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The Staunch Calvinist

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


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

...nk 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 Decalogue had a unique redemptive-historical context and use, it is nothing other than the Natural Law incorporated into the Mosaic Covenant. This is one of its uses in the Bible but not all of its uses.

The Decalogue contains the summary and the essence of the Moral Law, but it does not contain all the moral laws. For example, there is no “thou shalt respect elders”, but we understand that this is comprehended under the fifth commandment to honor our parents, and derived from it.

Positive Law

Positive Law simply said is a moral law that has no basis in nature nor...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 4: Of Creation - Commentary

... Day 3 Dry land and vegetation (grass, herbs and seeds, trees and fruit) Day 4 Sun, moon, and stars; day and night Day 5 Fish in the waters and birds in the sky Day 6 Land animals, man as male and female in the Image Of God Day 7 The Sabbath day

It is also interesting to notice the framework used in the days. God creates the realms and then populates them. This is a valid and good observation to see the order in God’s creation work, but some people use this insight to suggest that the days are not consecutive or not normal days, which is unwarranted.

Day 1: God creates the light and space Day 4: God creates the sun, moon, and stars
Day 2: God separates the water from the sky Day 5: God creates fish and birds
Day 3: God separates the sea from the land Day 6: God creates land animals and man
Day 7: The Sabbath Day

Age Of The Earth

This is a more tricky and hotly debated subject than the days of Genesis. I’m a Young Earth Creationist, thus I do believe the Earth to be young and around 6 to 10 thousand years based on the genealogies of Genesis. They do not seem to contain any gaps, and even if they did, they would not mount up to millions of years. Millions of years will only come when you first make the days of Genesis to be long ages, not because of anything in the text, but because we’re forcing something upon the text. I’m also comfortable with this view based on giants who went before me in interpreting the text. It is not a hot issue for me. I accept it by faith based on what I can see in the Word of God. This Confession says that everything was made in the space of six days, it’s not a giant leap to assume that they meant regular days like the ones they had.

Martin Luther tried to refute the error that Augustine introduced in saying that God basically made everything in 1 day or a moment, saying:

When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go.[3]

It is interesting to see what Calvin says about the age of the earth in the 16th century. Speaking of objections to the preaching the doctrine of predestination, he gives other doctrines which are mocked by the ungodly:

A rebellious spirit will display itself no less insolently when it hears that there are three persons in the divine essence, than when it hears that God when he created man foresaw every thing that was to happen to him. Nor will they abstain from their jeers when told that little more than five thousand years have elapsed since the creation of the world. For they will ask, Why did the power of God slumber so long in idleness? In short, nothing can be stated that they will not assail with derision. To quell their blasphemies, must we say nothing concerning the divinity of the Son and Spirit? Must the creation of the world be passed over in silence...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary
The 1689 Second Baptist Confession Of Faith Confession Commentary Reformed Baptist Chapter 22 Christian Sabbath Sabbath The Lord's Day Fourth Commandment Day Of Worship Day Of Rest Sunday Religious Worship Church

...Creation per Genesis 2:1-3, Dr. Archibald Alexander calls “an unnatural and forced construction.”[43] It is clear, to the unbiased mind, that the Sabbath was instituted by God at the Creation per Genesis 2. Furthermore, this truth is even more strengthened when subsequent revelation looks back to the Sabbath in Creation. For whom would the Lord institute and bless the Sabbath but for man? It is for man’s benefit, not God’s. Although Genesis 2 contains no command, yet the divine example is sufficient for Adam to understand. After reflecting on the idea of man as the Image Of God and that doctrine entailing in it an obligation to follow God’s conduct, Dr. Waldron notes:

The point of all this for our present study is that divine example especially with reference to the seven day cycle of the creation week is relevant for and regulative of human conduct. Why else did God create in the context of seven day week? He seems to have so created precisely to give mankind an example to imitate for the regulation of their time.[46]

By resting on the seventh day, the Sabbath, God blessed and made holy, that is—sanctified, the Sabbath day from all the other days. To sanctify or make holy a thing means to set it apart from common use. Dr. Pipa helpfully observes what it means that the Sabbath was sanctified and blessed at the Creation:

God’s purpose in blessing the day is made clearer when we understand what is meant by His “sanctifying” the day, by declaring it to be holy. When God sanctified something, He removed it from its common use and set it apart for a special religious use connected with His worship and service. For example, He declared to be holy or sanctified the garments of the priest, the altar, the sanctuary, and all the furnishings and utensils in the tabernacle and, later, the temple. On account of this sanctification, these things were to be used only for the holy purposes of worship (e.g. Exod 30:37-38).[47]

The Sabbath Day is no ordinary day, but is a high and special day by God’s own sovereign appointment. There is some truth to the claim that “all days are holy,” but it is a half-truth. God has explicitly blessed the Sabbath day. Waldron remarks:

God’s blessing in these passages [Gen. 1:22, 28; 5:2; 9:1, where the idea of blessing also occurs in the early chapters of Genesis] undoubtedly expresses the Creator’s good will, favor, and delight in His creatures. There is, however, much more than this. God’s blessing is effectual. It powerfully makes that which is blessed a source of good. Thus God in blessing the seventh day made it a source of blessing--of good—not (obviously) for Himself--but for men.[48]

A few doubt that the Sabbath Day instituted at the Creation was, in fact, the seventh day of the week. But notice that the holiness of the seventh day is not in the day itself, but rather in the blessing of God. There is nothing special in any of the seven days. There is nothing special, until—God distinguishes one above the others, by blessing it and making it holy. The “holiness” of the day is not in the seventh day itself. Therefore, a change could be made without offering violence to the essence of the Sabbath. The word “Sabbath” does not mean “the seventh day of the week,” rather it means “rest”, “cessation” or something similar. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology writes on the word “Sabbath”:

The origin of the Hebrew sabbat [שַׁבָּת] is uncertain, but it seems to have derived from th...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary
The 1689 Second Baptist Confession Of Faith Confession Commentary Reformed Baptist Chapter 7 God's Covenant 1689 Federalism Westminster Federalism Presbyterian Covenant Theology Covenant Of Works Covenant Of Redemption Covenant Of Grace Nohaic Covenant Abrahamic Covenant Mosaic Covenant Old Covenant Davidic Covenant New Covenant

...ves. They have a purpose and meaning in their own contexts, and when their fulfillment arrives, they are removed.”[20]

The Law of Creation

It is important to mention something about that which is called the Law of Creation or the Moral Law here. What I mean by that is the Moral Law of God that is put in us by virtue of us being in His image (see chapter 4:2 on the Image Of God). This Law of Creation was given to Adam and Eve from their creation. The Lord put into their minds and hearts certain basic laws which all humans have. This basic Law was summarized in the Ten Commandments and given at Sinai. You don’t have to know the Ten Commandments to know, for example, that stealing, coveting, lying, murdering and dishonoring God are wrong. You know it intuitively. You know it by virtue of the fact that you are a creature of God, in covenant with Him either in Adam or in Christ. All that this means is that the Ten Commandments were not new commandments, but were a summary of the basic moral law which is on the mind and heart of every image-bearer of God. Of the fact that everyone has the basic moral law, we read in Romans 1-2. I would like to look at Romans 2:12-16:

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. 

We could go all ways into this passage, but let me focus on what I want to prove, namely, that every human has the basic moral law stamped upon them. This is clear from reading the passage. What we must realize is the two-fold way that Paul is using the word law. When in reference to Jews, he’s using it as the complete revelation of God’s Law given under Moses, the written law of God. But when speaking of the Gentiles, they do not have such a revelation of God, but they sure know Him and His Law (Rom. 1:18ff, 32). Gentiles do not have the written law, but they, by nature, do what the law requires. Why? Because the law contains the basic moral precepts for all humans and everyone knows right from wrong. Obviously, let us not suppose that this means that everyone does what is right because men are sinful and our consciences can be weakened. The work of the Law, or the summary of the Law, is written on their hearts and in their consciences. From there they also know the God they deny and that is the basis of their condemnation.

To not go more than necessary, I summarize, every image-bearer knows the Law of God and the Lawgiver and they are obligated to obey, their disobedience and rejection of the true God lead to their demise. The Ten Commandments sealed and made sure the Law that was given in the Garden to man. It did not leave “maybes” and “ifs.” It made certain what the Law of Creation was by summarizing it for us in stone. Because our nature is sinful, our conscience could at times approve of that which is wicked and condemn that which is good. But God left no “maybes” when He gave the Law on Sinai. For more...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity - Commentary
The Second Baptist Confession Of Faith Confession Commentary Chapter 2 God Trinity Attributes Of God Immutability Repentance Of God Love Of God Justice Of God Spirituality Of God Monotheism

...ability of God in both testaments, both explicit and by implication. Passages which seem to teach a change of mind in God must be interpreted either as 1) conditional warnings, and not actual prophecies of judgment; 2) anthropopathisms, that is, attribution of human passions and emotions to God; or 3) accommodation, that is, God stoops low to speak to us in a way that we can understand.

The Spirituality of God

“God is spirit” means that He is immaterial, invisible and immortal. He is not limited by space. He is not a man who has body parts, but He chose to enter into His creation as a man (Phil. 2:5-11). When we are told that we are created in the Image Of God, this does not mean that we look physically like God, but that we represent God. We, in some measure mirror God in what He does, and not that we look like Him. See more on the Image Of God here.

The spirituality of God is asserted in the following words, “a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto”. Although the simple spirituality of God is a communicable attribute, yet the full description of the Confession of God’s spirituality is peculiar only to God. It is true that both men and angels have or are spirits, but it is not true that men are without bodies, parts or passions. God is said to be a most pure spirit, which basically means that He is invisible. Scriptures agree with this. In John 4:24, the Lord Jesus told the Samaritan woman that “God is spirit” who should be worshiped “in spirit and truth.” To be spirit at most basic level is to be immaterial. God is not made up of stuff. He has no physical form (e.g., Deut. 4:12). The Lord Jesus teaches us elsewhere that “a spirit does not have flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39), i.e., a physical form. He is the “invisible God” who became visible in Jesus (Col. 1:15). He is “the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God” (1 Tim. 1:17). Even though the Bible often portrays God as having physical aspects, e.g., hands, eyes, feet, mouth, face, etc., we understand these things as merely baby-talk—God communicating to us in ways which we could understand, and not describing the reality of what He truly is. In the last verse, Paul says that God is immortal. In 1 Timothy 6:16, Paul says that God “alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.” Immortality is the quality of being unable to die. God has this by virtue of His nature, on the other hand, humans have immortality by virtue of God granting them that. See chapter 31 for a little bit more on this. God alone, by virtue of being God, has no possibility of either not existing or ceasing to exist. God, by virtue of His being and nature, must exist and He cannot not exist.

Divine Impassibility is defined by Samuel Renihan as “God does not experience emotional changes either from within or affected by His creation.” Webster defines it as “Incapable of pain, passion or suffering; that cannot be affected with pain or uneasiness. Whatever is destitute of sensation is impassible.”[22] This is a subject which I still have to read on, but the idea is basically that just like God uses physical and human things to describe Himself, so likewise He uses human emotions and feelings to describe Himself to us. In many ways, we humans, are controlled by our passions and feelings, but God is not like us. His “emotions” or “feelings” are no...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 3: Of God's Decree - Commentary
The 1689 Second Baptist Confession Of Faith Confession Commentary Reformed Baptist Chapter 3 God's Decree Predetermination Predestination Sovereignty Compatibilism Reprobation Unconditional Election Calvinism

...are they; as he is the firstborn with respect them, they are the firstborn with respect to angels; as he has an inheritance, so have they; moreover, he has a very great concern in their sonship; the predestination of them to it is by him; the blessing itself is founded on union to him, on their conjugal relation to him, and his assumption of their nature; it comes to them through his redemption, and is actually bestowed on them by him; and this conformity to Christ as sons, will mere fully appear hereafter, when they shall be like him, and see him as he is: or this may be understood of the saints’ conformity to Christ in his human nature, both here and hereafter: here in holiness; the Image Of God was in in his first creation, this is defaced by sin; and in regeneration, the image of Christ is stamped, his grace is wrought in them, his Spirit is put into them, to enable them to walk in him, and after him: this will be complete hereafter, and will consist in perfect holiness, being freed from the very being, as well as the power and guilt of sin; in perfect knowledge of everything that will tend to their happiness; and in glory like to Christ, both in soul and body:

that he might be the firstborn among many brethren; the persons among whom Christ is the firstborn are described by their relation, “brethren”; to one another, being related to the same Father, regenerated by the same grace, taken into the same family, and heirs of the same glory; and to Christ, which relation, as brethren to him, is not merely founded on his incarnation, but in their adoption; and which is evidenced by their regeneration, and doing the will of his Father; an which relation he owns, and is not ashamed of: they are also described by their number, “many”; for though they are but few, when compared with the world; yet they are many, a large number, considered by themselves; and among these, Christ is the “firstborn”; he is the firstborn of God, the begotten of the Father, he is the first begotten, and as such he is the only begotten; he is the firstborn of Mary, she had none before him, and he is the only one that ever was born in the manner he was; he is the first begotten from the dead, his resurrection is called a begetting, and he was the first in time that rose from the dead by his own power, and to an immortal life, and the first in causality and dignity. Christ is the firstborn with respect to all creatures in general; he was begotten of the Father before all creatures were; he is the first cause of them all, the governor, basis, and support of them: and he is the firstborn with respect to the saints; who are of the same nature with him, are made partakers of the divine nature, are sons in the same family, though not in the same class of sonship: moreover, this character may regard not so much birth as privilege which belongs to Christ as Mediator; who, as the firstborn had, has the blessing, the government, the priesthood, and the inheritance; all which is owing to, and is one end of divine predestination. The Cabalistic {m} writers among the Jews give the name of “firstborn” to the second Sephira, number, or person, “Wisdom”, which answers to the Son of God.[2]

He Also Called

Those whom He foreknew, He predestined and He also called. He didn’t just predestine them to eternal life and leave them. Rather, He called them to Himself through the Spirit and the proclamation of the gospel. Did you notice that every link in the chain calls our mind b...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary
The 1689 Second Baptist Confession Of Faith Confession Commentary Reformed Baptist Chapter 31 Resurrection Intermediate State The Last Day Second Coming Parousia General Judgment Final Judgment Amillennialism Premillennialism Dispensationalism Postmillennialism Revelation Recapitulation Revelation 20 The First Resurrection The Binding Of Satan

...tr Dishonorable body Glorious body Weak body Powerful body Natural body Spiritual body

By speaking of a spiritual body, Paul is not saying that the resurrection is non-physical, but rather that the body will be led and controlled by the Holy Spirit, and not by the corrupt and sinful nature. Whether he is speaking of natural or spiritual, Paul is speaking of a body. At the resurrection, we will bear the complete and perfect image of “the man of heaven” (1 Cor. 15:49), even our Lord Jesus Christ. The perfect Image Of God will be restored and renewed in the redeemed humanity. Thus far Paul spoke of believers who were dead and who will come back with Christ (1 Thess. 4:14-16), but now he moves on to speak about those living at the time of the coming of Christ.

In verse 50, Paul states that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”. By referring to “flesh and blood” and then to the “perishable” body, Paul is speaking about the fallen man’s body. Fallen man in his fallen body cannot enter God’s Kingdom. This is a problem for Premillennialism (both Historical and Dispensational), which teaches that there will be people in the Millennium who (1) have glorified bodies; (2) believers with non-glorified bodies; (3) unbelievers still in the flesh, still roaming the earth which has become God’s Kingdom and is full with the knowledge of the LORD. This is a problem that Premillennialists themselves recognize, and I believe that it is a very important critique of the Premillennial theory. Not to mention the fact that 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 knows of no such Millennium after the Parousia of Christ, but states after the coming of Christ is “the end”.

The mystery is that not all will taste death, i.e., “sleep”, yet “all will be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51). Notice how in the previous paragraph Paul clearly spoke about the resurrection of the dead, in fact, he begins his query by asking through the words of the skeptic, “How are the dead raised?” But now Paul says in v. 51 that not all will sleep, but all Christians will be changed. All Christians will have glorified bodies with the same imperishable, immortal and glorious qualities, yet the process to get there is different for some than others, depending on whether they’re physically dead or alive at the time of Christ’s return. Paul writes:

1 Cor. 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

1 Thess. 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

Notice the similarity between both passages, which clearly speak of the same event and describe the same reality. Paul says that this change will not take as much as a minute, but will be direct, “in the twinkling of an eye”. The timing of the resurrection and the transformation of Christians is said to be “at the last trumpet.” 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul calls it “the trumpet of God”, but the designation “the last trumpet” makes our case even stronger that the Rapture takes place at the end of history when Christ comes. In Revelation 8-11 we read of seven trumpets, it is said that “in the days of the trumpet ...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 13: Of Sanctification - Commentary
The 1689 Second Baptist Confession Of Faith Confession Commentary Reformed Baptist Chapter 13 Chapter Thirteen Sanctification Holiness

...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.


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

Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the Image Of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.[2]

Having this definition, we can say that sanctification is a work of renewal and enablement. This enablement is twofold: to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness. It is a work of life and death by God. But before we dive into sanctification and its effect, we must first note that “to sanctify” something is to “make it holy”.


Sanctification has to do with making or declaring holy. Holiness essentially has to do with “otherness” or setting apart. This idea is conveyed in the Old Testament by the use of words like:

While our initial idea may be that of making people holy or setting people apart, the usage of these words is very wide, ranging from people to things. If we consider the usage of the word “holy” then this would encompass these things above and even more. The basic idea conveyed from these passages is that a thing or a person is separated from a common purpose and given another purpose and it or they belong to another, e.g. God. William D. Mounce explains the concept of holiness and the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament:

Generally, qados [which is used 117 times] is translated as “holy,” “holy one,” or “saint.” It describes that which is by nature sacred or that which has been admitted to the sphere of the sacred by divine rite. It describes, therefore, that which is distinct or separate from the common or profane.[3]

All over the Bible, God is said to be holy. He Himself provides the standard which our holiness or the holiness of things are measured against. He is said to be “Holy, holy, holy” (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8). It is the only attribute of God that is raised to the third repetition. It is not an attribute among many others. Rather, it is the attribute that encompasses all others. His love is holy; His justice is holy; His grace is holy; His wrath is holy and so forth. Holiness to God means that is He is morally perfect, other and separated from sinners. J. I. Packer explains:

When Scripture calls God, or individual persons of the Godhead, “holy” (as it often does: Lev. 11:44-45; Josh. 24:19; Isa. 2:2; Ps. 99:9; Isa. 1:4; 6:3; 41:14, 16, 20; 57:15; Ezek. 39:7; Amos 4:2; John 17:11; Acts 5:3-4, 32; Rev. 15:4), the word signifies everything about...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 9: Of Free Will - Commentary
The 1689 Second Baptist Confession Of Faith Confession Commentary Reformed Baptist Chapter 9 Chapter Nine Free Will Libertarian Free Will Determinism Fatalism Compatibilism Incompatibilism Moral Agency Jonathan Edwards The Freedom Of The Will

...trong, promises or threatenings, rewards or punishments, counsels or warnings. The essential qualities of a moral Agent are in God, in the greatest possible perfection; such as understanding to perceive the difference between moral good and evil; a capacity of discerning that moral worthiness and demerit, by which some things are praiseworthy, others deserving of blame and punishment; and also a capacity of choice, and choice guided by understanding, and a power of acting according to his choice or pleasure, and being capable of doing those things which are in the highest sense praiseworthy. And herein does very much consist that Image Of God wherein he made man, (which we read of, Gen 1:26-27, and Gen 9:6) by which God distinguished man from the beasts, viz. in those faculties and principles of nature, whereby He is capable of moral Agency. Herein very much consists the natural Image Of God; whereas the spiritual and moral image, wherein man was made at first, consisted in that moral excellency with which he was endowed.[26]

God is not under the moral law as men are under the law, as He is the Supreme Being and the Lawgiver, which is a reflection of His nature. God is not able to do that which is contrary to His nature and we praise Him for that. The Psalmist sings,  “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes” (Ps. 119:68). God’s good actions spring from the fact that He is good (Matt. 19:17).

Glossary of Edwards

Moral Agency

The Will

Freedom and Liberty

The Motive

The Determination of the Will


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation - Commentary
The 1689 Second Baptist Confession Of Faith Confession Commentary Reformed Baptist Assurance Of Grace And Salvation Assurance Of Salvation Eternal Security Perseverance Of The Saints Assurance Of Heaven

...our capacities will allow.”[3] John Gill comments on this:

that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature; not essentially, or of the essence of God, so as to be deified, this is impossible, for the nature, perfections, and glory of God, are incommunicable to creatures; nor, hypostatically and personally, so as the human nature of Christ, in union with the Son of God, is a partaker of the divine nature in him; but by way of resemblance and likeness, the new man or principle of grace, being formed in the heart in regeneration, after the Image Of God, and bearing a likeness to the image of his Son, and this is styled, Christ formed in the heart, into which image and likeness the saints are more and more changed, from glory to glory, through the application of the Gospel, and the promises of it, by which they have such sights of Christ as do transform them, and assimilate them to him; and which resemblance will be perfected hereafter, when they shall be entirely like him, and see him as he is:[4]

Matthew Poole notes on this passage:

That by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature: we are said to be partakers of the Divine nature, not by any communication of the Divine essence to us, but by God’s impressing upon us, and infusing into us, those divine qualities and dispositions (knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness) which do express and resemble the perfections of God, and are called his image, Eph 4:24; Col 3:10. And we are said to be made partakers of this Divine nature by the promises of the gospel, because they are the effectual means of our regeneration, (in which that Divine nature is communicated to us), by reason of that quickening Spirit which accompanieth them, 2Co 3:6, works by them, and forms in us the image of that wisdom, righteousness, and holiness of God, which appear in them; or of that glory of the Lord, which when by faith we behold in the glass of gospel promises, we are changed into the same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, 2Co 3:18. Or,

the Divine nature may be understood of the glory and immortality of the other life, wherein we shall be conformed to God, and whereof by the promises we are made partakers.[5]

The purpose of God in this is that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12:10), become like He is in holiness and righteousness without sin. We escape from the corruption of the world and instead become partakers of the divine nature. This is the purpose of God in giving us “his precious and very great promises”. We escape the “sinful nature” to partake and be like God in holiness and un-sinfulness.

3. This is the reason and the goal to look forward to, namely, that we may escape the corruption of the world and partake of the divine nature, that we should seek to grow. The apostle calls us to do everything in our power to grow in the faith and he lists some qualities and virtues which he says testify to us (if they’re found in us) that we are called and elect. The apostle names these things individually and links them together because these things are supplemental and belong to our faith. These things grow out of our faith, if indeed it is true and living faith. We should not see these virtues and qualities as things which are disconnected from each other, but rather virtues growing out of each other. The apostle mentions the following: