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

...act, from day 6 when man was created, the moral law in the conscience being part of what constitutes the Imago Dei (see above). That the Mosaic is done away with as a covenant and in whole, does not mean that God did away with the Decalogue, as it is the law of nature which is embedded in every human conscience. But more importantly, the moral law summarized in the Decalogue reflects His morally perfect character and person. They say that the Decalogue as moral law was done away with and what we have now are these two greatest commandments. We are not under the Decalogue as moral law, but under these two commandments which they believe is the Law Of Christ. But I’m puzzled by this and ask the same question which Joseph Pipa asked, “Should we not reason that if the summary is morally binding, that which it summarizes is morally binding as well?”[53]

The brother of the Lord in James 2:8-11 calls the second greatest commandment “the royal law according to the Scripture”:

Jas. 2:8-11 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

Here James sees the unity of God’s Law that when one is broken, all are broken. That he is referring to the moral law is seen by his two citations from the Decalogue, commandments six and seven. If we show partiality to our neighbor we are not honoring or loving them and thereby breaking God’s law. We become “transgressor[s] of the law” and by the commandments he cites, the law which he speaks of is the moral law summarized in the Decalogue. See more on this passage, below.

Likewise, the apostle Paul gives a summary of the second table in Romans 13. We read—

Rom. 13:8-10 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

To show love to God and to man is the purpose of the Decalogue and that is what it calls us to do. But we may also ask, “How should I love God and my neighbor?” At that time, we look to God’s law to learn how we are supposed to love. See more on this passage, below.

In this passage, Paul cites commandments seven, six, eight and ten and claims that they’re summed up in “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”, which is the royal law according to James (Jas. 2:8) and the second greatest commandment according to the Lord Jesus. Paul doesn’t limit himself to these four commandments from the Decalogue, but adds, “any other commandment”. I think that this should be understood in a qualified sense, that is, any other commandment concerning man, not any commandment absolutely. He is here referring to the moral duty toward our fellow man as summarized in the second table of the Decalogue. This is the fulfilling of the law, meaning, in this is the law realized in a person’s life.

Lastly, our Lord, in Matthew ...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

.... As we briefly noted above, the New Testament calls us to do everything for mutual upbuilding, to love one another, to forgive one another, to encourage one another, to pray for one another, to live in peace and unity with one another. These are the duties of church members to each other. As they are committed to one another, they are to do that which Christ commands to be done for one another. Benjamin Keach considers bearing one another’s burdens one of the glories of a true Christian church:

The beauty and glory of a true church is exhibited when they bear “one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the Law Of Christ” (Gal 6:2). And that you may do this, consider where is that church in which there are no burdens to be born (Gal 6:1). Consider what a burden Jesus Christ has born for you. Consider what a burden you have to bear of your own (Gal 6:5). May you not in some things be a burden to your brethren? Would you not have others bear your burden? May not God cause you to bear a more heavy burden because you cannot bear your brother’s? It is a fulfilling the law of love, nay, the Law Of Christ (Gal 6:2; Rom 13:10).[35]

Church members are to serve Christ together. They do this by fulfilling the “one another” commands in the New Testament. They do this by weekly gathering together for worship and “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” (Heb. 10:25). They are to protect pure doctrine. When Paul wrote a letter to the Galatians about the controversy of those Jewish Christians who were perverting the gospel, he did not write it to the leadership of those churches, but “To the churches of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2). He speaks about the authority that the church has to reject the teaching even of apostolic or angelic messengers (Gal. 1:7-8). These words were not merely directed to the leadership, but to the whole church. This means that it is the duty of members to guard and encourage sound doctrine. John commands us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1). Guarding the purity of doctrine is also the work of simple church members. Church members are to celebrate the ordinances of the gospel with one another. The gospel creates the church and now the church is to display the gospel in two ordinances given to her by her Lord. Baptism is an initiatory sign into the visible church, and the Lord’s Supper is a continuing sign of unity in a local body. Paul used the image of the body and the Supper as motivation for unity and oneness among the Corinthians. As we noted above, evangelism is a command that was given to the church, therefore, it is the duty of church members to evangelize the lost. 

These are (some of) the duties of church members to one another. But church members also have duties toward the leadership in their church. Members are to pray for their leaders (e.g., 1 Thess. 5:25; 2 Thess. 3:1; Col. 4:3; Acts 12:5; Heb. 13:18). As the leaders are also members, the “one another” commands also apply to them. But prayer is also to be made for them specifically for their role and office in the church. Benjamin Keach, after citing the proof-texts provided, explains the motives that are given:

1) Ministers’ work is great: “who is sufficient for these things?” (2Co 2:16).

2) The opposition made against them is not small (1Co 16:9).

3) God’s loud call (as well as the call of ministers themselves) is for the saints’ continual prayers and supplication for them (Col...