (by their admission, see Westmins...


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

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The Lord gave us two ordinances in which His Word is made visible to us. Before ascending to Heaven, He commanded His disciples to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). Baptism is an essential part of the Christian life. It does not save, yet the neglect thereof is a sin because it disobeys God’s direct command. As a Baptist, I believe that baptism is only valid when a professing believer gets baptized, and not an infant. But more about this will be said in Chapter 29, Lord willing.

6. The Lord's Supper

The second visible sign which the Lord has given us is the breaking of bread as the early Christians called it (Luke 24:35; 2:42, 46; 20:7, 11; 1Cor. 10:16-17). It is also called the Lord’s Table (1Cor. 10:21). We feast on Christ spiritually when we partake of the bread and wine, which reminds us of Him and of His great sacrifice on our behalf. His body was broken for our sins (Isa. 53:10) and by His blood, our sins are washed away (1John 1:7). Moreover, the cup symbolizes, for our Lord alone, that He took upon Himself the full wrath of God on behalf of His people (e.g. John 18:11). As long as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we remember His work done on our behalf, we feast upon Christ and His benefits and furthermore, He ministers grace to us as we intimately meet with Him. Therefore, this holy ordinance should not be neglected.

Some churches choose to partake of the Lord Supper every Lord’s Day, but the danger in this is that it becomes very usual and nothing special. Other congregations celebrate the Lord’s Table once a month (my current church non-Reformed church), or once in three months, or some even once a year. I believe that once a month is pretty good and I find myself often looking forward to the first Lord’s Day of the month to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Once in three months and once a year seems pretty long to me to withhold the people of God from this means of grace. I think that there is directions in the Word of God to celebrate it every Lord's Day as in the words of Paul, "as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1Cor. 11:26). Don't we want to proclaim the Lord's sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection every Lord's Day? Don't we want to remember Him each Lord's Day through this ordinance (e.g. 1Cor. 11:24)? Why then not celebrate this token which the Lord Christ has given us each Lord's Day? Furthermore and especially for Reformed churches who believe the Lord's Supper to be a means of grace, why withheld this amazing means of grace from your people for so long? More on the Lord’s Supper in chapter 30, Lord willing.


§6 God Is To Be Worshipped Everywhere In Spirit And In Truth

  1. Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families 3 daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies,which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calleth thereunto. 7
    1. John 4:21
    2. Mal. 1:11; 1 Tim. 2:8; John 4:23-24
    3. Deut. 6:6-7; Job 1:5; 1 Peter 3:7
    4. Matt. 6:11
    5. Matt. 6:6
    6. Ps. 84:1-2, 10; Matt. 18:20; ...

1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

... 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 Cor. 10:16-17
  1. In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same. So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ's own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.
    1. John 19:30; Heb. 9:25-28; 10:10-14; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24-25
    2. Matt. 26:26-27, 30 with Heb 13:10-16
  1. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a c...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling - Commentary

...by virtue of the gracious covenant in which they together with their parents are included, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy." As Reformed Baptists, we have a different Covenant Theology and our issue would be with the idea that the natural offspring of believers are included in someway in their parents' covenant. See chapter 7 on the covenants and Chapter 29 on baptism.

Children of believers are not sent to heaven or specially favored by God because they're children of believers. It is no doubt a great blessing to have faithful parent(s). But it does not place once in a Covenant of Grace with God or special covenantal privileges. John 1:13 says that the children of God “were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” They are reborn by the will of God. It is the children of promise, not of the flesh who are heirs of salvation (Rom. 9:8). Therefore, if God has decided to choose between infants who would go to hell and those who would go to heaven, I don't see any reason for believing parents to have confidence that their child is with God just because they're believers that their children would also be favored by God. Plus the fact that God does not punish the sin of the parents (e.g. unbelief) on the children (Ezek. 18:20; Deut. 24:16). Rather, everyone pays for their own sins. Therefore, in this case, unbelieving parents could also have confidence (but unbelievers want nothing to do with the true God). The consequences of sin may come upon more generations, but the sin of the father is not imputed to the son. Therefore, I believe that God will not consider the sin of the parents in making His choice, otherwise it would not be free in the highest sense as in Romans 9:11 (see above).

The Lord was angry with the generation of the Israelites in the wildresness who continually tempted Him. He promised that they shall not enter into His rest (Heb. 3:16-19). The Lord promised that "Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see the good land that I swore to give to your fathers" (Deut. 1:35). The Lord waited 40 years until that generation completely died out (Num. 32:13). Yet, in Deuteronomy 1, the Lord answers the concern of this "evil generation" about their children. The Lord said, "And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it" (Deut. 1:39). The Lord denied the blessings to the fathers, yet granted them to the children. They are described as those who "have no knowledge of good or evil". This means that they are not mature enough to understand and act upon that understanding as their parents were. Notice also that the description of "have no knowledge of good or evil" is directly atted to "your children" and "your little ones". It is not spoken of those who are of age and understanding. Dr. Albert Mohler writes:

We believe that this passage bears directly on the issue of infant salvation, and that the accomplished work of Christ has removed the stain of original sin from those who die in infancy. Knowing neither good nor evil, these young children are incapable of committing sins in the body – are not yet moral agents – and die secure in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.[5]

This passage would serve as an indication that God's mercy...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

... (chapter 30) we come to remember what Christ the Lord has done for our salvation. That 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 remain unchanged. 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. To spend time in prayer with God is essential to the Christian life as breathing is to human life. The Bible commands us to pray without ceasing (1Thess. 5:17), and thus commands us to remain in continual communion with God. As we remain in communion with God our trust and faith in Him is strengthened. As we see God answering our prayers our faith and trust in Him are strengthened. As we see Him change us into Christ's likeness through and in prayer, our faith in Him becomes stronger as we become more like Christ. As we have communion with other believers 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. All these means it has pleased God to be the way our faith is increased and strengthened. But remember the most important is the reading and study of the Scriptures, in and through which God reveals Himself to us (1Sam. 3:21; see also here).


§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 (1Thess. 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 Ho...


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 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

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Chapter 29: Of Baptism

What is baptism? What does it symbolize? Can I be saved without being baptized? Are professing believers alone to be baptized? What about infant baptism? What is the baptismal formula? How is baptism to be performed? Is it by sprinkling, pouring or immersion?

Let me start with a personal testimony. I was born in Iraq to an Armenian (not Arminian) family. The church of the Armenian people is the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is an Orthodox church and it is very much similar to Roman Catholicism. Infants would be baptized around 40 days old or something around that time. That was not different in my case. Throughout my youth, I saw my infant baptism as the basis that I was a Christian. What made it also difficult was the fact that in Iraq, everyone would have their religion on their ID card. I even served as an altar boy in the church when I was little. But to be honest, I did not know the Gospel, yet I was not ashamed to proclaim that I am Christian, but don't ask me what the Gospel is! Thus, throughout my youth, I saw my baptism as the ground that I am a Christian, even though I did not pray often or did not know why Christ died. The Armenian Church, by the way, believes in baptismal regeneration and baptism by dipping the infant thrice in a bowl of holy water. My family came to the Netherlands in 2008 and I finally knew what freedom was, but not the freedom of the Gospel (yet). Two years or so after that, I met with an old friend and stayed with him a few days. He saw that I did not pray before bed, so he questioned me. He told me about prayer and how proper is it to pray to God and thank Him for everything. I told him that I don't want to be religious. He directed me to videos and episodes of Zakaria Botros (Arabic), who shares the Gospel with Muslims via TV and exposes Islam. Through his videos and episodes, I came to know the true Gospel and was saved by God's grace. After that, there grew in me a desire to study His Word, so I bought Bibles and study Bibles and started reading the Scriptures daily. Around that time, I started attending a Baptist church. I did not know that it was a Baptist church. We went there with some friends of mine and by God's grace, kept attending church on the Lord's Day.

I started reading the Bible and I could not find anything about the baptism of infants or that baptism as the basis of my faith and all the things which I had simply assumed in my youth. So I set out to study this matter and came to the conclusion that infant baptism was unscriptural and what happened to me as an infant, was not biblical baptism. On a Saturday night, I fell on my knees and asked the Lord if He wanted me to be baptized that He would give me some sign. The next day, the Lord's Day, the preacher talked about discipleship and following Christ no matter what and he said something like, “It doesn't matter what your family will think of you if you want to be baptized”, which I saw as a sign from heaven. My family would not have been happy about my baptism because they think that my baptism as an infant was valid. Moreover, the Armenian Church is a national church. It does not get new converts, for example. Most infants are baptized and declared Christian, even if they know not the Gospel. Therefore, the only baptism that is practiced and that I have heard of is infant baptism.

I still feel guilty for asking the Lord for a sign when I had already concluded that believers’ ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 9: Of Free Will - Commentary

...ccasional sinning and struggles against and hatred of sin; while the other is a lifestyle, love and celebration of sin. Thus the hypothetical objection of Paul in verse 1 is against a life and continuance in sin, which is a sign that we are not in Christ, or to put it in the words of v. 2: we have not died to sin.

How have Christians died to sin? Christians died to sin together with Christ Who was our representative. Baptism illustrates the reality of being united with Christ in His death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-4; see also Chapter 29). Just as Christ died and was raised to life, so likewise the person who has been regenerated is put to death and raised to new life: a new creation (2Cor. 5:17). Our new birth is often described in terms of resurrection (John 5:25-26; Eph. 2:5-6; Col. 2:12). What does being dead to sin mean? It means that we no longer are slaves to sin. We no longer are under its bondage so that we are not able to do righteousness (Rom. 6:20). Sin no longer reigns and rules over us. We are no longer the obedient slaves of sin as we were before the new birth. We now struggle and war against sin.

The reason that we were united with Christ in His death, as Romans 6:3-4 says, is so that we also would die to sin and no longer be slaves of sin (Rom. 6:6). Since the one who has died is freed from sin, that’s why it was necessary that we would be united with our Savior on the cross (Rom. 6:7). Just as we died with Him on the cross, so likewise we live with Him now in newness of life thanks to His resurrection (Rom. 6:4, 8, 11). In the past, when we did not know Christ, sin did reign over us and made us obedient to its passions (Rom. 6:12-13), but now the Apostle commands us not to allow sin to reign in us as it did before we knew Christ. Indeed, sin will no longer have dominion over us because we have been freed from the curse and demands of the law as a covenant of works (Rom. 6:14; see here). When we were under the law, either the one written on stone or the one written on the heart (see the Law of Creation). The law condemned us whenever we sinned and brought us under condemnation. But that power of the law has been destroyed for the believers through Christ. Now the law points us to Christ through Whom we receive forgiveness for every sin (Acts 13:38-39). We are now under grace. We are under the Covenant of Grace whose promises are “confess your sins and you will be clean” (cf. 1John 1:8-9). There is no condemnation for us who are in Christ as He was the One who paid by His precious blood for every sin we would commit (Rom. 8:1). How different than the covenant of works! The one condemns and administers death and condemnation; the other administers righteousness and eternal glory (2Cor. 3:7-11). Thus those who are under sin and “continue in sin” are under the bondage and condemnation of the law, that will only bring death (Rom. 6:16, 23), impurity, lawlessness (Rom. 6:19) and shame (Rom. 6:21). But Paul bursts into thanks to God for His amazing grace:

Rom. 6:16-18 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 

Glory be to...


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

...and as such are eating and drinking judgment to themselves (1Cor. 11:27-34) because they regard as common that which is set apart as holy by prayer and blessing. Therefore, they who know themselves to be outside the Lord should tremble and not partake of the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is only for those who are united with to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not for those alone who have perfect faith, for  in  that case, no one would come to the table of the Lord. It is for all true believers alone as is baptism (see Chapter 29:2). 


Those Unworthy Of The Lord's Table

Those who are unworthy of the Lord's Table are those who are unbelievers and those who are living in sin. Benjamin Coxe wrote that those mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:11 and the like who are living in sin are not to be admitted to the Lord's Table:

Now, howsoever in my Thesis and in I Corinthians 5:11, there is express mention made only of him who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, yet what is there expressly said of these, is also to be understood of every other who is called a Brother, and yet is known to live under the reign of any other like sin. For the truth and soundness of this, see and consider these places, Gal. 5:19-21; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14; and 2 Tim. 3:2-5.[2]

Those who have not made a profession of faith and shown by their lives that they belong to the faith, should not partake of the Lord's Supper. As with baptism, we do not have special glasses to see who the elect are, but we do have eyes and ears to hear their testimonies and see their walk of life. Those who live in open rebellion, are not baptized and have not made a profession of faith, should not partake of the Lord's Supper. To admit them to the Lord's Supper while knowing of these things is to sin and to defile that which is holy. We must guard the Lord's Table and not allow the unclean to approach it.

For they who partake of the Lord's Supper who are unbelieving and are in sin, eat and drink judgment upon themselves (1Cor. 11:29). This is what the Apostle teaches. Those who regard the Lord's Supper as common and partake of it while they're in sin, sin against the Savior and are made subjects of God's terrible judgment. The reason is that this is a solemn ordinance for the disciples of Christ alone. Moreover, the elements of bread and wine symbolize the Lord's body and blood, therefore, the one who partakes unworthily of the Supper, insults Christ Himself (1Cor. 11:27). John Calvin comments on v. 27 that:

To eat unworthily, then, is to pervert the pure and right use of it by our abuse of it. Hence there are various degrees of this unworthiness, so to speak; and some offend more grievously, others less so. Some fornicator, perhaps, or perjurer, or drunkard, or cheat, (1Co 5:11,) intrudes himself without repentance. As such downright contempt is a token of wanton insult against Christ, there can be no doubt that such a person, whoever he is, receives the Supper to his own destruction...As, then, there are various degrees of unworthy participation, so the Lord punishes some more slightly; on others he inflicts severer punishment.[22]

Matthew Poole comments on v. 27 in the words:

Shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord; shall incur the guilt of the profanation of this sacred institution; for an abuse offered to a sign, reacheth to that of which it is a sign; as the abuse of a king’s seal, or picture,...