The Staunch Calvinist

"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

...ot; will not allow Him. If we persevere, it is because He is working in us to do His good pleasure. We persevere because He preserves us, not the other way around and this is why it is dependent on God and not man. It is dependent upon God's character and God's promises. That the Bible calls on us to persevere is not a refutation that perseverance is not dependent on us, because we do not deny the responsibility on our side that we should walk in holiness and persevere, but we stress that when we persevere, we do so because God preserves us.

Perseverance Depends On

Perseverance does not depend on man, but rather depends upon (1) God's Decree of sovereign election, (2) God's everlasting love for the elect, (3) Christ's perfect work, (4) God's Oath and Promise, (5) the Holy Spirit in the believer, (6) the Seed of God in the believer and (7) the perfect New Covenant wherein they find themselves. 

The Decree Of Election

The fact is: God chooses who gets saved, and leaves the rest in their sins to be damned. God, by His almighty power, has called them effectually through the Gospel and regenerated them, without hindrance from their will, in fact, renewing their wills, giving them faith and repentance so that they may respond positively to the Gospel. God does not go back on His word, nor thinks that He has made a bad choice and wants to change His intentions. If God has chosen who will be saved, He will likewise make sure that they're saved and remain in the state of grace until the end. See our comments on Romans 8:28ff above.

The Unconditional Love Of God

This is very closely connected to elect. God elected us in love. It is His love which moved Him to elect us. He did not elect us to love us, but rather He elected us because He loved us. See Ephesians 1:3-6 and perhaps our comments on Romans 8:28ff above.

The Merit & Intercession Of Christ

It is through the intercession and work of Christ that the redeemed are preserved. It is thanks to His perfect work and continued intercession that their faith may not fail. See our comments on John's GospelRomans 8:28ff above and the book of Hebrews which stresses this point a lot.

The Oath Of God

God has promised to preserve the elect. He will not go back on His word. He has called us to salvation and He will preserve us in it. See our brief comment on Hebrews 6:17-20 above.

The Abiding Of Spirit

God has given us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee, as a pledge of all the promises that He has given us and which He will fulfill in the world to come. The Spirit also functions as the seal of God upon the believer. In Ephesians 1 we read:

Eph. 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

At the moment we place our faith in Christ we are sealed by the Spirit. What does that mean? John Calvin says the following on this passage:

In whom also, after that ye believed. Having maintained that the gospel is certain, he now comes to the proof. And what higher surety can be found than the Holy Spirit? “Having denominated the gospel the word of truth, I will not prove it by the authority of men; for you have the testimony of the Spirit of God himself, who seals the truth of it in your hearts.” This elegant comparison is taken from Seals, which among men...


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

...ting in the grave, while their souls are in places of peace or anguish. At the Day of Judgment, all the dead will be resurrected, their souls uniting with their bodies, and then come to appear before the throne of God. The difference then is that their everlasting punishment or their everlasting bliss is in body and soul, while in the Intermediate State it is in the soul alone. Moreover, the wicked will then be publicly condemned before the world, and the righteous publicly rewarded before the world, and all heaven will bless and praise God for His righteousness.

The Day Of Judgment

There is a Day of Judgment, fixed by God's Decree that it should come to pass, in which all people that have ever lived will come and stand before Him to give an account of their words, thoughts, and deeds. This is a day which should rightly awaken fear and awe. For some it will be terrible, for others it will be joyous and victorious. The Confession here borrows much from biblical passages to form its statement in paragraph 1. The first passage which it alludes to is Acts 17:31. We read:

Acts 17:30-31 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Christ The Judge

There was a time when God let the nations go their way, but now that the Christ has come and suffered for all kinds of men, the people of God are no longer confined to a single nation (cf. Rev. 5:9). In accordance with the Savior's words, the Gospel is to be preached to all nations (Matt 28:18-19; Acts 1:8). Therefore, as the Gospel goes out to these nations, they are to respond to it positively, otherwise, they have no way of peace with God. God's command to everyone is “to repent”, i.e., turn back from sin and turn toward Him (see here). The motivation given for people to repent is because there is a Day of Judgment coming. This Day is “fixed” and the One who fixed it is God Himself who will expose the works of the wicked on the last day and give each man according to their works. Although God is said to be the judge, yet this judgment is by the “man whom he has appointed”, the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 5:22-23 we read, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” It is the Father's desire that everyone may honor the Son just as they honor Him. In other words, that all may honor the Son as divine. Therefore, being truly and everlastingly deity, He is the One appointed by the Father's authority to be the Judge of the World. On the Last Day, the Father will judge no one, but the Son, as divine and as the perfect image of the Father, will act on behalf of Him and judge every man according to their works. John 5:27 likewise says that the Father “has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” Acts 10:42 says that “he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.” 2 Timothy 4:2 says also the same. Paul says in Romans 2:16 that “God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 says that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or ...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...ntry.

With the Heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the Mouth Confession is made unto Salvation, Rom. 10:10.
Search the Scriptures, John 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 C...

Review of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology

...s absolutely sovereign, even over chance events (Prov 16:33), man is still held responsible (Isaiah 11, Gen 50:20; Acts 4:27-28).

This is above our understanding, but it is what the Scriptures teach and thus we are to obey it.

This is not fatalism, this is the carrying out of a divine plan of a God who is just, holy, wise and merciful.

We are not “robots,” as many non-Calvinists would accuse Calvinists of making man, we make responsible choices, but these choices are absolutely under the control of God.

See my commentary on chapter 3 (Of God's Decree) and chapter 5 (Of Divine Providence) on the 1689.

The Person of Christ

The treatment of of the Person of Christ is excellent. His two-fold natures in one Person, His effective and definite atonement, resurrection and ascension. All these he handles in part 4 with great care and persuasive biblical argumentation.

Before reading his treatment on the Person of Christ, I thought that Christ now was only divine and not man. God graciously used Dr. Grudem to persuaded me otherwise. 

In the incarnation the Word took on flesh (Jn 1:1, 14). He did not lay aside His divinity, but added humanity to His divine Person (Phil 2:5-11). He was resurrected with a human body and went into heaven with that glorified body, nothing actually convinces us that the Lord Jesus ceased to be human at the moment of His ascension. In fact the Bible tells us that it is the man Christ Jesus who is our Mediator:

1Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 

The Application of Redemption

Part 5 is entitled The Doctrine of The Application of Redemption. Therein Dr. Grudem handles among other things:

  1. Common Grace
  2. Election and Reprobation
  3. The Gospel Call and Effective Calling 
  4. Regeneration
  5. Conversion (Faith and Repentance)
  6. Justification (Right Legal Standing Before God)
  7. Adoption (Membership in God’s Family)
  8. Sanctification (Growth in Likeness to Christ)
  9. Death and the Intermediate State
  10. Glorification (Receiving a Resurrection Body)
  11. Union with Christ

These chapters are excellent like the rest and if you didn't know, Dr Wayne Grudem is a full-fetched Calvinist and in these chapters, what is called “Calvinism” is argued and shown to be the system of the Bible itself. He follows Romans 8:29-30 in laying out these doctrine sin this way:

Rom 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 

The Doctrine of the Church

Part 6 of this treatment deals with Ecclesiology. I've learned a ton in this part, because it wasn't something that I've read about before.

Being a baptist, he argues for a congregational and independent type of church and makes the case for the consistent plurality of elders in NT congregations.

What I also liked was the distinction that he made with with more and less pure churches. He admits that in the present time there will not be a church which is perfect in doctrine, but there will be churches which are more or less pure churches. There are no perfect churches.

Being a Reformed Baptist myself, I loved his treatment of Baptism (chapter 49) and his interaction with Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology on Protestant Infant Bapti...