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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

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I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the Fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

1. Paul starts his letter as he often does with thanksgiving to God for the work done in the believers he’s writing to. He gives thanks because grace was given to the believers and the believers are growing in the knowledge of God. They are maturing and becoming more like Christ everyday. Grace–the unmerited favor of God, was given to the believers in Christ that they escape from the punishment of their sins, yet not only in that way, but grace also to be enriched in Christ.

2. The believers are supplied with the charismata of the Spirit as they await the blessed hope (Titus 2:13). It is God’s grace which gives them the gifts of the Spirit and thereby sustains them to the end.

3. It is the Lord Jesus, say vv. 7b-8, Who will sustain the believers guiltless. First, let us start with what that does not mean. It obviously does not mean that we will never sin, for if we claim that we deny the truth (1 John 1:8). But rather it means that we will be found guiltless before God, because the penalty of our sin was paid for. We have, through justification by faith, received the perfect righteousness of Christ, so when God looks upon us, He does not see our sin, but Christ’s perfect and sinless righteousness. The word sustain in the Greek is βεβαιόω (bebaioo, G950) which means “to make firm, establish, confirm, make sure” [3] and “to confirm, establish; to render constant and unwavering, 1 Cor. 1:8; to strengthen or establish by arguments or proofs, ratify, Mk. 16:20; to verify, as promises, Rom. 15:8”[4]. It is the Lord Jesus Who will indeed render us constant and unwavering in our faith and righteousness by faith. The Lord Jesus is able to sustain us to the end in the condition which we are now in, namely, in faith and grace, having the gifts of the Spirit and waiting for the blessed hope.

4. The end is defined to be “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the last day, the day of judgment when God will judge the world in righteousness and manifest who is guilty and who is guiltless. The Lord Jesus is, therefore, able not only to sustain us to the end, but to sustain is blameless and without guilt before the Father. He has the ability and willingness for all who are His. We do not have to fear that day because we will be found blameless, and we know from other Scriptures that our righteousness was not originated with us, but was actually given to us by grace through faith. The word ἀνέγκλητος (anegkletos, G410means “that cannot be called into to account, unreproveable, unaccused, blameless”[3] and denotes the fact that God will not be able to find a cause of damnation in us, because of Christ’s perfect work. This is the condition that God is able to keep the believer in. How does this fit with “falling away” and actually not being sustained to the end blameless? 

5. In this passage, we hear John 6:39-40. The same concept of the Son being responsible to keep the elect is present here. He is given the resp...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...00073282538&type=3"baptized on 16-06-2013.

It is not my purpose in this chapter to overthrow the paedobaptist position by directly arguing against it, but by presenting a positive case for credobaptism—baptism upon the profession of faith. No doubt, we would have to touch upon some arguments or texts which our paedobaptist brethren like to use. But mainly, this is meant to be a positive case of what we (Reformed) Baptists believe.


§1 What Baptism Is And Is Not

  1. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his Fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life. 3
    1. Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:27[1]
    2. Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16
    3. Rom. 6:4

Baptism is an ordinance of “positive and sovereign institution” (chapter 28:1) and it is an ordinance of the New Testament. Baptism is a sign of...Fellowship (e.g., Gal. 3:27) and union with Christ for the party baptized. Baptism is a sign, i.e., something visible representing something invisible (union with Christ). Baptism signifies our Fellowship with Him, in His death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5). As we are submerged in the water, we picture the Lord’s death and ours. As we come out of the water, we picture the Lord’s resurrection and ours. Baptism signifies our union with Christ or as it is here called, our being engrafted into Him (Gal. 3:27; see chapter 27). It signifies the washing away or remission of sins (Acts 22:16). It also signifies our giving up into God or our determination to submit to God, through Jesus Christ and to live and walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4), which we have received from the Lord and which baptism pictures. Notice that baptism is called a sign and not the cause or an instrument of Fellowship with Christ. It does not cause those things enlisted, but pictures these realities visibly. Which brings us to the subjects of Christian Baptism in the next paragraph.


That baptism is an institution and ordinance of our Lord is very clear from Matthew 28:18-20. There, we are given the command to make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching them. It is a given for Christians that it is Christ Who instituted it for all believers just like He did the Lord’s Supper. But what is baptism actually? According to the Confession, it is a sign. Being a sign means that it points beyond itself to something else and this something is the work of Christ on behalf of believers. Baptism has a mode in which it is to be performed and also specific subjects who should be its recipient. Hercules Collins in 1691 defined baptism as “an external washing, plunging or dipping a profest Believer, in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”[2] As the previous chapter explained, baptism is a “positive and sovereign institution”. This means that it is dictated by the will and directions of the Institutor. We dare not play around with it, add or take things from what He has commanded. We should be terrified if we neglect anything which He has commanded concerning this ordinance, or add to His ordinance. We dare not rest our case upon consequences, analogies, or even church history. The Sovereign Institutor has spoken His mind in the Holy Scriptures. Benjamin Keach, therefore, observed that “because Baptism (as well as Circumcision was) is a mere positive Law, and wholly...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

...ornerstone”. Roman Catholics, obviously, interpret this attribute with reference to the Papacy. But this attribute has nothing to do with the Papacy. Rather, it points to the fact that the church of Christ was built, instituted, and taught by the representatives of Christ. As we noted above on Matthew 16 and Peter, the Lord told him that he is the rock on which He will build His church. This was also the case as Peter preached the gospel to Jews, Gentiles, and Samaritans. The apostles, even now, remain to build the church through their writings which God has preserved. The early church is described as those who “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the Fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). A church that distances itself from the apostolic teaching is no church at all.

Holiness of the Church

The holiness of the church is primarily found in that it is the abode of the Spirit of holiness (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). That the church is holy means that it is separated from the world. Indeed, it is in the world but not of it. As the church finds its identity in Christ, it cannot but be holy. The church is also holy because it is the only body of the redeemed in the world. The church is the society or the people in which God has determined to dwell and have a relationship with. He has set the church apart. As with the unity of the church, the holiness of the church is both a fact as well as an imperative. The holiness of the church is composed of the holiness of its individual members. As the holiness of its members is increased, so also the testimony of the holiness of the church in the world is more visibly seen. Our Lord sets Himself apart for His people to be set apart (John 17:17-19). Its members are predestined to “be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1:4). Its Husband has given His life “that he may sanctify her...so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:26-27). Peter describes the church as a building, a temple, and “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9). As our Lord is holy, so He calls us to be holy also: ‘but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”’ (1 Pet. 1:15-16).

Jonathan Leeman has beautifully summarized these points and how the church has dealt with them, focusing on the attributes of holiness and apostolicity:

Christians have professed to believe in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic nature of the church at least since the Nicene Creed, but one might narrate the history of the church’s quest for unity as a tussle between the two characters Holiness and Apostolicity. It’s as if Holiness has sought the church’s unity by asking the questions, “Who is holy, and what makes a person holy?” Apostolicity, meanwhile, has sought unity by asking, “Who or what possesses the apostles’ authority, and what is it an authority to do?” Holiness has God’s work as Redeemer in mind. Apostolicity has God’s work as Ruler in mind.[13]

Metaphors for the Church

The church, as the body of believers, is spoken of under a few metaphors in the New Testament. It will be beneficial for us to take a look at these metaphors. These metaphors can be applied both to the universal as well as to the local church.

Body of Christ

The most prominent bibli...


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

...h. What are the promises of this covenant? God promises the elect, those ordained unto eternal lifeHis Holy Spirit so that they would meet the requirement of this covenant, which is faith. God requires of us faith to partake of the covenant of grace, yet the promise of the covenant is the giving of the Holy Spirit Who will supply that which God requires! What an amazing covenant of grace. Truly, all is of grace in this covenant!


The Curse Of The Law

After Adam and Eve rebelled against God, they were cast off from His sight and out of the Garden. They lost the amazing Fellowship which they enjoyed with God. Their disobedience brought the sentence of death upon them and all creation:

Gen. 2:17 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.”

1 Cor. 15:21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

Rom. 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

The Holy God cannot stand in the presence of sinners, they will be consumed if He did. Yet for the glory of His grace, He had, in Christ, foreordained the salvation of a particular people. He had even in some way foreordained the Fall (see chapter 3 on God’s sovereignty over evil). The means of restoring that relationship was for the Son of God to come down and bear the curse of the law on behalf of sinners.

Gal. 3:10-14 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Paul teaches us in this passage that the way we came free from the curse of the law is because the Lord Christ Himself became a curse for us. God cursed Him as if he was Someone who did not “abide by all things written in the Book of the Law” while we know that the contrary is the case! But for our sake, He became a curse (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21).

The Condemning Adamic Covenant

The Adamic Covenant of Works has no more the capacity to offer eternal life to those who obey it since only its condemning power is exercised now. The covenant is broken and what it now administers is the curse of the covenant. Furthermore, the Covenant of Works has no option of reparations or atonement. The Bible credits the existence of death and sin back to the disobedience of Adam (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:21). That was the punishment for disobedience of the Adamic Covenant (Gen. 2:17). Therefore, since only the condemning power of the covenant was in work and not the life-giving power, the Lord had to make another covenant if He wanted people to have Fellowship with Him. Dr. Samuel Renihan explains:

Adam’s breach of the covenant activated its curses, expelled him from the temple of God’s presence, and condemned him to death. This means that the covenant remains in force today in that its curse continues to apply to all of Adam’s offspring. But,...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 27: Of the Communion of Saints

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

...s obedience will lead to the justification of “the many.” In v. 19, Paul speaks of one group, i.e., “the many” and he speaks about their condemnation under Adam and their later justification under Christ.

The necessity of Christ’s active obedience is explained by Wayne Grudem, in this manner—

If Christ had only earned forgiveness of sins for us, then we would not merit heaven. Our guilt would have been removed, but we would simply be in the position of Adam and Eve before they had done anything good or bad and before they had passed a time of probation successfully. To be established in righteousness forever and to have their Fellowship with God made sure forever, Adam and Eve had to obey God perfectly over a period of time. Then God would have looked on their faithful obedience with pleasure and delight, and they would have lived with him in Fellowship forever.

For this reason, Christ had to live a life of perfect obedience to God in order to earn righteousness for us. He had to obey the law for his whole life on our behalf so that the positive merits of his perfect obedience would be counted for us. Sometimes this is called Christ’s “active obedience,” while his suffering and dying for our sins is called his “passive obedience.” Paul says his goal is that he may be found in Christ, “not having a righteousness of [his] own based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Phil. 3:9). It is not just moral neutrality that Paul knows he needs from Christ (that is, a clean slate with sins forgiven), but a positive moral righteousness. And he knows that that cannot come from himself, but must come through faith in Christ. Similarly, Paul says that Christ has been made “our righteousness” (1 Cor. 1:30). And he quite explicitly says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).[23]

Another passage that speaks of Christ’s active obedience is Matthew 3:15. Christ had no need to earn His righteousness, as He was already perfectly sinless, but to identify Himself with His people He went and was baptized on their behalf, to “fulfill all righteousness.”

Sacrifice of Himself

See Hebrews 7:27; 9:12, 14. The Scriptures speak of Christ being both the High Priest Who brings the offering and also of Himself being the Offering. He alone is the only fit, capable and worthy One of standing between man and God and He is also the only One by Whose blood He can satisfy the wrath of God.

Fully Satisfied the Justice of God

The fact that the Lord Christ was raised from the dead, ascended and exalted at the right hand of God proves beyond doubt that God was pleased with the sacrifice of His beloved Son. The justice of God was certainly satisfied for the ones for whom Christ died. Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10 speak of Christ being a propitiation. “The word propitiation carries the basic idea of appeasement or satisfaction, specifically toward God. Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person and being reconciled to him.”[24] Christ certainly satisfied the wrath of God on behalf of those for whom He died. Although Christ earned our justification on the cross, the fruits of salvation are not applied until God grants us faith and repentance, as it is through faith that He is our propitiation (Rom. 3:25). Christ was the once-for-all-time sacrifice that satisfied the wrath a...


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

...Christ, with confession of our sins and thankful acknowledgment of His mercies.”[22] God is described as a God who hears our prayers (e.g. Ps. 65:2) and Who answers our prayers (Ps. 143:1). Prayer is an essential and necessary part of religious worship. In fact, the Apostle Paul teaches us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) and to pray “at all times” (Eph. 6:18). The Lord Jesus taught us a model of how we ought to pray (Matt. 6:9-13). J.I. Packer beautifully writes of prayer in these words:

God made us and has redeemed us for Fellowship with himself, and that is what prayer is. God speaks to us in and through the contents of the Bible, which the Holy spirit opens up and applies to us and enables us to understand. We then speak to God about himself, and ourselves, and people in his world, shaping what we say as response to what he has said. This unique form of two-way conversation continues as long as life lasts.[23]

But for prayer to be acceptable, certain things have to be followed which we now turn our attention to.

Acceptable Prayer

There are, whether you believe it or not, conditions which God places for answering prayer. The conditions are:

  1. Prayer must be made in accordance with God’s will (Matt. 6:10; Luke. 22:42; 1John 5:14).
    1. We pray according to God’s revealed will and submit to His sovereign pleasure, knowing that His promise stands fast (Rom. 8:28) and He knows what is best for us better than we do.
  2. Prayer must be made in the Name of Christ (John 14:13; 16:24; Heb. 13:15).
    1. Praying in Christ’s Name is not a magical formula, rather, it is praying on the basis of Christ’s work and authority. We pray, pleading with God not on the basis of our righteousness, but Christ’s. The “name” of a person, to the ancients, represented the character and authority of the person. Grudem observes, ‘Thus, the name of Jesus represents all that he is, his entire character. This means that praying “in Jesus’ name” is not only praying in his authority, but also praying in a way that is consistent with his character, that truly represents him and reflects his manner of life and his own holy will. In this sense, to pray in Jesus’ name comes close to the idea of praying “according to his will” (1 John 5:14–15).’[24]
  3. Prayer must be made in the Holy Spirit (Eph. 6:18; Jude 1:20).
    1. Relying on His power and graces to intercede on our behalf (Rom. 8:26-27).
  4. Prayer must be performed in faith (Jas. 1:6; Matt. 21:22).
  5. The one making the prayer should keep God’s commandments (1John 3:22).
  6. Prayer must be made with confession of sin (Jas. 5:16; Ps. 66:8).
    1. So that we would remove hindrances that may stand between us and God. We, first of all, confess all known and unknown sins and ask for forgiveness and cleansing.
  7. Prayer must be made with good intentions and motives (Jas. 4:3; 1 Pet. 4:11).
  8. Prayer must be made with thankfulness (Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:16-18).
    1. Two things that I can always pray for are confessing my sins and thanking God for His amazing grace. We should always be thankful to God for everything.
  9. We must pray continually (Luke 18:1; 1 Thess. 5:17; Col. 4:2).
  10. Prayer must be made with pure hearts (Isa. 1:15-16; Heb. 10:22; Ps. 66:8).
  11. Prayer must be made with a forgiving spirit (Mark 11:25).
  12. Prayer must be done with the glory of God as the goal (1 Cor. 10:31).

These are the things which the Bible teaches us about how prayer is to be made and it touches upon all of the things ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 13: Of Sanctification - Commentary

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Obviously, once we come to know Christ, especially if we had lived a gross life, we will realize that it is no longer acceptable for us to do certain things and we will try to stop doing them. Therefore, there is a direct growth and going upward in a sense. But as we read the Word of God and learn God’s will for us, we will discover more and more sin in us and more holiness which we desire to attain. But Christians do sin and fall into sin. We sometimes have seasons of disobedience and negligence to the means that God has ordained to bless and sanctify us as for example the Word of God, prayer, corporate worship, Christian Fellowship, the ordinances. Therefore, there are also downs in our Christian life. It is not a straight line gradually going upward, rather a sort of zig-zag or flatline. When Paul came to repentance, there was a direct break from his sinful life: 

Gal. 1:23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”

But this does not mean that he was from that moment free from sin. He was certainly free from the dominion of sin, but was not free from its presence in his life. Therefore, he largely speaks of this inner war in Romans 7 among other places. But he is confident that he will have the victory:

Rom. 7:22-25 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin

There is a continual conflict within Paul and two things waging war against each other. But he is confident that he will have victory through Jesus Christ our Lord! He speaks of himself in the present tense as being the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). He knows that he has not yet attained perfection, but it is still his aim to do so (Phil. 3:11-12). In Galatians 5, he speaks of the two opposing desires of the flesh and the Spirit of God. This is similar to Romans 7 and what is there called the law of my mind and the law of sin. He writes:

Gal. 5:16-17 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 

Paul gives a command, namely: walk by the Spirit. This means that we must live “under the influences of the Holy Spirit; admit those influences fully into your hearts. Do not resist him, but yield to all his suggestions”.[15] We should seek to listen to the directions of the Spirit and keep His Word in our hearts. To walk in the Spirit means to conduct ourselves in keeping and consistent with the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 5:24, Paul says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Barnes explains:

The sense of this verse probably is, “We who are Christians profess to be under the influences of the Holy Spirit. By his influences and agency is our spiritual life. We profess not to be under the dominion of the flesh; not to be controlled by its appetites and desires. Let us then act in this manner, and as if we believed this. Let us yield ourse...


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

... with the brethren is also shown from the context wherein it is celebrated. The Lord’s institution said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). But it does not specify either place, frequency, or context. Place we can discard quickly as there is no special holiness to a specific place. Frequency is not under discussion here. What we are left with is the context. By this, I mean the setting wherein it is celebrated. In the New Testament, it is clear that it was celebrated with the believers among their gathers. For example, we read of the 3000 converts from Pentecost joining the church in devoting “themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the Fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). A few verses later, it is said, “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts” (Acts 2:46). Notice that the Lord’s Supper is here celebrated at home, which is no problem at all because homes were the buildings where Christians met. But the context is not merely a family meal, but a covenantal meal with the people of God. It was not a private Mass or communion. If we look further in Acts, we see the church at Troas was “gathered together to break bread” on the Lord’s Day as if that was the purpose why they gathered (Acts 20:7). To another church, Paul says, “Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?” (1 Cor. 10:22). Therefore, this was not merely a normal meal. When the apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth, he makes clear that the Lord’s Supper was being celebrated in the context of the gathered church. 

1 Cor. 11:17-18, 20 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church...20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 

1 Cor. 11:33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 

They were so misusing the Lord’s Supper that their celebration could not be called “the Lord’s supper.” But notice the context wherein it was celebrated—the gathered church. Because it is not only a sign of union with Christ, but also with the body of Christ. Thomas Schreiner explains:

The Lord’s Supper is not merely a meal where I celebrate what Jesus did for me. It is a communal meal where the people of God, the church of Jesus Christ, give thanks for what Jesus did for us. A new family has been forged through the sweat and blood of the Savior.[4]


§2 Only A Memorial Of That One Offering Up Of Himself By Himself

  1. In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same. So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ’s own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.
    1. John 19:30; Heb. 9:25-28; 10:10-14; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24-25
    2. Matt. 26:26-27, 30 with Heb 13:10-16

This paragraph begins by first saying what the Lord’s Supper is not and then moves to define what it is. In the Lord’s Supper, Christ is not offered up to His Father, nor any real sacrifice is made for the remission of the sin of the quick or dead. Holy...


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

... for a greater judgment in both body and soul on that great day in Hell, which is the second death.

Finally, aside from Heaven and Hell, Scripture knows of no other place. Therefore, Purgatory does not exist and is unbiblical. 


The body returns to the dust from whence it came, but the souls are immortal from the time they begin to exist; they cannot just disappear and go out of existence. They will exist without a body in heaven or Hades until Christ comes to end the world and bring in the New Heavens and New Earth. The elect then will receive a glorious body like that of Jesus and enjoy endless Fellowship with the God Triune, while the reprobates will receive physical bodies just to be tormented in the lake of fire.

The Intermediate State describes the time between death and the resurrection of the body, this includes a discussion of the immortality of the soul, heaven, and Hades.

The Immortality Of The Soul

While people are buried and their bodies return to the dust from whence they came, their souls do not cease to exist, they are immortal. While the body decomposes and returns to dust, the soul of man lives evermore. It is important to define the usage of the word “immortal” and “immortality” here. This immortality which the souls of men and angels possess is obviously not like the essential immortality of God. In 1 Timothy 6:16 we read that God “alone has immortality”. This speaks about God essentially and by nature having immortality. He ever was and ever will be immortal, i.e., undying. Albert Barnes noted on that passage that God has immortality “by his very nature, and it is in his case underived, and he cannot be deprived of it. It is one of the essential attributes of his being, that he will always exist, and that death cannot reach him”.[2] But this word is often used in reference to men and angels, so what does it mean? It means that the souls of men and angels are undying from the moment that they come to exist. It means that the soul of man does not simply decompose or disappear after death, like the physical body does. Rather, the soul is unable to die, because God designed it to be so. There is no “must-ness” that the souls of man or of angels be immortal except that God had willed them to be so. It is not essential, as it is in the case of God, that our souls be immortal. Rather, this immortality is derived from God and is dependent upon His power. Louis Berkhof writes, ‘the word “immortality” designates, especially in eschatological language, that state of man in which he is impervious to death and cannot possibly become its prey.’[3] The word “immortal”, though it may be controversial to some, is used simply to indicate that the souls of men “neither die nor sleep”, while their bodies sure do until the resurrection.

While the Bible does not have a statement saying “the soul of man is immortal,” it very much, I believe, assumes and does not question it. For example, had the Fall not taken place, man would have lived forever in body and soul, but the Fall brought physical death to the body, yet it did not destroy the soul of man. The soul of man remained, but now in enmity with God, no longer walking in Fellowship and peace with Him. Death is said to have come because of sin (Rom. 5:12; 6:23). Therefore, if sin had not come there would be no death. Notice that we’re speaking here not only of the immortality of the soul, but of the body. If the Fall had not taken place and the time of probation was passed,...