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

...alvation for all without exception, but it is applied only to those who believe. In other words, the obtaining of redemption, or the death of Christ is for everyone, but the application only to those who believe, i.e., the elect. Owen explains that “by impetration we mean the meritorious purchase of all good things made by Christ for us with and of his Father; and by application, the actual enjoyment of those good things upon our believing;”[34] (book II, Chapter 4). Owen answers this objection, among other things, by pointing to Scriptures which enjoin and do not disjoin these two things.

But first let us deal with the question of faith and it being a condition. The condition for enjoying the work of redemption on our behalf is itself a gift of God. Faith, which is the key to justification and enjoyment of the benefits of Christ's work, is itself a result of His work and is conferred on us absolutely, without any condition. There is no condition on our side, as the glory of the New Covenant is that God, thanks to the death of Christ, supplies the condition for its members Himself, making it most evident that it is certainly all of grace! Faith, which is our trust in Christ's work on our behalf, is something which we do, but it is nonetheless granted to us by God and does not have its origin in us. Philippians 1:29 says, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake”. It has been given to us, granted to us, for Christ's sake, not our own, that we believe in Him. The faith, the belief itself, has been granted to us and gifted to us by God Himself! Faith is a spiritual blessing, yea, the chiefest spiritual blessing and it is certainly granted to us by Christ (Eph. 1:3). See for more on faith being a gift here. Owen deals with this question in book III, Chapter 4, argument IX, specifically.

If faith be granted of grace, the disjunction between the obtaining and application of redemption as proposed by non-Calvinists will not stand. Since all the good things which God has and is pouring upon us are thanks to the work of Christ, then no doubt, faith is the highest grace which He gives us, and is a fruit of Christ's self-giving.

Now let us turn our attention to the enjoining of the obtaining and application of redemption in Scripture. In Isaiah 53:11, we read of Suffering Servant making “many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” These two things are enjoined together, in fact, the KJV says “for” instead of “and.” Upon citing Isaiah 53:5, Owen says, “His wounding and our healing, impetration and application, his chastisement and our peace, are inseparably associated”[35] (book II, chapter 4). In  Romans 4:25, the death of Christ and justification are enjoined together. So likewise in Romans 5:18-19, on which he says, ‘So Rom. 5:18, “By the righteousness of one” (that is, his impetration), “the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life,” in the application’[35] (book II, chapter 4). Romans 8:32-34 likewise is an important passage which enjoins those two things under consideration, which we have dealt with above.

Both the obtaining and the application of redemption concerns and is limited to the same group, namely, the elect. Lastly, in chapter 5 of book II, Owen uses some common sense as to the meaning of Christ obtaining redemption. He argues, (1) that is contrary to common sense so say that something is obtai...


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

... that these "ten days" symbolize the whole time between Christ's Ascension and Second Coming. It has actually been about 2000 years up untill now. Compared to eternity and the glories which are for the children of God, this period of persecution is like nothing (cf. Rom. 8:18-25). The time of persecution is seen to be short, but the time of the saints' reign is said to be a thousand years, which describes the same period but from a different angle. We will come to that later.

Vision 2: Revelation 4-7

In this cycle we have a vision of God’s glory and of His heavenly reign, sovereignty over all things and the ceaseless praise which He receives. In Chapter 4, we receive a vision of the awesome glory of God and the ceaseless worship which He rightly receives. In chapter 5, we receive a vision of Christ after His ascension. Because of His sacrifice, He has received authority from God as the Mediator to execute His sovereign purpose. He is the only One who is able to take the plan of God in His hand and execute it. He is the only One who is worthy and He is the only One who is fit for the task, because He is the God-Man. In chapter 6, after the Lamb receiving the scroll from the hand of the Father in Revelation 5:7, the Lamb starts to break the seven seals with which the scroll was sealed (Rev. 5:1), and the things described in Revelation 6:1-8:5 come to pass, which includes the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As we move on with the breaking of the seals, we see the signs being intensified in their effects, this is especially true when the sixth seal is broken. When the sixth seal is broken we have the contents of Revelation 6:12-7:17 coming to pass which describe the doom of the wicked and the eternal happiness of the righteous. In this we see a Progressive Parallelism. The visions are moving toward the end of the world. I believe that Revelation 6 clearly teaches the Final Judgment of Christ upon the wicked on the Day of the Lord:

Rev. 6:12-17 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Wouldn’t one without any presuppositions conclude that this is basically a description of the final judgment and destruction of the wicked? When the sixth seal is broken, the end of the world comes. Even the inanimate objects in the cosmos will react to the breaking of the sixth seal. Things will get weird not only on the earth, but also in the heavens. Verse 14 points us to the direction that we must take this as a description of the Final Judgment. Why? Because that is how the Final Judgment is described Revelation 16:20, but more clearly and definitely in Revelation 20:11 and 2 Peter 3:10. This is the time, just before the coming of the New World, at which the present cosmos goes and the New comes (Rev. 21...


John Owen's Case For Particular Atonement

...sed salvation for all without exception, but it is applied only to those who believe. In other words, the obtaining of redemption, or the death of Christ is for everyone, but the application only to those who believe, i.e., the elect. Owen explains that “by impetration we mean the meritorious purchase of all good things made by Christ for us with and of his Father; and by application, the actual enjoyment of those good things upon our believing;”[13] (book II, Chapter 4). Owen answers this objection, among other things, by pointing to Scriptures which enjoin and do not disjoin these two things.

But first let us deal with the question of faith and it being a condition. The condition for enjoying the work of redemption on our behalf is itself a gift of God. Faith, which is the key to justification and enjoyment of the benefits of Christ's work, is itself a result of His work and is conferred on us absolutely, without any condition. There is no condition on our side, as the glory of the New Covenant is that God, thanks to the death of Christ, supplies the condition for its members Himself, making it most evident that it is certainly all of grace! Faith, which is our trust in Christ's work on our behalf, is something which we do, but it is nonetheless granted to us by God and does not have its origin in us. Philippians 1:29 says, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake”. It has been given to us, granted to us, for Christ's sake, not our own, that we believe in Him. The faith, the belief itself, has been granted to us and gifted to us by God Himself! Faith is a spiritual blessing, yea, the chiefest spiritual blessing and it is certainly granted to us by Christ (Eph. 1:3). See for more on faith being a gift here. Owen deals with this question in book III, Chapter 4, argument IX, specifically.

If faith be granted of grace, the disjunction between the obtaining and application of redemption as proposed by non-Calvinists will not stand. Since all the good things which God has and is pouring upon us are thanks to the work of Christ, then no doubt, faith is the highest grace which He gives us, and is a fruit of Christ's self-giving.

Now let us turn our attention to the enjoining of the obtaining and application of redemption in Scripture. In Isaiah 53:11, we read of Suffering Servant making “many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” These two things are enjoined together, in fact, the KJV says “for” instead of “and.” Upon citing Isaiah 53:5, Owen says, “His wounding and our healing, impetration and application, his chastisement and our peace, are inseparably associated”[14] (book II, chapter 4). In Romans 4:25, the death of Christ and justification are enjoined together. So likewise in Romans 5:18-19, on which he says, ‘So Rom. 5:18, “By the righteousness of one” (that is, his impetration), “the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life,” in the application’[14] (book II, chapter 4). Romans 8:32-34 likewise is an important passage which enjoins those two things under consideration, which we have dealt with above.

Both the obtaining and the application of redemption concerns and is limited to the same group, namely, the elect. Lastly, in chapter 5 of book II, Owen uses some common sense as to the meaning of Christ obtaining redemption. He argues, (1) that is contrary to common sense to say that something is o...


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

...n of Israel did to God in the wilderness and being careful lest there be in them “an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God” (Heb. 3:12). It is because of disobedience that the crooked generation “who left Egypt by Moses” (Heb. 3:16), “whose bodies fell in the wilderness” (Heb. 3:17) did not enter God’s rest. It was not possible because of their unbelief (Heb. 3:19). They kept testing God and rebelling against His commandments, therefore, God had it with them and condemned them to death in the forty years of the wilderness.

We By Faith Enter God’s Rest (Hebrews 4:1-7)

But the Author, in Chapter 4 (the original does not have chapter divisions), begins by stating the relevance of God’s rest to people living under the New Covenant. He writes:

Heb. 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

Now moving away from the instance which the Psalm described, which took place around 1200-1400 years from the time of writing the Epistle, the Author speaks of God’s rest as something that could be entered to in the present time. The “promise of entering his rest still stands” and the Author wants His audience to enter that rest. But what is that rest? I believe that this rest refers to the rest of believers in heaven (cf. Rev. 14:13; 2Thess. 1:7), but not exclusively to that. It refers also to the rest of the believers from their toils and working for their salvation as they rest in Christ who provides them that rest (Matt. 11:28-29). There is a tension in the whole chapter between the already and not-yet. Although that rebellious generation did hear the good news, it did not benefit them because it was not enjoined with faith, therefore, they were condemned (Heb. 4:2). In contrast, “we,” the Author now speaks of the present time, enter that rest because “we…have believed” (Heb. 4:3). Furthermore, this rest, which is entered through faith, is specifically connected with the seventh day of creation and the Author cites Genesis 2:3 in v. 4. This is the rest into which the believers by faith enter both in the present time and in eternity. The rest referred to is God’s eternal and unending Sabbath. Believers do not enter into their own rest but enter into God’s rest. The word “enter” in the Greek is in the present tense indicating that this rest could be entered to now in the present, the moment we believe. As with the general already and not-yet eschatology of the New Testament, so likewise, this rest has two aspects. It is here and now, but it is not yet consummated. Nonetheless, the present rest which we have by faith does not undermine a present Sabbath keeping as we shall see below.

The Typology Of The Seventh-Day Sabbath (Hebrews 4:8)

Heb. 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.

The person here designated is Joshua the son of Nun and not the Lord Jesus, contrary to the KJV and other old translations, which may give us that idea. It was Joshua who was to lead the people into Canaan (e.g. Josh. 1:6) and under Joshua, after the conquest of Canaan, the Israelites did indeed have rest in the Promised Land, as the Lord promised to the Patriarchs (Josh. 21:43-45). Therefore, is the Author of Hebrews wrong here? Obviously not.

The Author here is pointing to the eschatological and typological function of the seventh-day Sabbath. As we discussed above (...


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

...promises of God. Just as there has always been war between the seed of Satan and the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), so likewise it was between Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau and now between Gentile Christians and Jewish "Christians". These Jews who are seeking to draw the Gentile believers from freedom under Christ into the yoke of slavery, may profess the name of Christ, but they demonstrate through their works and beliefs that they are still under the slavery of the Old Covenant and therefore have no inheritance with the children of promise, i.e., they are not true believers.

It is in light of this clear teaching we proceed to chapter 5. We have seen from the end of Chapter 4 that Paul identifies his audience as believers and children of promise and contrasts those who are troubling them to be sons of Hagar, sons of slavery. What the Apostle now does is call upon the believers to enjoy their freedom in Christ and to resist and reject those who are seeking to bring the believers under the yoke of slavery of the Jews, for this slavery did not merely consist in observing the whole law, ceremonial, judicial and moral, but also in obeying their man-made traditions and commandments not based in Scripture. Paul is against circumcision in this context, not merely because it is circumcision, but because of what it actually means in this context. In this context and for the Jews, it means the obligation to keep the whole law and if anyone fails in any point, he is condemned (Gal. 3:10; Jas. 2:10). In other contexts, Paul says that it doesn't matter if one is circumcised or uncircumcised (e.g. Gal. 5:6; 6:15; 1Cor. 7:17-18). In this context, if one is circumcised he places himself under the obligation to keep the whole law and thereby he is severed and separated from Christ. He has no part of Him. Why? Because thereby he is trying to justify himself by law, rather than by faith. These two things are antithetical and mutually exclusive. Therefore, if one seeks to be justified by law rather than by grace, he has, in fact, fallen away from grace. 

We must here notice the fact that Paul, in fact, does not say that the believers have fallen from grace, but rather says, taking the teaching of the circumcision party to its conclusion means falling away from Christ and rejecting Him. But as we have seen from Galatians 4:28-31, these false teachers were, in fact, not true believers, they were never part of the New Covenant of peace, but were still under the Mosaic Covenant of slavery and condemnation. In contrast, the Apostle affirms, in fact, that his audience are children of promise and belong to the New Covenant of peace from which apostasy is an impossibility (see above). The Apostle acknowledges that the believers are, in fact, troubled by this false teaching, but he does not say that they are false believers or they have fallen from grace. He says:

Gal 5:7-10 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 

The circumcision party has caused a lot of trouble for the believers in such a way that they're beginning to doubt the truth of the Gospel, but Paul assures them that their teaching is not from the God who called them to His Gospel. He is so set against this false teaching because...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...bsp;3 and of humilitydiligence5 and abundant consolation 6 to all that sincerely obey the gospel.
  1. Deut 29:29; Rom 9:20; 11:33
  2. Thess 1:4-5; 2 Peter 1:10
  3. Eph 1:6; Rom 11:33
  4. Rom 11:5, 6, 20; Col 3:12
  5. 2 Peter 1:10
  6. Luke 10:20

Chapter 4: Of Creation [Return] [Commentary]

  1. In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six daysand all very good. 5
    1. Heb 1:2; John 1:2-3; Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4
    2. Rom 1:20; Jer 10:12; Ps 104:24; 33:5-6; Prov 3:19; Acts 14:15-16
    3. Gen 1:1; John 1:2; Col 1:16
    4. Gen 2:1-3; Ex 20:8-11
    5. Gen 1:31; Ecc 7:29; Rom 5:12
  1. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of Godin knowledgerighteousness, and true holinesshaving the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change. 3
    1. Gen 1:27; 2:7; James 2:26; Matt 10:28; Ecc 12:7
    2. Gen 1:26-27; 5:1-3; 9:6; Ecc 7"29; 1 Cor 11:7; James 3:9; Col 3:10; Eph 4:24
    3. Rom 1:32; 2:12a, 14-15; Gen 3:6; Ecc 7:29; Rom 5:12
  1. Besides the law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which whilst they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures. 1
    1. Gen 1:26, 28; 2:17

Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence [Return] [Commentary]

  1. God the good Creator of all things, 1 in his infinite power and wisdom 2 doth upholddirectdispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will;  7 to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy. 8
    1. Gen 1:31; 2:18; Ps 119:68
    2. Ps 145:11; Prov 3:19; Ps 66:7
    3. Heb 1:3; Isa 46:10-11; Dan 4:34-35; Ps 135:6; Acts 17:25-28; Job 38-41
    4. Matt 10:29-31
    5. Prov 15:3; Ps 104:24; 145:17
  1. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently. 2
    1. Acts 2:23; Prov 16:33
    2. Gen 8:22; Jer 31:35; Ex 21:13; Deut 19:5; Isa 10:6-7; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 27:31; Matt 5:20-21; Phil 1:9; Prov 20:18; Luke 14:25ffProv 21:31; 1 Kings 22:28, 34; Ruth 2:3
  1. God, in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure. 
    1. Acts 27:22, 31, 44; Isa 55:10-11; Hosea 2:21-22
    2. Hosea 1:7; Luke 1:34-35
    3. Rom 4:19-21
    4. Ex 3:2-3; 2 Kings 6:6; Dan 3:27
  1. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that his determinate counsel extendeth itself even...

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 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 (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 5: Of Divine Providence

... directs every step in the Universe. He is the standard of goodness. He means and intends everything for good (defined by Himself), while man means it for evil (Gen. 50:20). Everything He does is most holy and wise, free and immutable, and for His glory (Isa. 46:8-11). He upholds the universe by the power of His word, He directs history to its predetermined end (Heb. 1:3; Eph. 1:11), He disposes of good and evil and governs every molecule and atom the way He pleases (Dan. 4:34-35; Isa. 45:7; Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Eph. 1:11). Why? To the glorification of His attributes! See Chapter 4, for the purpose of Creation. This is closely connected with God's decree in chapter 3 (see the commentary there). God's sovereign decree could be seen as the blueprint of history, while God's Providence is the execution of that blueprint or plan.


§2 God, the First Cause

  1. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently. 2
    1. Acts 2:23; Prov. 16:33
    2. Gen. 8:22; Jer. 31:35; Ex. 21:13; Deut. 19:5; Isa. 10:6-7; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 27:31; Matt. 5:20-21; Phil. 1:9; Prov. 20:18; Luke 14:25ff; Prov. 21:31; 1 Kings 22:28, 34; Ruth 2:3

He is the primary and first cause, even of sin, but not the doer thereof. As affirmed in 3:6 and will be affirmed here below, God has not decreed what He has willed and left it alone. Rather, He guides it to its predetermined end by the means He decrees. God's decree is His sovereign plan and blueprint. God's providence is the working out of that decree in actual history. God's sovereignty does not “violate” man's will or coerces him to do something against their will, but works according to the nature of second causes, that is, the nature of man and his abilities. Look at chapter 3 for God's sovereignty over evil and His eternal decree, where it is shown that God is absolutely sovereign over everything including sin, yet sinless.


§3 God Uses Means

  1. God, in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure. 
    1. Acts 27:22, 31, 44; Isa. 55:10-11; Hosea 2:21-22
    2. Hosea 1:7; Luke 1:34-35
    3. Rom. 4:19-21
    4. Ex. 3:2-3; 2 Kings 6:6; Dan. 3:27

This seems impossible to non-Calvinists, don't ask me why, but they always seem to think that if God is truly sovereign, then we can't be free or can't make “genuine choices,” or that we should just sit and do nothing. I've never understood that aspect of anti-Calvinism. The Scriptures teach both God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. A simple example is found in Philippians 2:12-13:

Phil. 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Why would Paul say to the Philippians to work out (not work for) their salvation, if in the next verse He says that it's God who does it? Because Paul understands that God makes use of means. God commands us to do certain things, grants us the grace to perform them and works His sovereign will through that. Another example is in...


A Review of Hell Under Fire

... think of that and we cannot, without sympathy, discard the emotional appeal of Universalists and Annihilationists. The Bible is the sole infallible and highest authority for the Christian and if the Bible teaches that historical view of hell, then my emotions do not matter and cannot settle the truth about hell. It is as simple as that.

This book contains 10 chapters dealing, containing among other things, 

  • a historical survey about hell up to our day (chapter 1, by Albert Mohler Jr.); 
  • the OT and hell (chapter 2, by Daniel I. Block); 
  • the Lord Jesus and Hell (chapter 3, by Robert W. Yarbough); 
  • Paul and Hell (Chapter 4, by Douglas J. Moo); 
  • the Apocalypse and Hell (chapter 5, by G. K. Beale); 
  • Biblical and Systematic Theology as it relates to hell (chapters 7-8, by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, respectively); 
  • an examination of Universalism and its arguments (chapter 8, by J. I. Packer); 
  • an examination of Annihilationism and its arguments (chapter 9, by Christopher W. Morgan); and finally
  • Hell and pastoral theology (chapter 10, by Sinclair Ferguson).

There is a ton to be learned in these chapters by the Bible student. What is to be learned from this book should not only fill our heads with information, but motivate us to share the Gospel with the lost because of the dreadful fate which faces them if they receive not Christ and His righteousness.

The reason we believe in the existence and everlasting nature of hell and of its punishment is simply because we believe that Holy Writ teaches it. If it were not for the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who spoke more often about hell than Heaven, we would not believe in Hell, because it is so repugnant to our fallen natures.

Interaction

This work continually interacts with popular scholarship as it regards the nature of hell and the arguments for and against Annihilationism in Evangelicalism. Authors most cited and interacted with include John Stott, Clark Pinnock, David Powys and Edward W. Fudge. The authors of this work continually argue that Annihilationists do not look at the whole portrayal of hell as presented by Scripture, but rather choose to focus on and emphasize specific portrayals of hell with neglect to the rest. This accusation is also leveled against those who hold to the traditional view of Hell who emphasize the punishment aspect of hell, while neglecting to share the Gospel, or declaring that hell is also a banishment (not merely a separation of God's presence) and destruction.

The Destruction Picture of Hell

An important and helpful study was Douglas J. Moo's on the meaning of destruction. He accuses Annihilationists of reading their preconceived meaning of destruction as cessation of existence or as "annihilation" rather than deriving its meaning from the whole of Scripture. He shows how it is better and more consistent with the total picture of hell in the Bible to understand the usage of words like destruction to mean "ruin" (p. 106) and "they [the two Greek word groups olethros and apolymi/apoleia] usually refer to the situation of a person or object that has lost the essence of its nature or function" (p. 105), rather than cessation of being. In order to establish thi

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 4: Of Creation - Commentary

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Chapter 4: Of Creation

Did God create for His glory? How did God create? Why did God create? How long did God take to create? What did God create?

Creation. There are few topics like this which generate heat between believer and unbeliever, and even among believers. But it is essential. Here is the foundation of everything, if there was no creation, there would obviously be nothing. Whom can we trust to tell us how it happened? The Witness has been pleased to reveal to us the way He created this world. The question is: Was everything that He revealed accurate and true? Can we gain any knowledge from outside the special revelation of God that can supply or actually radically change our view of Genesis? Which is primary the exegesis of Scripture or the findings of modern (secular) science? My comments will be short.


§1 In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to make the world

  1. In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six daysand all very good. 5
    1. Heb. 1:2; John 1:2-3; Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4[1]
    2. Rom. 1:20; Jer 10:12; Ps. 104:24; 33:5-6; Prov. 3:19; Acts 14:15-16
    3. Gen. 1:1; John 1:2; Col. 1:16
    4. Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11
    5. Gen. 1:31; Ecc 7:29; Rom. 5:12

For His Glory

The Lord God King of the Universe is the Creator God who created the world ex-nihilo (out of nothing) in the space of six days. This the Creator did not because He lacked something, but was pleased to manifest His glory to His creatures. Therefore, we believe that the whole creation exists to display the glory of its Creator. Everything was created for God's own glory and for God's own purpose. Since God is all-sufficient in and of Himself, the Creation did not add anything to Him that He did not possess, rather, the Creation displayed and manifested His glory to others. In Psalm 19:1 we read, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” The heavens, i.e., space and sky, display the glory of God. Oh, how long can we sometimes stare in the night to the beautiful starry heavens? Or, how are we struck with amazement when we see pictures of outer space and pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope? All these things, which are normally out of our visible sight, still bring glory to the Creator. When we see them, we are filled with awe and reverence for the Creator. The Creation is actually meant to display the glory of God to us. In Isaiah vision of the Lord Jesus, the host of heaven worships and praises God with the following words:

Isa. 6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

The earth does not merely contain His glory, but is full or filled with His glory. His holiness displays itself in His glory in the created world. The holiness of God is glorious and it fills the whole created world. That was God's purpose is creating, to display His glory and for people to acknowledge it. In Romans 1:20 we read that God's “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” The glory and power of God is displayed in the created world in such a ...