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

...King

I would refer you to our discussion of the Davidic Covenant and its fulfillment in Christ in chapter 7. See paragraph 10 for our benefit from this office.

Christ the Savior

He is the Savior of His church, of His people. He gave Himself up for her, to save and purify her. This point is very clear in the Bible. The purpose of Christ in dying on the Cross was to save His church from the deserved wrath of God and to atone for her sins.

Eph. 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 

It is clear from this glorious passage what effect the death of Christ has. He died for His bride. His love drove Him to give Himself up for her, so that He may be glorified in them, His own people. That He may make them brothers and sisters of His, holy and blameless. The Lord Christ is twice called the Savior of the world (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14). He is the only hope that the world has for redemption. He is the only One Who can save us from the wrath of God due to our sins. He is the only One Who can reconcile us back to God in a harmonious relationship. In fact, it is through the shedding of His blood that He has redeemed for God definitely and not hypothetically, people from every corner of the world (Rev. 5:9) because He has died for them (John 11:49-52; 1 John 2:1-2). It is through His sacrifice and perfect life that we are counted righteous and forgiven of all our sins. He is Christ the Lord, the Anointed One to save His people (Matt. 1:21).

It is important for us to remember that when we speak of Christ as our Savior, we speak of Him as our Savior from God’s judgment and wrath (Rom. 5:9). The wrath of God was set against us, and the Lord Jesus came to willfully and freely take upon Himself our sin so that the righteous and dreadful wrath of God could be atoned for. Christ did not come to save us from our problems or our miserable lives, but He came to save us from the wrath of God!

Christ the Head

A handful of texts speak of the Lord Christ as being the head of the church. In this section, I want to explore what that means. The Confession, following the Reformed tradition and Sola Scriptura, abhors the doctrine that the Roman Catholic Church holds concerning the Pope being the head of the church and denounces it with very strong words:

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. (1689 26:4)

The Lord Jesus Christ is described as the head of the body, that is, the church—

Col. 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

The context in Colossians 1 testifies to the Lord Jesus’ divinity and greatness. Paul does not forget to mention the magnificent truth that the Lord Jesus is the head of the church and is preeminent ...


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

...e agent is not being coerced to do anything against their desire, but out their own desires and freedom carries whatever God has from all eternity decreed. We may not understand how this is done, but I believe that such is the testimony of Scripture. It is not for me to understand how the two work together, rather, it is for me to believe that it is such if I see both in Holy Writ. On a personal level, there is no truth that I cherish more than knowing the Triune God and knowing Him as the only Sovereign. It is not merely “in the head” doctrine, but it is a doctrine that I praise God for, cherish and find comfort in daily.

Some years ago, I came aCross the Doctrines of Grace through the Facebook page called Reformed Memes Daily and I remember seeing something from Romans 9:18. I was amazed that the Bible had such things to say and wanted to study this issue. Apparently, I had not read that passage before. It was not easy, but I promised God that I would believe anything that His Word teaches, no matter how painful. Through my study, I tried to collect as many verses as possible in regard to God’s sovereignty as are relevant and that I could find from daily Bible reading and other books. More about my journey can be read here. The document where I put these verses was the reason that this website was made; it is found here.

What I will seek to provide below is a case for God’s absolute control of everything, thus justifying paragraph 1 of this chapter. Here we will touch on issues that are relevant to chapter 5 (Of God’s Providence), but we will direct the interested reader from chapter 5 back to paragraph 1 of chapter 3. Under the section General Sovereignty, I will deal with texts which speak of God’s sovereignty over history and His counsel. Under Particular Sovereignty, I will try to deal with God’s sovereignty over specific things such as evil and human actions. By no means is this an extensive case or discussion of God’s absolute sovereignty, but I believe that it is nonetheless a decent biblical case for it.

General Sovereignty

First, let’s start with verses about God’s Lordship over the world.

Neh. 9:6 You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

He not only has created the world out of nothing, but He keeps the world in existence. Genesis 1:1 should be enough to prove God’s sovereignty over the creation that He has made. Everything is dependent upon Him. Without Him, all would perish. All things, from stars to ants and angels to men are dependent upon Him for their every moment existence. He is the Creator and Sustainer of everything. The God of the Bible is both the Creator and the Governor of the world. He both has created everything, and He keeps everything in existence.

Acts 17:26-28 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

He has determined where everyone is to live. He has determined the countries in the world with their boundaries. Not only...


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

...ich show us that he did not understand the law as an indivisible whole, but rather distinguished certain things. I will try to be brief.

The Law Of Commandments Expressed In Ordinances

Eph. 2:14-16 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the Cross, thereby killing the hostility. 

Paul claims that Christ is the peace between Jew and Gentile believers, Who through His sacrifice has “broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility”. But how? “by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances” (Eph. 2:14-16). Does the abolition of this “law of commandments” refer to the abolishment of the whole Mosaic Law—moral, civil and ceremonial? I don’t believe that’s the case, rather the apostle specifies what law he is referring to, namely, the one “expressed in ordinances”. But what is this? We can know what he is referring to directly by looking at how the apostle starts his discussion from v. 11. He refers to such an ordinance and Israelite law, namely, circumcision of the male on the eighth day. This is part of the “dividing wall” in v. 14. Circumcision divided those God-fearers and the Jews. It divided pagans and Jews, and the Jews prided themselves in circumcision. You can already hear the Jewish pride and distinctiveness in the way that the apostle writes vv. 11-12. Could it be said that the moral law separated Jew and Gentile? I don’t believe that’s the case. The moral law or natural law of the Decalogue is common to all people in accordance with the apostle’s argument in Romans 1-2 (see above). The moral law could not have separated Jew and Gentile. Could it have been the civil law? I don’t think that’s the case either, for the Mosaic civil law was not radically different than laws existing already at that time. Dr. Ross notes, “The Code of Hammurabi provides examples: Hands cut off for striking one’s father, a nurse’s breast cut off over contractual disagreements, and different standards for rich and poor.”[14]What definitely separated the Jews from the Gentiles were laws given specifically to separate them like circumcision (Gen. 17:14) or food laws (Lev. 20:24-26), which we know from the rest of the NT (e.g., Acts 10) were problematic for the infant church. Therefore, we see in this passage that the apostle declares the abolishing and destruction of such ceremonial laws while not speaking a word about the abolishing of the moral law, but rather, elsewhere arguing that it is common for all men (Rom. 1:18-32; 2:12-15). This he could not have done if he had not seen a certain division within the law.

See also 1 Cor. 7:19 below.

The Commandments Summed up

Rom. 13:8-10 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 

In Romans 13:8-10, the apostle cites four laws from the second table of the Decalogue and then adds “any other commandment” and finally concludes that this is ful...


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

...lood of animals (e.g. Heb. 10:4). Therefore, Christ says that His blood is the means of forgiveness. In Matthew’s account, He gives the following explanation of the wine: “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28). This is the blood that institutes the New Covenant, but it is also the blood that brings about the forgiveness of sins by its sacrifice. Therefore, when believers celebrate the Lord’s Supper, they celebrate the Lord’s death in all of its benefits. The life of Christ which lead to His vicarious sufferings on our behalf, His perfect atonement on behalf of His New Covenant people on the Cross, the institution of the Covenant of Grace in time and in His blood, i.e., the New Covenant, in all of its blessings, and His peoples’ participation in these blessings bought for us by His blood and given by grace.

Names

The regular name of the ordinance among Protestants is the Lord’s Supper, but there are also other names that are used for this ordinance.

The Lord’s Supper

This name comes from 1 Corinthians 11:20. There, the apostle calls this ordinance the Lord’s Supper. This indicates that this is a special supper, set aside from regular ones because the Lord Christ claims it as His own and as is usual in the ancient world, a supper with someone was not a parallel to eating something with a stranger at McDonald’s. But dining with someone included communion with that person, therefore, the Lord’s Supper is a supper of close communion with the Lord Who redeemed us and invites us to His table.

The Table Of The Lord

Instead of going to the pagan tables of the false gods and offering their sacrifices there, the Christians are invited to the Lord’s Table (1 Cor. 10:21). Eating at this table indicates close communion with Christ. Paul says, if you’re going to the table of false gods, you are participating and communing with demons. Therefore, when one goes to the table of the true and only Lord, they are communing and participating with the true God. This table is holy because the Lord claims it as His own for His communion with His people. In this connection, we may call the Lord’s Supper, Communion, because in partaking of it, the faithful have a real and spiritual communion with their Savior as He administers grace to them.

The Breaking Of Bread

This is the first designation of the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament. It is used in Luke 24:35; Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7, 11; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. The early Christians were continually celebrating the Lord’s Supper in the manner which their Lord did. As Christ took bread and broke it, so the Christians called this ordinance the breaking of bread, which reminded them of Christ’s body given for them. Notice that in Acts 20:7, the purpose of the church gathering on the Lord’s Day, is to break bread. They were gathered on the Christian Sabbath, as a church, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

Eucharist

Eucharist means thanksgiving and refers to the words of Christ in Luke 22:19 before breaking and distributing the bread to His disciples. The Greek verb for giving thanks is εὐχαριστήσας (eucharistēsas). There is no doubt that thanksgiving should play a fundamental part as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, thinking of the work of Christ and receiving the benefits thereof anew in a spiritual and close communion with our Savior. But unfortunately, this name is closely associated with the abominable sacrifice of the Mass, therefore...


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

...note-5" rel="footnote"[5]

Some take the judgment spoken of in Hebrews 9:27 to be the final judgment. To be sure, there is no definite article for “judgment” in the Greek and this is correctly translated by the ESV, in contrast to translations which supply a definite article (e.g., KJV, NKJV). The definite article makes the idea that this passage is speaking about the Final Judgment more appealing, yet the definite article is not in the original. But a stronger case that death fixes our eternity destiny can be made from Luke 16:19-31. There is a chasm that separates the saved in heaven and the damned in Hades in the Intermediate State. No one can Cross over and this takes place after physical death. That’s why death should be terrifying to those who do not know God and who have not obeyed the gospel of our Lord. There are no second chances. All that awaits those who have not put their trust in Christ is doom and misery.

The Souls Of The Righteous In Heaven

Already in the Old Testament believers were expecting a blissful existence with God after their physical death. David says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Ps. 23:6; cf. Ps. 16:10-11; 17:15; 73:24; 115:18). He expects to ever live in the presence of God. He did not only live with and for God in his earthly life, but he believes that God’s presence will always be with Him. He will dwell in His house and this is said at a time when the Temple was not yet built. Elijah is said to have “went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2Kings 2:11). Jesus shows that there will be a resurrection from the fact that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are living before the presence of God (Matt. 22:31-32; Luke 20:37-38).

But there is the greater revelation of this fact in the New Testament. There is general agreement amongst Christians that once they die, they will be in the presence of the Lord. (1) The Lord Jesus, before being crucified and going back to the Father, tells His disciples that He will go before them to prepare a place for them, and then come and take them to that place (John 14:1-4). The Lord Jesus, through His atonement on the Cross and resurrection, made a place for His people, and then He comes and takes them in their death to Himself. (2) Paul says that it is better for him to die because dying is gain, why? Because in dying we will go to the place where the Lord Christ is (Phil. 1:21-23). To depart and to die is to be with Christ, which is better. (3) To another church, he writes that as long as we live in the body, we are away from the Lord. His greater desire is to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). As long as we live our lives here, we are with the Lord and the Lord is with us, but it is not the same as being “at home with the Lord.” Then we will see Him face to face and have close and direct communion with Him. (4) The Author of Hebrews says that Christians join in worship with those in heaven, which includes “the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Heb. 12:22-23). In heaven, they reach sinless perfection, yet they still await the resurrection of their body. Notice that these are said to be the “spirits of the righteous”, the Author is not speaking of a bodily resurrection, for that is after the Intermediate State is over and Christ has come back. (5) John describes the martyrs of the Lord Christ who were waiting until God’s judgment would come upon the wicke...


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

...e. The Bible teaches that the shedding of blood is necessary for the forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:22), but we must not suppose that the animal sacrifices provided forgiveness of sin. They merely pictured the Sinless Savior Who was to come (Heb. 10:4). But we will discuss the sacrifices more when we come to the Mosaic Covenant. Christ’s precious blood was shed for us for the forgiveness of sin. He covered our sin and cleansed us and we have received His perfectly pure and white clothes which symbolize His purity. In Adam and Eve’s case, the shedding of the animal blood provides a physical covering for them; the same is true for what Christ the Lord did for us on the Cross and provided us with spiritual covering. By the shedding of His blood and faith in His name, we are clothed in His perfect righteousness and our sins are covered. All this was necessary because the covenant in which Adam and Eve were brought in was transgressed and broken.

At the entrance of sin, God slaughtered animals to cover Adam and Eve; in Jesus Christ, God slaughtered His Son to cover us in His perfect righteousness!

Federal headship and Covenant theology

In discussing Covenant Theology, it is essential to be clear about what federal headship is and what its consequences are for Covenant Theology. Federal headship literally means covenantal headship. Therefore, it has everything to do with Covenant Theology. God usually contracts covenants through a covenant head. As we already pointed out, God made the Covenant of Works with all humanity, through Adam. Adam was the representative of his posterity who were all included in the covenant. God covenants with the whole creation through Noah. God covenants with Israel through Abraham. God covenants with the kings of Israel through David. God covenants with the elect through Jesus Christ. In all of these instances, the people who were covenanted through functioned as representatives.

How do we know who is included in each covenant? By their relation to the covenant head. Who is included in the Adamic Covenant? All who are naturally descended from Adam and remain living in his sin (Rom. 5:12-14). Who is included in the Noahic Covenant? All who are related to Noah and the whole earth (Gen. 9:9, 12). Who are included in the Abrahamic Covenant? All those who are related to Abraham either by birth or adoption (as belonging to his household, also slaves) (Gen. 17:12-14). The Mosaic Covenant is made with the same people as the Abrahamic Covenant. The Davidic Covenant belongs to the sons of David (2Sam. 7:12-15; Ps. 132:11). Who are included in the New Covenant? All those united to Jesus Christ.

Someone who does not belong to Abraham, cannot lay a claim to Abraham’s covenant. Someone who does not belong to David’s line, cannot lay a claim to David’s covenant. It is essential to understand Federal Headship as it relates to covenant membership, which is very important.

For example, the promise to Noah was, “I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you” (Gen. 9:9). The claim to this covenant is directly related to Noah. The question is, “Am I related to Noah?” Therefore, Nehemiah Coxe says, “Future generations to the end of the world are as much involved in this covenant as their immediate offspring with whom it was first made. They have equal claim with them to its blessings without any consideration of their immediate parents.”[21]

As it concerns the Abrahamic Covenant, relation to Abraham defines ev...


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

... They seek to draw people using means that God has not authorized and adding to His worship things which He has not commanded. May we pray that God would grant His people the grace and willingness to diligently search the Scriptures to learn about the way in which God desires to be worshiped.

Not Under Any Visible Representation

To worship God by visibly representing Him in statutes or pictures (any of the Person of the Blessed Trinity) is to break the Second Commandment. To worship God “in spirit and truth” includes the idea of worshipping God invisibly, without any representations whatsoever. This does not mean that we may not have pictures of Bible verses or Crosses, but it means, that no Person of the Holy Trinity may be visibly represented at all. For more on this see our discussion in chapter 19 about the Second Commandment.


§2 Religious Worship Is To Be Given To God The Father, Son, And Holy Spirit

  1. Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him alone; 1 not to angels, saints, or any other creatures; and since the fall, not without a mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone3
    1. Matt. 4:9-10; John 5:23; 2 Cor. 13:14
    2. Rom. 1:25; Col. 2:10; Rev. 19:10
    3. John 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Col. 3:17; 1 Tim. 2:5

All three persons of the Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit should receive religious worship and to God alone. No angels, saints, or any other creature (Rom. 1:25; Rev. 19:10) should receive religious worship. It is for God alone. Furthermore, this religious worship is mediated by Christ alone (Eph. 2:18; 1 Tim. 2:5). We cannot go to God without Christ. Christ is our only access to God in all things.


Through Christ Alone

That worship is to be offered to the Triune God is seen from the fact that God ought to be worshiped and that all three Persons of the Holy Trinity are co-equal and co-eternal (see chapter 2). Therefore, worship is to be offered to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All three Persons should be prayed to and worshiped. While that is true, it is usually true, as with prayer, that we worship the Father through the Son by the power of and in the Holy Spirit (not referring to John 4:24). Since the Fall of man in the Garden man needed a mediator, someone who would stand between him and God. The only mediator between man and God, is the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). The Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). He is the only One in Whom salvation is found (Acts 4:12). It is only through His mediation that we can approach God. Every religion which denies the perfect and sole mediation of the Son, is a false religion. See chapter 8 “of Christ the Mediator.” Many false religions have tried to put either persons alongside Christ, or persons in place of Christ as mediators. Now, to such a religion we turn our attention against which the Reformers wrote.

Pray Not To The Dead

The Roman Catholic religion teaches that not only prayers to God are to be made, but prayers to the departed saints may also be made. Now, simply applying the Regulative Principle of Worship or even looking through the Bible for any example or command to pray for or to departed brothers and sisters, we would search in vain! Scripture is twisted left and right to make it say things which it simply does not say. They often abuse Revelation 5:8 to teach that the saints know the contents of our prayer and therefore, somehow this gives us a warrant...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...ative of God in the baptism of infants. We Baptists never deny the initiative of God, but we see in this passage also, as Perkins calls it, our stipulation of the covenant. Therefore, this means that baptism is also an act of the baptized person toward God. But it is an act not only toward God, but to the watching world that I am being identified with Christ and I am pledging before God and before the watching world to live for Him.

Conclusion

We have seen from the texts above that water baptism signifies/typifies/shows/demonstrates union with Christ in His life, death, burial, and resurrection. The believer is vitally united to their Lord. They were united with Him on the Cross as well as in His resurrection and they come to share in the blessings of this union when they come to faith (see more here). Water baptism likewise signifies the fact that we are walking in newness of life with Christ our Lord, because of His resurrection and the receiving of the gift of the Holy Spirit. What is also signified by water baptism is the cleansing of sins. It is not the water, but the blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin. But we are to go into the water to publicly identify with our Lord and show the spiritual realities in the physical, divine ordinance of water baptism. We identify with our Lord and we profess our faith and allegiance to Him.

Signs And Seal Of The Covenant

It is said in the Westminster Confession 28:1 that baptism is “a sign and seal of the covenant of grace” and in 27:1 that the “Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace.” The 1689 omits these two things in its respective chapters, but does this entail a denial and rejection of these things? I believe that it does entail a denial of some aspects, but not an entire denial. Baptists reject that baptism functions as a seal of the Covenant of Grace, rather, it is the Holy Spirit Who is said to be the seal on believers in the New Testament. The same is true for the Lord’s Supper; it is not a seal of the New Covenant, but the Holy Spirit is the seal. But we do believe that the holy ordinances do function as signs of the New Covenant.

In 1689 Federalist understanding, the Covenant of Grace is the New Covenant before it was formally established in the blood of Christ. In contrast, Westminster Federalism teaches that the New Covenant is the last and final administration of the Covenant of Grace. Westminster Federalism teaches that the Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic covenants were administrations of the Covenant of Grace. But the Covenant of Grace reaches its final administration and revelation in the New Covenant. But we, 1689 Federalists, deny this. We believe rather that the New Covenant/Covenant of Grace was revealed in these covenants and the blessings thereof given to the elect, but not because of the covenant they found themselves in, but because they believed the promise. We believe that the Covenant of Grace, prior to the Cross, existed in promise form, and not an established covenant. As John Owen said, “Believers were saved under it [the Mosaic Covenant], but not by virtue of it. Sinners perished eternally under it, but by the curse of the original law of works.”[24] See more on 1689 Federalism and the case for it in chapter 7.

Signs

What do we actually mean by a sign and a seal? A sign is something visible which points to inward and spiritual realities. The rainbow was the visible sign of the Noahic Covenant, it functioned as a token (“Some...


John Owen's Case For Particular Atonement

...ematic as it obvious that not everyone is or will be enjoying the benefits of redemption. There are those who will eternally be damned and not taste of redemption. Moreover, there are those who have never heard of Christ’s sacrifice (supposedly) on their behalf. In their case, therefore, the sacrifice of Christ is meaningless and cannot be applied to them apart from faith.

When Owen speaks of Christ’s offering, or as he calls it by a not-so-common word—oblation—he has in mind both the passive and active obedience of Christ. He writes:

By his oblation we do not design only the particular offering of himself upon the Cross an offering to his Father…but also his whole humiliation, or state of emptying himself, whether by yielding voluntary obedience unto the law, as being made under it, that he might be the end thereof to them that believe, Rom. 10:4, or by his subjection to the curse of the law, in the antecedent misery and suffering of life, as well as by submitting to death, the death of the Cross: for no action of his as mediator is to be excluded from a concurrence to make up the whole means in this work.[2] (book I, chap. 6)

His intercession is not only His appearance before the Father on our behalf for the applying of the benefits of redemption, but also His exaltation and resurrection.

Neither by his intercession do I understand only that heavenly appearance of his in the most holy place for the applying unto us all good things purchased and procured by his oblation; but also every act of his exaltation conducing thereunto, from his resurrection to his “sitting down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, angels, and principalities, and powers, being made subject unto him.”[3] (book I, chap. 6)

The resurrection is essential to His exaltation and therefore also to His intercession. If He had not risen, then our faith is vain (1Cor. 15:13-14), we would be still in our sin (1Cor. 15:17), and we would be miserable (1Cor. 15:19). The resurrection plays an essential part in our justification (Rom. 4:25) as it is also the means whereby God blesses us (Acts 3:26).

The Particularity of Christ’s Intercession

Dr. Owen readily admits that the oblation (offering) and intercession of Christ are distinct acts, yet they are not to be separated. They are not to be separated because...

  1. Both have the goal of redeeming the people of God and bringing many sons to glory;
  2. “the object of the one is of no larger extent than the object of the other; or, for whom Christ offered himself, for all those, and only those, doth he intercede”[4] (book I, chap. 6);
  3. The oblation of Christ is the foundation of His intercession.

Owen cites several passages to the effect that the oblation and intercession are interconnected, chief among those and most conclusive, in my opinion, is Romans 8:33-34. But let us take a look at the other references first.

Isaiah 53:11-12 says:

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 ?Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

The Lord Christ is prophesied to “bear their iniquities” which becomes the ground of “mak[ing] m...


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

... is not possible for those who are in Christ, to be condemned. It is impossible for the elect to be condemned because of four reasons, (i) Christ’s death, (ii) Christ’s resurrection, (iii) Christ’s exaltation and (iv) Christ’s intercession. 

(i) Through Christ’s death, the debt of our sin was paid and we have been set free from the judgment of God. His death provided a perfection propitiation–satisfaction for our sins and appeasement to the wrath of God (e.g., Rom. 3:25-26). The debt that stood against us, all our sins were put on Christ and He bore the punishment in our place (1 Pet. 2:24). Furthermore, the debt was canceled on the Cross:

Col. 2:13-14 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the Cross

(ii) Not only Christ’s death, but Christ’s resurrection assures that believers will also share in a resurrection like His (Rom. 6:5; Phil. 3:21). But not only that, Paul claims in Romans 4:25 that the Lord was “raised for our justification” (see here on the meaning of this passage).

(iii) He is seated at the right hand of Power, signifying that He has all power and authority and is able to conquer all His and our foes. How much more our unbelief? It is He Who has power and authority, therefore, we should not fear, and be assured that all things work together for good, indeed. He is seated at the right hand of God. His work is finished. In the meantime, all His enemies are becoming a footstool for Him (Ps. 110:1-2).

(iv) Lastly, the fact that Christ is seated at the right hand of God to intercede for us assures that we will not be condemned. The Lord Jesus appeals before God on our behalf. Hebrews 7:25 teaches us that through His intercession the Lord Jesus is able to save completely everyone who draws close to God through Him. By His intercession, the Lord Jesus prays for us that our faith may not fail as He did for Peter whose faith did not completely fail (Luke 22:32). Christ is said to be our Advocate before the Father whenever we sin, knowing that a propitiation was provided for our sins in Christ (1 John 2:1-2).

6. Whatever may come, we are victorious in Christ. Let the whole world be against the elect of God. It does not matter. God is with us and we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. Not because we fight, but because we are loved by Him Who possesses all power and authority. Whatever this world has to bring, let it bring, it will not be able to separate the elect from God. Paul is sure that nothing is able to separate us and he names all kinds of things. Whatever it may be, Paul is certain based on God’s love and sovereignty that it will not succeed in separating the elect from God’s love, which is in Jesus Christ.

7. To conclude, the passage as a whole provides an unshakable foundation for assurance concerning the perseverance of God’s elect. From eternity past to eternity future, it is God Who brings the elect to faith, it is God Who preserves them and it is God Who will finally glorify them.

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 – Sustain you to the end, guiltless

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was c...