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"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

... God (1Tim. 2:5). Christ is sinless (Heb. 4:15; 7:26), man is sinful and God is holy, but now Christ can stand between God and man because Christ is fully divine and fully human. In His one person, He shares both the nature of man and of God, and He is, therefore, capable to be the go-between of God and man. 1 Timothy 2:5 lays the stress on the humanity of Christ when it tells us that He is the only mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5). Do you, O believer, feel helpless and lost and therefore cannot approach God or meet His perfection? Do not despair! for Christ is the surety and guarantor that this better covenant and its promises are applicable to you!

His mediation and Intercession make the New Covenant superior and better than the Old Covenant. The priests under the Old Covenant were many because they died and had to be replaced. On the other hand, the mediator of the New Covenant has an indestructible life (Heb. 7:16) and continues forever. Death has no power over Him and thus He is able to finish His work and make perfect atonement and Intercession for His people. After arguing thus, the Author of Hebrews tells us –

Heb. 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make Intercession for them.

To make Intercession is to entreat the favor of God upon us, not based upon our works, but based upon His finished work (Heb. 7:27) on behalf of His people for whom He purchased all the blessings of God. The Lord Christ does not offer Himself repeatedly, rather in His Intercession He points to His finished work as the basis of His appeal for us (Heb. 9:24-26). He is able to save, He is mighty to save—all who have boldness in and through Him to come to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). The reason for that is that Jesus intercedes and prays for God's elect that their faith may not fail (Rom. 8:34; Luke 22:32). Their drawing near to Christ is through the work of God in them and does not originate in themselves (John 6:44). The Lord Jesus "constantly presents the merits of his death as a reason why we should be saved."[2] Matthew Poole comments on this place are also helpful:

Seeing he ever liveth to make Intercession for them; since he always exists and lives a High Priest for the good of those who wait on him, having life in himself, and quickening them; compare Rom 8:6; and, as their Advocate, 1Jo 2:1,2, answereth all charges against them, suing for those penitent believers, and pleading for all promised them by the Father in him. He sitting at God’s right hand must ever be in his presence: and appears as the general Representative of his, and useth all his interest with the supreme Lawgiver, Judge, and Governor, for them, {see Heb 9:24} as it was foretold he should, Isa 53:12, even for them who cannot plead their own cause through guiltiness or weakness; he will manage it for all of them who believe in him, and apply themselves to God by him, atoning him for their sins by his sacrifice, performing their duties and person by the incense of his merits, and presenting them to God, answering in heaven his type on earth, Exo 30:1-10; compare Rev 8:3,4; Ro 8:31-36.[4]

Ministry in Heaven

Heb. 8:1-2 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 

The Lord'...


John Owen's Case For Particular Atonement

...
  • God the Son (book I, chap. 4):
    1. The “agent in this great work”:
      • Heb. 5:6-7; Matt. 3:17; John 4:34; 6:38; 17:4; Luke 2:49.
    2. The Incarnation:
      • John 1:14; Gal. 4:4; 1Tim. 3:16 KJV; Heb. 2:13-14.
    3. His Sacrifice:
      • Heb. 9:14; Rev. 1:5; Eph. 5:25-26; Dan. 9:26 KJV [“but not for himself”]; John 17:19; Rom. 5:6; John 1:29; Isa. 53:7; John 10:17-18; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:2; 1Pet. 2:24; Heb. 1:3; Matt. 26:28.
    4. His Intercession:
      • Ps. 2:8; John 14:2-3; Heb. 9:11-12, 24; 1John 2:1-2; John 17:9; 11:42; Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:33-34; John 17:24; Heb. 10:14.
  • God the Holy Spirit (book I, chap. 5):
    1. The Incarnation of the Son:
      • Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35.
    2. The Sacrifice of the Son:
      • Heb. 9:14; Rom. 1:4; 1Pet. 3:18.
    3. The Resurrection of the Son:
      • Rom. 8:11.
  • Some of the proof-texts provided may be strange and that’s why they have to be read as Dr. Owen explains them and thereby we will be able to see the reasonableness of using these references. I have tried to provide most if not all the references he provides.

    We see that in this inquiry, Dr. Owen tries to establish the purpose and work of the Trinity in the plan of redemption. Thereby we can establish what the purpose of God is. Each Person of the Trinity has a unique role in the work of redemption, to the glory of the Triune God.

    Sacrifice and Intercession

    In chapters 7-9 of the first book, Dr. Owen deals with a most important and neglected point about this discussion, namely, the relation of the Intercession of Christ to His sacrifice. For whom does Christ intercede? We Calvinists argue that He only intercedes for the elect and that His Intercession is perfect and accomplishes that which is its purpose. The problem for the non-Calvinist position of the atonement is that His Intercession is explicitly connected to His sacrifice. In other words, those for whom Christ died are the same group for whom He intercedes. This is problematic as it obvious that not everyone is or will be enjoying the benefits of redemption. There are those who will eternally be damned and not taste of redemption. Moreover, there are those who have never heard of Christ’s sacrifice (supposedly) on their behalf. In their case, therefore, the sacrifice of Christ is meaningless and cannot be applied to them apart from faith.

    When Owen speaks of Christ’s offering, or as he calls it by a not-so-common word—oblation—he has in mind both the passive and active obedience of Christ. He writes:

    By his oblation we do not design only the particular offering of himself upon the cross an offering to his Father…but also his whole humiliation, or state of emptying himself, whether by yielding voluntary obedience unto the law, as being made under it, that he might be the end thereof to them that believe, Rom. 10:4, or by his subjection to the curse of the law, in the antecedent misery and suffering of life, as well as by submitting to death, the death of the cross: for no action of his as mediator is to be excluded from a concurrence to make up the whole means in this work.[2] (book I, chap. 6)

    His Intercession is not only His appearance before the Father on our behalf for the applying of the benefits of redemption, but also His exaltation and resurrection.

    Neither by his Intercession do I understand only that heavenly appearance of his in the most holy place for the applying u...


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

    ... by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). They have not earned, but it has pleased God to show His kindness to those who do not deserve it and those whom He has chosen from all eternity without any regard to anything in them. The verdict of God is irreversible. It is impossible to revoke by man and neither will God go back on His word.

    5. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). It is not possible for those who are in Christ, to be condemned. It is impossible for the elect to be condemned because of four reasons, (i) Christ's death, (ii) Christ's resurrection, (iii) Christ's exaltation and (iv) Christ's Intercession

    (i) Through Christ's death, the debt of our sin was paid and we have been set free from the judgment of God and provides propitiation–satisfaction for our sins and appeases the wrath of God (e.g. Rom. 3:25-26). The debt that stood against us, all our sin were put on Christ and He bore the punishment in our place (1Pet. 2:24). Furthermore, the debt was canceled on the cross:

    Col. 2:13-14 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 

    (ii) Not only Christ's death, but Christ's resurrection assures that believers will also share in a resurrection like His (Rom. 6:5; Phil. 3:21). But not only that, Paul claims in Romans 4:25 that the Lord was “raised for our justification” (see here on the meaning of this passage).

    (iii) He is seated at the right hand of Power, signifying that He has all power and authority and is able to conquer all His and our foes. How much more our unbelief? It is He who has power and authority, therefore, we are should not fear, and be assured that all things work together for good, indeed. He is seated at the right hand of God. His work is finished. In the meantime, all His enemies are becoming a footstool for Him (Ps. 110:1-2).

    (iv) Lastly, the fact that Christ is seated at the right hand of God to intercede for us assures that we will not be condemned. The Lord Jesus appeals before God on our behalf. Hebrews 7:25 teaches us that through His Intercession the Lord Jesus is able to save completely everyone who draws close to God through Him. By His Intercession the Lord Jesus prays for us that our faith may not fail, like He did for Peter whose faith did not completely fail (Luke 22:32). Christ is said to be our Advocate before the Father whenever we sin, knowing that a propitiation was provided for our sins in Christ (1John 2:1-2).

    6. Whatever may come, we are victorious in Christ. Let the whole world be against the elect of God. It does not matter. God is with us and we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. Not because we fight, but because we are loved by Him who possess all power and authority. Whatever this world has to bring, let it bring, it will not be able to separate the elect from God. Paul is sure that nothing is able to separate us and he names all kinds of things. Whatever it may be, Paul is certain based on God's love and sovereignty that it will not succeed in separating the elect from God's love, which is in Jesus Christ.

    7. To conclude, the passage as a whole provides an unshakable foundation for assurance concerning the perseverance of God's elect. From eternity past to...


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

    ...onfirmed by His promise to Judah. In Genesis 49:8-11, it is to Judah that the scepter is promised, and not to Benjamin whose descendant Saul was. Therefore, Saul had to be rejected so that the promise to Judah could be fulfilled in David (and ultimately in the Greater David). God knew and had promised that the kingdom would belong to Judah, therefore, this makes it all the more necessary for Saul to be rejected and a descendant of Judah to sit upon the throne. Had Saul been obedient then the kingdom would have been established in his name, but he was not because his line was not promised to have the scepter.

    Exodus 32:14

    The last passage which I want to look at is the Intercession of Moses and the “repentance” of God in Exodus 32. Moses has gone up to Mt. Sinai to receive the Decalogue from the hand of God. He has been there forty days and forty nights and then God tells him, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves” (Ex. 32:7). Notice how God distances Himself from the idolatrous Israelites. He does not say “My people whom, whom I brought up…,” but rather He associates the people with Moses because of their sin. Then we read of God’s determination to destroy Israel in these words:

    Exod 32:9-10 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.

    God wants to destroy the idolatrous Israelites and start a new nation with Moses and his line. God is angry and He has had it with this idolatrous and disobedient people, therefore, He decides to blot of out this people and start over again. God requests to be left alone (v. 10), but then comes Moses’ Intercession before the Lord for Israel. Moses, on the other hand, reminds the Lord that contra to the Lord’s declaration in v. 7, it is “your people, whom you have brought out of Egypt” (v. 11), not Moses’. He also reminds the Lord about His reputation among the heathen. What will the Egyptians say when they hear about the Lord wiping Israel out? Did He bring them out to destroy them in the desert (v. 12)? Therefore, Moses implores and begs the Lord, saying, “Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people” (v. 12). Finally, Moses reminds the Lord of one final thing: the promises to the Patriarchs with special emphasis upon the fact that God swore by Himself to establish the promises concerning innumerable offspring and the Promised Land (v. 13). Three things does Moses remind the Lord of: 1) Israel is His people; 2) God’s reputation, and 3) the promises to the Fathers. It is without question that the use of “remember” in v. 13 is meant to be figurative, as in applying things common to man to God so that we would be able to understand Him. In other words: God did not forget about these things.

    Now to make a few observations about this incident. Based on the actions of the Israelites, which were sinful and rebellious, God wanted to wipe out Israel and start all over again with Moses. Had Moses not interceded, the Lord would have wiped out Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them…” (v. 10). Had Moses left God alone, i.e., not interceded, the Lord would have consumed Israel. But Moses did intercede and therefore, God relented from the disaster which He had...


    1 John 2:2, 'for the sins of the whole world'

    ...s on 1Jo 4:10]. John Gill, Exposition of the Bible

    What Matthew Henry said about 1 John 2:1-2 -- [5]

    By the plea he has to make, the ground and basis of his advocacy: And he is the propitiation for our sins, v. 2. He is the expiatory victim, the propitiatory sacrifice that has been offered to the Judge for all our offences against his majesty, and law, and government. In vain do the professors of Rome distinguish between and advocate of redemption and an advocate of Intercession, or a mediator of such different service. The Mediator of Intercession, the Advocate for us, is the Mediator of redemption, the propitiation for our sins. It is his propitiation that he pleads. And we might be apt to suppose that his blood had lost its value and efficacy if no mention had been made of it in heaven since the time it was shed. But now we see it is of esteem there, since it is continually represented in the Intercession of the great advocate (the attorney-general) for the church of God. He ever lives to make Intercession for those that come to God through him. 4. By the extent of his plea, the latitude of his propitiation. It is not confined to one nation; and not particularly to the ancient Israel of God: He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only (not only for the sins of us Jews, us that are Abraham's seed according to the flesh), but also for those of the whole world (v. 2); not only for the past, or us present believers, but for the sins of all who shall hereafter believe on him or come to God through him. The extent and intent of the Mediator's death reach to all tribes, nations, and countries. As he is the only, so he is the universal atonement and propitiation for all that are saved and brought home to God, and to his favour and forgiveness.

    We Have An Advocate With The Father

    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father,  Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1 (ESV)

    Often critics seem to ignore or miss the significance of 1 John 2:1. Who's advocate is the Lord Jesus? For whom is He interceding? Are we seriously gonna say that He intercedes for those who are in Hell? How about those whom He knows they're never going to repent and receive Him? Are we really going to say that Christ fails in His Intercession? I dare not say such thing to the mighty finished work of the Lord Jesus, when He said "it is finished!" He meant it.

    For whom does Christ intercede?

    Rom 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

    Heb 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make Intercession for them.

    Heb 9:24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.

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

    From these verses and the context of these it seems clear that Christ intercedes for His sheep just like He did in John 17. He expressively said that He was not praying for the world, but those whom the Father has given Him (John 17:9). The Lord was praying for those on whose behalve His work was done. For those whom He will lay His life for. If ...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

    ...covenants and not merely in the outward things, but in their essence.

    3. The reason why the New Covenant is better is because of Christ Who is its Mediator. Therefore, we need to know a few things about what Christ, as a Mediator, does in this covenant. Christ is the High Priest of God’s people who offered Himself as the sacrifice that atones for their sins. After His work of sacrifice, He entered into Heaven to intercede for His people. As Reformed people, we know that there is a perfect connection between those for whom Christ died (the elect) and those for whom He mediates (the elect). They are the same group. The work of mediation and Intercession is the continuation of His sacrifice and is for the same people for whom His sacrifice was offered. He is the Mediator and thus, all who are called of God receive the promised eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15). He stands between God and man (1Tim. 2:5) and mediates for His people. The Lord Jesus cannot fail in His mediation and the Father never rejects Him (e.g. John 11:42). Therefore, since He is a Mediator, He must be a Mediator of a particular covenant. Mediators are always mediators based on an agreement or a covenant. The covenant which He mediates is the One established in His blood, the New Covenant. The people on whose behalf He gave His life were His covenant people, those given to Him from all eternity by the Father. He is said to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Heb. 2:17). All His covenant people, for whom He mediates, have their sins propitiated—a satisfaction has been made on their behalf for their sins. The book of Hebrews is thoroughly covenantal. The Lord Jesus is “a forerunner on our behalf” (Heb. 6:19), His people, appearing before God for us. A new hope and a new way has been opened for the people to draw near to God, by the abolishment of the Old Covenant system and replacing it with the New Covenant ministry (Heb. 7:18-19). It is a better hope, because “Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises” (Heb. 8:6). The Lord Jesus is said to be the surety of a better covenant (Heb 7:22 KJV). He is the guarantor and guarantee that the New Covenant is better than the Old. Jesus is the guarantee that the New Covenant is better. The New Covenant is better because of Jesus being its Mediator and High Priest. Because He is everlasting and has an indestructible life, His priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek is permanent and He makes Intercession for His people (Heb. 7:23-25). Since He is the surety of the New Covenant, the High Priest who lives permanently, consequently, He is able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him. The reason? Since He “ever liveth to make Intercession for them.” The people for whom He made His sacrifice and for Whom He intercedes and mediates are one and the same, and they are all saved because of His sacrifice and Intercession which follows His sacrifice. The basis of His mediation and Intercession is His sacrifice. We, as Reformed people (I’m speaking both to Presbyterians and Baptists), believe that Christ only died and intended to save the elect, therefore, they only will be saved. But what I’m trying to show from Hebrews is that 1) Christ made a sacrifice for His covenant people, 2) Christ intercedes and mediates on the basis of His sacrifice for Hi

    ......

    Limited Atonement, Definite Redemption - Scripture List & Case

    ...yment for sins, which satisfied both the wrath and the righteousness of God, so that He could forgive sinners without compromising His own holy standard.[3]

    Isa 53:6 ​All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    Isa 53:12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes Intercession for the transgressors.

    Rom 3:21-25 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

     2Cor 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    Gal 3:13-14 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

    Heb 9:25-28 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

    Heb 13:11-12 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.

    1Pet 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

    1Pet 3:18-20 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

    1Jn 2:1-2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.[4]

    1Jn 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

    Christ took the sins of the elect & intercedes for the elect

    Jn 3:16 For...


    1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

    ...pan4 enduring most grievous sorrows in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption: 6 on the third day he arose from the dead with the same body in which he suffered, with which he also ascended into heaven, 8 and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father making Intercession9 and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world. 10
    1. Ps 40:7-8 with Heb 10:5-10; John 10:18; Phil 2:8
    2. Gal 4:4
    3. Matt 3:15; 5:17
    4. Matt 26:37-38; Luke 22:44; Matt 27:46
    5. Matt 26-27
    6. Phil 2:8; Acts 13:37
    7. John 20:25, 27
    8. Acts 1:9-11
    9. Rom 8:34; Heb 9:24
    10. Acts 10:42; Rom 14:9-10; Acts 1:11; Matt 13:40-42; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6
    1. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, 1 which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him. 
      1. Rom 5:19; Eph 5:2
      2. Heb 9:14, 16; 10:10, 14
      3. Rom 3:25-26; Heb 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10
      4. 2 Cor 5:18-19; Col 1:20-23
      5. Heb 9:15; Rev 5:9-10
      6. John 17:2
    1. Although the price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit thereof were communicated to the elect in all ages, successively from the beginning of the world, 1 in and by those promisestypes, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed which should bruise the serpent's head; 2 and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, being the same yesterday, and to-day and for ever. 4
      1. Gal 4:4-5; Rom 4:1-9
      2. Gen 3:15; 1 Peter 1:10-11
      3. Rev 13:8
      4. Heb 13:8
    1. Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture, attributed to the person denominated by the other nature. 1
      1. John 3:13; Acts 20:28
    1. To all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, 1 making Intercession for them; uniting them to himself by his Spirit, revealing unto them, in and by his Word, the mystery of salvation, 4 persuading them to believe and obey, 5 governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit, 6 and overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, 7 in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation; and all of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure it. 9
      1. John 6:37, 39; 10:15-16; 17:9
      2. 1 John 2:1-2; Rom 8:34
      3. Rom 8:1-2
      4. John 15:13, 15; 17:6; Eph 1:7-9
      5. 1 John 5:20
      6. John 14:16; Heb 12:2; Rom 8:9, 14; 2 Cor 4:13; Rom 15:18-19; John 17:17
      7. Ps 110:1; 1 Cor 15:25-26; Col 2:15
      8. Eph 1:9-11
      9. John 3:8; Eph 1:8
    1. This office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from him to any other. 1
      1. 1 Tim 2:5
    1. This number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical office; and in respect of our alienation from God, ...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

    ...Jesus Christ; and that of receiving Christ stresses the fact that faith is an appropriating organ.[17]

    Grudem likewise:

    In these passages we have the idea of coming to Christ and asking for acceptance, for living water to drink, and for rest and instruction. All of these give an intensely personal picture of what is involved in saving faith. The author of Hebrews also asks us to think of Jesus as now alive in heaven, ready to receive us: “He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make Intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). Jesus is pictured here (as many times in the New Testament) as one who is now alive in heaven, always able to help those who come to him.[18]

    See also John 6:37, 44, 65.

    Receiving Christ

    Another metaphor is that of receiving Christ expecting to find our salvation, rest, and all that we need in Him. In John 1:12, the Holy Spirit says that while His countrymen did not receive Jesus that "to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God". Receiving and believing are explicitly connected in the text. But what this metaphor in this passage teaches us is that through faith we become brothers of Christ and in the same family of Christ. We become children of His Father! We come to Christ and we receive Christ's identity as we are in Him. This is all dependent upon us receiving Christ. If we do not receive Christ we cannot claim these blessings or privileges. Notice also that in this passage, Christ is presented as a rejected person. We do not receive Christ because He is popular or loved by most people; we receive Him because we have confidence and trust that He is trustworthy when He says that He is the One to cleanse us from all sin and adopt us into His family. In Colossians 2:6, Paul says, "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him". We receive Christ as Lord, which indicates that we are prepared to submit unto His Lordship. But not only this, the beauty of this passage is in the fact that it says that we should walk in Him. To walk in Him means that believers "should live and act wholly under the influence of the conceptions which they had of the Saviour when they first embraced him."[19] John Gill's comments on this passage are also beneficial for our consideration:

    As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord,.... Receiving Christ is believing in him: faith is the eye of the soul, that sees the beauty, glory, fulness, and suitableness of Christ; the foot that goes to him, and the hand that takes hold on him, and the arm that receives and embraces him; so that this is not a receiving him into the head by notion, but into the heart by faith; and not in part only, but in whole: faith receives a whole Christ, his person as God and man; him in all his offices, as prophet, priest, and King; particularly as a Saviour and Redeemer, he being under that character so exceeding suitable to the case of a sensible sinner; and it receives all blessings of grace along with him, from him, and through him; as a justifying righteousness, remission of sins, adoption of children, grace for grace, and an inheritance among all them that are sanctified; and both Christ and them, as the free grace gifts of God; which men are altogether undeserving of, and cannot possibly give any valuable consideration for: so these Colossians had received Christ gladly, joyfully, willingly, and with all readine...


    John 1:29, 'takes away the sin of the world'

    ...pon himself, he bore it in his own body on the tree, and carried it away, as the scape goat did under the law; and so likewise a taking it quite away: Christ has removed it as far as the east is from the west, out of sight, so as never to be seen any more; he has destroyed, abolished, and made an utter end of it: and this is expressed in the present tense, "taketh away": to denote the continued virtue of Christ's sacrifice to take away sin, and the constant efficacy of his blood to cleanse from it, and the daily application of it to the consciences of his people; and which is owing to the dignity of his person, as the Son of God; and to his continual and powerful mediation and Intercession: this must be a great relief to minds afflicted with the continual ebullitions of sin, which is taken away by the Lamb of God, as fast as it rises; and who, for that purpose, are called to "behold", and wonder at, the love and grace of Christ, in taking up, bearing, and taking away sin; and to look to him by faith continually, for everlasting salvation; and love him, and give him the honour of it, and glorify him for it.

    I think it is also helpful to note Mathew Henry’s words concerning John 1:29:[3]

    • I. Here is his testimony to Christ on the first day that he saw him coming from the wilderness; and here four things are witnessed by him concerning Christ, when he had him before his eyes:--
    • 1. That he is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, v. 29. Let us learn here,
    • (1.) That Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, which bespeaks him the great sacrifice, by which atonement is made for sin, and man reconciled to God. Of all the legal sacrifices he chooses to allude to the lambs that were offered, not only because a lamb is an emblem of meekness, and Christ must be led as a lamb to the slaughter (Isa. liii. 7), but with a special reference, [1.] To the daily sacrifice, which was offered every morning and evening continually, and that was always a lamb (Exod. xxix. 38), which was a type of Christ, as the everlasting propitiation, whose blood continually speaks. [2.] To the paschal lamb, the blood of which, being sprinkled upon the door-posts, secured the Israelites from the stroke of the destroying angel. Christ is our passover, 1 Cor. v. 7. He is the Lamb of God; he is appointed by him (Rom. iii. 25), he was devoted to him (ch. xvii. 19), and he was accepted with him; in him he was well pleased. The lot which fell on the goat that was to be offered for a sin-offering was called the Lord's lot (Lev 16:8; Lev 16:9); so Christ, who was to make atonement for sin, is called the Lamb of God.
    • (2.) That Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world. This was his undertaking; he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, Heb. ix. 26. John Baptist had called people to repent of their sins, in order to the remission of them. Now here he shows how and by whom that remission was to be expected, what ground of hope we have that our sins shall be pardoned upon our repentance, though our repentance makes no satisfaction for them. This ground of hope we have--Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. [1.] He takes away sin. He, being Mediator between God and man, takes away that which is, above any thing, offensive to the holiness of God, and destructive to the happiness of man. He came, First, To take away the guilt of sin by the merit of his death, to vacate the judgment, and reverse the attainder, which mank...