The Staunch Calvinist

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

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

... the existence of the soul. The Bible again and again assumes the immortality of the soul. To say that death existed prior to the Fall is to insult God and His declaration that His creation was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). It is to make death, which is any enemy (1Cor. 15:26), a friend. Death presupposes sin, but there was no sin prior to the Fall, therefore, there was no death. This means that if man had passed the time of probation, he would have eat from the tree of life and lived forever in body and soul. This means that God's original design was for man to be immortal in both body and soul. 

The immortality of the soul is also assumed when the Bible speaks of ETERNAL PUNISHMENT or bliss (e.g. Matt. 25:46; see also chapter 32). For how can a person be eternally punished or be eternally in bliss if their soul is not immortal? Christians are said explicitly to “put on immortality” at the resurrection (1Cor. 15:53-54). Our souls will be united to our glorified and immortal physical bodies. At that time, not only will our souls be immortal, but our glorified bodies will likewise be immortal and perfect. The immortality of the soul is likewise assumed when the Bible teaches about the resurrection of the dead (e.g. Acts 24:15). The souls of men do not go out of existence once they die, but they wait either in heaven or in Hades to their final fate.

Physical Death

Death brings the separation between body and soul/spirit. As we noted above, death would have not come if man did not sin. Death exists because of sin. In fact, the Apostle Paul says that “death is the wages of sin” (Rom. 6:23; 5:12). Therefore, had there been no sin, there would not have been death. The Bible speaks in various ways about death. Sometimes it is said to be the termination of life (Matt. 2:20; Mark 3:4; Acts 15:26; 20:24; the word ψυχή [psoo-khay] being the word also for soul). Other times it is spoken in terms of separation of the spirit from the body (Eccl. 12:7; John 19:30; Acts 7:59; Jas. 2:26). Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. The physical body of man decomposes and returns to the dust from whence it came, yet his spirit/soul returns to the God who gave it. The soul of man does not cease to exist and decompose, rather goes either into bliss or into doom.

The Bible speaks of death in terms of sleep. In the beginning this may seem to support the idea that the souls of men are unconscious until the resurrection and the judgment, but this is not the way that Scripture uses this word. Rather, I believe that when used in connection to death, sleep means death. But, why use this word if it is directly synonymous? Well, sleep is not exactly synonymous to death. When a man sleeps we assume that at sometime he will awake, otherwise we will say that he's in a coma, dead or something else. This means that the idea of sleep in connection to death, assumes the idea that the one sleeping will one day awake. In other words, when the Bible speaks of people's death in terms of sleep, it assumes and it communicates thereby, that they will one day be raised. For example, in the resurrection of Lazarus we have our Lord telling His disciples that “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep” (John 11:11), they understand Him to be speaking merely of normal sleep and that's why they say “if he has fallen asleep, he will recover” (John 11:12). They understood that sleep presupposed recovery or waking up, yet that was not the kind of sleep that the L...


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

...al, but their conditions are totally opposite. One is said to be of life, the other of punishment. Those who disagree with the traditional doctrine of Hell often make the argument that the word “eternal” does not mean “without end” in every place, and with that we agree. But I believe that it is hard to maintain in this place that the nature of the punishment is not unending. The duration of both the condition of the righteous as well as the wicked is described with the same word—eternal. Notice that the passage does not merely describe eternity, but it describes the conditions of the sheep and the goats in eternity. One group goes “into ETERNAL PUNISHMENT,” the other “into eternal life.” We know that Christians will not be annihilated, but will forever live with God, therefore, since the condition of the righteous is that of unending life, it is unjustified to believe that the punishment of the wicked is not unending, just like the duration of eternal life. The natural implication of the language is that the duration is the same for both the righteous as well as the wicked, although the condition is radically different. Albert Barnes quotes John Owen saying:

The original word -  αἰώνιον  aionion - is employed in the New Testament 66 times. Of these, in 51 instances it is used of the happiness of the righteous; in two, of God’s existence; in six, of the church and the Messiah’s kingdom; and in the remaining seven, of the future punishment of the wicked. If in these seven instances we attach to the word the idea of limited duration, consistency requires that the same idea of limited duration should be given it in the 51 cases of its application to the future glory of the righteous, and the two instances of its application to God’s existence, and the six eases of its appropriation to the future reign of the Messiah and the glory and perpetuity of the church. But no one will presume to deny that in these instances it denotes unlimited duration, and therefore, in accordance with the sound laws of interpretation and of language itself, the same sense of unlimited duration must be given it when used of future punishment - Owen, in loc.[4]

We know that this has been the common and plain understanding of these words throughout the ages of the Church. If the condition of the righteous is one of unending life, the condition of the wicked should also be that of unending punishment.

Matthew 25:41 says, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” The wicked meet the same fate as the devil and his angels. They share in his punishment, having been followers of his. The wicked go into “the eternal fire”, in contrast, of the righteous He says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). Again, the conditions are totally opposite and v. 46 makes clear that the duration is the same. Furthermore, in v. 41 the fire is said to be “the eternal fire”. John Gill says that what “is meant, [is] the wrath of God; and the phrase expresses the intolerable fierceness of it, and its perpetual continuance; the sense of which, without intermission, will ever be felt in the conscience; and is the punishment of sense, the wicked will for ever endure”[2]. The fire itself is described in the same way and with the same word as the punishment is (c.f. Matt 3:12; Mark 9:43; Luke 3:17). The...


Limited Atonement, Definite Redemption - Scripture List & Case

...ou who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Existence of ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, hell, punishment, vengeance

Dan 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Mt 3:12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.[10]

Mt 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Mt 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Mt 18:8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.

Mt 23:33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

Mt 25:46 And these will go away into ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Jn 5:24 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. (Whoever does not, comes into judgment)

2Thess 1:8-10 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

2Pet 2:17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

Jude 6-7 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Jude 12-13 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Rev 20:9-10 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consume...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling - Commentary

...s still immature in their understand and in a sense has “no knowledge of good and evil” (Deut. 1:39), will have an excuse according to Romans 1. God ultimately decides what the condition of accountability is and He always does that which is just (Gen. 18:25).

Damnation by Works

We are saved by grace but damned by works. A very convincing thing that Pastor MacArthur says is that the inhabitants of hell are always described as those who have willfully and rebelliously sinned against God. In his own words:

Scripture teaches that we are saved by grace, but we are damned by work. Scripture teaches that ETERNAL PUNISHMENT is the wage due those who have willfully sinned. Nowhere in the Bible is anyone ever threatened with hell merely for the guilt inherited from Adam. Instead, whenever Scripture describes the inhabitants of hell, the stress is on their willful acts of sin and rebellion (1Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:[5-]6; Rev. 21:8; 22:15). Scripture always connects eternal condemnation with works of unrighteousness – willful sin.[9]

This, I believe, to be one of the strongest points raised for infant salvation. When we add this to what we saw above from David it becomes very convincing. Let's examine Pastor MacArthur's claims. That we are saved by grace without any merit is the start and finish of all biblically faithful theology. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. Even the group under consideration (unborn children, infants, little children and the disabled) are not saved because they are little or disabled, but because of sovereign grace. There's no question about that. We have argued for Unconditional Election in chapter 3, therefore, ultimately, no human choice is decisive in salvation but God's (Rom. 9:16).

The next claim which we will take up concerns damnation by works. Is it true? Yes, I believe it indeed is true. We are not damned for no reason, we are always damned for our sins. And yes I believe in Reprobation. That this is the case may be seen from the passages which describe, for example, what things keep us from heaven. Nowhere do we read of people being sent to hell because of Adam's sin. Let us admit that the Bible is simply silent on whether there are children in hell/Hades. You may check all the references that Dr. MacArthur gives where things are described which keep us out of heaven, in no list is there anything other than willful disobedience to the Law of God. They are choices that we consciously make and sinful lifestyles that we live. Furthermore, we are also changed according to our works. 2 Corinthians 5:10 declares, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." We are to answer for what we have done in our body. Notice that we do not have to answer for Adam's sin. Adam's sin makes us incapable of righteousness and faith apart from the sovereign Holy Spirit. But we will not answer for Adam's sin, but our own. Romans 2:6 says, "He will render to each one according to his works". The Son of Man "will repay each person according to what he has done" (Matt. 16:27; see also 1Pet. 1:17; Rev. 2:23; 20:12; 22:12; see also chapter 32). All this serves to demonstrate that we are not judged for Adam's sin, but for our own personal sinning and that this judgment is according to what we have done in the body.

How Are They Saved?

It is certainly a special operation of the S...


Review of Dean Davis' The High King of Heaven on Amillennialism

...th: auto;"Mt 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” Mt 13:49 …at the end of the age…separate the evil from the righteous Mt 25:32, 46 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another…And these will go away into ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, but the righteous into eternal life.” Mt 13:47-50 …sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age… angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous… 2Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. 1Cor 4:5 …do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

Rapture, Resurrection, Judgment, Restoration

1Cor 15:23-28 …at his coming those who belong to Christ…Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power…death… 1Cor 15:50-58 …flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed…this mortal body must put on immortality…“Death is swallowed up in victory.”… Mt 13:37-43 …The harvest is the end of the age…weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age…Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father…

General Resurrection

Jn 5:28-29 …an hour is coming…resurrection of life…resurrection of judgment. Acts 24:15 …there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. Dan 12:2 ….sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Jn 11:24 …“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Day of Salvation for the Elect

Jn 6:39 …raise it up on the last day. (vv 40, 44, 54) 1Cor 1:8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Cor 5:5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 2Tim 4:8 …crown of righteousness…will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

The One Cosmic Regeneration

This is the restoration, renewal and re-creation. We are not going back to Eden, but we’re going to a much better place than Eden, we will not be able to sin anymore!

Important texts about this are: Acsts 3:21; Rom 8:18-25; 2Pet 3; Heb 12:25-29.

Disagreements

My biggest disagreement with the excellent work of Dean Davis is especially his interpretation of Daniel 7, 9 and the Olivet Discourse. But the most with Daniel. There was no discussion of Antiochus Epiphanes IV, as if he had nothing to do with Dani...


A Review of Hell Under Fire
Book Review Eschatology Heaven Hell Gehenna Judgment Eternity Annihilationism Universalism Eternal Punishment Hell Under Fire

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My final advice is: tolle lege! 

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1 Corinthians 15:22-23, 'in Christ shall all be made alive'
1 Cor 15:22-23 1 Corinthians 15:22 In Christ Shall All Be Made Alive Calvinism Election Predestination Limited Atonement Mercy Sovereignty

...who belong to Christ demonstrates that the “all” in relation to Christ in 1 Cor. 15:22 does not imply universalism.

The ESV MacArthur Study Bible sheds some light: [2]

1 Cor. 15:22 all . . . all. The two “alls” are alike only in the sense that they both apply to descendants. The second “all” applies only to believers (see Gal. 3:26, 29; 4:7; Eph. 3:6; cf. Acts 20:32; Titus 3:7) and does not imply universalism (the salvation of everyone without faith). Countless other passages clearly teach the ETERNAL PUNISHMENT of the unbelieving (e.g., Matt. 5:29; 10:28; 25:41, 46; Luke 16:23; 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 20:15).

The HCSB Study Bible: [3]

15:21-22 Paul presents a parallel of necessary effects. Through one man, Adam, death came to humanity. If this is ever to be reversed, it must be done so through like kind: a man. God has appointed just such a man: Jesus Christ, who is fully divine and fully human. Through His resurrection the promise of resurrection comes to a new humanity "in Christ." The second occurrence of the word all refers to all those who are joined to Christ through faith.

15:23 Jesus' resurrection precedes and makes certain the resurrection of those who belong to Christ at His coming.

Here is what Johann Albrecht Bengel said about 1 Cor 15:22: [4]

1Co 15:22. Πάντες ἀποθνήσκουσιν, all die) he says, die, not in the preterite, as for example, Rom 5:17; Rom 5:21, but in the present, in order that in the antithesis he may the more plainly speak of the resurrection, as even still future. And he says, all. Those who are in the highest degree wicked die in Adam; but Paul is here speaking of the godly, of whom the first fruits, ἀπαρχὴ, is Christ, and as these all die in Adam, so also shall they all be made alive in Christ. Scripture everywhere deals with believers, and treats primarily of their resurrection, 1Th 4:13-14: and only incidentally of the resurrection of the ungodly.—ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, in Christ) These are the emphatic words in this clause. The resurrection of Christ being once established, the quickening of all is also established.—ζωοποιηθήσονται, they shall be made alive) He had said; they die, not, they are put to death; whereas now, not, they shall revive; but they shall be made alive, i.e. implying that it is not by their own power.


This content is taken from this document

 [1] ESV Study Bible, 2008 (Crossway). Taken from the Online Version at www.esvbible.org

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