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

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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 (see here on the image of God). Natural Law may be discovered by reason and 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:

specifically 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 Decalog...


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

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Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant

What is Covenant Theology? How many covenants does the Bible have and which are these? What is the Reformed Baptist and Paedobaptist understanding of the covenants? What is 1689 Federalism? What are the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace? 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 others 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, as I was helped by the books and men mentioned below and as the Confession conforms to the teaching of Holy Writ. 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]

This distance between God and the creature is not spatial distance, but the Creator-creature distinction. God is different in His being than man. Even before the Fall, this distance was so great. Paragraph 1 does not only speak of covenants in general but specifically of the first covenant—the Covenant of Works with Adam. All reasonable creatures owe obedience to Him because He is their creator (Luke 10:17; Rom. 1:23-25). They must honor and worship Him because He created them and caused them to be (see chapter 2:2). They owe Him obedience and worship, but even in their innocence, they could never have attained the reward of life. This is in reference to the Adamic Covenant of Works which promised life upon perfect obedience. Even in the original Covenant of Works, God promised this reward of life by some voluntary condescension. This voluntary condescension to communicate with man and promise Him rewards God has expressed by way of covenant. In other words, a covenant made by God is His way of communicating with us, giving us rewards for obedience and punishments for disobedience. We, by nature, owe Him obedience, therefore, there is no reason for Him to reward our obedience. If He rewards our obedience then it must be upon another ground. This another ground is by way of covenant.


Introduction to Covenant Theology

Covenant theology (also known as Covenantalism, Federal theology, or Federalism) is a Calvinist conceptual overview and 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 ...


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

...
  • 1Pet. 1:19-20
  • Ps. 110:4; Heb. 7:21-22; Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 2:4-6
  • 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
  • Rom. 8:30; John 17:6; Isa. 53:10; Ps. 22:30; 1 Tim. 2:6; Isa. 55:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:30
  • The only begotten Son was from all eternity chosen and ordained (Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 1:19-20) to be the mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5). This means that having Christ to be the Savior of sinners and the Incarnation were not afterthoughts in God. God did not plan them after the Fall Of Man, but set them in motion after the Fall. This choosing and ordaining of Christ as mediator was according to the covenant made between them both, i.e., the Covenant of Redemption (see chapter 7:2). Even before sin and before the world was, the Lord Jesus was to be the Savior of His people. The Confession goes on to name the threefold offices of Christ as prophet, priest, and king. He is also the head and savior of the church (Col. 1:18; Acts 5:31). The heir of all things (Heb. 1:2), Who will inherit everything and believers are co-heirs with Him (Rom. 8:16-17). He is also the One Who will judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2Tim. 4:1). All these offices and functions were agreed upon by the Persons of the Trinity even before the foundation of the world. God from all eternity gave a people to be His seed and to be by Him in time redeemed (John 17:2, 6; Isa. 53:10) and given all the blessings of redemption. All these considerations make the Fall a necessity within God's decree. For if there is no Fall, then it means that there is no sin and therefore, no need of a savior. But if Christ is said to be ordained as Savior even before the creation of the world, then this means that there will be sinners who will be saved by Him, which makes the Fall an important part of God's plan.


    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 w...


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

    ...89-wording-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 saint...


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

    ...ing 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 special and gracious 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—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, it 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 go into this inquiry about election to the God-breathed Scripture as the highest and infallible authority (see chapter 1). 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 ...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 9: Of Free Will - Commentary

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    Chapter 9: Of Free Will

    I would like to take a look at the freedom of will endued to us by God. Is it a libertarian free will, which most of the non-Reformed find essential for love? Is it another kind of freedom? Does our freedom mean that God is not sovereign? Does God ordain our free actions? These are some questions that we’ll have to wrestle with. For this study and my position on it, I am greatly indebted to the following authors:

    • Jonathan Edwards – The Freedom of the Will
    • R.C. Sproul – Willing to Believe (see review)
    • Thaddeus J. Williams – Love, Freedom, and Evil: Does Authentic Love Require Free Will?
    • Scott Christensen - What about Free Will?: Reconciling Our Choices with God's Sovereignty

    Calvinists have always been leveled the charge that our understanding of God’s absolute micro-managing sovereignty makes men as puppets and robots. One wonders what the reason was for the Westminster, Savoy and 1689 to offer a chapter on free will if they thought that people were merely puppets and robots as many critics like to mock Calvinism.

    In section 1, we will have our longest discussion of the will. There, I hope, with Edwards’ Freedom of the Will, to lay the understanding of the human will as believed by Calvinists, which I believe happens to be biblical and logical. I have chosen to do this for two purposes: 1) I want to understand Edwards' position better first hand from him. Edwards is difficult to read and understand and sometimes you have to read sentences and paragraphs over and over or look somewhere for an explanation to understand what he's getting at. 2) And I would like you to understand Edwards’ position on the will which is the commonly held view by Calvinists. In the following sections, we will try to lay some things concerning man's will in the four states, from innocence until glory.


    §1 God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice

    1. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forcednor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil. 1
      1. Matt.  17:12; James 1:14; Deut. 30:19[1]

    The will of man, by definition and nature, is endued...with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice. This is also one of those things which set us apart from the lower creation. Paragraph 1 does not speak about Adam's will before the Fall; paragraph 2 will do that. Rather, in paragraph 1, the will of man is spoken of generally without reference to it being enslaved to righteousness or sin. It is by nature free. What does this freedom consist of? That is is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil. Man is not a robot as many non-Calvinists like to caricature Calvinism. No one has done something because they were forced by God in their wills to do so. Rather, they acted with that natural liberty of will which we are endued with. The second thing that the Confession mentions in connection to this natural liberty is that the will is not determined by nature. By nature, the Confession is referring to the natural world or what we call the laws of nature. There are no physical or natural laws forcing man to do good or evil. But as we will soon discover, another kind of nature is important for the will, that is, the nature of man.


    God Ordains Human Actions

    It is clear from chapter 3 that God is sovereign and ordains even human actions...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 4: Of Creation - Commentary

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    Chapter 4: Of Creation

    Did God create for His glory? How did God create? Why did God create? How long did God take to create? What did God create?

    Creation: there are a few topics like this which generate heat between believer and unbeliever, and even among believers. But it is essential. Here is the foundation of everything. If there was no creation, there would obviously be nothing. Whom can we trust to tell us how it happened? The only Witness has been pleased to reveal to us the way He created this world. The question is: Was everything that He revealed accurate and true? Can we gain any knowledge from outside the special revelation of God that can supply or actually radically change our view of Genesis? Which is primary, the exegesis of Scripture or the findings of modern (secular) science?

    There was a time when my interest in this topic was immense, but that is for some reason no longer the case. Therefore, my comments will be short.


    §1 In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to make the world

    1. In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six daysand all very good. 5
      1. Heb. 1:2; John 1:2-3; Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4[1]
      2. Rom. 1:20; Jer 10:12; Ps. 104:24; 33:5-6; Prov. 3:19; Acts 14:15-16
      3. Gen. 1:1; John 1:2; Col. 1:16
      4. Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11
      5. Gen. 1:31; Ecc 7:29; Rom. 5:12

    All things were created in the beginning. This is the beginning of time, space and matter. The universe was is not eternal, but had a definite beginning when God started to create out of nothing. This Creator God is specifically said to be the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:1-2; John 1:2-3). The Confession does not speak about a generic God or Creator, but about the true God revealed in Scripture. The God of Scripture began to create for the manifestation of his glory (Rom. 1:20; 11:36). God did not create because He lacked anything, but created to manifest His glory. He created the world and all things in the world, whether visible or invisible (Col. 1:16). He created the earth, the stars, the atoms, spirits, angels, humans, animals, rocks, trees and things invisible to the naked eye. Everything that “exists” was created or is created by the will of God (Rev. 4:11). Everything that was created, was created in the space of six days (Ex. 20:11). I think it is indisputable as to what these words meant for the writers of the Confession. When reading old authors from the 17th century, it is not unusual to read them dating events from the creation of Adam. The six days of creation had the same span as normal six days as they experienced them. They have no knowledge of the mess that theologians have made about the simple reading of Genesis 1 in our modern time. It is not that there was absolutely nothing said about the days, but it was not such a mess as it is now (Augustine, for example, believed that everything was created in a moment). All these things were created very good (Gen. 1:31). Nothing was created evil or sinful, but they were all good and sinless.


    For His Glory

    The Lord God King of the Universe is the Creator God Who created the world ex-nihilo (out of nothing) in the space of six days. The Creator did this not because He lacked something, but was pleased to manifest His gl...


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

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    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

    God made all things “very good” (Gen. 1:31), including man. He gave a righteous law, the command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). Had he kept it past his time of probation, it would have been unto life. And God threatened death upon the breath thereof, which passed down to all of Adam's children. But Adam and Eve did not long abide in this honour. They fell by the subtlety of the serpent who subdued and deceived Eve (1Tim. 2:14). In turn, Eve seduced Adam to eat of the tree which he willfully did and transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them (Gen. 3:6). Even this was not outside of God's providence and decree (as chapter 5:4 says). But was ordained and permitted according to His wise and holy counsel. God had a purpose in ordaining and permitting the Fall, which was for His own glory, which is the purpose and end of all things which He has ordained.


    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 and desire, neither was Eve. Of this command, we read in Genesis 2:16-17:

    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 of this command directly from God or not, I am unsure. But I have no doubt that she knew that she should not eat of the tree. 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 (see chapter 7 on the Covenant of Works). Adam, in the Garden of Eden, stood in the stead of all people that would come...


    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 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