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

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

...cultivated”. The herb, crop and vegetation (HCSB, NET) which this land produces thanks to the rain that has gone into the earth (drunk) and that often fell on it is useful for God, the Vinedresser and therefore God blesses such persons. On the other hand, if this land produces “thorns and thistles” it is said to be worthless and its end is to be burned. Notice that there is nothing said about the bad land receiving less rain or drinking less rain. The same amount of rain is assumed for both the bad and the good land. The issue is not in the rain, but rather in the land.

The bad land produces “thorns and thistles”, a reminder of the consequences of the FALL OF MAN. The Lord told Adam that because of his disobedience the earth is cursed and “thorn and thistles it shall bring for you” (Gen. 3:18), the words are identical in the LXX and Hebrews 6:8. These apostates, who are the bad land which is “near to being cursed” is applied, still bear the effects of the Fall. They were not at some time reformed, but then became a bad land again, but rather this analogy leads us to say that the land was from the beginning bad. This is similar to the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23). There were four kinds of land and only one kind of seed:

  1. Some seed fell along the path and were devoured by the birds (Matt. 13:4, 19).
  2. Some seed fell on rocky ground, did not have much soil, immediately sprang up and later withered away (Matt. 13:5-6, 18-19).
  3. Some seed fell among thorns and were choked as soon as they grew up (Matt. 13:7, 20).
  4. Some seed fell on the good soil and produced grain (Matt. 13:8, 21).

They all received the same seed, but the ground was different and therefore their response was different. We should obviously not see this as “there are some good people who will accept the Gospel, while bad people will not.” This parable is not a treatment on the human condition and we should not force it to be. It is rather a treatment on how the Gospel proclamation works among those who in some way receive it. Only the good soil produced fruit, all the others fell away. Why? Because their ground was not good. In Luke 8:13, it is even said of the seeds which fell on the rock that they “believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away”. A temporary faith is nowhere said to be true faith because true faith worked in the heart by God is everlasting. There seems to be no problem with the idea that some unbelievers were at some time, temporary believers. They gave assent to the truths of God’s Word and the Gospel, but they had no root, and therefore fell away.

We turn again to the Hebrews passage and say that the issue is with the land and not the rain. From the beginning it was not a land which was appropriate for fruit, but one which was fitted for destruction. The bad land, in contrast with the good land, which both received and drunk the same rain, is “near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.” As we said above this refers to the land of Israel as well as to the apostates. The Lord worked in His vineyard, but it did not produce fruit and therefore now that all His work is done, He will send to destroy His vineyard as in Isaiah 5. The true believer and the apostates both participated in the five things described in vv. 4-5, but these blessings lead to true fruit only in the good land, i.e., the true believer and not in the false professor, which increases their liability to judgment. Concerning this analogy Dr. Gr...


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

Chapter 19: Of the Law of God

Introduction

What is the relationship of the Christian and the Law? Do we have to obey the Law? What is the threefold division of the law? Are we saved by the Law? What are the threefold uses of the Law? What is the moral law and is it binding on all people? What are the Ten Commandments? Were the Ten Commandments known before Sinai? What is the relationship between the believer and the Ten Commandments? What is the doctrine of the Law and the Gospel?

There is a lot of work to be done in this chapter and I think that this is a crucial chapter, one that I want to study myself. I do believe what is confessed here, but I do also want to be able to make a biblical case for it. The case that I will lay down is obviously convincing to me, I will not be able to address every objection that may come up. What I want to lay down here is the binding authority and nature of the Decalogue on all people, whether saved or unsaved; what the relationship of the Christian is to the Law and such questions.

Defining Our Terms

Natural Law

The Natural Law is the Law of God as revealed in creation and which man knows by virtue of the fact that he’s a creature made in the image of God. Natural Law may be discovered by reason and by innate knowledge. The Reformed Baptist theologian Richard Barcellos writes the following concerning the substance and form of the Moral Law:

Protestant Scholasticism taught that the Decalogue summarily contains the Moral Law and is the inscripturated form of the natural law, as to its substance. A distinction was made between substance and form. Substance is one; form (and function) may vary. For example, when the Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 98 says, “The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments,” it refers to the fact that the substance (i.e., the underlying essence) of the Moral Law is assumed and articulated in the propositions of the Decalogue as contained in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. The form (and function) fits the redemptive-historical circumstances in which it was given. The substance, or underlying principles, are always relevant and applicable to man because he is created in the image of God. The application may shift based on redemptive-historical changes, such as the inauguration of the New Covenant, but its substance and utility never changes.[1]

Moral Law

The Moral Law on the other hand is the Law which is revealed and summarized by God in the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue, which is the substance of the Natural Law. Richard Muller is quoted in Barcellos on the definition of the Moral Law, saying:

[S]pecifically and predominantly, the Decalogus, or Ten Commandments; also called the lex Mosaica …, as distinct from the lex ceremonialis …and the lex civilis, or civil law. The lex moralis, which is primarily intended to regulate morals, is known to the synderesis [the innate habit of understanding basic principles of moral law] and is the basis of the acts of conscientia [conscience–the application of the innate habit above]. In substance, the lex moralis is identical with the lex naturalis …but, unlike the natural law, it is given by revelation in a form which is clearer and fuller than that otherwise known to the reason.[2]

And then Dr. Barcellos adds:

As noted above, the Moral Law is summarily comprehended in the Decalogue, not exhausted by it. Though the formal promulgation of the Decalogue had a unique redemptive-...


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

Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant

What is Covenant Theology? How many covenants does the Bible have and which are those? What is the Reformed Baptist and Paedobaptist understanding of the covenants? What is 1689 Federalism? Is the New Covenant the Covenant of Grace? Was the Covenant of Grace established before the New Covenant? Were the Old Testament covenants administrations of the Covenant of Grace?

Here we come to a chapter that is different than the one in the Westminster and Savoy confessions (see the confessions side by side here). Were the Baptists trying to be original or were they trying to communicate something else? I and many other brothers do believe that the framers of the Confession were trying to communicate a different Covenant Theology than that of their Westminster and Savoy brethren. Let not the reader suppose that I will exhaustively deal with every point or seek to rebut oppositions and answer objections. My objective here is to lay an understanding of Covenant Theology as I see it in the Scripture and as I was helped by the books and men mentioned below. This is not meant to be lengthy (although I guess it will kinda be), but concise. [22/09/2015 – It did become lengthy]


§1 The Covenant Of Works

  1. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.1
    1. Job 35:7-8; Ps. 113:5-6; Isa. 40:13-16; Luke 17:5-10; Acts 17:24-25[1]

Introduction to Covenant Theology

Covenant theology (also known as Covenantalism, Federal theology, or Federalism) is a Calvinist conceptual overview mand interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible. It uses the theological concept of covenant as an organizing principle for Christian theology. The standard description of covenant theology views the history of God's dealings with mankind, from Creation to Fall to Redemption to Consummation, under the framework of the three overarching theological covenants of redemption, works, and grace.[2]

Covenant Theology helps us see the story of the whole Bible. Covenant Theology unites the people of God and their purpose. Covenant Theology helps us see the importance given to covenants in the Bible. Covenant Theology is opposed to Dispensationalism which seeks to divide the people of God, their purpose and focuses on the discontinuity of the covenants. In this chapter, I will try to lay out how I understand 1689 Baptist Covenant Theology and make a case for it from Holy Writ. I've been greatly helped by the following books and men:

I don't pretend to have an answer to every question...


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

...

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 (1Tim. 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 to pray to them. These 24 elders are not the Church, but they are angelic representatives of the Church. This is seen in the fact that they exclude themselves from the song of redemption (contra the Textus Receptus) in Revelation 5:9. Moreover, the fact that they know the content of our prayers, does not in any way give us a warrant to pray either to departed saints or to angels. Furthermore, the Roman Catholic religion has an unbiblical understanding of sainthood. The New Testament teaches that all believers are saints (Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 1:2; etc…) and that the saints are not a special class of Christians, contrary to Roman Catholicism.

But Catholics will object that the prayer to the saints or through the saints, is just like asking a Christian on earth to pray for you. This is dead wrong and the objection does not work. First of all, those whom we ask for prayer on earth are still alive. Second, that is a thing that we’re directly commanded to do (e.g. 2Thess. 1:11; 3:1; Jas. 5:16). But contact with the dead is expressly forbidden in the Word. Not only do we not have a command to pray to departed saints, nor do we have a positive example of anyone doing that, but we have actually a negative example. Saul tries to make contact with the now-departed Samuel through a medium and gets rebuked by Samuel in 1 Samuel 28. We are not to have any contact with the dead. We are forbidden by Scripture to have any contact with the dead (Deut. 18:10-12), nor are we anywhere commanded to pray to or through them.

Most importantly, this doctrine is wicked because it casts doubts upon the perfect mediation of Christ. When Roman Catholics pray to Mary and other saints, asking them to...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...5:39.


Table of Contents

  1. Of the Holy Scriptures

  2. Of God and the Holy Trinity

  3. Of God's Decree

  4. Of Creation

  5. Of Divine Providence

  6. Of the FALL OF MAN, of Sin, and of the punishment thereof

  7. Of God's Covenant

  8. Of Christ the Mediator

  9. Of Free Will

  10. Of Effectual Calling

  11. Of Justification

  12. Of Adoption

  13. Of Sanctification

  14. Of Saving Faith

  15. Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation

  16. Of Good Works

  17. Of the Perseveraance of the Saints

  18. Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

  19. Of the Law of God

  20. Of the Gospel and the Extent of Grace thereof

  21. Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

  22. Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

  23. Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

  24. Of the Civil Magistrate

  25. Of Marriage

  26. Of the Church

  27. Of the Communion of Saints

  28. Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper

  29. Of Baptism

  30. Of the Lord's Supper

  31. Of the State of Man after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead

  32. Of the Last Judgement

(More) Scriptural references have been added from Sam Waldron's excellent Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.


Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures [Return] [Commentary]

  1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience 1, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable 2; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation 3. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church 4; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary 5, those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased. 6
    1. Isa 8:20; Luke 16:29; Eph 2:20; 2 Tim 3:15-17
    2. Ps 19:1-3; Rom 1:19-21, 32; 2:12a, 14-15
    3. Ps 19:1-3 with vv. 7-11; Rom 1:19-21; 2:12a, 14-15 with 1:16-17; and 3:21
    4. Heb 1:1-2a
    5. Prov 22:19-21; Luke 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 3:1; Deut 17:18ff; 31:9ff, 19ff; 1 Cor 15:1; 2 Thess 2:1-2, 15; 3:17; Rom 1:8-15; Gal 4:20; 6:11; 1 Tim 3:14ff; Rev 1:9, 19; 2:1 etc.; Rom 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19-21
    6. Heb 1:1-2a; Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Eph 2:20
  2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these: 
    ...
    OF THE OLD TESTAMENT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
    Genesis Matthew
    Exodus Mark
    Leviticus Luke
    Numbers John
    Deuteronomy Paul's Epistle to the Romans
    Joshua  I Corinthians & II Corinthians
    Judges Galatians
    Ruth Ephesians
    I Samuel & II Samuel Philippians
    I Kings & II Kings Colossians
    I Chronicles, II Chronicles I Thessalonians & II Thessalonians
    Ezra I Timothy & II Timothy

Hebrews 6:4-6, Apostasy and Calvinism

...d”. The herb, crop and vegetation (HCSB, NET) which this land produces thank to the rain that has went into the earth (drunk) and that often fell on it is useful for God, the Vinedresser and therefore God blesses such persons. On the other hand, if this land produces “thorns and thistles” it is said to be worthless and its end is to be burned.

Notice that there is nothing said about the bad land receiving less rain or drinking less rain. The same amount of rain is assumed for both the bad and the good land. The issue is not in the rain, but rather in the land.

The bad land produces “thorns and thistles”, a reminder of the consequences of the FALL OF MAN. The Lord told Adam that because of his disobedience the earth is cursed and “thorn and thistles it shall bring for you” (Gen 3:18), the words are identical in the LXX and Hebrews 6:8. These apostates, who are the bad land which is “near to being cursed” is applied, still bear the effects of the Fall. They were not at some time reformed, but then became a bad land again, but rather this analogy leads us to say that the land from the beginning was bad. This is similar to the Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:1-9, 18-23). There were four kinds of land and only one kind of seed:

  1. Some seed fell along the path and were devoured by the birds (Matt 13:4, 19).
  2. Some seed fell on rocky ground, did not have much soil, immediately sprang up and later withered away (Matt 13:5-6, 18-19).
  3. Some seed fell among thorns and were choked as soon as they grew up (Matt 13:7, 20).
  4. Some seed feel on the good soil and produced grain (Matt 13:8, 21).

They all received the same seed, but the ground was different and therefore their response was different. We should obviously not see this as “there are some good people who will accept the Gospel, while bad people will not.” This parable is not a treatment on the human condition and we should not force it to be. It is rather a treatment on how the Gospel proclamation works among those who in some way receive it. Only the good soil produced fruit, all the others fell away, why? Because their ground was not good. In Luke 8:13 it is even said of the seeds which fell on the rock that they “believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away”. A temporary faith is nowhere said to be true faith, because true faith worked in the heart by God is everlasting. There seems to be no problem with the idea that some unbelievers were at some time temporary believers. They gave assent to the truths of God’s Word and the Gospel, but they had no root, and therefore fell away.

We turn again to the Hebrews passage and say that the issue is with the land and not the rain. From the beginning it was not a land which was appropriate for fruit, but one which was fitted for destruction.

The bad land, in contrast with the good land which both received and drunk the same rain, is “near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.” As we said above this refers to the land of Israel as well as to the apostates. The Lord worked in His vineyard, but it did not produce fruit and therefore now that all His work is done, He will send to destroy His vineyard as in Isaiah 5.

The true believer and the apostates both participated in the five things described in vv. 4-5, but these blessings lead to true fruit only in the good land, i.e. the true believer and not in the false professor which increases their liability to judgment. Concerning this analogy Dr. Grudem says t...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof

...

Chapter 6: Of the FALL OF MAN, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof

What is Total Depravity? Are men as bad as they can be? What is Original Sin? Are we born sinners? What is Federal Headship?

This chapter contains brief comments on the doctrines of Original Sin, Federal Headship and Total Depravity.


§1 Man Was Created Upright And Perfect, But They Fell

  1. Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honour; 1 Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, 2 which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory. 3
    1. Eccl. 7:29; Rom. 5:12a, 14-15; Gen. 2:17; 4:25-5:3[1]
    2. Gen. 3:1-7; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:14
    3. Rom. 11:32-34; 2 Sam. 24:1; 1 Chron. 21:1; 1 Kings 22:22-23; 2 Sam. 16:10; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28

Our Confession is in agreement with Ecclesiastes 7:29 where it is said that man was created upright, but "they” (man) sought out many (evil) schemes. Adam and Eve received a direct command from God not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17), which (perhaps) caused the knowledge and experience of a new kind of morality, namely evil morality. There was nothing in the fruit that did that, but it was God's way of testing them. The Confession is clear that Adam out of his own will took of the tree and transgressed, he was not coerced against his will, neither was Eve. Of this command, we read in Genesis 2:15-17

Gen. 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 

Here, this command is directly given to Adam before the creation of Eve, whether Eve knew directly from God or not, I am unsure, but here Adam had one requirement, if he obeyed he would earn eternal life for himself and his posterity, if not he and his descendants after him will be born sinful and be condemned – they will die. Adam, in the Garden, stood in the stead of all people that would come from him. See paragraph 3 for federal headship. Most importantly, the Fall is recognized to not be outside of God's sovereign decree, but in it. It pleased God to “permit” it, why? Because He had “purposed to order it to his own glory.” In what way? By displaying a wider range of His attributes, by putting His wrath on display, by putting His grace on display. By conquering evil and getting glory over it. By saving His elect from the world. By becoming man in the process of saving the world. All these glorious things could not have happened if God had not decreed the Fall. The first sin may be the most difficult question to answer as to how could it have been that a perfectly good being like Adam or Satan could rebel and fall. What would cause them to do that? Free will has no explanatory power, we do not believe that it sufficiently answers the question. That's why the Fall and every sin needs to be recognized as ordained by God of old and is purposed to display His glory. Sin is never outside of God's control. It is indeed mysterious why would or h...


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

Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator

What are the threefold offices of Christ? What does it mean that Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant? What is Christ's Active and Passive Obedience? Did Christ by His death atone for the sins of all mankind or only for His elect? What is 'limited' in 'Limited Atonement'? What about passages used against Limited Atonement?


§1 It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus

  1. It pleased God, 1 in His eternal purpose, 2 to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both, 3 to be the mediator between God and man; the prophetpriest, and king; head and saviour of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified. 5
    1. Isa. 42:1; John 3:16[1]
    2. 1Pet. 1:19-20
    3. Ps. 110:4; Heb. 7:21-22; Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 2:4-6
    4. 1 Tim. 2:5; Acts 3:22; Heb. 5:5-6; Ps. 2:6; Luke 1:33; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23; Heb. 1:2; Acts 17:31
    5. Rom. 8:30; John 17:6; Isa. 53:10; Ps. 22:30; 1 Tim. 2:6; Isa. 55:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:30

Christ the Elect

Our Confession states that the Lord Jesus was chosen, called and ordained by God to the office of the mediator. He was chosen by God for this office according to the Covenant of Redemption between them (see chapter 7 on the Covenant of Redemption). We said in chapter 7 that the Covenant of Redemption was the eternal covenant between the Persons of the Trinity, which laid out their roles in the self-glorification of God and the redemption of God’s elect. The Father was to elect a people and give them to the Son. The Son was to redeem the people whom the Father gave to Him. The Spirit was to apply the benefits of Son on their behalf to them and indwell them.

Christ was chosen by the Father from before the foundation of the earth to be the Savior of God’s people. God’s plans had Him as the center. In Ephesians 1:3-6 we read that before the foundation of the world we were chosen and predestined in Christ for salvation, meaning that Christ was already then chosen to be the Savior of God’s elect. He is the only One who can save us. We also read about the Servant Messiah in Isaiah’s prophecies. In Isaiah 42, we read –

Isa. 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

The Servant of the Lord is none other than the Lord Jesus who is prophesied about before He came on the scene. He is the Lord’s chosen and He is in whom God delights (Matt. 3:17; 17:5, etc). We also read of Christ being the chosen of God and in whom God delights in the New Testament Scriptures often with allusion to the Old Testament (John 6:27; 1Pet. 2:4-6). Christ is the prime elect of God, and all the believers have been elected in Him and when they believe they are united with Him.

Christ the Priest and Mediator

Our Lord is not only the prime elect of God, the Son of God, God the Son, the Savior and Awaited One, but He is also the High Priest of God’s people. The task of the priest is to be a mediator between God and man. This was the case in the Old Testament also for example when the people would come with their sacrifices to the Levitical priests, or on the Day of Atonement when the High Priest would intercede and make atonement for the people...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 11: Of Justification - Commentary

Chapter 11: Of Justification

Now we come to the great biblical and Protestant doctrine of justification. Calvin said that “Justification is the main hinge on which salvation turns.” There is no salvation without a proper understanding of justification. This is not a secondary issue, it is a foremost essential of true and biblical Christianity. It is one of the things which separates confessional Protestantism from Roman Catholicism. There will be a lot of things which I will point the interested reader to previous chapters, rather than expound again here.


§1 Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth

  1. Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ's active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God. 4
    1. Rom. 8:30; 3:24[1]
    2. Rom. 4:5-8; Eph. 1:7
    3. 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Rom. 5:17-19
    4. 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Titus 3:5, 7; Rom. 3:22-28; Jer. 23:6; Phil. 3:9; Acts 13:38-39; Eph. 2:7-9; Phil 1:29; 2Pet 1:1

Now that we've dealt with the first three things in Romans 8:29-30, namely God (1) foreknowing us and (2) electing us in chapter 3 and (3) effectually calling us in chapter 10 we come to the to the 4th point in the five-pointed chain–justification. What is justification? Dr. Wayne Grudem defines it in this way:

Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.[2]

Section one first deals with a distortion about justification and then gives the biblical position.

Not Infusion of Righteousness

Roman Catholics believe what may be called "infused righteousness." That means that at salvation the merits of the Lord Jesus on the cross are infused with the righteousness of the sinner and together they constitute the basis of salvation. Meaning, Christ’s righteousness is not enough, rather it is given to help us with our own righteousness through works and obedience to God and the Roman Catholic Church. In their words:

1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:[3]

This “infused righteousness” is attained by a work, namely baptism. That is the way you get this righteousness. Basically, this position teaches that salvation by grace alone is not enough. You have to add your works and obedience to the work of Christ. It is wrong to think that Roman Catholics do not believe in the necessity of grace. Rather, they don’t believe in the sufficiency of grace. Grace alone is not enough to justify. In their own words from the Council of Trent:

"If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Ju...


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

...g a sinner to Christ. Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not salvation, but itself a part of God’s gift of salvation. It is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.[22]

The five points go from one who is utterly, radically depraved, to one who is made holy and blameless because of Christ’s atoning death and kept safe forever in the arms of God. So, in thinking about election we must presuppose the depravity and FALL OF MAN. When God chose, He chose those who would by Adam’s Fall, fall into sin, misery, and depravity. We are told that He chose them to be “holy and blameless” (Eph. 1:4), presupposing that we were not holy and blameless. When thinking and speaking of Unconditional Election, we do not have in mind the election of people who were good, but the election of people who were fallen in Adam and on their way to Hell, if God did not intervene. If there was no election, no one would be saved, because man cannot, and desires not to come to God, without the work of God in his heart.

This point is taken into consideration in the 6th chapter of the Confession.

Unconditional Election From Scripture

After laying the basis for man’s utter depravity, for the fact that He cannot and will not come to God (Rom. 3:11; 8:7-8), the Five Points of Calvinism move to Unconditional Election, which as I have pointed out above by quoting some theologians, is God’s free decision to choose out of the fallen race of Adam, before creating the world, some who would not receive their just punishment, but instead will be saved from God’s righteous wrath on the basis of Christ’s work. While a case for absolute divine election can be made if one goes to church history, but that is not much of interest to me. The Scripture teaches it, Church history confirms it. The Scripture is the only standard for the truth and we should not go into this inquiry about election to the God-breathed Scripture as the highest and infallible authority. There should be humility to submit to the Word of God in what it teaches about Election and Reprobation and to no other authority than God Himself in the Word.

There are others who, when they would cure this disease, recommend that the subject of predestination should scarcely if ever be mentioned, and tell us to shun every question concerning it as we would a rock. Although their moderation is justly commendable in thinking that such mysteries should be treated with moderation, yet because they keep too far within the proper measure, they have little influence over the human mind, which does not readily allow itself to be curbed. Therefore, in order to keep the legitimate course in this matter, we must return to the word of God, in which we are furnished with the right rule of understanding. For Scripture is the school of the Holy Spirit, in which as nothing useful and necessary to be known has been omitted, so nothing is taught but what it is of importance to know. Every thing, therefore delivered in Scripture on the subject of predestination, we must beware of keeping from the faithful, lest we seem either maliciously to deprive them of the blessing of God, or to accuse and scoff at the Spirit, as having divulged what ought on any account to be suppressed. Let us, I say, allow the Christian to unlock his mind and ears to all the words of God which are addressed to him, provided he do it with this moderation, viz., that whenever the Lord shuts his sacred mouth,...