The Staunch Calvinist

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


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

...s unable to die, is sinless, is not subject to suffering and is infinitely worthy, yet there is no such inability within human nature against death, suffering or sinlessness. But for God to accomplish redemption, He became a man Who could substitute for His brothers (Heb. 2:14), He could die, yet at the same time, He is infinitely worthy to satisfy God’s wrath. Because no mere human is worthy or able to withstand God’s wrath. In the words of the lyrical theologian shai linne: 

See, only a human can substitute for human lives. But only God can take the wrath of God and survive. (Hypostatic Union)

When He became man, He did not lay aside His divine properties, rather He added and united the divine nature to His (new) human nature. He did not mingle the two natures and thereby was not truly God and neither truly man, but a mixture of the two. No. He took human nature and added it to His Person (which was eternally divine). The Lord Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, has two natures, the divine and the human in His singular Person. This is not an easy subject and therefore, obviously, there have been wrong teachings on it. Therefore, I would like, with the help of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (pp. 554-556), to take a look at three wrong ways to understand the humanity and divinity of our Lord.

First up is Apollinarianism, which teaches that the Lord Jesus had a human body, but a divine mind and spirit. Therefore, He is not truly man and truly God. He is a mixture. But the Scriptures teaches that He was human in every way except sin (Heb. 2:14, 17; 4:15). If in every way, therefore He had a human mind and spirit. The second is Nestorianism. Nestorianism teaches that Jesus has two persons in one body. A divine person and a human person, not merely two natures, but two persons in a single body. But the Bible always speaks of Christ as one person and not two persons in one body. The third is Monophysitism or Eutychianism. Monophysitism means “one nature.” Jesus had a mixture of a divine and human nature. Jesus’ nature was neither fully divine nor fully human, but rather a third kind of nature—a mixture of elements from the divine and human nature.

Now that we have looked at some wrong ways to understand the Lord Christ’s person, that can help us to understand what it is not. Since there are no divine-human persons walking around with us, the Lord Jesus is the only God-Man, therefore in many ways, we must talk in the negative. See how the creed and the Confession speak of what the nature of Christ is not. Both say what it is not, the 1689 says that it is not a “conversion, composition, or confusion” of the divine and human nature. Contrary to the Apollinarian error, the creed teaches that Christ did indeed have a rational soul and body, that is a human soul and body. He was consubstantial with us, that is He shared in our nature. He had the same nature as ours, yet spotless and free from sin. Therefore, He was truly human. Contrary to the Nestorian error, the creed teaches that the human and divine nature were united in one Person. Both the divine and human nature with their distinctions and properties concur with the one Person of the Lord Christ. Contrary to the Monophysite error, the creed teaches that Christ has to be acknowledged in two natures. Each nature retains its properties and there is not a mix of both natures in the person of Christ.

The person of Christ is both divine and human at the same time. That was not alw...

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

...eptive Will? Deuteronomy 29:29 teaches:

Deut. 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Here we see that Moses tells the children of Israel that there are things, which God in His freedom has not revealed unto them. He has not revealed unto us the day of our death; He has not revealed the future aside from what He has said in the Bible; He has not revealed completely how the Trinity actually works or the Hypostatic Union; He has not revealed the Day of Christ’s Second Coming and many other things which we may want to know. But not all the doings of the Lord are secret. There are things which He has been pleased to reveal to man. His existence and Law are an example of this and to this are men held accountable. We are not judged according to God’s decretive will, but His preceptive will. We are judged according to His Law. John Gill observes about the first part of Deuteronomy 29:29:

The secret [things belong] unto the Lord our God,.... Respecting the people of Israel, and the providential dealings of God with them, and especially the final rejection of them; with respect to which, the apostle’s exclamation agrees with this, Ro 11:33; and though the Lord had revealed many things which should befall them, there were others still secret with him, and the reasons of others; and particularly the times and seasons of their accomplishment, which he retains in his own power, Ac 1:6. There are many secret things in nature, which cannot be found out and accounted for by men, which the Lord only knows; and there are many things in Providence, which are unsearchable, and past finding out by finite minds, especially the true causes and reasons of them; and there are many things relating to God himself, which remain secret with him; notwithstanding the revelation he has made of himself; for not only some of his perfections, as eternity, immensity, c. are beyond our comprehension but the mode of subsistence of the three divine Persons in the Godhead, the paternity of the one, the generation of the other, and the procession of the Spirit from them both; the union of the two natures, divine and human, in the person of Christ; the thoughts, purposes, and decrees of God within himself, until brought into execution; and so there are many things relating to his creatures, as the particular persons predestinated unto eternal life, what becomes of such who die in infancy, what will befall us in life, when we shall die, where and in what manner, and also the day and hour of the last judgment.[2]

Moving forward from Deuteronomy 29:29, we see examples of the Lord decreeing that which He forbids in His Law. Take for example the incident in 1 Samuel 2. The sons of Eli the priest were worthless men (1 Sam. 2:12), the Scriptures tell us. They disgraced their father by their wickedness and messed with the prescribed way of worship and sacrifice that God has determined and given Israel through Moses (1 Sam. 2:17, 22). The Lord wanted them dead. How did He accomplish His purpose?

1 Sam. 2:22-25 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear th...