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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

...ad.” 

Christ is not only the Savior of the world (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14), but He is also its righteous Judge. The Lord Jesus will come in vengeance toward those who have not obeyed the gospel and demand from them an account for every sin and transgression of His Law (2 Thess. 1). The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus will judge both the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1). Both believer and unbeliever will stand before Him, everyone must give an account (Acts 10:42; Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:22-23; Rom. 2:5, 16;14:9-10; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1). See Chapter 32.

Some may object that only God can judge and God is the judge, but then how could Christ be the judge? Well...the simple answer is because He is God. Only God can judge and furthermore, the Father has appointed and wants the Son to be the judge so that people will honor and worship the Son just as they honor and worship the Father, thus showing His full divinity and equality with the Father—

John 5:22-23 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 

He is our Savior also. On the day that He will come, the believers will not be condemned by Him, but hear the words of commendation and the words of love—

Matt. 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

But those who will stand on his left will be righteously judged according to the fruit of their hearts—their works, and be condemned by Him to the flames of Hell—

Matt. 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31) and to stand before Him Who can see you as you are (Rom. 2:16) and require an account of everything (Matt. 12:36).

Dear reader, do not face the Lord in judgment while today is the day of salvation. Repent, therefore, and place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness alone so that when He comes you will not be terrified, but rejoice with the saints and not be taken away by judgment—

2 Thess. 1:9-10 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 

Christ’s Seed

The Bible does not speak of the Messiah being married to a woman nor are any references in the New Testament which suggest such an idea. But the Bible does refer a few times to Christ’s “offspring” or “children.” Obviously, those are His church—the believers. The first reference that we will look at occurs in the great Messianic Servant song in Isaiah 53. There we read—

Isa. 53:10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Here Isaiah speaks of the Messiah’s death and then of His resurrection. Yahweh willed and was pleased to crush His Servant and He has made Him an offering for guilt—an atonement for sin, indeed. Yet even through His distress and death, the Servant will b...


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

...;For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

Rom. 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

The Holy God cannot stand in the presence of sinners, they will be consumed if He did. Yet for the glory of His grace, He had, in Christ, foreordained the salvation of a particular people. He had even in some way foreordained the Fall (see Chapter 3 on God’s sovereignty over evil). The means of restoring that relationship was for the Son of God to come down and bear the curse of the law on behalf of sinners.

Gal. 3:10-14 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Paul teaches us in this passage that the way we came free from the curse of the law is because the Lord Christ Himself became a curse for us. God cursed Him as if he was Someone who did not “abide by all things written in the Book of the Law” while we know that the contrary is the case! But for our sake, He became a curse (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21).

The Condemning Adamic Covenant

The Adamic Covenant of Works has no more the capacity to offer eternal life to those who obey it since only its condemning power is exercised now. The covenant is broken and what it now administers is the curse of the covenant. Furthermore, the Covenant of Works has no option of reparations or atonement. The Bible credits the existence of death and sin back to the disobedience of Adam (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21). That was the punishment for disobedience of the Adamic Covenant (Gen. 2:17). Therefore, since only the condemning power of the covenant was in work and not the life-giving power, the Lord had to make another covenant if He wanted people to have fellowship with Him. Dr. Samuel Renihan explains:

Adam’s breach of the covenant activated its curses, expelled him from the temple of God’s presence, and condemned him to death. This means that the covenant remains in force today in that its curse continues to apply to all of Adam’s offspring. But, the covenant does not remain in force today in the sense of promising life to those who obey its commands. The Covenant of Works depends on positive laws. It is much more than the moral law. And with no more Eden and no more sacramental trees, there are no more positive commands to obey. Furthermore, the Covenant of Works was made with a federal head, Adam, not his descendants. Therefore, the promise of the Covenant of Works is permanently shut up and abrogated.[24]

This is where we come to the discussion of the Covenant of Grace, which will be taken in paragraph 3. The Covenant of Redemption is that to which we now turn, which is the basis for the Covenant of Grace.

The Covenant of Redemption

The Covenant of Redemption is basically the agreement between the Persons of the Blessed Trinity concerning the salvation of the elect. It...


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

...ntial to understand that the moral law is a reflection of God’s holy character. He is the standard. There is nothing above God. We will stand before Him and give an account on the Day of Judgment and the standard to be judged by is His perfection, as expressed in the Decalogue/moral law. If you are afraid, you should be, because none of us can live such a perfect life, therefore, flee to Christ the Savior!

4. What does Paul mean to say in v. 13? He presents two groups: 1) the hearers of the law which are the Jews, and 2) the doers of the law which are presumably Jews and Gentiles. Is the apostle here teaching that people can be justified by works despite what his conclusion in Chapter 3 on chapters 1-2 says? I don’t think so. Perhaps he is here speaking about the hypothetical justification by the law, by this I mean, that theoretically, it is possible to be justified by the law, but only if you do all that God commands without any disobedience (Gal. 3:10). Oh, and did I mention, that men are born in and prone to sin from the womb (Ps. 51:4-5; Gen. 6:5; 8:21; see chapter 6)? Therefore, this is an impossible task for anyone, but the Lord Christ. I don’t have a firm opinion on this passage and I don’t think that its proper understanding is essential to the points I’m trying to make here about the moral law, therefore, I will move on.

5. Now the apostle in v. 14 connects vv. 12-13 together. The Gentiles do not have the written law, but, says the apostle, they actually do what the law requires! How can this be? Here the apostle is referring to moral laws like stealing, murder, adultery, which have not been seen as virtues and from which tons of godless people have abstained. They abstained from these things because they knew the unwritten moral law of God. They do that “by nature.” The Greek word is here φύσις (phusis) and is defined by Mounce as:

essence, Gal. 4:8; native condition, birth, Rom. 2:27; 11:21, 24; Gal. 2:15; Eph. 2:3; native species, kind, Jas. 3:7; nature, natural frame, 2 Pet. 1:4; nature, native instinct, Rom. 2:14; 1 Cor. 11:14; nature, prescribed course of nature, Rom. 1:26[5]

They do what the law requires by “nature”, by virtue of what they are, namely creatures in the image of God. They do that by “native instinct.” Albert Barnes observes, “The expression means clearly by the light of conscience and reason, and whatever other helps they may have without revelation. It denotes simply, in that state which is without the revealed will of God. In that condition they had many helps of tradition, conscience, reason, and the observation of the dealings of Divine Providence, so that to a considerable extent they knew what was right and what was wrong.”[6]

6. When Gentiles follow the law externally, without themselves being conscious of following the true God’s will, they become the law to themselves. This does not mean that whatever they think is good, becomes good, but rather, they, or more exactly, their conscience wherein God’s law is, becomes the measure of good and evil. The same moral law is revealed to the Jew as well as to the Gentile, what differs is the mode of revelation. The Gentile, as we see in v. 14, becomes the law to himself. But the Jew has the written law already in his hands and knows God’s will more clearly and more unmistakably than a Gentile who has no access to Scripture whereby he may know the will of God. The Gentile becomes the law to himself, although he does not possess the written Te...


John Owen's Case For Particular Atonement

...s, Owen lays down the thesis which he is trying to prove:

“Jesus Christ, according to the counsel and will of his Father, did offer himself upon the cross, to the procurement of those things before recounted; and maketh continual intercession with this intent and purpose, that all the good things so procured by his death might be actually and infallibly bestowed on and applied to all and every one for whom he died, according to the will and counsel of God.”[8] (book II, Chapter 3)

He discusses what the Scriptures say concerning this subject under three headings[8] (book II, Chapter 3):

  1. The purpose of the Trinity in it, which he titles, “Those [Scriptures] that hold out the intention and counsel of God, with our Saviour’s own mind; whose will was one with his Father’s in this business.”
  2. The accomplishment of the atonement, which he titles, “Those [Scriptures] that lay down the actual accomplishment or effect of his oblation, what it did really procure, effect, and produce.”
  3. The scope of the atonement, which he titles, “Those [Scriptures] that point out the persons for whom Christ died, as designed peculiarly to be the object of this work of redemption in the end and purpose of God.”

Purpose

The Savior's purpose was to be a Savior. Not a potential Savior, but an actual Savior. That is the meaning of Jesus, namely—Yahweh saves! In fact, in Matthew 1:21, the angel explains the Savior's name saying, "you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” The Lord described His mission when He said that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10; Matt. 18:11 KJV). Paul, the Lord's Apostle, makes a similar statement, saying:

1Tim. 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Well, did He or did He not accomplish that which the Father and He Himself intended? Did He, or will He save the lost and those whom He came to seek or not? Will He save His people or will He not? Had He a people in mind when He offered Himself on the cross or not? Our Lord is not a potential Savior, but an infallible and actual Savior, by virtue of His worth and Father's will for Him. It was the purpose of the Trinity in the atonement to save, redeem, free people from their sins.

In Hebrews 2:14-15, we read that Christ through His incarnation and self-giving “destroy[ed] the one who has the power of death” and thereby “deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” Does Christ try to deliver all people without exception, or does He actually deliver His people from the power of Satan and sin (cf. Rom. 6-7)? The passage begins with “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood”. We have to ask ourselves, which “children” are that, and we will find our answer in the previous verse. ‘And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”‘ These are citations from Psalm 18:2 and Isaiah 8:17. The children are in other words, the elect, all those whom the Father gave to the Son. It is for their sake that He partook of flesh so as to deliver them. Will He or will He not deliver all those for whom He died and whom He intended to deliver?

Ephesians 5:25-27 is a passage that cannot be ignored when discussing the atonement as it deals with both the purpose as well as the scope of the atonement. There we are to...


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

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Chapter 3: Of God’s Decree

What does it mean that God is sovereign? Does God control all things? Does God ordain and is sovereign even over sin? What about election? Does God choose who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell? Did God predestine because He saw what was going to come to pass? Does it matter what we do? Does God ordain the ends as well as the means?


§1 God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity...whatsoever comes to pass

  1. God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably1 all things, whatsoever comes to pass2 yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; 3 nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather establishedin which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree. 5
    1. Prov. 19:21; Isa 14:24-27; 46:10-11; Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Rom. 9:19; Heb. 6:17[1]
    2. Dan. 4:34-35; Rom. 8:28; 11:36; Eph. 1:11
    3. Gen. 18:25; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5
    4. Gen. 50:20; 2 Sam. 24:1; Isa. 10:5-7; Matt. 17:12; John 19:11; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28
    5. Num. 23:19; Eph. 1:3-5

God hath decreed in Himself means that He decreed by Himself alone without considering others. As the modern translation puts it: “From all eternity God decreed everything that occurs, without reference to anything outside himself.” He was not influenced when He decreed everything. But what does it mean that God “decreed”? A decree, in this context, means putting everything in order and planning everything that is to occur in history. This decree of God was from all eternity and therefore is unchangeable. To further stress the “decreed in himself” part, the Confession adds that this decree was made freely. God was not limited by anything outside Himself. Furthermore, this decree was according to the most wise and holy counsel of His own will. It was not arbitrary or random. Rather, it was ordained by the Wisdom Himself Who does nothing without a goal, reason or a purpose (cf. Eph. 1:11). What did God decree? All things, whatsoever comes to pass. There is nothing that occurs that was not already decreed by God from all eternity. But this does not mean that God is the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein. God does not create sin or author it, nor does He have delight in it. Rather, He orders it and ordains it to be for His own holy purposes, according to the most wise and holy counsel of His will. Even evil and sin are ordained according to His holy purposes. Our redemption came about by the greatest sin committed by man, the crucifixion of the Son of God, which was ordained by God (Acts 4:27-28).

When God ordains sin, He does no violence to the will of the creature, nor is their liberty hindered or taken away. Everyone committing sin and evil does so because they will and desire so. In the example about the crucifixion of the Lord, everyone in the act was a willing participant: Judas, the Jewish leaders, the Romans. All really wanted to do these things and they were not forced to will so. Nonetheless, the Scriptures are clear that they came to “do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” According to Reformed theology, God’s decree establishes the liberty of creatures, because their liberty is found within God’s decree. This high and mysterious doctrine shows...


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

...s no debate among Calvinists about whether the elect can lose their salvation. Someone who accepts Unconditional Election must believe in perseverance. It is logically necessary, for to contend otherwise is to say that God has unconditionally chosen a person to be saved, but has not chosen to preserve that particular person, which is absurd on its face. Therefore, the one who accepts Unconditional Election inevitably must accept the Perseverance of the Saints. For to reject the doctrine is to contend that God fails to save those whom He intends to save. See Chapter 3, paragraph 5 for more on Unconditional Election.

Regeneration: Through regeneration, we have been made new creatures, given a new heart and a new spirit. Plus, the Spirit of the Almighty has come into our hearts (e.g. Ezek. 36:25-27). We’ve been given a new nature with the Law of the God written upon our hearts (Jer. 31:31-34). What happens when (supposedly) a person loses their salvation? Do they become unregenerate? Do they receive their old nature back? Do they become unborn again? Do you see the difficulty that such an idea of “falling away” brings with it? It is simply impossible that such a thing will happen. And what if the person loses their salvation and then comes to the Lord Jesus again, does God cause him to be born again for a second time? See chapter 11 for more on regeneration.

Justification: Justification is a legal act of God by which He declares guilty sinners free because of Christ’s work. Our sin is put upon Him, and we receive His righteousness (e.g. 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-31). How does it happen that God’s verdict, for a (supposedly) regenerate believer, become void after that person falls away (see Rom. 8:1)? Does the person become unjustified? Does he lose his justification? But how can that be if God has already declared them just based on nothing in themselves, but solely by grace through faith because of Christ? The idea that justified believers came become unjustified unbelievers is not found in the New Testament and has great implications on the doctrine of justification by free grace and through faith alone. Those who believe such things happen practically believe in justification by works or perseverance by works. See chapter 11 for more on justification.

Christ’s Obedience: The Father has given the Son a charge, namely, to lose none of the elect (e.g. John 6:37-40). How does this fit with the idea that we can become unregenerate and unjustified, or to say it in another way: to be lost? Does the Son of God now fail? But how can God fail in accomplishing all His will (Isa. 46:8-11; Ps. 33:10-11; 115:3; Isa. 14:27; Dan. 4:34-35)? If the Son has received a charge and a command from the Father to lose nothing of what the Father has given Him, will the Son be disobedient to the Father’s command? The Son testifies of Himself that He “always do[es] the things that are pleasing to him” (John 8:29). Will He also lose none of the elect, or will He fail at this point to do that which is pleasing to God the Father? You see, at this point, we are not talking about those who professed to be Christian at one time but now have denied the faith, i.e., apostates. Now we’re talking about God. We are talking about God’s glory and reputation. Will the Son fail or will He succeed in doing all the Father’s will? I believe that the Son will not fail to accomplish all the Father’s will for Him, for He is the Son of God! And here I’m not even talking about the...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 11: Of Justification - Commentary

...o-believe-to-the-saving-of-their-souls,-is-the-work-of-the-Spirit"chapter 14:1). Therefore, even the condition for our justification and life with God was provided by God. This is the glory and greatness of the New Covenant of Grace in which we stand and have our relationship with God. All the requirements of the covenant are provided by God through His Spirit based on Christ’s work and obedience.


Now that we’ve dealt with the first three things in Romans 8:29-30, namely God (1) foreknowing us and (2) electing us (Chapter 3) and (3) effectually calling us (chapter 10), we come to the 4th point in the five-pointed chain—justification. What is justification? Dr. Wayne Grudem defines it in this way:

Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.[2]

We could go on and on by giving Protestant theologians who defined justification in this way. Louis Berkhof says:

Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner. It is unique in the application of the work of redemption in that it is a judicial act of God, a declaration respecting the sinner, and not an act or process of renewal, such as regeneration, conversion, and sanctification. While it has respect to the sinner, it does not change his inner life. It does not affect his condition, but his state, and in that respect differs from all the other principal parts of the order of salvation. It involves the forgiveness of sins, and restoration to divine favor.[3]

The Baptist A.H. Strong defined it as:

By justification we mean that judicial act of God by which, on account of Christ, to whom the sinner is united by faith, he declares that sinner to be no longer exposed to the penalty of the law, but to be restored to his favor. Or, to give an alternative definition from which all metaphor is excluded: Justification is the reversal of God’s attitude toward the sinner, because of the sinner’s new relation to Christ. God did condemn; he now acquits. He did repel; he now admits to favor.[4]

Section one first deals with a distortion about justification and then gives the biblical position.

Not Infusion of Righteousness

Roman Catholics believe in what may be called “infused righteousness.” This means that in salvation, the merits of the Lord Jesus on the cross are infused with the righteousness of the sinner and together they constitute the basis of salvation. Meaning, Christ’s righteousness is not enough, rather it is given to help us with our own righteousness through works and obedience to God and the Roman Catholic Church. In their own words, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:[5]

This “infused righteousness” is attained by a work, namely baptism. That is the way you get this righteousness. Basically, this position teaches that salvation by grace alone is not enough. You have to add your works and obedience to the work of Christ. It is wrong to think that Roman Catholics do not believe in the necessity of ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

...things, while the most agreement is between the Baptists and the Congregationalists (compare them here). The name Congregationalist refers to a specific kind of church government, so does also the name Presbyterian. These groups identified not merely by the doctrines they believed, but also in the way that they organized their churches. The Presbyterian system of church government, while it acknowledges the same church offices as Baptists, elders and deacons, it also makes the local church a part of a larger whole—a synod. This is confessed in the Westminster Confession Chapter 30, titled “Of Church Censures”:

1. The Lord Jesus, as king and head of his Church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.

2. To these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the Word and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel, and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.

Christ has given government in the church distinct from the civil government. The keys of the kingdom and power are given to these “Church officers.” This is the first difference between what is called Congregationalism and the Presbyterian form of church polity. When we read this paragraph of our Confession, we see that all “power and authority” are given to the local church, not to “Church officers.” The second difference comes in Chapter 31 called “Of Synods and Councils”:

1. For the better government and further edification of the Church, there ought to be such assemblies as are commonly called synods or councils.

3. It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially, to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of his Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his Word.

4. All synods or councils since the apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as a help in both.

In a sense, the authority given to the local church in this paragraph of our confession is transferred to the synod or council of the Presbyterian system. This is not a small difference. The Presbyterian system requires that there be an external authority above the local church which directs its government and order of worship. Our Confession speaks about keeping relations with other bodies and other churches (paragraph 15), but they merely have an advising role, never “authoritatively to determine” things. John Frame, himself a Presbyterian, gives a short description of that form of church government:

In the presbyterian system, common in churches called Reformed as well as Presbyterian, there is a plurality of elders in every church. (Presbyterian comes from the Greek word for elder.) These are elected by the people. The elders meet as the ruling body of each particular church, and the elders of a reg...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...rong therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him. 3
  1. Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14
  2. Ex. 3:14; John 14:11; 1 Cor. 8:6
  3. Prov. 8:22-23; John 1:1-3, 14, 18; 3:16; 10:36; 15:26; 16:28; Heb. 1:2; 1 John 4:14; Gal. 4:4-6

Chapter 3: Of God’s Decree [Return] [Commentary]

  1. God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably1 all things, whatsoever comes to pass2 yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; 3 nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree. 5
    1. Prov. 19:21; Isa. 14:24-27; 46:10-11; Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Rom. 9:19; Heb. 6:17
    2. Dan. 4:34-35; Rom. 8:28; 11:36; Eph. 1:11
    3. Gen. 18:25; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5
    4. Gen. 50:20; 2 Sam. 24:1; Isa. 10:5-7; Matt. 17:12; John 19:11; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28
    5. Num 23:19; Eph. 1:3-5
  1. Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, 1 yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions. 2
    (Acts 15:18; Romans 9:11, 13, 16, 18)
    1. 1 Sam. 23:11-12; Matt. 11:21, 23; Acts 15:18
    2. Isa. 40:13-14; Rom. 9:11-18; 11:34; 1 Cor. 2:16
  1. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace1 others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnationto the praise of his glorious justice. 
    1. Matt. 25:34; 1 Tim. 5:21
    2. John 12:37-40; Rom. 9:6-24; Eph. 1:5-6; 1 Pet 2:8-10; Jude 4
  1. These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished. 1
    1. Matt. 2:1-14; John 13:18; Rom. 11:5-6; 1 Cor. 7:22-22; 2 Tim. 2:19
  1. Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, 1 without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto. 2    
    1. Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:4-6, 9, 11; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Thess. 5:9
    2. Rom. 9:11-16; 11:5-6; Eph. 2:5
  1. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so he hath, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereuntowherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, 2 are effectually called unto faith in Christby his Spirit working in due season, are justifiedadoptedsanctified3 and kept by his power through faith unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only. 5
    1. Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2
    2. 1 Thess. 5:9-10; Titus 2:14
    3. Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:5; 2 Thess. 2:13
    4. 1 Peter 1:5
    5. John 6:64-65; 8:47; 10:26; 17:9; Rom. 8:28;...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling - Commentary

... mean that men never disobey and resist God, but that is not how the phrase has been historically defined. Rather, it means that the resistance which natural man always has to the Spirit (Acts 7:51) is overcome when God decides to save a person.

The material in this chapter has a connection with what we have already dealt with. There would be no effectual calling if there was no predestination, so that should be kept in mind. Predestination is dealt with in Chapter 3, so I will not make a case for predestination here, but will take it for granted.


§1 Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call

  1. Those whom God 1 hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, 3 effectually to call, 4 by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; 10 yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace. 11
    1. Rom. 8:28-29[1]
    2. Rom. 8:29-30; 9:22-24; 1 Cor. 1:26-28; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:9
    3. John 3:8; Eph. 1:11
    4. Matt. 22:14; 1 Cor. 1:23-24; Rom. 1:6; 8:28; Jude 1; John 5:25; Rom. 4:17
    5. 2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Peter 1:23-25; James 1:17-25; 1 John 5:1-5; Rom. 1:16-17; 10:14; Heb. 4:12
    6. John 3:3, 5-6, 8; 2 Cor. 3:3, 6
    7. Rom. 8:2; 1 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 2:1-6; 2 Tim. 1:9-10
    8. Acts 26:18; 1 Cor. 2:10, 12; Eph. 1:17-18
    9. Ezek. 36:26; Jer. 31:33
    10. Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36:27; John 6:44-45; Eph. 1:19; Phil. 2:13
    11. Ps. 110:3; John 6:37; Rom. 6:16-18

Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, He, in His appointed and accepted timeeffectually calls to Himself by His Word and Spirit (Rom. 8:28-29; 1 Cor. 1:23-24; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; John 3:5-6; 6:63; 2 Cor. 3:3, 6). That which was planned from eternity is applied and actualized in time. They are called out of that state of sin and death (Eph. 2:1-6) and transferred to the “state of grace” (chapter 9:4). He enlightens our minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God (1 Cor. 2:10; Eph. 1:17-18 ), for fallen man cannot accept and understand the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14). He takes from us that heart of stone, which is full of sin and gives a new heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26), which desires to love and obey Him. He renews our wills and sets us free from slavery to sin. The ability and willingness to desire and do the good comes by His almighty power (e.g., Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 13:20-21). It is by grace alone and it is the work of God in us. He draws us to Jesus Christ in such a way that we will effectually and certainly come to Him, yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace (Ps. 110:3; John 6:37; Rom. 6:16-18 ). God changes our nature and gives us the desire to believe and come to Christ. This is the miracle of regeneration. No one comes to Christ against their will. But the Holy Spirit works so powerfully in us that those who did not desire Christ, come to desire Him and most willingly and freely cast themselves upon Him.


Called by the Word and Spirit

It is the Word of God–the precious gospel, which comes to us, which is the message of salvation used by the Spirit to awaken us to newne...