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

...d to his covenant grace. In the Davidic covenant God’s rule over his people is given concrete manifestation. In so doing the line through which the Redeemer would come is specified. In the New Covenant the Redeemer appears and accomplishes redemption, thus bringing to fruition all the types and predictions of the earlier covenants. He inaugurates the final form of the covenant community.

The crucial point in all of this for us is that the promise of a Redeemer is intimately related to the way or scheme of salvation. Salvation is by the promise. That is to say, it is by grace through faith in a coming Redeemer (note the Exposition of chapter 20:1). This single way of salvation has operated in and been progressively revealed in every age of human history (Rom. 4:13-17; Gal. 3:18-22). All the preceding covenants were typical and preparatory. Their efficacy to save came only through the anticipated work of Christ (Heb. 9:15).[35]

In short, the promise was the Covenant of Grace, i.e., the New Covenant, through which salvation is offered to sinners. Denault helps us here again:

The Baptists believed that no covenant preceding the New Covenant was the Covenant of Grace. Before the arrival of the New Covenant, the Covenant of Grace was at the stage of promise. According to Benjamin Keach, the expression “the covenants of the promise” that can be found in Ephesians 2.12 refers back to the Covenant of Grace. The promise in question was the Covenant of Grace. If we are talking about a promise, this implies that it was not yet accomplished and was not yet in the form of a testament or a covenant. The Baptists believed that the New Covenant was the accomplishment of the promise, or in other words, the accomplishment of the Covenant of Grace. This doctrine is expressed in the following way in the 1689: “This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam […] and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament.” The New Testament brings the full revelation of the Covenant of Grace since the New Covenant is its accomplishment. The Baptists considered that the New Covenant and it alone was the Covenant of Grace.[36]

As to the question in which way the covenants were progressively revealing the Covenant of Grace/New Covenant, we will see under the heading “Shadows and Types” of each covenant.

νενομοθέτηται (Hebrews 8:6)

This argument for the establishment of the Covenant of Grace at no other point other than the New Covenant is credited to John Owen’s Exposition of Hebrews 8:6-13. I was mindblown by reading Owen’s massive commentary on Hebrews 8:6. I found it to be both biblically faithful as well as compelling. I found the collapsible outline made by Brandon Adams very helpful in understanding his commentary and argument. This long quotation from Denault and Owen should suffice:

John Owen comes to exactly the same understanding in his exegesis of Hebrews 8.6 where we read: “But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the New Covenant is established on better promises.” Owen concentrates on the verb νομοθετέω (established) to explain the difference between the Covenant of Grace before and after Jesus Christ.

This is the meaning of the word νενομοθέτηται: […] “reduced into a fixed state of a law or ordinance.” All the obedience required in it, all the worship appointed by it, a...


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

...uo;s federal headship). He did not stand to represent himself alone, but God placed him as the covenant head over the whole human race. His obedience would be our obedience and his disobedience would be our disobedience. Sadly, we know what Adam did. Therefore, we believe that Adam did have the perfect Law of God upon His heart. The moral law, or the natural law, which he knew simply by being a man in God’s image, knowing what morality is. Adam certainly knew that he was present in a good creation with a good God. There was a standard before the Fall. The moral law, we believe was summarized in the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai (paragraph 2). But how does it make sense then to say that Adam had the moral law upon his heart even when there was no sin and there was no Fall? The objection would be, what does “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery” mean to a creature who is sinless? It is a valid objection, but obviously, it is not convincing for it assumes that the only way that the moral law can be expressed is in the negatives (thou shalt not) and not positives (thou shalt). For example, we can state the seventh commandment in the negative just like it is in the text, “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14), or we can state it positively as “You shall remain faithful to your spouse.” The same idea is communicated, whether stated negatively or positively, and that idea is that one should be faithful to their spouse. Let’s take for example the third commandment. Negatively, “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Ex. 20:7), or we can express it positively as: “You shall honor and glorify the name of the LORD your God.” It is only because of the wicked perversity of man that these commandments had to stated negatively because disobedience to them is part of our depraved nature.

Adam stood in our place. If he had obeyed God in his time of probation, then we would all have never fallen and received rewards by virtue of his obedience. Not only was the moral law written in his heart, but God gave him one positive precept, namely, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat” and threatened death and misery upon the breach of that particular commandment saying, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16). He did eat of it, he died spiritually at that moment and death came through his sin into the world. We all died in Adam (Rom. 5:12-14). For more on Federal Headship and Adam’s disobedience, see chapter 6.

That law, which as the Confession says was written upon Adam’s heart, did not vanish away with his disobedience, but remained. The radical difference now is that Adam had lost the freedom to will the good (see chapter 9) and therefore, obedience to the Law without grace became impossible. While before the Fall, the creation being “very good” (Gen. 1:31), he did not have to put effort into obedience as that was the “very good” state in which he was. Obedience came naturally to him as a very good creature. While after the Fall, obedience does not come naturally, but rather disobedience comes naturally. The moral law within man is part of what it means to be a rational creature and a human being in the image of God. What separates us from the brute beast is that we act according to choice and not by instinct. We can think through our choices and their consequences. We can know the difference between good and evil. Such knowledge animals don’t have a...


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

... of the work of Christ on behalf of the elect is taught. I have consulted the following articles and commentaries and will cite from some of them freely in the following discussion.

The passage does not say that regenerate believers apostatize:

  • John Calvin. Commentaries. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Hebrews 6:4-9. Can also be found at here.
  • John Gill. Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Hebrews 6:4-9. Can also be read at here.
  • Arthur W. Pink. Exposition of Hebrews. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Chapters 24-27. His commentary on Hebrews 6 can be found here.
  • Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994). Chapter 40.
  • John M. Frame. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014). Chapter 44.
  • J. Ligon Duncan III – Falling Away? (Sermon)
  • Mathew Poole - English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • William Burkitt – Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here
  • Albert Barnes - Notes on the New Testament. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here. He accepts that the descriptions describe a true Christian, but rejects that it is possible for a true Christian to apostatize.
  • Robert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset, David Brown – Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Matthew Henry – Complete Commentary on the Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Bob Utley – You Can Understand The Bible (Not that explicit). Commentary on Hebrews 6, here and here.
  • John Owen – Exposition of Hebrews. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Steven J. Cole – Lesson 17: When Repentance Becomes Impossible (Hebrews 6:4-8).

The passage describes regenerate believers who have fallen away:

I have collected some commentaries, articles, and sermons on this passage in a document that you can download (it does not include all the commentaries listed above).

I believe that the passage speaks about false believers, and warns those who have sat under the preaching of the Word of God, the manifestation of the Spirit’s work and who themselves have professed to belong to Christ that they will perish eternally without the possibility of true repentance if they do not have true faith. The description is not definitive proof that those spoken of are true believers, because the analogy in vv. 7-8 moves us to say that those spoken of were unbelievers from the start. I don’t claim that by me consulting articles and commentaries on this passage that I will have an answer to every question on this passage. But what I do want to claim is that there are interpretations that are credible and do not force us to deny other biblical doctrines (i.e., the Perseverance of the Saints). I do want to stress the context of Hebrews that it is an epistle written to Hebrew Christians steeped into the Old Testament and Israel’s history, therefore I will try to interpret it with this in mind and not try to make a modern application every time.

Audience

Who are the ones being described in this passage? Is the audience the ones being described in vv. 4-6? No, they are not. Rather, they are a differen...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

...mbers of the New Covenant are truly regenerate and Spirit-dwelt believers. This is seen, for example, from Hebrews 8:6-13 where all members of the New Covenant, from the oldest to the youngest know the LORD. Not merely know about Him, but truly know Him. Furthermore, this New Covenant is unlike the Mosaic Covenant which had members who were unbelievers and members who were believers. This New Covenant is one which will not be broken like the Mosaic was and thus, apostasy is impossible in the New Covenant (see chapter 17 and our Exposition of texts used to argue for actual apostasy from faith). So basically, the universal or the invisible church consists of the members of the New Covenant, all redeemed and elect believers throughout all ages.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 is one of the most important texts on the New Covenant. It tells us what kind of covenant it is, namely, unlike the Old Covenant. It tells us what its blessings are, namely: (1) God will put His law within us; (2) God will write His law on our hearts; (3) God will be our God and we will be His people; (4) we will know the Lord; (5) God will forgive our sins and remember them no more. It describes its members as those who know the LORD. To know about God is one thing and a necessary thing. But to know God is wholly another. Various attempts have been made from various groups to make exceptions to what is said in this passage about the New Covenant, its nature and its members. Dispensationalists usually say that this covenant is not yet inaugurated because it speaks of Israel and Judah. Some of them say that it will be fulfilled in the Millennium, others say that the New Covenant which we enjoy is a foretaste of Jeremiah 31. Our paedobaptist brethren usually say that only in the eschaton will everyone know the LORD and thus, it is not necessary for membership in the administration of the covenant or a local church.[5] In this way, they justify infant church membership. Our position is that this Jeremiah 31 covenant, as interpreted by the Holy Spirit in Hebrews, is the fully inaugurated New Covenant in Christ’s blood. We make a distinction between the invisible church (this paragraph) and the visible church (next paragraph). While those who make up the visible church should have been part of the invisible church, we know that this is not the case. They are falsely laying a claim upon a privilege which is only for those who are part of the invisible church. But if we read Jeremiah’s description of the New Covenant, what we have is members who truly, and not merely by profession, know and love the Lord. In other words, they are regenerate believers. What Jeremiah speaks about are the true members of the New Covenant. Another thing which we distinguish from our brethren is that for us local church membership is not the same as New Covenant membership. There are many local church members who are not New Covenant members. But they are church members falsely. They lay a claim to a thing they don’t have a right to. They set up their homes on a ground which is not theirs.

Since the New Covenant consists only of those for whom Christ’s blood was shed, we believe that a local church should likewise be composed of those for whom Christ’s blood was shed. But we are getting ahead of ourselves at this point.

Christ’s Church (Matthew 16:18)

The Lord Jesus promised to establish His church which no power of hell could stand against. He said:

Matt. 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and ...


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

... Scriptures

In Reformed churches, the pulpit stands supreme symbolizing the necessity and centrality of God’s Word. The pulpit is the place from which God, through His Word expounded by the faithful preacher, speaks to His people. Preaching the Word is an essential part of worship. Many people nowadays think that worship takes place when we sing, but that is dead wrong. It is true that we worship through song and music, but we worship likewise when we hear the Word of God faithfully expounded. The preaching of the Word is the most important aspect of the divine service. For in the faithful Exposition of Scripture we hear God speaking to us and teaching us. The early church is described as those who “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). They were dedicated to the teaching of Scripture by the Apostles. It is evident that the Apostles largely expounded upon the Old Testament, showing how the prophecies of old were being fulfilled in their days as they did on Pentecost, for example. There is a solemn and very serious task for pastors to preach the Word. The Apostle writes:

2 Tim. 4:1-2 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Timothy is solemnly charged to preach the Word. There is a necessity on his part to do this. He is given a solemn obligation as a pastor to do this for his congregation. For if the Word is not faithfully preached, people will find for themselves “pastors” who will “suit their passions” and “will turn away from listening to the truth” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). Furthermore, the necessity of hearing the Word of God and it being explained is seen in the fact that God’s Word ministers to us in ways that we do not comprehend and God speaks to His people by His Word. The faithful shepherd and pastor of God’s people should declare “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and “make the word of God fully known” (Col. 1:25) to God’s people. Albert Barnes notes that preaching “was to be the main business of the life of Timothy, and Paul solemnly charges him, in view of the certain coming of the Redeemer to judgment, to be faithful in the performance of it.”[17] Charles J. Ellicott notes:

Preach the word.—The language of the original here is abrupt and emphatic, written evidently under strong emotion and with intense earnestness. St. Paul charged his friend and successor with awful solemnity, as we have seen, “preach,” or proclaim. loudly and publicly, as a herald would announce the accession of his king. The exact opposite to what St. Paul would urge on Timothy is described by Isa. (Isa. 56:10), when he speaks of God’s watchmen as “dumb dogs, who cannot bark, sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.”[27]

The Apostle had just written to Timothy about the all-sufficient Word of God and now exhorts him to preach and teach this all-sufficient and infallible Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). He was acquainted with the Word of God from his youth (2 Tim. 3:15). Not only is he to proclaim and preach the Word of God, but he is also to 1) reprove, 2) rebuke, and 3) exhort.

1) The word ἐλέγχω (eegcho, G1651) means “to convict, refute, confute” and “to find fault with, correct”.[28] Young Timothy is to battle and refute unsound teaching and heresy by teaching and preaching properly from the Word of God. H...


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

... our sins that God is angry. Take away sin, therefore, and death will no more be able to harm us.” This agrees with what he said in Rom 6:23, that the wages of sin is death. Here, however, he makes use of another metaphor, for he compared sin to a sting, with which alone death is armed for inflicting upon us a deadly wound. Let that be taken away, and death is disarmed, so as to be no longer hurtful. Now with what view Paul says this will be explained by him ere long.

The strength of sin is the law It is the law of God that imparts to that sting its deadly power, because it does not merely discover our guilt, but even increases it. A clearer Exposition of this statement may be found in Rom 7:9, where Paul teaches us that we are alive, so long as we are without the law, because in our own opinion it is well with us, and we do not feel our own misery, until the law summons us to the judgment of God, and wounds our conscience with an apprehension of eternal death.[3]

John Gill likewise notes on v. 56:

and the strength of sin is the law; not that the law of God is sinful, or encourages sin: it forbids it under the severest penalty; but was there no law there would be no sin, nor imputation of it; sin is a transgression of the law: moreover, the strength of sin, its evil nature, and all the dreadful aggravations of it, and sad consequences upon it, are discovered and made known by the law; and also the strength of it is drawn out by it, through the corruption of human nature; which is irritated and provoked the more to sin, through the law’s prohibition of it; and this is not the fault of the law, but is owing to the vitiosity of nature; which the more it is forbidden anything, the more desirous it is of it; to which may be added, that sin is the more exceeding sinful, being committed against a known law, and that of the great lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy; whose legislative power and authority are slighted and trampled upon by it, which makes the transgression the more heinous; it is the law which binds sin upon a man’s conscience, accuses him of it, pronounces him guilty, curses, condemns, and adjudges him to death for it.[4]

Death no longer holds power on us as it did prior to Christ (Heb. 2:14-15). It is not that we will not die, but that we will not be harmed by death. Death merely brings us to a greater life with God. Christians are described as those who have passed “from death to life” (John 5:24). Death has no dominion over us because we are no longer under the power of sin which makes death damnable and something to be feared. Neither are we under the law as a covenant of works, which gives sin its power.

9. Everlasting damnation

Having been freed from (1) the guilt of sin, from (2) condemnation and the wrath of God, from (3) the curse of the law, from (4-6) the power of sin, and freed from (8) the fear and sting of death, believers are likewise freed from eternal damnation. Because of Christ’s work, Hell is not a place for the born again believer. All believers know that they deserve to be there, but they likewise know that through grace, God has saved them from Hell. Stu Johnston writes:

Having been freed from “the guilt of sin, (and) the condemning wrath of God”, the Christian has also been liberated from the ultimate expression of divine wrath, which is everlasting damnation.[5]

Rather than condemning the believers along with the unbelieving, Christ, on that day will be back “to be glorifi...


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

...ins remitted in past ages being obviously those of believers only.[2]

Let us now turn our attention to Hebrews 9:15.

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

John Owen comments on the calling in this way in his great Exposition of Hebrews:

It was the design of God, in this whole dispensation, that all the called should receive the promise; and if they do not so, his counsel, and that in the greatest work of his wisdom, power, and grace, is frustrated. They are the “called according to his purpose,” Rom 8:28; — those who obtain the inheritance “being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,” Eph 1:11. God here puts forth his almighty power, that his purpose, or the counsel of his will, may be established, in giving the inheritance unto all that are called: “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified,” or gave them the whole eternal inheritance, Rom 8:30.[27]

He subsequently mentions that this calling does not only concern them from the Old Testament, but all the called of God. Though, in my opinion, the Old Testament saints are foremost in the passage especially in connection with the “first covenant” that is mentioned.

Barnes also comments that this concerns believers from both testaments:

For the redemption of the transgression that were “under the first testament - The covenant or arrangement under Moses. The general idea here is, that these were offences for which no expiation could be made by the sacrifices under that dispensation, or from which the blood then shed could not redeem. This general idea may include two particulars.

(1) that they who had committed transgressions under that covenant, and who could not be fully pardoned by the imperfect sacrifices then made, would receive a full forgiveness of all their sins in the great day of account through the blood of Christ. Though the blood of bulls and goats could not expiate, yet they offered that blood in faith; they relied on the promised mercy of God; they looked forward to a perfect sacrifice - and now the blood of the great atonement offered as a “full” expiation for all their sins, would be the ground of their acquittal in the last day.

(2) that the blood of Christ would now avail for the remission of all those sins which could not be expiated by the sacrifices offered under the Law. It not only contemplated the remission of all the offences committed by the truly pious under that Law, but would now avail to put away sin entirely. No sacrifice which people could offer would avail, but the blood of Christ would remove all that guilt.

That they which are called - Alike under the old covenant and the new.[2]

Lastly, Schaff’s comments are in the same vein and help us see the passage in its context:

And for this cause (for the reason that His blood is thus efficacious, Heb 9:14, or because He has performed this great work, Heb 9:11-14) he is mediator of a new (emphatic) covenant, in order that, death having taken place (viz. His own) for redemption from (or expiration of) the transgressions under the first covenant, they that have been called (‘partakers of a heavenly calling,’ chap. Heb 3:1) may receive the...


Hebrews 6:4-6, Apostasy and Calvinism

... of the work of Christ on behalf of the elect is taught. I have consulted the following articles and commentaries and will cite from some of them freely in the following discussion:

The passage does not say that regenerate believers apostatize:

  • John Calvin. Commentaries. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Hebrews 6:4-9. Can also be found at here.
  • John Gill. Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Hebrews 6:4-9. Can also be read at here.
  • Arthur W. Pink. Exposition of Hebrews. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Chapters 24-27. His commentary on Hebrews 6 can be found here.
  • Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994). Chapter 40.
  • John M. Frame. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014). Chapter 44.
  • J. Ligon Duncan III – Falling Away? (Sermon)
  • Mathew Poole - English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • William Burkitt – Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here
  • Albert Barnes - Notes on the New Testament. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here. He accepts that the descriptions describe a true Christian, but rejects that it is possible for a true Christian to apostatize.
  • Robert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset, David Brown – Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Matthew Henry – Complete Commentary on the Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Bob Utley – You Can Understand The Bible (Not that explicit). Commentary on Hebrews 6, here and here.
  • John Owen – Exposition of Hebrews. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Steven J. Cole – Lesson 17: When Repentance Becomes Impossible (Hebrews 6:4-8).

The passage describes regenerate believers who have fallen away:

I have collected some commentaries, articles, and sermons on this passage in a document which you can download (it does not include all the commentaries listed above).

I believe that the passage speaks of false believers and warns about those who have sat under the preaching of the Word of God, the manifestation of the Spirit’s work and who themselves have professed to belong to Christ, that they will perish eternally without the possibility of true repentance. That the description is not definitive proof that those spoken of are true believers, yet the analogy in vv. 7-8 moves us to say that those spoken of were unbelievers from the start.

I don’t claim that by me consulting articles and commentaries on this passage that I will have an answer to every question on this passage, but what I do want to claim is that there are interpretations which are credible and do not force us to deny other biblical doctrines (i.e., the Perseverance of the Saints).

I do want to stress the context of Hebrews that it is an epistle written to Hebrew Christians steeped into the Old Testament and Israel’s history, therefore I will try to interpret it with this in mind and not try to make a modern application every time.

Audience

Who are the ones being described in this passage? Is the audience the ones being described in vv. 4-6? No, they are not. Rather, they are a different group spoken of in th...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

..."Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

(Hebrews 11:1)

Footnotes

  1. a, b Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994). Chapter 35, p. 710.
  2. ^ Many Scriptural references have been supplied by Samuel Waldron’s Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which was apparently supplied by the Westminster Confession of Faith 1646.
  3. a, b Joseph Henry Thayer’s Greek Definitions. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. See reference for the Strong’s number.
  4. ^ William D. Mounce. Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. (Zondervan, 2006). p. 232.
  5. ^ Louis Berkhof. Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Banner of Truth Trust. 1963). pp. 493-494.
  6. ^ Matthew Poole. English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  7. ^ Mounce, Dictionary. p. 233.
  8. ^ Ibid., p. 61.
  9. ^ James P. Boyce. Abstract of Systematic Theology. (Hanford, CA: Den Dulk Christian Foundation. 2000, originally 1887). p. 385.
  10. ^ Mounce, Dictionary. p. 61.
  11. a, b Ibid., p. 62.
  12. a, b Robert R. Reymond. A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 1998). p. 728.
  13. ^ Berkhof, Systematic Theology. p. 494.
  14. a, b, c Ibid., p. 495.
  15. a, b Reymond, Systematic Theology. p. 729.
  16. ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. p. 711.
  17. ^ Berkhof, Systematic Theology. pp. 495-496.
  18. ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. pp. 711-712.
  19. a, b, c, d Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  20. a, b John Gill. Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  21. ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. p. 710.
  22. a, b, c, d A. H. Strong. Systematic Theology: A Compendium Designed For The Use Of Theological Students. (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1970. Originally, 1907). p. 837.
  23. ^ Robert L. Dabney. Systematic Theology. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1985, originally 1871). pp. 606-607.
  24. ^ John M. Frame. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014). p. 955.
  25. ^ Berkhof, Systematic Theology. p. 506.
  26. ^ Principal. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries.
  27. ^ Charles Hodge. Systematic Theology: Volume 3: Soteriology. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. 1999, originally 1872). p. 96.
  28. ^ Jamieson, Fausset, Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Abridged). Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  29. ^ Berkhof, Systematic Theology. pp. 496-498, 509; Dabney, Systematic Theology. pp. 601-603, 610-611; Boyce, Abstract. p. 398; Hodge, Vol. 3. pp. 86-88.
  30. a, b, c John Calvin. Commentaries. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  31. ^ Dabney, Systematic Theology. p. 601.
  32. ^ Frame, Systematic Theology. p. 952.
  33. ^ Dabney, Systematic Theology. p. 603.
  34. ^ Berkhof, Systematic Theology. p. 504.
  35. ^ Reymond, Systematic Theology. pp. 728-729.
  36. ^ Berkhof, Systematic Theology. p. 505.
  37. a, b Charles J. Ellicott. Commentary For English Readers. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  38. ^ Hodge, Systematic Vol. 3. p. 71.
  39. ^ Berkhof, Systematic Theology. p. 506.
  40. ^ Hodge, Systematic Vol. 3. pp. 65-66.
  41. ^ Ibid., p. 70.
  42. ^ Ibid., p. 104.
  43. a, b, c Philip Schaff. A Popular Commentary on the New Testament. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  44. ^ Boyce, Abstract. p. 385.
  45. ^ Waldron, Exposition of 1689. pp. 236-237.
  46. ^ Grudem, Systematic Theology. pp. 713-714.
  47. ^ Dabney, Systematic Theo...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 23: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows - Commentary

... did not intend. Notice the things which He enumerates, “heavenearthJerusalemyour head...” Isn’t it interesting that there is no mention of taking an oath in the Name of God? If the Lord Jesus was doing away with all oaths, which were only to be taken in God’s Name (Deut. 6:13), then it would have been easy for Him to say “Do not take an oath in God’s Name” or “Do not swear at all by God’s Name” and go on with the other things. But this was not the intent of our Savior. Therefore, Calvin notes on v. 34, “he immediately adds, neither by heaven, nor by the earth Who does not see that those kinds of swearing were added by way of Exposition, to explain the former clause more fully by specifying a number of cases?”[8] As with the whole discourse, Jewish misunderstandings of God’s Law. So, at this point also. His discussion concerns the Third Commandment (Ex. 20:7; Lev. 19:12). The Jews, intentionally made oaths by that which is not the Name of God (in contradiction to Deut. 6:13), so as to make it easy for them to break their oaths. But that was not the intent of God. When a person takes an oath by God, they are to perform that which they promised. They are not to break their oaths lest they profane the glorious Name of God. The Jews made distinctions in the things which they took an oath by. This is evident in Matthew 23 where we read of our Lord’s accusation of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Scribes:

Matt. 23:16-22 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. 

This brings clarity to what the Lord Jesus was saying in His Sermon on the Mount. This is the context against which He said: “Do not swear at all.” The Jews wanted to make vows which they could break without violating the Third Commandment. It is in this context and this kind of “comes from evil.” It is this kind of oaths and swearing which are forbidden by our Lord. In these cases, we should not take any oaths if we do not intend to keep our oaths. In these cases, we should simply say “yes” or “no.” The Jews thought that by using substitutes to God’s name that the swearing would not be counted as “in the name of God” and thus could be broken. This is mere hypocrisy and . And as our Lord explains in Matthew 23, to swear by things belonging to God is to swear by Him. Thus, even in their hypocrisy, they were actually still swearing falsely by God.

It is also helpful to note the comments of Albert Barnes on Matthew 5:33—

It appears, however, from this passage, as well as from the ancient writings of the Jewish , that while the Jews professedly adhered to the law, they had introduced a number of oaths in common conversation, and oaths which they by no means considered to be binding. For example, they would swear by the temple, by the head, by heaven, by the earth. So long as they kept from swearing ...