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

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary

...es? What are the elements of worship? What are circumstances? Are we only to sing the Psalms? Can we use musical instruments in public worship? 

Is there a specific day of worship? What is the Sabbath? Which day is it? When was it first instituted? How is it that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath? Where does Scripture teach the change of the day? What about Romans 14:5-6; Galatians 4:9-11; Colossians 2:16-17? Don't these passages teach the abrogation of the Sabbath? How is the Sabbath to be kept?


§1 The Regulative Principle Of Worship

  1. The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath Lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. 1 But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. 2
    1. Jer. 10:7; Mark 12:33[1]
    2. Gen. 4:1-5; Exod. 20:4-6; Matt. 15:3, 8-9; 2 Kings 16:10-18; Lev. 10:1-3; Deut. 17:3; 4:2; 12:29-32; Josh. 1:7; 23:6-8; Matt. 15:13; Col. 2:20-23; 2 Tim. 3:15-17

The light of nature or natural revelation as we call it shows that there is a God, Who hath Lordship and sovereignty over all (Rom. 1:19-23). That there is a God, no one will be able to deny when they stand before God. Both creation and the Creator testify to God. This is basic Romans 1. Furthermore, this God is just, good and doth good unto all (Ps. 145:9) as evidenced by the things which we have and receive. Therefore, He is to be worshiped and served with the whole of our being. Yet He is not to be worshiped as we like. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by Himself (Ex. 20:4-6; Deut. 4:2; 12:29-32). It is God Who determines how He is to be worshiped. This acceptable way is limited by His revealed will, i.e., Holy Scripture. The unacceptable way of worshipping God as according to the imagination and devices of men (Acts 17:29; Col. 2:23), the suggestions of Satanvisible representations (Ex. 20:4-6) and any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures (Lev. 10:1-3) is abominable to God and He is not pleased with it. God is not to be worshiped as we think He would like to be worship. Why should we think of ways of worshipping Him when He has revealed how He desires to be worshiped? Neither is He to be worshiped through or by any visible representations. This excludes all images and statues of the persons of the Godhead as well as the saints who according to Roman Catholic theology can act as intercessors between us and God/Jesus. The most important aspect of what is called the Regulative Principle of Worship is expressed in the last clause: any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. Not only is He to be worshiped according to His revealed will, but He is not to be worshiped through that which He has not revealed. If it is not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures, it should not be an element of His worship. If it is prescribed in the Holy Scriptures, it should.


There Is A God

Creation testifies to everyone without question that there is God. General Revelation is sufficient to reveal God to the world and to hold them accountable (see chapter 20). Ev...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 24: Of the Civil Magistrate - Commentary

...ssary by using the God-given power of the sword. Likewise, in punishing the evil doers, the power of the sword may be used when it is necessary. God has given it to the government to be used justly.


Subject To God

There are two things which are first of all asserted: 1) God is the supreme Lord, and 2) civil governments are to be subject to Him. That God is the supreme over all we need not need to mention here. But we may say a few things about the civil government being under the authority and headship of God. The civil government should subject itself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Any government which does not acknowledge Jesus Christ is in rebellion against God. This is the description of all, if not most of, governments in our world. The civil government should acknowledge that they're a tool in the hand of God for the good of its citizens. God has put them in the positions that they are in. It is God who ordained them according to their roles as a president, governor and so on.

The government should rule under the authority of God over the people. The government and those who work there have a higher responsibility and position in the world. They are to reign over the people for the people's good. They are to protect them and provide for them and promote peace and righteousness. It does not take us anytime to notice that this is not actually the world in which we live. This is a broken and rebellious world. Most governments in the western world promote homosexuality and abortion, among other things which the Bible condemns. The ideal picture is that of a government which submits to the Lordship of Christ and serves its people in righteousness and peace. And citizens which submit to the Lordship of Christ and for Christ's sake submit to their governments too. But this sadly not the case.

Romans 13

The primary passage which the Confession draws on here and which is used in discussions concerning the place of the government is Romans 13:1-7. Therefore, it would be helpful for us if we take a look at the passage. I come to the passage and by no means do I intended to give a long exegesis about it. I'm merely sharing my short thoughts about the passage and its implications. As I said, politics is not my favorite subject.

Rom. 13:1-7 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. 

Verse 1

The Apostle first gives a command and then goes on to explain and give the basis for his command. Everyone should be under and be subjected to “the governing au...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures - Commentary

...Romans 3:4:

By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

God is always true and every time when He opens His holy mouth and when He speaks to His people through His God-breathed Word. Words of men may contain errors, but the God of the Word cannot lie and His words are always true.

Believing the doctrine of inerrancy is the natural implication if we affirm that the Bible is the Word of God. Affirming the doctrine of inerrancy is simply submitting to the absolute Lordship of God, even in thinking about His Word and following the Messiah’s view of Scripture. Since we are Christians, we, therefore, should share the same view of Jesus on Scripture, which was clearly that they were inerrant and infallible, and fully trustworthy.

Sola Scriptura

The Scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church. Since they are Theopneustos, God-speaking (Matt 22:31; 2Tim 3:16-17; 2Pet 1:20-21), they are, by definition, ultimate in authority, for there can be no higher authority than God Himself. All other rules of faith, creeds, councils, or anything else produced by the Church herself, is subject to the ultimate correction of God’s Word.

This subject is related to the truthfulness and infallibility of Scripture (see above), the inspiration of Scripture (paragraph 2), the authority of Scripture (paragraph 4), and the sufficiency of Scripture (paragraph 6). If all these things are true, what we get is Sola Scriptura. What does Sola Scriptura actually mean? Does it mean that the Church is not to use anything but the Bible? Does it mean that the Bible is the only authority? Does Sola Scriptura deny the validity of using creeds and confessions?

We can assume that the answer to the last question is obviously a “no,” since Sola Scriptura is asserted in all the Reformed Confessions. According to the definition given above of Sola Scriptura, the doctrine teaches specifically that since the Bible is described as God-breathed, that is, spoken by God and coming from His mouth (see 2 Timothy 3:16 below), and since it is only the Bible which is described thus, therefore, the Bible is to function as the sole infallible rule of faith. Only the Word of God is infallible, inerrant, God-breathed, absolutely authoritative and binding. Only the Word of God is described thus in Holy Scripture. Traditions and other things are never said to be infallible, inerrant, sufficient and so on. Therefore, since it is only in the Scriptures where we have the direct voice of God speaking to us (Matt. 22:31) and we have His very words (2Tim. 3:16), therefore, they are the only infallible rule of faith.

Sola Scriptura teaches that since the Bible is the only God-breathed revelation to the Church and the world, therefore, it is the highest authority for the Church. Sola Scriptura does not deny other authorities in the Church, as is often erroneously thought. There is a difference between Sola and Solo Scriptura. Sola Scriptura teaches that the Scriptures are the only and sole sufficient, certain, infallible, inerrant, and absolutely authoritative rule of faith for the Church. A special and hard emphasis is placed on the adjectives describing the rule of faith. This does not imply that the Church has no other authorities as the elders, confessions, creeds, but what Sola Scriptura teaches is that all other authorities are subject to the...


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

... rather, He chose to create in six days and rest on the seventh to provide a basis for man’s week as Exodus 20:11 teaches. The fact that the Sabbath was made for man is laid down in our Lord’s teaching. In Mark 2, we read:

Mark 2:27-28 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

In the midst of the Jewish leaders accusing his disciples of breaking the Sabbath because they were plucking heads of grain (Mark 2:23), the Lord declares His Lordship over the Sabbath. The Lord Jesus here does not only claims that He can say what is lawful on the Sabbath and what is not lawful, but He also makes a statement about His deity. For who is the Lord of the Sabbath, but the God of Creation Who made the Sabbath? Therefore, the Lord Jesus here declares His supremacy and Lordship over the Sabbath day, which the Jewish leaders had perverted by adding things to it which were not prescribed by God. The Lord Jesus frees the Sabbath from the slavery and burden that the Jews had made it be so that the people of God would truly be able to say that the Sabbath indeed is "a delight" (Isa 58:13).

Notice what our Lord says concerning the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders were so rigorous concerning Sabbath observances, adding their own man-made commandments and being hypocritical (Luke 13:14-15) so that they practically taught that man was created for the Sabbath. But our Lord rejects this false teaching and declares instead, as the Lord of the Sabbath, that the Sabbath was created for man. Man was created on the sixth day and the Sabbath on the seventh. Our Lord here goes back to the creation for the basis of the Sabbath, for that is when all things were made. The Sabbath would have been applicable even in the Garden of Eden. In fact, Adam and Eve would have been there when the Lord blessed and made holy the Sabbath. If some object that Adam and Eve, in a “very good” state would not have become tired or weary, that I think is true, but it still doesn’t diminish the observance of the Sabbath prior to the Fall. Why? For the same reason that God was not tired when He observed the Sabbath!

The Christian Sabbath Or The Lord’s Day

Christ, being the Lord of the Sabbath has the right, if He so pleases, to change the day. It is true that the Sabbath day under the Old Testament was the seventh day of the week, although the word “Sabbath” was used for more things than the seventh day of the week (e.g. the Day of Atonement [Lev. 16:29-31]), but this does not refute the idea that there could be a change of day. Because we observe that the principle of the Sabbath is that we should take one day of seven for rest and for the public worship of God. There is no special thing about the seventh day, other than God blessing it after He finished His creation work. Therefore, the same God Who blessed the seventh day has the right to change it if He so desires. The seventh day pointed to the completed creation, but it pointed to the “very good” creation before the Fall. But now, the creation is fallen and is in need of redemption. The word "sabbath" means rest and not the “seventh day of the week.” In fact, in the Old Testament, the Sabbath is the only name of a day mentioned. The seventh day of the week was the outward form of the commandment, while the essence is one day in seven is to be a day of rest and worship, which could be changed if God so pleases to do.

By observing the Sabbath befor...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...e hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righeousness before Him, all the days of our lives.
  1. Rom. 6:1-2
  2. Luke 1:74-75; Rom. 14:9; Gal. 5:13; 2 Peter 2:18, 21

Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day [Return] [Commentary]

  1. The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath Lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.
    1. Jer. 10:7; Mark 12:33
    2. Gen. 4:1-5; Exod. 20:4-6; Matt. 15:3, 8-9; 2 Kings 16:10-18; Lev. 10:1-3; Deut. 17:3; 4:2; 12:29-32; Josh. 1:7; 23:6-8; Matt. 15:13; Col. 2:20-23; 2 Tim. 3:15-17
  1. Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him alone; not to angels, saints, or any other creatures; and since the fall, not without a mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone.
    1. Matt. 4:9-10; John 5:23; 2 Cor. 13:14
    2. Rom. 1:25; Col. 2:10; Rev. 19:10
    3. John 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Col. 3:17; 1 Tim. 2:5
  1. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one part of natural worship, is by God required of all men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of the Spirit, according to his will; with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others, in a known tongue.
    1. Ps. 95: 1-7; 100:1-5
    2. John 14:13-14
    3. Rom. 8:26
    4. 1 John 5:14
    5. Ps. 47:7; Eccles. 5:1-2; Heb. 12:28; Gen. 18:27; James 5:16; 1:6-7; Mark 11:24; Matt. 6:12,14-15; Col. 4:2; Eph 6:18
    6. 1 Cor. 14:13-19, 27-28
  1. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.
    1. John 5:14; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; John 17:20
    2. 2 Sam. 12:21-23; Luke 16:25-26; Rev. 14:13; 1 John 5:16
  1. The reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord; as also the administration of baptism, and the Lord's supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, with fastings, and thanksgivings, upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.
    1. Acts 15:21; 1 Tim. 4:13; Rev. 1:3
    2. 2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 2:42; 10:42; 14:7; Rom. 10:14-17; 1Cor. 9:16
    3. Eph 5:19; Col. 3:16
    4. Matt. 28:19-20
    5. 1 Cor. 11:26
    6. Esther 4:16; Joel 2:12; Matt. 9:15; Acts 13:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:5
    7. Exod. 15:1-19; Ps. 107
  1. Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more s...

Ephesians 1:10, 'unite all things in him'

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight: 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:7-10)

This is a verse (v. 9) frequently used by Universalists that I’ve seen on the Internet. The idea is that Christ will “unite” everything in Himself, meaning, people who did not repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved – eventually, they may have to go to Purgatory or a “temporal hell,” but in the end “Love Wins” and they are saved.

Word Study

Well let’s take a close look at the word “unite,” it’s the Strong’s G346: [1]  

- Original: ἀνακεφαλαίομαι

- Transliteration: Anakephalaiomai

- Phonetic: an-ak-ef-al-ah'-ee-om-ahee

- Definition:  

1.  to sum up (again), to repeat summarily, to condense into a summary 

- Origin: from G303 and G2775 (in its original sense)

- TDNT entry: 14:21,4

- Part(s) of speech: Verb

I think it is helpful to see how other translations other than the ESV have translated the verse:

KJV: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:

NASB: with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him

HCSB: for the administration of the days of fulfillment — to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.

ISV: to usher in the fullness of the times and to gather up all things in Christ, both things in heaven and things on earth.

NET: toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ – the things in heaven and the things on earth.

The NET Bible comments as following on the word ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι:

The precise meaning of the infinitive ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι (anakefalaiwsasqai) in v. 10 is difficult to determine since it was used relatively infrequently in Greek literature and only twice in the NT (here and Rom 13:9). While there have been several suggestions, three deserve mention: (1) “To sum up.” In Rom 13:9, using the same term, the author there says that the law may be “summarized in one command, to love your neighbor as yourself.” The idea then in Eph 1:10 would be that all things in heaven and on earth can be summed up and made sense out of in relation to Christ. (2) “To renew.” If this is the nuance of the verb then all things in heaven and earth, after their plunge into sin and ruin, are renewed by the coming of Christ and his redemption. (3) “To head up.” In this translation the idea is that Christ, in the fullness of the times, has been exalted so as to be appointed as the ruler (i.e., “head”) over all things in heaven and earth (including the church). That this is perhaps the best understanding of the verb is evidenced by the repeated theme of Christ’s exaltation and reign in Ephesians and by the connection to the κεφαλή- (kefalh-) language of 1:22 (cf. Schlier, TDNT 3:682; L&N 63.8; M. Barth, Ephesians [AB 34], 1:89-92; contra A. T. Lincoln, Ephesians [WBC], 32-33).[2]

We see a variety of translations of the word ana...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 25: Of Marriage - Commentary

...onfessions say “infidels, Papists, or other idolaters” therefore it is most likely that Roman Catholics are included in the category of idolaters, otherwise in the category of they who maintain damnable heresy.


It's stupid to think that it sinful for a white woman to marry a black man, or vice versa because both are children of Adam, created in the image of the one true God. But the Confession and the Bible command us to marry in the faith. I can't understand Christians who marry those who are not. To be honest, I'm often lead to question their commitment to the Lordship of Christ. Is Christ Lord over every aspect of your life or only some? What if your partner wants to do something that is sinful for a Christian? What if your partner wants your children to be raised in a way that is not pleasing in your or God's sight? How dominant is Christ in your life? Isn't it terrible to not be able to share the most important part of your life, your faith, with your counterpart? The principle of marrying in the Lord from 1 Corinthians 7:39 applies no less to those marrying for the second time, than for those marrying for the first time. If you are Christian, you are to marry a person who shares your faith commitment. It is a direct violation of God's command to knowingly marry an unbeliever or one from a different religion. “But...I can be an influence on him” says the girl, ”and then he could come to Christ.” Where is such a thing commanded in Scripture? Is Paul not clear that we should only marry in the Lord? Why find excuses? In 1 Corinthians 7:13 the Apostle deals with a wife who was married to a man, yet she comes to faith and her husband is still unrepentant. Paul does not call for divorce, yet if the unbelieving partner wanted out, she may accept the divorce and be free to marry another (1Cor. 7:15). This deals with a situation not of a believing woman marrying an unbelieving husband, but a situation when prior to Christ they both were unrepentant, yet later one comes to repentance and the other remains unrepentant. In this case, divorce is still not warranted, yet, if the unbelieving partner wants out, it is lawful for the believing partner to consent if they wish. Finally, Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7:16 should likewise be taken into consideration. Here, he is still treating the marriage of the believing and unbelieving partners. It is as if Paul is saying that if the unbeliever wants out, let him get out because you do not have certainty that they will be saved. There is no promise of God that our unbelieving spouses will be Christians once we come to repentance. Therefore, when we take into consideration and apply it to the situation of a believer having an unbelieving girl- or boyfriend, the unlawfulness of that relationship becomes even more clear. In the first instance, there already was a marriage covenant and Paul said it is better to get out if the unbeliever wants out. So, how much more in the case when there is not yet a marriage? The fact is, while the idea of evangelizing the unbelieving partner in a marriage or love relationship may be desirable for some, it is utterly unbiblical and in direct violation of God's command.

2Cor. 6:14-16 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial [worthlessness, unprofitableness, i.e. Satan]? Or what portion does a believer share with an ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience - Commentary

...they come from outside the Bible, but they contradict things within the Bible. Therefore, to require people believing these things is to bind their consciences by things which are not from God, Who is alone the Lord of the conscience and thereby destroying Christian liberty. Robert Shaw writes:

No person on earth can have authority to dictate to conscience; for this would be to assume a prerogative which belongs to none but the supreme Lord and Legislator. "There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy."–James iv. 12. Such a power was prohibited by Jesus Christ among his followers: "The kings of the Gentiles exercise Lordship over them, but ye shall not be so."–Luke xxii. 25. It was disclaimed by the inspired apostles: "Not that we have dominion over your faith," said the Apostle of the Gentiles, "but are helpers of your joy."–2 Cor. i. 24.[2]

Basically, these doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church and any other denomination, institution or religion which is contrary to the Word of God and could not be found in it (whether explicitly or implicitly), are to be rejected or else we will destroy our Christian liberty. The Lord Jesus, quoting Isaiah 29:13, accuses the Pharisees, saying:

Matt. 15:8-9 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

They teach the commandments of men as if they were the commandments of God. These included ritual washings, the corban rule, multitude of Sabbath regulations and so on. Matthew Henry comments:

This is an instance of their hypocrisy, that they teach for doctrines the commandments of men. The Jews then, as the papists since, paid the same respect to oral tradition that they did to the word of God, receiving it pari pietatis affectu ac reverentiâ--with the same pious affection and reverence. Conc. Trident. Sess. 4. Decr. 1. When men's inventions are tacked to God's institutions, and imposed accordingly, this is hypocrisy, a mere human religion. The commandments of men are properly conversant about the things of men, but God will have his own work done by his own rules, and accepts not that which he did not himself appoint. That only cones to him, that comes from him.[8]

When any denomination, institution, church or religion requires us to believe and accept something as true which we do not find in the Bible and is contrary to the Bible, we should reject and resist them, so that our Christian liberty, granted to us by Christ and to which we were called (Gal. 5:1), would not be destroyed.


§3 False And True Christian Liberty

  1. They who upon pretense of Christian liberty do practice any sin, or cherish any sinful lust, as they do thereby pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction, 1 so they wholly destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our lives. 2
    1. Rom. 6:1-2
    2. Luke 1:74-75; Rom. 14:9; Gal. 5:13; 2 Peter 2:18, 21

The end of Christian liberty is that being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness (Luke 1:74-75; Gal. 5:1). In other words, Christian liberty is to lead us to liberty and freedom in obeying God free from man-made commandments and traditions. Therefore,...


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

...e, but we will direct the interested reader from chapter 5 back to paragraph 1 of chapter 3. Under the section General Sovereignty, I will deal with texts which speak of God's sovereignty over history and His counsel. Under Particular Sovereignty, I will try to deal with God's sovereignty over specific things such as evil and human actions. By no means is this an extensive case or discussion of God's absolute sovereignty, but I believe that it is nonetheless a decent biblical case for it.

General Sovereignty

First, let's start with verses about God’s Lordship over the world.

Neh. 9:6 You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

He not only has created the world out of nothing, but He keeps the world in existence. Genesis 1:1 should be enough to prove God’s sovereignty over the creation that He has made. Everything is dependent upon Him. Without Him, all would perish. All things, from stars to ants and angels to men are dependent upon Him for their every moment existence. He is the Creator and Sustainer of everything. The God of the Bible is both the Creator and the Governor of the world. He both has created everything, and He keeps everything in existence.

Acts 17:26-28 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

He has determined where everyone is to live. He has determined the countries in the world with their boundaries. Not only has He done that, but in Him, we have our being. In Him and because of Him we are able to do anything and everything. He is the Uncaused Cause, He is the Primary Cause; we are secondary agents. Anything we do, we first need to “borrow” power and strength from Him. Thus, whatever I do, whether evil or good, I still am dependent on Him for whether He will grant me power and ability to do what I will or not. Man is in no way independent of God, but in every way dependent upon God even when he denies His existence. The Scripture is clear that we're dependent upon Him for everything. The great Calvinistic Baptist commentator, John Gill, said the following: "The natural life which men live is from God; and they are supported in it by him; and from him they have all the comforts and blessings of life; and all motions, whether external or internal, of body or of mind, are of God, and none of them are without the concourse of his providence, and strength assistance from him; though the disorder and irregularity of these motions, whereby they become sinful, are of themselves, or of the devil; and their being, and the maintenance of it, and continuance in it, are all owing to the power and providence of God."[2] He is the independent and the self-sufficient God. We are dependent upon the Independent One and we are not sufficient in and of ourselves, unlike Him. We are in everything dependent upon Him. We are dependent on Him even for our daily bread, as we ought to pray (Matt. 6:11).

Heb. 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 4: Of Creation - Commentary

...quo;And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”’ God commands man to subdue and fill the earth with image-bearers of God. They are to have dominion over the earth. They are to have dominion over the earth which the Lord made and placed man upon it. They are to rule over it as delegates from God and not as originators of the earth or with absolute power. They are to rule under the Lordship of God. They are to do some things which are similar to what God does. There is an analogy, not a total likeness in what man was commissioned to do and what God does. Basically, God places His works of day 3 through 6 under man's dominion and tells him to make it subservient to him. God places us as His representatives on the earth and commands us to fill it with image-bearers of His, so that His glory may be manifested to the world. Therefore, at minimal, the image of God means that “as humans, we may reflect and reproduce at our own creaturely level the holy ways of God, and thus act as his direct representatives on earth. This is what humans are made to do, and in one sense we are human only to the extent that we are doing it.”[7]

Man is further distinguished from the rest of creation on the earth when we observe that man is a volitional and moral creature. Man is able to make choices which have motivations and which are self-conscious, unlike the lower creation and animals, but similar to God. Man is able to think of, plan and consider his choices and options, unlike the animal kingdom. Furthermore, man possesses the law of God which enables him to distinguish good from evil (e.g. Rom. 2:14-15; see also here). Man has moral qualities which animals do not have. When speaking of the restored image of God, Paul says that it constitutes righteousness, holiness and knowledge (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). This was also true at the beginning of the creation. Redemption restores the fallen image of God in us to its original and perfected state. Man was made upright (Eccl. 7:29) and possessed a law in his heart by which he knew what it meant to be upright. By virtue of the fact that man is made in the image of God and possessing the law of God, man is morally accountable to God. This is not true of the immaterial creation or for the animals, for example. Every single man and woman will stand before the throne of God to give an account for their lives (see chapter 32).

Man is able to communicate similar to how God communicates. Man is able to love similar to God. Man is able to be just, be angry and so on. We are able to think similar to how God does. We are able to know God. We are able to be holy. As we learn more about God and how He is like, we likewise learn more about what it means to be made in the image of God. Notice that we reflect God in some way and we do things analogous to God, but never the same way. Our knowledge is not the same as God's, neither is our love, justice, anger or moral purity. This likeness to God is also carried over. In Genesis 5:3, we read, “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.” The same words, likeness and image, which were used of man originally in Genesis 1:26, are repeated here. Adam's son, Seth, is in Adam's likeness and after his image. He is like his father, bu...