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

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

...we will take a brief look at the attributes of God. Systematic theologies spend several chapters discussing the attributes of God, but here we will merely give a very brief survey of the biblical data for the attributes of God.

The Incommunicable Attributes of God

Theologians commonly distinguish between the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God. The communicable attributes of God are those attributes which man and God have in common. For example, both man and God are able to be just, love, show mercy, have knowledge. On the other hand, the incommunicable attributes of God are those perfections which are not shared with others, like His triune nature, eternity, Immutability, absolute sovereignty, omnipresence, omnipotence. God's attributes are God's perfections and excellencies. They are the things which shine forth His glory and majesty.

The Singularity Of God[2]

The Bible is clear on the fact that there is but one God. The Scriptures are manifold proving this in both Testaments. The doctrine of the Trinity is monotheistic and Christianity is at the core monotheistic. In Mark 12:29, the Lord Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:4 saying that the most important commandment “is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’" The Lord Christ Himself affirmed the doctrine of monotheism, which teaches that there is but one Being of God. Isaiah 43:10 is definite in its affirmation of monotheism:

“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.

Before Yahweh, there was no other god and after Him, there shall be no other god. He is the only God that exists and He is but one God. We will also come back to this point in paragraph 3 when we will discuss the doctrine of the Trinity, which teaches that although there is but one Being of God, yet this Being exists in three Persons.

The Lord our God is described as a living God, that implies that He is active and interacts with the world. He is not a god who set up the world and left it on its own. Rather, He is the living God Whose providence guides every step. The expression “living God” is used 28 times in the Scriptures, which implies the activity of God in this world, and it is also an expression against the dead idols of the heathen. In Leviticus 26:30, the Lord warns Israel if they go astray to serve idols saying: “And I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars and cast your dead bodies upon the dead bodies of your idols, and my soul will abhor you.” Their bodies will be cast upon the dead bodies of their idols. They will be just like their idols with whom they provoked Him to anger—dead.

He is not only the singular and living God, but He is also the true God. He is the only God that exists and He is likewise truthful. He is the “God of truth” (Isa. 65:16). The expression “true God” is used 5 times in the Bible (2Chron. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; John 17:3; 1Thess. 1:9; 1John 5:20), and it is often connected with God being a living God. Jeremiah 10:10 declares, “But the LORD is the true God; he is 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...


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

...fore they will receive a severe beating. As the dog returns to its vomit, so likewise these people are returning to “the defilements of the world” and are being overcome by sin. This passage doesn't prove that they once were truly believing, for if they were truly believing they would have remained (1John 2:19).


§2 This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will

  1. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the Immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him, 3 the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, 5 and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof. 6
    1. Phil. 2:12-13; Rom. 9:16; John 6:37,44
    2. Matt. 24:22, 24, 31; Rom. 8:30; 9:11, 16; 11:2, 29; Eph 1:5-11
    3. Eph. 1:4; Rom. 5:9-10; 8:31-34; 2 Cor. 5:14; Rom. 8:35-38; 1 Cor. 1:8-9; John 14:19; 10:28-29
    4. Heb. 6:16-20
    5. 1 John 2:19-20, 27; 3:9; 5:4, 18; 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14
    6. Jer. 31:33-34; 32:40; Heb. 10:11-18; 13:20-21

Our perseverance and remaining in the state of grace and in Christ does not depend upon our free will. It does not come from our own power and strength. If it be dependent upon our free will then we would all fall from grace. Rather, it depends upon a few things from the side of God.

1) Our perseverance depends upon the Immutability of the decree of election. We “are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ” (chapter 3:3). This decree of election cannot be altered and if one of the elect would not obtain eternal life in eternity this would mean that it failed and it was, in fact, immutable. This Immutability flows from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father for the elect, Whom He “in love” predestined (Eph. 1:4-5). This amazing love was set on the elect before the creation of the world and will never cease or change. 2) Our perseverance depends upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with Him (Rom. 8:34-38). He obtained for us everything necessary to be saved and remain in the state of grace. Furthermore, He keeps interceding for us before the Father for forgiveness, grace, strength, and everything necessary for our final salvation and perseverance. 3) Our perseverance depends upon the oath of God (Heb. 6:16-20 ). God has promised to save us and will not fail. He will not go back from His word and therefore, this is a sure foundation of faith and perseverance for us. 4) Our perseverance depends upon the abiding of His Spirit, and the seed of God in us (1John 2:19-20; 3:9; Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The seed of God probably refers to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the One Who grants us grace, strength, faith and the ability to do that which is pleasing to God. He is the guarantee of our final salvation (Eph. 4:30). The fact that we have the Spirit means that we forever belong to God. He has come to make His abode in us and will never leave His abode. 5) Our perseverance depends upon the nature of the covenant of grace (Jer. 33:31-34; 32:40), which is fully gracious, granting that which it requires. 

The certainty and infallibility of the final salvation of the elect and their perseverance do not depend on things in them, but external to ...


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

...(Rom. 11:29). He will lose or add no one (John 6:37-40; 10:28-29). It is not fitting to think that the number of the elect may be changed because that would mean that God changed His mind upon a matter that He has decided from all eternity. I mean, what new information must come to the mind of God, which He did not already know, which would cause God to change His mind? God knows all things, contingent and actual. That which He has chosen from all eternity to occur is what He has chosen in full knowledge and wisdom, without any ounce of ignorance. See our discussion of God's Immutability and knowledge in chapter 2. God cannot learn any new thing because He already knows all things. Nothing new can be brought up to the table which would cause God to change His mind. Therefore, the idea that the "list of the elect" can change implies that God changes His mind, which is impossible, and that God is not all-wise, which is false.


§5 Unconditional Election

  1. Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, 1 without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto. 2    
    1. Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:4-6, 9, 11; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Thess. 5:9
    2. Rom. 9:11-16; 11:5-6; Eph 2:5

The predestination to life took place before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; 2Tim. 1:9) and it was according to God's eternal and immutable purpose. Yes, this predestination was out of His mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creation as a condition or cause (Rom. 9:11), but this does not mean that God did not have a purpose in electing those people. It just means that this purpose or cause was not in them. One particular purpose is “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6). This predestination was according to the secret counsel of His will, meaning, that God has not revealed to us who the elect are. Yet His word calls us to “be all the more diligent to confirm [our] calling and election” (2Pet. 1:10) and we may know that we are elect through faith in Christ and the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives. His purpose and counsel is also said to be the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5 KJV). It is not an evil or sinful purpose, but a good purpose.


What Is It?

The doctrine of election and predestination. It is useful, necessary, and most sweet. Ignorance of it impairs the glory of God, plucks up humility by the roots, begets and fosters pride. The doctrine establishes the certainty of salvation, peace of conscience, and the true origin of the church.[18]

The doctrine of eternal election is a most sweet and glorious doctrine from the Word of God. It is a doctrine much disagreed upon by Christians, yet I believe that the cause of disagreement is not based upon what the Scripture says, but rather because the idea is hateful to the human depraved mind. The doctrine is basically that God is free to select those, whom He has pleased out His mere pleasure, to save from His just wrath. Wayne Grudem defines election as:

Election is an act of God before creation in which he chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of his sovereign good pleasure.[19]

I still find it weird that I first came to believe in the doctrine of ele...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity. 
  1. John 10:28-29; Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 2:19; 2 Peter 1:5-10; 1 John 2:19
  2. Ps. 89:31-32; 1 Cor. 11:32; 2 Tim. 4:7
  3. Ps. 102:27; Mal. 3:6; Eph. 1:14; 1 Peter 1:5; Rev. 13:8
  1. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the Immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
    1. Phil. 2:12-13; Rom. 9:16; John 6:37,44
    2. Matt. 24:22, 24, 31; Rom. 8:30; 9:11, 16; 11:2, 29; Eph 1:5-11
    3. Eph. 1:4; Rom. 5:9-10; 8:31-34; 2 Cor. 5:14; Rom. 8:35-38; 1 Cor. 1:8-9; John 14:19; 10:28-29
    4. Heb. 6:16-20
    5. 1 John 2:19-20, 27; 3:9; 5:4, 18; 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14
    6. Jer. 31:33-34; 32:40; Heb. 10:11-18; 13:20-21
  1. And though they may, through the temptation of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein, whereby they incur God's displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit, come to have their graces and comforts impaired, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded, hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves, yet shall they renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.
    1. Matt. 26:70, 72, 74
    2. Ps. 38:1-8; Isa 54:5-9; Eph 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:14
    3. Ps. 51:10-12
    4. Ps. 32:3-4; 73:21-22
    5. 2 Sam. 12:14; 1 Cor. 8:9-13; Rom. 14:13-18; 1 Tim. 6:1-2; Titus 2:5
    6. 2 Sam. 12:14f; Gen. 19:30-38; 1 Cor. 11:27-32
    7. Luke 22:32, 61-62; 1 Cor. 11:32; 1 John 3:9; 5:18

Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation [Return] [Commentary]

  1. Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.
    1. Job 8:13, 14; Jer. 17:9; Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 18:10-14; John 8:41; Eph. 5:6-7; Gal. 6:3, 7-9
    2. Rom. 5:2, 5; 8:16; 1 John 2:3; 3:14, 18-19, 24; 5:13; 2 Peter 1:10
  1. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel; and also upon the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; and, as a fruit thereof, keeping the heart both humble and holy.
    1. Rom. 5:2, 5; Heb. 6:11, 19-20; 1 John 3:2, 14; 4:16; 5:13, 19-20
    2. Heb. 6:17-18; 7:22; 10:14, 19
    3. Matt. 3:7-10; Mark 1:15; 2 Peter 1:4-11; 1 John 2:3; 3:14, 18-19, 24; 5:...