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The Staunch Calvinist

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


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

...#cc99ff;"ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

The line of argumentation goes like this:

  • Christ’s ministry is better because
    • the covenant under which He ministers is better because
      • it is established on better promises

What makes the ministry of Christ better is not only the amazing person and worth of the Lord Jesus Christ, our precious and loving Savior, but it is also the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34. It is a covenant which is not a ministry of Condemnation, but of life and righteousness (2 Cor. 3:9). The promises of the covenant include, but are not limited to, the forgiveness of sins, the personal and salvific knowledge of God for everyone in the covenant, the writing of God’s law upon the heart and not stone, the Lord becoming our covenant God and we becoming His covenant people in an intimate way (Heb. 8:10-12).

In the words of Barnes, Christ received a “service of a higher order, or of a more exalted nature. It was the real and substantial service of which the other was but the emblem; it pertained to things in heaven, while that was concerned with the earthly tabernacle; it was enduring, while that was to vanish away.”[2]


Christ is the great High Priest of God’s people. He is a priest not after the order of Aaron and Levi, but of Melchizedek, the priestly king. This was necessary because of the failure of the Mosaic Covenant and the Levitical priesthood. He has made atonement for His people. He intercedes for us and stands as the bridge between God and His people. He intercedes and prays for us and on our behalf before the Father on the basis of His finished work. See paragraph 10 for our benefit from this office.

Christ the Prophet

Deut. 18:15-18 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.

Since the time of Moses, who could be called the prophet of the Old Testament, God promised His people about the coming of the true and prime prophet of God. Moses prophesied about the coming of the true prophet of God, the One Who would reveal to us who God is. He would speak the words of God to us and explain Him as He is. In this prophecy, Moses foretells that God Himself, the God of Israel, will raise a prophet like Moses, that is, one that would teach the people the will of God, be a mediator of the covenant and lead the people of God to freedom. This prophet will be raised from among the Old Covenant community, He will not come from outside of Israel, but will come from within Israel. This prophet shall be a brother to the Israelites. Indeed, in Matthew 1, we read of Abraham as the Lord’s ancestor (Matt. 1:1). He indeed was descended from Abraham, the father of the Jews. The prophet that will arise in the time to come (from the perspective of Moses) will speak the very words of Go...

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


A. The purpose of the law, since, the fall, is to reveal the perfect righteousness of God, that His people may know his will for their lives and the ungodly, being convicted of their sin, may be restrained therein and brought to Christ for salvation. (Ps. 19:7-11; Rom. 3:20,31; 7:7; 12:2; Titus 2:12-14; Gal. 3:22,24; 1 Tim. 1:8)

It is by the law that we know what sin truly is. There is no sin without the law (see above). It shows us our sin and therefore what judgment awaits us. Without the law, there is no true understanding of salvation for we must understand that we have broken God’s law and have come under His Condemnation. What Jesus does is to take the curse of the law upon Himself on our behalf and obey the law perfectly also on our behalf. What God does is He imputes that perfect righteousness of Christ to His elect and therefore God sees wretched sinners through the perfect righteousness of Christ. Amazing grace!

After the Q&A on the Decalogue, the Reformed catechisms follow with the fact that we are unable to keep God’s law, the punishment for sin and then provide the remedy to our sins. Keach’s Catechism Q&A 92 says:

Q. 92. What does God require of us, that we may escape His wrath and curse, due to us for sin?

A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption. (Acts 20:21; Acts 16:30,31; 17:30)[24]

Only faith in Jesus Christ saves. Law-keeping does not save, but true and loving law-keeping demonstrates that one is saved and loves God (1 John 5:3). The law shows us our sin and therefore drives us to the cross again and again. When we are at the foot of the cross we receive forgiveness and then the cross points us to our duty in the law towards God and man. Law and gospel are not contrary when used rightly, but more on that in paragraph 7.

§3 The Ceremonial Laws

  1. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties, all which ceremonial laws being appointed only to the time of reformation, are, by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only law-giver, who was furnished with power from the Father for that end abrogated and taken away. 
    1. 1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Cor. 6:17; Jude 23
    2. Col. 2:14, 16-17; Eph. 2:14-16
    3. Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:16-17

This law of the Ten Commandments is called moral law. Besides this law and in addition to it, God gave Israel ceremonial laws. Notice that the ceremonial laws are not said to be universal or concern all humanity, but specifically the people of Israel. What did this law contain or consist of? It consisted of typical ordinances, i.e., things which pointed beyond themselves to Christ, His people, and the New Covenant. These were partly of worship. This is important to note as the threefold division of the law is not so rigid that we can separate each commandment and give them only one category. Under the Mosaic, many things were both moral and had a ceremonial or judicial application, hence the careful wording of partly of worship. The ceremonial laws were prefiguring Christ and His work (e.g., Col. 2:16-17). Then we come to another “partly” aspect of...

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

...things concerning the Covenant of Works, while the sister confessions do not in the respective chapter (compare 6:1 here).

But what is a covenant of works? Simply said: a covenant wherein one needs to earn its blessings. Pascal Denault defines it thus:

The Covenant of Works had a simple way of functioning: if Adam had obeyed, he and his posterity after him would have retained life and would have been sealed in justice; but his disobedience marked the entrance of death into the world. The fall placed Adam and all of his posterity under Condemnation. The Covenant of Works was conditional and provided no way to expiate the offence in case of disobedience.[10]

Nehemiah Coxe, probably the chief editor of the Confession, defined it thus:

If the covenant be of works, the restipulation [condition, requirement] must be by doing the things required in it, even by fulfilling its condition in a perfect obedience to its law. Suitably, the reward is of debt according the terms of such a covenant. (Do not understand it of debt absolutely but of debt by compact.)[11]

Dr. Richard Barcellos gives the following definition for the Covenant of Works:

that divinely sanctioned commitment or relationship God imposed upon Adam, who was a sinless representative of mankind (or a public person), an image-bearing son of God, conditioned upon his obedience, with a penalty for disobedience, all for the bettering of man’s state. Here we have the following: 1) sovereign, divine imposition; 2) representation by Adam (i.e., federal or covenantal headship), a sinless image-bearing son of God; 3) a conditional element (i.e., obedience); 4) a penalty for disobedience (i.e., death); and 5) a promise of reward (i.e., eschatological potentional or “betterment”).[12]

When Adam, as a Federal Head (see chapter 6), was placed in the Garden, he was commanded to obey upon the threat of punishment. Life and blessing were not simply given to him; he had to earn the enjoyment of that which he had, and seek the higher blessing which awaited him by his obedience in his time of probation (which the Bible does not say how long it would have lasted). Simply said, Adam had to obey for the blessing; disobey for the curse.

As the Federal Head for the whole human race, his disobedience brought Condemnation upon all men (Rom. 5:12-21). Had he obeyed and earned eternal life, his righteousness would have been credited to all his posterity, much like Christ’s (see Rom. 5:12-21). The Covenant of Works does not imply that God treated Adam strictly according to his works. Our Confession declares that God condescended Himself, even before the Fall, to make a covenant with Adam. Every covenant of God is a condescension and seasoned with grace. God was far more gracious to Adam even in Adam’s innocence than he deserved. Indeed, God has no obligation to bless man, but He condescends to do that for His glory and the joy of man. It was of grace that God walked with Adam in the Garden, that God revealed Himself to Adam and communed with him. Thus, a covenant of works or the Covenant of Works does not teach that every part of Adam’s blessed life had to be earned. No, it has a specific point. Adam was given a command to obey for life. If he disobeyed he would’ve brought death—which he did. He had to obey to earn life for himself and for all his descendants after him, whom he represented as the Federal Head.

Concerning this “reward of life,” Dr. Renihan writes:

Adam’s obedience was...

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

...purpose, and foreordination. Therefore, God has ordained all things because He so pleased them to be and was unrestrained by anything outside of Himself.

§3 Reprobation

  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

For the manifestation of his glory, which is the primary goal and end of everything that God does, God has both predestined to life as he has to Condemnation. To the praise of his glorious grace (Rom. 9:23; Eph. 1:6), the Sovereign God has predestined and foreordained to eternal life some men and angels. Not all are predestined to life and blessedness with God. The Confession is carefully following Scripture when it includes angels among those predestined unto life because 1 Timothy 5:21 speaks of “elect angels”, yet many things remain unrevealed about this election of angels. This predestination to eternal life was through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4). It is through and in Him that we were chosen and predestined unto eternal life as Ephesians 1:4-5 also teaches. He was our Federal Head and our High Priest, even from eternity. As foreordained unto eternal life, we were never considered without reference to Jesus Christ.

As to the rest of men and angels, they were left to act and live in their sin to their just Condemnation (Rom. 9:22). The predestination unto Condemnation and death is a passive act of God (also called reprobation). He leaves those to act in their sin, leading to their just Condemnation for their sin and rebellion against God. He does not give Jesus Christ as their Head, neither does He send His Son to die in their place or give them His Holy Spirit. In redemption, God is getting His hands nailed in Jesus Christ. In reprobation, God is leaving those in Adam to their just Condemnation. Therefore, predestination unto life and predestination unto death are not symmetrical. Even reprobation is to the praise of His glorious justice, just as Scripture teaches (Rom. 9:22-24).

Preliminary Comments

Everything that God does and has done has been for His glory above all things because He is the only and highest motivation He can have. When we do things, we try to do them for the glory and honor of God because He is the highest standard and the One worthy to be thanked and blessed. He is the Most High! God has no one higher than Himself, He is the standard, He is the highest, and that’s why He swears by His own Name (Heb. 6:13). 

Notice that on the basis of 1 Timothy 5:21 elect angels, and not only men are included in the Confessional statement, which is astounding. God had absolute control and determination over the Fall and rebellion of Satan and it could not have happened unless He decreed, ordained, willed and permitted it.

There are some who in 3:6 of this chapter will be recognized as “fallen in Adam” since God has decreed the Fall, which would make salvation possible, He would redeem them from their sins through Jesus. Jesus was already the means of salvation even before the Creation. That’s why Adam was a type of Christ. Now the question is, did Adam become a type of Christ when Paul wrote Romans 5:14 or was that God’s intention when He created Adam? Well, ...

Romans 5:18-19, 'justification and life for all men'


Therefore, as one trespass led to Condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19 (ESV)

(For a recent defense of this see here.)

This to me seems a pretty simply one, but it’s going to be troublesome if people only quote verse 18 and you’re not aware of verse 19 which clarifies verse 18. 

Adam Christ
One trespass led to Condemnation for “all One act of righteousness leads to justification and life for “all

One disobedience leads to “the many” made sinners

One obedience leads to the justification of “the many

Throughout the discussion in Romans 5 the Apostle groups humanity into to groups: they’re either in Adam or in Christ.

All those outside of Christ are in Adam, they are his natural children and have inherited the sinful nature from their father Adam, who is the root of the human tree. He was the representative of all the human race in the Garden.

But by the grace of God, we have another Federal Head, namely our precious Lord Jesus, who stood in the stead of His people (Matt 1:21; 2 Co 5:21; Tit 2:14, Jn 10:15, etc..).

Not all the human race is in Him, but only those who believe in Him. All those who do not believe remain in Adam.

It is clear from contrasting verses 18 and 19 (and Romans 5 in general) that Paul does not see the whole human race as justified because of Christ, as that would contradict the idea of Hell and what was said before chapter 5, especially Romans 1-2 and what is in this chapter: Romans 5:12, 14, 16-17.


The ESV Study Bible explains: [1]

Rom. 5:18 The one trespass of Adam, as the covenantal head of the human race, brought Condemnation and guilt to all people. In a similar way, Christ’s one act of righteousness (either his death as such or his whole life of perfect obedience, including his death) grants righteousness and life to all who belong to him. for all men. Some interpreters have advocated universalism (the view that all will be saved) based on these verses. But Paul makes it plain in this context that only those who “receive” (v. 17) God’s gift belong to Christ (see also 1:16–5:11, which indicates that only those who have faith will be justified). The wording “as … so” shows that Paul’s focus is not on the number in each group but on the method of either sin or righteousness being passed from the representative leader to the whole group: the first “all men” refers to all who are in Adam (every human being), while the second “all men” refers to all believers, to all who are “in Christ.” On the translation “men,” see note on 5:12.


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience - Commentary


The freedom and liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in the freedom from the dominion of sin, the punishment for sin and the free access (Eph. 2:18; 3:12), which we received through Christ, to God. Furthermore, our obedience to God and His commandments is not out of slavish fear (1John 4:18), but a child-like love and willing mind (Rom. 8:14-15). We obey because we love our Father and not because we are afraid of how He might punish us. In our obedience there is reverence, but no fear of punishment or Condemnation. All these things were common also to believers under the law although those living under the law were still under the yoke of a ceremonial law (e.g. Col. 2:16-17), which believers under the New Testament are not. With the doing away of the ceremonial law, we have a greater boldness of access to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16) now that we know what Christ has accomplished and what it means for us. The Spirit of God is more fully communicated to us with His gifts and graces than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of (John 7:38-39). There are no believers without the Holy Spirit, but under the New Testament, there is a fuller communication of the free Spirit of God.

The Children Of God Are Freed From

Oh, brothers and sisters, how thankful should we be to our Lord for the many liberties which He has blessed us with as His children. The Confession mentions ten things which we have been freed from. As His children and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are slaves to no one, but God. Paradoxically, true freedom comes from slavery to none other than Christ. We belong to Him and we are called to walk in freedom (Gal. 5:1). We are under grace and are free, but our freedom does not consist in doing our own will, but the will of the Father and seeking His good pleasure. We were called out of the bondage of sin to walk in the freedom of God and the Gospel.

1. The guilt of sin

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Before The Throne of God Above, verse 2.

Christ, our precious Lord and Savior, makes an end of our sin and thereby also end of the guilt of sin. The guilt of sin does not only consist in the psychological terror of breaking God’s Law, but also the moral culpability and responsibility for breaking His Law, for sin is the breaking and transgressing of His Law (1John 3:4 KJV). Christ, our High Priest, “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26) and thereby made also an end to the Condemnation and punishment of sin for His people. Romans 8:1 declares that there is “no Condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. Why? Because of His sacrificial work on their behalf. He has satisfied the wrath of God on their behalf and has been punished according to the demand of the law in place of His elect (Rom. 3:25-26; Gal. 3:10-13).

According to Romans 8:32-34, the reason that no Condemnation is possible for the children of God is because of:

  1. the death of Christ on their behalf;
  2. the resurrection of Christ on their behalf; and
  3. the intercession of Christ on their behalf.

These threefold reasons do not depend upon them and are not things done by them. Rather, they are things done for them by Christ. See here for more on R...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 11: Of Justification - Commentary

...t refers to a personal declaration that one’s moral character is in conformity with the law, Matt. 12:37; Luke 7:29; Rom. 3:4. In the Epistles of Paul the soteriological meaning of the term is clearly in the foreground. It is “to declare forensically that the demands of the law as a condition of life are fully satisfied with regard to a person, Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1,9; 8:30-33; I Cor. 6:11; Gal. 2:16; 3:11. In the case of this word, just as in that of hitsdik, the forensic meaning of the term is proved by the following facts: (a) in many instances it can bear no other sense, Rom. 3:20-28; 4:5-7; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; 3:11; 5:4; (b) it is placed in antithetic relation to “Condemnation” in Rom. 8:33,34; (c) equivalent and interchangeable expressions convey a judicial or legal idea, John 3:18; 5:24; Rom. 4:6,7; II Cor. 5:19; and (d) if it does not bear this meaning, there is no distinction between justification and sanctification.[14] 

To further elaborate on the second point (b), Dabney says:

Because, in a multitude of cases, to justify is the contrast of condemning; e. g., Job 9:20; Deut. 25:1; Rom. 8:33, 34, &c. Now, to condemn does not change, but only declares the culprit’s moral condition; it merely fixes or apportions the legal consequence of his faults. Therefore, to justify does not make holy, but only announces and determines the legal relation.[12]

Again we notice in these definitions that the idea is absent of making someone righteous and just through infusion or change of nature. Paul uses this word a lot in his epistles. It is also used in Romans 4, which we were looking at. For example, Romans 4:5 says that “the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness”. Because of faith, which is counted (logizomai) as righteousness, the Lord God King of the Universe, declares righteous those who have put their faith in Christ. This is not because they are practically righteous, for God is justifying the ungodly. But because of the perfect righteousness of Christ which was imputed to their account whereby God credits to them and thinks of them as righteous because they are united to Christ, the perfectly righteous Man. In further support for our point that dikaioo means declaring and counting one righteous, rather than making one righteous, we call upon Luke 7:29. There, the text literally says that the people “justified God” (KJV). Now, what does this mean? Does anyone think that the people made God to be righteous? Absolutely not! Rather, as the ESV renders the passage, “they declared God just”. A. H. Strong observes that justification is a “declarative act”:

Justification, as thus defined [as at the beginning of this paragraph], is therefore a declarative act, as distinguished from an efficient act; an act of God external to the sinner, as distinguished from an act within the sinner’s nature and changing that nature; a judicial act, as distinguished from a sovereign act; an act based upon and logically presupposing the sinner’s union with Christ, as distinguished from an act which causes and is followed by that union with Christ.[4]

A little further, Strong observes:

It is worthy of special observation that, in the passages cited above [Deut. 25:1; Prov. 17:15; Matt. 12:37; Rom. 5:16, 18-19; 8:33-34], the terms “justify” and “justification” are contrasted, not with the process of depraving or corrupting, but with the outward act of condemning; and that the...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 9: Of Free Will - Commentary

... 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. 1 John 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 (2 Cor. 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 the Sovereign Who has freed us from our slavery to sin. We would have never come to Christ through our free will because our will was only free to do what accords with our desires, which at that time was only sin (Rom. 14:23; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Eph. 2:1-3). But it is God who has bought us from the slave market of sin and made us slaves of Himself. We no longer are under the harsh dominion of sin, but are under the dominion of the gracious God Who saved us. It is an axiom that whoever or whatever we obey and love the most, to that we are slaves. So, when we were in the State of Sin, we were obedient to sin and thus were slaves of sin. But now thanks be to God, we have become and are becoming more obedient to God. We have been set free from sin and now we have a new goal: we now, thanks to the new nature, want to be slaves of righteousness and no longer slaves of sin. We want God to rule in our lives. We want to produce fruit in keeping with our repentance and demonstrate our love for God by being obedient slaves to Him and not defy Him through sin. We no longer want to be ashamed of the things that we did before we came to Christ, but we want to be obedient slaves of God and produce fruit which is consistent with our new nature, which does not lead to death, but instead to life eternal with God! (Rom. 6:21-22) 

Rom. 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Thanks be to God!

Remaining Corruptions

The fact that we have been freed from the dominion of sin does not mean that we no longer sin. If we claim that we no longer sin, we disqualify ourselves from being Christians (1 John 1:7). We do sadly sin, but this is because of the remaining corrup...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgment - Commentary

... Him. Paul states that the purpose of us all appearing before Christ is “so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor. 5:10). The wicked will be paid back for their wickedness (Col. 3:25), and the righteous will be paid back for their righteousness (Eph. 6:8).

The reason that Christians should not dread the Day of Judgment is because Christ said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). We must understand these words to mean that the believer does not come under Condemnation and judgment, and not to mean that believers will not appear at the Last Judgment. The confidence of believers on the Day of Judgment and their lack of dread thereof, is based on their faith in the Christ of God. Romans 8:1 declares plainly that “There is therefore now no Condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, every believer can have 100% confidence that God will not reject them or sentence them to Hell, if they had sincerely believed on Christ and turned from their sin toward God. John says:

1 John 4:16-18 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 

Since we know that God loves us, His people, therefore, we should have no fear of the judgment, but rather we should have “confidence for the day of judgment”. John Calvin noted on v. 17, saying:

It is, however, an invaluable benefit, that we can dare boldly to stand before God. By nature, indeed, we dread the presence of God, and that justly; for, as he is the Judge of the world, and our sins hold us guilty, death and hell must come to our minds whenever we think of God. Hence is that dread which I have mentioned, which makes men shun God as much as they can. But John says that the faithful do not fear, when mention is made to them of the last judgment, but that on the contrary they go to God’s tribunal confidently and cheerfully, because they are assured of his paternal love. Every one, then, has made so much proficiency in faith, as he is well prepared in his mind to look forward to the day of judgment.[3]

This “confidence” and “boldness” which we have for the Day of Judgment, a day naturally to be dreaded, especially when we know how sinful we are, is based only upon the love of God demonstrated for us in the cross. We do not fear the Day of Judgment, because, says John, fear has to do with punishment and in that scheme, love does not work. John taught us that our sins were washed away by the blood of Christ, and therefore, the punishment for sins was was delivered to God (1 John 1:7-2:2). Therefore, Christians have nothing to dread. The wicked, Scripture declares, “will not stand in the judgment” (Ps. 1:5). Their position and their condition at the Last Judgment is utterly different. The wicked will be in pain and will be in full dread of the everlasting judgment ahead of them, while the righteous have nothing to fear. John Gill notes on 1 John 4:17:

the future judgment, which, though it will be...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...deal with it here.

Mark 16:16

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:9-20 is widely regarded as an addition to the Gospel of Mark and not part of the original God-breathed text of the Bible, therefore, in a sense, what it teaches does not have authority since it is not part of the original. Yet, I believe what is said in these verses is not in contradiction to the Bible.[32]

Notice that the writer (whoever it was) makes a careful distinction between salvation and Condemnation. It is said that people will be saved if they believe and are baptized, but, then we would expect the passage to say “but whoever does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned.” But this is not how the passage goes. This is because baptism is not a condition of salvation or damnation. Baptism is the proper response to the gospel and goes hand in hand with faith. There were no unbaptized believers in the apostolic church, people did not wait to get baptized, but did that right away, just like on Pentecost with 3000 people! John Gill noted on this passage, saying, “baptism, though it is said to save by the resurrection of Christ, as it is a means of leading faith to Christ’s resurrection for justification, yet has no casual influence upon salvation; it is not essential to it; the thief on the cross, went to heaven without it, and Simon Magus to hell with it; but it is the duty of every one that believes, and he that truly believes, ought to be baptized, and prove the truth of his faith, by his obedience to Christ, and such shall be saved”[10]. GotQuestions Ministries, in answering this question, likewise note the absence of “non-baptism” as a condition of damnation:

While this verse tells us something about believers who have been baptized (they are saved), it does not say anything about believers who have not been baptized. In order for this verse to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation, a third statement would be necessary, viz., “He who believes and is not baptized will be condemned” or “He who is not baptized will be condemned.” But, of course, neither of these statements is found in the verse.[33]

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown note that ‘Baptism is here put for the external signature of the inner faith of the heart, just as “confessing with the mouth” is in Rom 10:10; and there also as here this outward manifestation, once mentioned as the proper fruit of faith, is not repeated in what follows (Rom 10:11).’[7] Using this passage to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation, is to go beyond what the passage is saying and to treat a text of dubious origin as canonical.

John 3:5

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 

This passage, when read for the first time, seems to give the idea that what the Lord Jesus is speaking about is water baptism, but that cannot be for several reasons. The most obvious is that Christian baptism was not yet instituted. There was no baptism in the Name of the Father, Son, and Spirit yet, therefore, it is very strange for the Lord Jesus to be talking to Nicodemus about something which has not yet been instituted. Nicodemus, “a ruler of the Jews” (John 3:1), comes to the Lord Jesus in the night to inquire about Him and His signs and he acknowledges that God is with the Lord Jesus (John 3:2). But, the Lord Jesus’ response is strange. He said to Nicod...