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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 13: Of Sanctification - Commentary

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Chapter 13: Of Sanctification

Now that we were elected, called and justified we enter into the Christian life, which is one of growth in Holiness with ups and downs. In this chapter, we will deal with the question concerning what sanctification is and what Scripture says about it.


§1 Through The Virtue Of Christ’s Death And Resurrection, Are Also Farther Sanctified, Really And Personally

  1. They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, are also farther sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; 4 the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true Holiness, 5 without which no man shall see the Lord. 6 
    1. John 3:3-8; 1 John 2:29; 3:9-10; Rom. 1:7; 6:1-11; 15:16; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 3:12; Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Cor. 1:2, 6:11[1]
    2. 1 Thess. 5:23; Rom. 6:19, 22
    3. 1 Cor. 6:11; Acts 20:32; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5-6
    4. John 17:17, Eph. 5:26; 3:16-19; Rom. 8:13
    5. Rom. 6:13-14; Gal. 5:17, 24; Rom. 8:13; Col. 1:11; Eph. 3:16-19; 4:22-25; 2 Cor. 7:1
    6. Heb. 12:14

Those who have been saved have a new heart and a new spirit created in them in accordance with the promise of the New Covenant (Ezek. 36:25-27). What this means is that they have a new nature and no longer are they enslaved by the old sinful nature inherited from Adam. This is all through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ’s work is the basis that we have a new nature. After having this new nature created in them, they are farther sanctified, really and personally (1 Thess. 5:13; Rom. 6:22). To be sanctified means to be set apart. If we are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit it means that we are being made more like Christ. This sanctification is through the same virtue as our receiving the new nature, i.e., by Christ’s death and resurrection. The way that He sanctifies us is by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them (John 17:17; Rom. 8:13; Eph. 3:16-19; 5:26). Word and Spirit is also how He calls us to Himself (chapter 10:1). It is also how He keeps us for and to Himself. By this new nature and sanctification, the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed (Rom. 6:13-14). The dominion is destroyed, but sin is not yet uprooted. We are to fight. Several lusts of the flesh are more and more weakened and mortified (killed). Not only are we fighting and overcoming sin and temptation, but we are also progressing toward Holiness in being more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving grace. This is so that we would practice all true Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). The Lord grants us Holiness and calls us to Holiness so that we would see Him.


United, Called and Regenerated

I refer the interested reader to the previous chapters where we dealt with these things. I lightly touched upon our union with Christ in chapter 8 paragraph 5 (see chapter 27, paragraph 1 for more detail). We dealt with the effectual call or Irresistible Grace in chapter 10 and Regeneration and Justification were dealt with in chapter 11.

Sanctification

The answer to question 35 “What is sanctification?” of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is as follows:

...

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

...a for more). It is God Who is responsible in 1 Thessalonians 5 to sanctify completely the believers. In 1 Corinthians, it is the Lord Jesus and in 1 Thessalonians it is God the Father. Both the Father and the Son are in the work of keeping the believers blameless, how can anyone dare to say that those who truly know the Son and the Father, may, in fact, fall away? Do the Father and Son fail in their purpose because of man’s almighty will?!

7. In both passages, believers are given hope and encouraged based on God’s faithfulness. It is God Who will sanctify them and keep them blameless. This does not mean that there is no responsibility for them to seek after the Holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14), but it puts things into perspective. God’s work is primary. We endure and preserve, because it is He Who preserves us and causes us to endure and transforms us into the likeness of Christ our Lord (cf. Phil. 2:12-13). Therefore, truly, all is of pure grace and we have to pray to God to sanctify us daily and change our desires to conform to His own.

8. The believers are called into the fellowship of God. 1 Corinthians 1 lays a strong stress on the effectual calling of God. In v. 2, we read that the believers were “called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours”. All believers are called by God to be holy ones, set apart for His purpose. They did nothing to earn it, but were simply the objects of the Father’s loving grace. Can God now reverse His judgment that the believers are indeed saints and holy ones in His sight, set apart for His use? If we were called into God’s fellowship without any regard to our works and faithfulness, but based on God’s faithfulness, how can we through our works lose this blessed fellowship bestowed upon us by grace? Are we really saying that to enter the fellowship is by grace alone, but to remain in the fellowship is by our faithfulness? Those who truly know God and not merely profess to know Him, cannot be separated from His blessed fellowship.

9. Lastly, 1 Thessalonians 5:24 stresses the fact that it depends ultimately on God to preserves us. It is God Who will keep us blameless because God cannot fail nor goes back on His word. He has called us into His fellowship, and He will never cast us out, but rather He will work on us to make us more holy and more like Christ. We are given assurance that God will indeed sanctify us and keep us without blame. 

Philippians 1:6 – Will bring it to completion

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

1. We notice first of all the connection between the previous two passages discussed from Paul, 1 Corinthians 1:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23, and the present passage concerning the day of Jesus Christ. This is an important day and it is a day when final verdicts will be heard before all men and about all men. Therefore, it is understandable for Paul, when speaking about the security of the believer in the hands of God, to assure us that we will be safe and blameless on the Day of the Lord, for that is a day of rejoicing for the believer and a day of doom for the unbeliever (e.g., 2 Thess. 1:5-12).

2. Paul is persuaded, sure, confident and convinced of one thing, namely, if God begins a work, He will surely complete it and not leave it undone. He does not think that God will do it. No,...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...is grace, was not only to them, who were now called, but it was also to their children[10]

The nearest historical context for the declaration of God’s promise to “you and your children” is “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matt. 27:25). The apostle is telling them that although they killed the Lord’s Christ, they are not hopeless and God is still calling them to Himself through His risen Christ. The reason for the phrase

is not because there was any more foederal Holiness or Habitual Faith in those Children of the Jews than in others, for We all go astray from the Womb, telling Lyes; but the special Reason why the Apostle thus speaks, was in Answer to their Interrogation, verse 37. When they were convinced they had been the Murtherers of the true Christ, they cry out, Men and Brethren, what shall we do? The Apostle exhorts them to Repent and be Baptized, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, for the Remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost: But methinks I hear them say unto Peter, but what will become of our Children? for we called for Christs Blood to be upon us and our Childrens Heads, Mat. 27. 25. The Apostle gives them a Plaister as broad as their Sore, and tells them, that the Promise is to them and their Children, if they own that Messiah whom they Crucified[51]

Baptism is a sign of the New Covenant and it is given to those who give evidence that they belong to this glorious covenant. It is given for children who are born, but not of the flesh. It is given to those who are born from above. It is not given to those who are children of the flesh, but only the children of the promise have a right to baptism. Concerning Acts 2:41 in this connection, Hübner writes:

Verse 41 is highly significant for the question as to who should be baptized. Peter has brought up several categories and groups of people in 2:17-21 and 2:39, including “children.” But the final precondition that was met before any in Peter’s audience were baptized is the receiving of the word, not social status, Old Covenant status, or the faith of any parent. “Those who received his word and their children were baptized” is not in the text, nor would it fit any concept asserted in Acts 2. Baptism in Acts 2, in Acts in general, and in all the New Testament is consistently associated with repentance and faith. Furthermore, as Conner argues, when Peter specifically says “for you and your children” he “does not have specifically Christian parents in mind, but all Jews in general…This rules out any notion of making this promise apply just to Christian parents.[52] 

The ones who were baptized on the day of Pentecost are explicitly said to be the ones who “received his word” (Acts 2:41). Nothing is said of infants, children, unprofessing wives, or husbands. Rather, the point is that this promise is always available to you and to your posterity on the condition of repentance and faith in the crucified and risen Messiah. In fact, we should consider who the audience of the promise is. Why is it assumed that the promise is to believing parents and their children? The promise and the sermon was given to unbelieving Jews. Unbelieving Jews are as much objects of this promise as believing Christians. But no one can claim this promise unless they meet the conditions of faith and repentance. Furthermore, why is this promise limited only to our children? In fact, if we want to keep it in the spirit of the Abrahamic Covenant, all our poster...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

..., 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 biblical metaphor for the church is that of a body (Rom. 12:5; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:12; 5:23, 29-30; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12ff; Col. 1:18, 24; Heb. 13:3). This image stre...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity - Commentary

...the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.” To say that God is the living and true God is to separate Him from the idols. Paul writes of the Thessalonians and of all Christians that we “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9).

The Independence of God

God is absolutely dependent on no other being than Himself. He is all sufficient in and of Himself. God is wholly happy, glorious, holy, loving and joyful in and of Himself. He was not unhappy before the Creation, nor was He less glorious or loving. All life, happiness, glory, and Holiness is in Himself. He is the I AM THAT I AM! Self-existent and self-sufficient, glorious, holy, just and loving. This attribute is also called God’s self-sufficiency, self-existence, or aseity.

‘The term aseity’, writes John Frame, ‘comes from the Latin phrase a se, meaning “from or by self.”’[3] To speak of God’s aseity, therefore, is to speak of His independence from anything and anyone but Himself. God is dependent on no one for His existence because He is the only Necessary Being—a being that must exist, in any possible world. He is the Being on Whom all reality and all creation depends, yet He Himself depends on nothing. Without Him all would turn into chaos and the world will not be, but because of Him, there is order and not chaos. All that the God of the Bible has, He has in and of Himself and is dependent upon no other being for it. The very name of God, which was given to Moses in Exodus 3:14, is “I AM WHO I AM.” It is a basic and most fundamental observation that in the Bible names represent the nature and character of the people who bear them. Names are not merely nice-sounding, but they say something about the name-bearer. The name of God, YHWH, represents all the perfections of God and God explains it as “I AM WHO I AM.” In essence and at the most minimal level, this name teaches the absolute independence of God. He is what He is because of Himself. John Gill notes on this passage saying that “This signifies the real being of God, his self-existence, and that he is the Being of beings; as also it denotes his eternity and immutability, and his constancy and faithfulness in fulfilling his promises, for it includes all time, past, present, and to come; and the sense is, not only I am what I am at present, but I am what I have been, and I am what I shall be, and shall be what I am.”[4]

The Bible over and over again declares the independence of God from the created world. Paul on the Areopagus declares that the true God is not “served by human hands, as though he needed anything,” but in contrast, “he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). This is the scriptural proof for our assertion that God is the Independent Being on Whom all creation depends. Scriptures teaches that God owns all things (Deut. 10:14; Job 41:11; Ps. 24:1; 50:10-12; 80:11). He is called “the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:22). 1 Chronicles 29:11 majestically declares, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.” All that we have comes from His hand. John the Baptist says that “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (John 3:27; cf. Jas 1:17...


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

...ge of these commandments before Moses. The primacy of the Decalogue has been argued above.

Continuity Between The Moral Law and The Decalogue

The moral law, which is binding upon all men and which all men know, was summarized in Ten Commandments. The Confession says that the moral law is “a perfect rule of righteousness”, this is so because the moral law is a reflection of God’s perfection and of His moral excellence. The moral law does not contain arbitrary commands, but ones which are right based on God’s being and character. They reflect His righteousness and Holiness, therefore they are the standard. They are a perfect rule of what is right and what is contrary to them, is wrong and sinful. Before the Fall, they were a perfect standard and after the Fall, they remain a perfect standard of righteousness. The Fall did not change the perfection, Holiness and moral excellence of God, therefore, the moral law was also not changed. The Decalogue is certainly moral law that reflects God’s perfect character. Nine of the Ten Commandments are self-evident and obvious, there is only one positive precept which is also moral and part ceremonial and that is the Sabbath (see for more chapter 22 on the question of the Christian Sabbath).

The Decalogue was not something new given to Israel, but rather it was the essence of the covenant with Israel (e.g., Ex. 34:28; Deut. 4:13) and it was given so that there would be no misunderstanding through weakened conscience about what God’s moral law was. That this was the case is seen in the general knowledge of the Ten Commandments prior to Sinai in the Pentateuch.

The First and Second Commandments Before Moses

The first commandment declares the exclusivity of Yahweh as the only God to be worshiped and adored (Ex. 20:3) and the second commandment declares how he should be worshiped and also forbids idolatry (Ex. 20:4-6). The first and second commandments are very similar to each other. This was obvious to Adam and Eve as they had perfect knowledge of God prior to the Fall wherein God would walk with them in the Garden. They knew no other God, but the LORD. Cain and Abel both worshiped and knew God, but one was accepted and the other denied. Cain worshiped God, but he broke the second commandment by not worshiping Him rightly (see here for chapter 22 on the Regulative Principle of Worship). He brought that which the Lord had not commanded or that which was not pleasing as a sacrifice to Him and was rejected.

When we read of the patriarchs, we see them also only devoting themselves and worshiping the one true God. When Abraham was called by God, he was an idolater as it was common in his day (Josh. 24:2), but the Lord called and he obeyed. We nowhere read of Abraham having any other god, but rather he held fast to the true God even to the point of offering his own son. He is the One whom Abraham declares to be the judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25) and who demands from Abraham that he walk blamelessly before Him (Gen. 17:1).

Jacob, when he fled from Laban, unknown to him Rachel, his beloved wife had taken the idols of her father with her (Gen. 31:19). When Laban finds out that Jacob along with his family had fled and the household gods were no more, pursued Jacob and found him. When asked why did Jacob steal Laban’s gods, Jacob’s response was a clear affirmation of his devotion to the only one God. He said, “Anyone with whom you find your gods shall not live” (Gen. 31:32). Here are two sins coupl...


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

... by Uzza, whereas God had commanded that no one touch it (Num. 4:15).[15]

Uzzah, along with David, violated the commandments of God concerning the Ark and the carrying thereof. God explicitly commanded that the Ark should be 1) carried by the Kohathites (Num. 3:30-31; 4:15; 7:9); 2) that it was to be carried by poles (Ex. 25:14; Num. 7:9), not upon a cart; and 3) the Ark was not to be touched (Num. 4:15). But Uzzah, David and the priests who should have known better, violated the commands of God. God did not strike them all but only punished Uzzah to demonstrate His Holiness as He did with Nadab and Abihu. Right from the beginning, they went wrong in neglecting to inquire what God has actually said concerning how the Ark should be treated. John Gill notes on v. 3:

And they set the ark of God upon a new cart,.... Which was a great mistake, since it ought not to have been put upon a cart, old or new; it was to be borne upon men’s shoulders, and carried by Levites only, and those of the family of Kohath, to whom no wagons were given, when others had them, for the above reason, Nu 7:9;[10]

Israel, in this instance (again), tried to follow the custom of the heathen. The Philistines had put the Ark on a cart (1Sam. 6:7-8), but God’s people should have listened to God’s Word. Uzzah was judged more harshly than the Philistines because he should have known better. The second time they try to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, they know better. David says to the priests:

1Chron. 15:13 Because you did not carry it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.”

Williamson carefully observes:

Uzzah died because -- as David explained later on -- “we did not inquire of [God] about how to do it in the prescribed way” (I Chron. 15:13). It happened, in other words, because they failed to limit themselves to what God had expressly commanded.(12) But how different it was when “the Levites carried the ark of God . . . as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord” (I Chron. 15:14). Again we see the same principle clearly revealed: the only thing that pleases God is what He has commanded.(13)[7]

Devised From His Own Heart

The last Old Testament example is that of Jeroboam’s idolatry. After the split of the united Kingdom of Israel into the northern and southern kingdoms, Jeroboam, the king of the northern kingdom, was afraid that the people abandon him and side with Judah, the southern kingdom. That was because of the absence of the Temple in the northern kingdom. What he does is foolishly repeat the sin of Israel at Sinai.

1Kgs. 12:28 So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

As we observed above on the Second Commandment, so likewise here we observe concerning the word “gods” which could also be translated as “god” in the singular. John Gill notes, “that these [the two calves] were representations of the true God, who had brought them out of Egypt; and that it might as well be supposed that God would cause his Shechinah to dwell in them as between the cherubim over the ark.”[10] These words sadly echo what Israel said at Sinai (Ex. 32:4). It appears that Israel had still not learned its lesson. Not only did Jeroboam institute this false worship of images, but also, instead of letting the people go to...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 4: Of Creation - Commentary

...h are normally out of our visible sight, still bring glory to the Creator. When we see them, we are filled with awe and reverence for the Creator. Creation is actually meant to display the glory of God to us. In Isaiah vision of the Lord Jesus, the host of heaven worships and praises God with the following words:

Isa. 6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

The earth does not merely contain His glory, but is full or filled with His glory. His Holiness displays itself in His glory in the created world. The Holiness of God is glorious and it fills the whole created world through His glory. That was God’s purpose in creating, namely, to display His glory and for people to acknowledge it. In Romans 1:20, we read that God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” The glory and power of God is displayed in the created world in such a way that no one would make an excuse before His Majesty. The power and divine nature of God displayed in the created world is undeniable and sufficient to render us without an excuse before Him. When God created, there was no higher goal than creating for Himself and to display His glory. He could not have depended for His glory on His creatures, which were yet uncreated, for He is completely independent of His creation for His perfections. The Trinity enjoyed fellowship and glory even before the creation of the world (John 17:5). God was not lacking anything. The host of heaven, in Revelation 4:11, declares:

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

God is worthy to receive, i.e., be credited of having glory, honor, and power. Why? “for you created all things”. The fact that God is the Creator of all things makes it obligatory on us to bring Him glory, honor, and praise. It is by His will that everything exists or has existed. It was He who determined if this thing existed or not, or that thing happened or not. He creates these things by His will so that they would bring glory and honor to Him. In Proverbs 16:4, we read, “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Everything that God created, He created with its assigned purpose. It is He Who gives everything its purpose. It is not to be thought that the created things gave themselves a purpose. That is absurd. He has even created the wicked for a purpose, namely, a purpose of destruction and punishment (see more in chapter 3 on Reprobation). All things exist and were created to display His glory in one way or another. The people of God are said to be that sons and daughters of God who were created for His glory, and they are called by His holy Name (Isa. 43:6-7). In Colossians 1:16, we read:

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

The Son of God was not only the Agent of Creation, but He was the goal of Creation. Not only were all things that were created, created by Him and through Him, but also for Him. Do not miss this bit. The reason that the Creation exists is for the Son—for His pleasure and fo...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation - Commentary

...htly pray to God, unless we are surely persuaded in our hearts, that he is our Father, when we so call him with our lips. To this there is a corresponding part, — that our faith has no true evidence, except we call upon God. It is not then without reason that Paul, bringing us to this test, shows that it then only appears how truly any one believes, when they who have embraced the promise of grace, exercise themselves in prayers.[3]

This infallible assurance, rather than leading us to arrogance, leads us to humility; rather than leading us to sin, it leads us to Holiness. The saint of God who has this blessed assurance does not need to be taught in this because he knows that he has no reason to be arrogant because this blessed assurance is a gift from God granted to Him and is not based on anything in himself. The saint of God has the Spirit of God in himself, Who wages war against the flesh and therefore, cannot live in continual sin (Gal. 5:17ff; c.f. 1 John 3:9). He will rather be led to a life of Holiness because of the great display of grace from God toward him whereby he will seek to preach this amazing gospel to others so that they too may come to know God and have this unshakable peace, which is founded upon Christ the Victor.


§3 This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith

  1. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it; yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of means, attain thereunto: and therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.3 
    1. Acts 16:30-34; 1 John 5:13
    2. Rom. 8:15-16; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 4:4-6 with 3:2;1 John 4:13; Eph. 3:17-19; Heb. 6:11-12; 2 Peter 1:5-11
    3. 2 Peter 1:10; Ps. 119:32; Rom. 15:13; Neh. 8:10; 1 John 4:19, 16; Rom. 6:1-2, 11-13; 14:17; Titus 2:11-14

This infallible assurance does not come directly nor doth...so belong to the essence of faith. In other words, just because someone has faith does not mean they also have and know of this infallible assurance. They do have assurance if they have true faith, but they do not have a knowledge of it or they do not embrace it. These two are different. All believers will certainly remain in the state of grace. But not all believers know or live in light of this infallible assurance. Therefore, a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before he attains that assurance. We do not need extraordinary revelation to know of this assurance. But the Spirit enables us to come to know of this assurance through the right use of means (1 John 5:13 “these things”). God has given us His Word and Spirit whereby we may know of and embrace this assurance. The Bible calls us to make our calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:10), therefore, it is the duty of every one to seek to have this assurance of faith and salvation. This is so that his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God. It is such an amazing grace to know that we are save...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...e will by none of them be either denied to us, or taken ill from us. Our whole design is accomplished if we may have attained that justice as to be measured in our principles and practice, and the judgment of both by others, according to what we have now published, which the Lord (whose eyes are as a flame of fire) knoweth to be the doctrine which with our hearts we most firmly believe and sincerely endeavor to conform our lives to. And O that, other contentions being laid asleep, the only care and contention of all upon whom the name of our blessed Redeemer is called might for the future be to walk humbly with their God in the exercise of all love and meekness toward each other, to perfect Holiness in the fear of the Lord, each one endeavoring to have his conversation such as becometh the gospel; and also, suitable to his place and capacity, vigorously to promote in others the practice of true religion and undefiled in the sight of God our Father! And that in this backsliding day we might not spend our breath in fruitless complaints of the evils of others, but may every one begin at home, to reform in the first place our own hearts and ways, and then to quicken all that we may have influence upon to the some work, that if the will of God were so, none might deceive themselves by resting in and trusting to a form of godliness without the power of it, and inward experience of the efficacy of those truths that are professed by them. 

And verily there is one spring and cause of the decay of religion in our day which we cannot but touch upon and earnestly urge a redress of, and that is the neglect of the worship of God in families by those to whom the charge and conduct of them is committed. May not the gross ignorance and instability of many, with the profaneness of others, be justly charged upon their parents and masters, who have not trained them up in the way wherein they ought to walk when they were young, but have neglected those frequent and solemn commands which the Lord hath laid upon them, so to catechise and instruct them that their tender years might be seasoned with the knowledge of the truth of God as revealed in the Scriptures; and also by their own omission of prayer and other duties of religion of their families, together with the ill example of their loose conversation, having, inured them first to a neglect and the contempt of all piety and religion? We know this will not excuse the blindness and wickedness of any, but certainly it will fall heavy upon those that have been thus the occasion thereof; they indeed die in their sins, but will not their blood be required of those under whose care they were, who yet permitted them to go on without warning - yea, led them into the paths of destruction? And will not the diligence of Christians with respect to the discharge of these duties in ages past rise up in judgment against and condemn many of those who would be esteemed such now? 

We shall conclude with our earnest prayer that the God of all grace will pour out those measures of his Holy Spirit upon us, that the profession of truth may be accompanied with the sound belief and diligent practice of it by us, that his name may in all things be glorified through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

WE the MINISTERS and MESSENGERS of and concerned for upwards of one hundred baptized congregations in England and Wales (denying Arminianism), being met together in London, from the third of the seventh month to the eleventh of the ...