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The Staunch Calvinist

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


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

...l and the ceremonial law wherein the moral law has primacy. To me, this alone is a clear testimony to the division of the Mosaic Law even when it was administered, and not only that but that the believers themselves were conscious of this division.

The Division Of The Law In The New Testament

The Lord Jesus
The Summary of the Law

Did the Savior in His lifetime treat the Decalogue as the sum of the moral law and thus above the ceremonial and judicial laws? I believe that the answer is yes and I am indebted to Dr. Ross’ discussion on pp. 154-160 on this question. It is generally accepted that the Savior summarized the law in two commandments: 1) the Love Of God and 2) the love of neighbor. We read

Matt. 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The first commandment comes from the Shema, which religious Jews to this day recite every day (Deut. 6:4-5). There, we are told that there is but one God and that we should love this one God with everything that we have. This summarizes the first four commandments which are about 1) the exclusivity of that one God, 2) the right worship of that one God, 3) the honoring of that one God and 4) the public worship of that God. The first four commandments are expressions of what it means to love God with everything that we have and are.

The second commandment, given by the Savior, is that of loving our neighbor. The commandment is ancient and given by God to Israel all the way back in Leviticus:

Lev. 19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

And there is a similar commandment in v. 34 of the same chapter:

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

It is interesting to see the connection that the LORD makes in v. 34 between what He did for the Israelites, and in turn what the Israelites should do to other people. To “love your neighbor as yourself” summarizes the second table—commandments 5 through 10. 5) We are to obey our parents. 6) We are not to harm our neighbor. 7) We are not to commit adultery against our neighbor. 8) We are not to steal from our neighbor. 9) We are not to bear false witness against our neighbor. 10) We are not to covet anything that is our neighbor’s. The one who does these things loves their neighbor.

The Commandments

The Lord, in Mark 10:19, lists the commandments of God, referring to the second table of the Decalogue:

You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder [6], Do not commit adultery [7], Do not steal [8], Do not bear false witness [9], Do not defraud [10], Honor your father and mother [5].’”

“To defraud” here refers to the tenth commandment about coveting. Ross writes, “it could be as Wessel suggests, ‘a substitute for the commandment against coveting, fraud being a manifestation of coveting.’”[13] Here we learn that the commandments of God, referred to by the Lord Jesus, are the second table of the Decalogue. He did not refer to any laws about sacrifices or feasts, but rather...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator - Commentary

...of the passage. Just like in the golden chain of redemption, those who are foreknown (i.e., fore-loved and fore-chosen), are the same group who are predestined, called, justified and glorified. None of those who are foreknown gets to miss any part of the chain. In the same way, the chain in Romans 8:33-34 is that of Christ dying for the elect, the same group in Romans 8:29-30, Christ rising for the elect and Christ interceding for the elect. Owen writes on this passage:

That he died for all and intercedes only for some will scarcely be squared to this text, especially considering the foundation of all this, which is (verse 32) that Love Of God which moved him to give up Christ to death for us all; upon which the apostle infers a kind of impossibility in not giving us all good things in him; which how it can be reconciled with their opinion who affirm that he gave his Son for millions to whom he will give neither grace nor glory, I cannot see.[35] (book I, chapter 7)

Dr. Owen obviously does not neglect to take a look at the book of Hebrews in connection to this subject, as it largely deals with the priestly office of our Savior and His priestly work on our behalf. We have tried to exegete some passages from the book of Hebrews in connection to the atonement below. The reader is referred to the chapter[36] for the rest of the passages which he surveys (e.g., Heb. 7:24-25; 9:11-13; 10:19-22).

The Fruits of Christ’s Intercession

The fruits of Christ’s intercession is the application of the work of redemption to those for whom it was intended. It is the granting of the gift of faith, it is the calling, justification, adoption, sanctification and all the countless graces of God poured out upon us.

In Romans 8:32, Paul argues from the death of Christ that God will certainly “with him [Christ] graciously give us all things”. Since God went to such ways to demonstrate His glory and redeem us, what doubt can we have that He will not give us all good things which He intended for His glory and our good? This is in the immediate context of Christ’s intercession. Christ intercedes before the Father on behalf of those for whom He offered Himself, that the benefits of His work may be applied to them. That through the intercession of Christ, God does indeed graciously give us all things that we need.

In John 17, the great High Priestly Prayer, the Lord Christ intercedes before the Father on behalf of those who were given to Him, in direct opposition to “the world” (John 17:9), i.e., those who were not given to Him. Right before offering His great sacrifice, the Lord Jesus, our great High Priest, finds it necessary to explicitly say that His intercession is certainly not for the world, but only those given to Him. In the same chapter, Christ’s prays...

  • that His own may be kept in the Father’s name and from the evil one (John 17:11, 15);
  • for the sanctification of His church in the truth of God’s Word (John 17:17, 19);
  • for the union of Christ’s universal church in the Trinity (John 17:20-23);
  • for them seeing His glory and the love which the Father has for the Son (John 17:24);
  • that the love which the Father has for the Son may be in them (John 17:26).

Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Christ “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” The basis for the fact that He is able to save them to the uttermost, or “save completely” (NET), “save forever” (NASB), “...

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

...efore the creation—before the eyes of men and angels could gaze at the glory of God, the Lord Jesus speaks of His glory. In John 17:5 we read, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” God—both Father and Son, existed and had glory before the world existed. This implies that the glory of God is underived and independent from the world. In creation, the glory of God is manifested to creatures, but it is not increased as if God was less glorious before He created. God was love even before the creation (John 17:24) because love was there between the three Persons of the Trinity. The glory and Love Of God are independent of the created world but have their basis in Himself alone.

We sound the praise of God along with Paul, saying, ‘“Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen’ (Rom. 11:35-36).

The Incomprehensibility of God

Webster’s 1913 Dictionary defines “incomprehensible” by “Not capable of being comprehended or understood; beyond the reach of the human intellect; inconceivable.”[5] Only God can fully understand God. All that we know about Him is revealed by Him. There is no use in people sitting and contemplating about God without standing on the solid and infallible foundation of the Word of God (chapter 1). As the Confession declares, so the Bible teaches, God is fully comprehended only by Himself. Obviously, we do not mean that He is absolutely incomprehensible, for we know a lot of things about Him even without special revelation. From the natural world, says Paul, we can know “his eternal power and divine nature” (Rom. 1:20), for example. But we cannot fully and exhaustively understand “his eternal power and divine nature” whether from general revelation or even from special revelation. The essence of God is only exhaustively and completely understood by Himself alone.  

Job 7:11-12 describes this doctrine: “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? 8 It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?” There are hundreds of mysteries about God which we do not know and do not comprehend. Even things which we know about Him from special revelation, we do not fully comprehend. How is it that a being can exist without a beginning? What is eternity exactly? It is difficult for us to understand because these things fall outside of our experience. Even when thinking about God and when God speaks to us in Scripture, He condescends to speak in a way that we would understand. Thus He speaks of Himself being a father, a husband, a friend, and so on. Using things from the natural world which we know, so that we would comprehend Him a little bit. Paul breaks forth in praise, saying: ‘“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen’ (Rom. 11:34-36). The incomprehensibility of God is implied when Paul speaks about “the depths of God” which the Spirit searches and understands (1 Cor. 2:10). Wayne Grudem writes:

It is not only true that we can never fully understand God; it is also true that we can never fully understand any single thing about God. His greatness (Ps. 145:3), his understanding (Ps. 147:5), his knowledge (Ps. 139...

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

...="footnote-marker-77-3" href="#footnote-77" rel="footnote"[77]Trying to honor the Lord’s Day carefully is no more legalism than trying to abhor idolatry, honor God’s Name and pursuing sexual purity is legalism. God requires that we keep His day holy. The obligation is not any less strict than trying our best not to lie or lust. It is wrong to directly call those who try their best to honor the Lord’s Day legalists just because they refrain from certain things on the Lord’s Day which others do not. It is important to remember that the Sabbath is still part of the Ten Commandments, which God requires that we obey and honor Him thereby. “For this is the Love Of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1John 5:3).

Most importantly, we should not view the Sabbath through the lens of what we should not do. But we should see it as the day on which we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection and do certain things which He has commanded for the Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Day Sabbath is not a day of inactivity and idleness. It is a day of rest from secular works in order to perform religious works. Joseph Pipa writes, “as we turn from work and pleasure, we are freed to worship Him corporately with His people, privately in our homes. We have time to serve Him by speaking His word, by going to the nursing home, by visiting the sick and the shut-in, by witnessing and passing out tracts, by teaching and preaching His word. We have the luxury of having people into our homes that we may enjoy their fellowship and minister to them.”[155] Dr. Martin summarizes the things which we ought to do on the Lord’s Day:

(1) the public worship of God, (2) the personal and private worship of God , (3) the spiritual care of those under my authority and care, (4) the spiritual fellowship of the saints, and (5) those works of mercy and necessity which arise in the course of the day.[156]


Which brings us to our next and final point. As we fail to perfectly keep the other nine commandments, so likewise we will fail in (perfectly) honoring the Lord’s Day. It is difficult for our flesh, which desires its lusts and to do its own thing, to know that this day is wholly dedicated to God and His worship. Therefore, when we fail to honor the Lord’s Day as God has commanded we should not think that God no longer loves us. This is legalism. Rather, we should be driven to the cross, knowing the Lord Jesus has perfectly kept the Law for us, including the Sabbath. We break the Sabbath commandment as we break the other nine. This is not much different. In fact, it is one of the most difficult because it is a prime commandment on self-denial and it is the most neglected. We should not be pursuing our own thing on the Lord’s Day, but be consumed with the things and worship of God (public and private). We should take a rest from our secular works to be engaged in works of mercy, piety, and necessity. Dr. Martin writes, “Self-denial is of the essence of the day even as it is of the essence of the Christian life.”[157] As with every commandment of God, the breach thereof should not drive us to despair, but to the cross (Heb. 4:14-16; 1John 1:8-10). There we receive forgiveness for all our transgressions. There we meet the Savior of the world. As we are forgiven of our sins, we should seek to strive to enter Christ’s rest and have taste in that in the Lord’s Day. We should focus on Christ while we strive to keep this commandment as we...

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

... were foreknown, are predestined, called, justified and glorified. This is sure, because God has determined in Himself to save them, and no one and nothing can stop or frustrate the purpose of God, even a pagan king knew that (Dan. 4:34-35). Let us never fail to read the verses that follow the Golden Chain, because the promises of God’s love and faithfulness to His elect continue to go on in the passage. It is for those (“us all”) that God did not spare His only Son (Rom. 8:32). It is for them specifically that He gave His beloved Son, and it is for them that the Son intercedes and pleads before the throne of God above. It is indeed because of this indestructible Love Of God that we must never lose hope in dark times. He loves the elect as He loves His Son (John 17:23), and nothing can stand in our way if God is for us. Romans 8:31, which is often cited in times of distress and persecution, must never be divorced from the foregoing Golden Chain, which contains the basis of this confidence in God. Nothing can stand in the way of God’s chosen people who are directly called “God’s elect.” It is because of this firm foundation upon God’s promises and the Golden Chain by which God has determined to save His people. We, again and again, go back to John 6:37-40. There is nothing created that can stand against God’s elect because God is on our side. There is no condemnation and there is no separation from the Love Of God which is in Christ! God saves all His own—from eternity past to eternity future. They are secure and shall never be moved.


Indeed, what should our attitude be toward the doctrine of election but humble adoration and love for the great love, grace, mercy, and patience of God toward us? We know that we could have never saved ourselves, if left to ourselves we would go to Hell, but it pleased God to display His grace on undeserving wretches, like me. We deserve nothing but wrath, but according to the good pleasure of His will, He has rescued and saved us from His righteous judgment by placing that judgment upon His Beloved Son, and thereby sparing us, while not sparing His Beloved Son.

The doctrine of election shows us the perfect work of the Triune God. God the Father elects a people and gives them to His Son as a gift of His love for Him. The Son dies in their stead and takes their punishment upon Himself and thereby satisfying the wrath of God on their behalf. The Spirit of God comes to apply Christ’s perfect work and benefits those whom the Father chose. Indeed,

Rom. 11:34-26 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

§6 God Foreordains All Means Unto His Appointed Ends

  1. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so he hath, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereuntowherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, 2 are effectually called unto faith in Christby his Spirit working in due season, are justifiedadoptedsanctified3 and kept by his power through faith unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only. 5
    1. Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2
    2. 1 Thess. 5:9-10; Titus 2:14
    3. Rom. 8:30; Eph. 1:5; 2 Thess. 2:13
    4. 1 Peter 1:5
    5. John 6:...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary

...on Isaac up. But I’ll be content to give a summary here. The Lord Almighty calls Abram to go out from the Ur of the Chaldeans to the land of Canaan (Gen. 11:31). The blessings were:

  1. Making him a great nation (Gen. 12:2);
  2. Blessing him so that he would be a blessing (Gen. 12:2);
  3. Blessing those who bless him, cursing those who curse him (Gen. 12:3);
  4. In him will all the families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:3);
  5. The land of Canaan will be his offspring’s (Gen. 12:7; 15:18-19).

These blessings and promises, he received and they are repeated often to him, to Isaac and to Jacob. Reminding them of the goodness and Love Of God toward His people. So, as Hebrews says:

Heb. 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

He went and followed God’s command, but at the same time, he did not exactly know where he was going. As time went by, God made it clear both to Abram and to the people who were with and against him that the God Almighty is with him (as with the case of Pharaoh’s house in Gen. 12:10-20). God has blessed those who have blessed him and cursed those who have cursed him according to His promise. The Lord visibly appeared to Abram a few times in his life (Gen. 12:7; 17:1; 18:1) and has made clear that He loves Abram and is set to fulfill His promises to him. But now you may be wondering and asking yourself, “his name was Abraham, not Abram, right?” And here comes our story. The Lord promised that Abram would be made a great nation. There was only one problem: Sarai, his wife, was barren. It was not possible for them to have children. But the Lord, Who is sovereign over life and death, had promised Abram that he would give him a child. When he got the promises, he thought that a servant of his would be counted as his offspring and get the promises since he is childless. But this is the Lord’s reply:

Gen. 15:4-6 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man [Eliezer of Damascus, v. 2] shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

None other than a child from his own seed will be the child of the promise. Well, if you know the story, you know that Sarai took things into her hand and gave him her maid Hagar who bore him Ishmael whom he thought to be the child of promise (Gen. 16). This was brought about by natural power, but the Lord wanted to confirm His promise to Abram by giving him a child supernaturally from Sarai. In time, the Lord gave them a child, Isaac. Hebrews 11 summarizes it thus:

Heb. 11:11-12 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

Here comes the meaning of Abraham’s name and Sarah’s name. Both were changed. Abram means “exalted father,” but sadly he had no child. His name was changed to Abraham after the Lord made a covenant with him and told him that he will be a “father of a multitude,” the meaning of his new name (Gen. 17:5). Sarai means “my princess,” but Go...

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

...re therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and Love Of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall 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]
  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

Those whom God hath accepted (chapter 11), effectually called (chapter 10), sanctified by His Spirit (chapter 13) and given the precious faith of His elect (chapter 14), can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace (e.g., John 10:28-29; 1 John 2:19). If we follow what was said in the previous chapters, as this paragraph begins by enlisting these things, we cannot but expect such a declaration. If God is absolutely sovereign over all things (chapters 3 and 5), even electing, calling, justifying, adopting (chapter 12) and sanctifying us, how can it be that God could fail in His purpose and we be lost to eternal perdition? It cannot. The elect will certainly persevere in the state of grace...to the end. This is the essential difference between true and false faith. True faith perseveres to the end (1 John 2:19). This is because the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Rom. 11:29), in other words, He does not change His mind. Therefore, the elect are safe and He will grant them all these things which are necessary for their final salvation and perseverance.

This does not mean that the journey will be easy. In fact, the Confession speaks of storms and floods that arise and beat us. Nonetheless, no one and nothing can shake us off that foundation and rock which by faith we are fastened upon. In these storms and floods and by the temptations of Satanthe sensible sight of the light and Love Of God may for a time be clouded and obscured for us (so also with our assurance, see chapter 18:4). This does not mean that God has changed; he is still the same. But we are being attacked by the enemy and are fighting or giving into temptation and are in need of restoration. Even in these storms and floods, we may be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation and the enjoyment of our purchased possession. The fact that the elect cannot lose their salvation is further shown from the fact that we are engraven upon the palm of His hands (Isa. 49:16) and our names having been written in the book of life from all eternity (Rev. 13:8; 20:15). All this is given for the confidence and encouragement of the believers in God’s faithfulness, goodness, grace, promise, and power. 

The Impossibility Of Final Apostasy For The Elect

The biblical and Reformed doctrine of perseverance is a great mountain, which gives the saints assurance and faith in God’s almighty power in overcoming sin in us and completely saving...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 16: Of Good Works - Commentary

...t, are saved and belong to the Lord. A faith that produces no works is useless and cannot justify. The Gospel of John and the letters of John lay a great emphasis on grace, love, obedience to God’s commandments without thinking that through our works we earn God’s favor or salvation. John writes:

1 John 2:3-6 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the Love Of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 

The test of knowing if we truly are in Christ is to look at our lives and see if we can find Christ in our walk. We should test ourselves and see if we are in the faith. According to this passage, there is no true believer who knows God and seeks to not obey God. Rather, all true believers will seek to obey God and walk in the same blameless way as the Lord Jesus did. We know that we fall, we repent and stand up again. But we do not walk our lives in disobedience, for if we continually do that, then it will be manifest that we know Him not. By obeying the Lord in deed and truth, we do not think of ourselves as self-righteous, because we know whatever good comes from our works is the result of God’s sovereign will which moves us to do those things (e.g. Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 13:20-21; Eph. 2:10). But rather we acknowledge that God is at work in us to do His pleasure and give glory alone to the One to Whom glory belongs.

In chapter 3 we read:

1 John 3:18-20 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Again, the same idea is present as in the previous passage. We are called to love in deed and truth. We are to display love by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), but also in doing deeds of love. Through these deeds, the Lord by grace assures us that we belong to Him, as we are bearing fruits in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:9; Acts 26:20) and walking in His commandments. But even if we feel condemned, God is greater than our hearts and it is He Who truly and faithfully weighs our works (1 Sam. 2:3). See also 2 Peter 1:5-11 where Peter lays our fruits which confirm and make sure our calling and election (see more on this passage here). We don’t get called and elected because of them, but they testify to the fact that we have been elected and called.

They Edify Our Brethren

Good works edify our brothers and sisters in Christ. They help them in need and they move them to glorify our common Lord and Savior for the fruits He brings in our lives. We look back at Matthew 5:16 which we wrote about earlier. There, we read about people who will glorify our God because of our works. Certainly, some of those will be believers. But also in v. 15, when the Lord speaks about the lamp which signifies our good works, there at the end of the verse He says that the lamp “gives light to all in the house.” That means that more people are affected by our good works, than us alone. We affect also our environment. As Martin Luther somewhere has said, God does not need our good works, but our neighbors do.

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul speaks about the gifts of...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgment - Commentary

...s much as they can. But John says that the faithful do not fear, when mention is made to them of the last judgment, but that on the contrary they go to God’s tribunal confidently and cheerfully, because they are assured of his paternal love. Every one, then, has made so much proficiency in faith, as he is well prepared in his mind to look forward to the day of judgment.[3]

This “confidence” and “boldness” which we have for the Day of Judgment, a day naturally to be dreaded, especially when we know how sinful we are, is based only upon the Love Of God demonstrated for us in the cross. We do not fear the Day of Judgment, because, says John, fear has to do with punishment and in that scheme, love does not work. John taught us that our sins were washed away by the blood of Christ, and therefore, the punishment for sins was was delivered to God (1 John 1:7-2:2). Therefore, Christians have nothing to dread. The wicked, Scripture declares, “will not stand in the judgment” (Ps. 1:5). Their position and their condition at the Last Judgment is utterly different. The wicked will be in pain and will be in full dread of the everlasting judgment ahead of them, while the righteous have nothing to fear. John Gill notes on 1 John 4:17:

the future judgment, which, though it will be very awful and solemn, Christ the Judge will appear with great majesty and glory, and all men will stand before him, and the books will be opened, and the judgment will proceed with great strictness and justice, and will issue in the everlasting perdition of devils and wicked men, yet the saints will have boldness in it: while evil men and devils tremble at the thoughts of it now, they [the saints] rejoice and are glad; they love it, look for it, long for it, and hasten to it; and will stand fearless, and without the least dread, while others will flee to the rocks, and into the holes of the earth; and they will use freedom of speech with Christ, as the word here signifies; they will sing his new song, and ascribe the glory of their salvation to him, and express their praises of him, and love to him, then and to all eternity...[2]

Then there is the question related to the bad works of believers: will they be judged? Will they be brought into judgment? It seems to me that they will, in fact, be brought into judgment (1 Cor. 4:5). 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 speaks about our works being revealed on the Day of Christ’s coming and our works tested by fire. The passage, though, clearly states that this has nothing to do with our salvation (“though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire”). Well, how does this then fit with the general attitude of boldness and confidence which the believer should have? I believe the resolution to this problem is that these works will be revealed as forgiven works. Our sins and our shortcomings will be revealed as forgiven, and thus will not be condemned. Paul says:

1 Cor. 4:5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

Although things hidden will come to light and the purposes of the heart will be disclosed, yet the fact remains that each Christian will “receive his commendation from God.” The KJV, HCSB, ISV say “praise.” The word is ἔπαινος (epainos, G1868) which basically means “approbation, commendation, praise” and is used 11 times ...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation - Commentary

...ble to have any assurance. John Calvin wrote:

...Paul means, that the Spirit of God gives us such a testimony, that when he is our guide and teacher, our spirit is made assured of the adoption of God: for our mind of its own self, without the preceding testimony of the Spirit, could not convey to us this assurance. There is also here an explanation of the former verse; for when the Spirit testifies to us, that we are the children of God, he at the same time pours into our hearts such confidence, that we venture to call God our Father. And doubtless, since the confidence of the heart alone opens our mouth, except the Spirit testifies to our heart respecting the paternal Love Of God, our tongues would be dumb, so that they could utter no prayers. For we must ever hold fast this principle, — that we do not rightly pray to God, unless we are surely persuaded in our hearts, that he is our Father, when we so call him with our lips. To this there is a corresponding part, — that our faith has no true evidence, except we call upon God. It is not then without reason that Paul, bringing us to this test, shows that it then only appears how truly any one believes, when they who have embraced the promise of grace, exercise themselves in prayers.[3]

This infallible assurance, rather than leading us to arrogance, leads us to humility; rather than leading us to sin, it leads us to holiness. The saint of God who has this blessed assurance does not need to be taught in this because he knows that he has no reason to be arrogant because this blessed assurance is a gift from God granted to Him and is not based on anything in himself. The saint of God has the Spirit of God in himself, Who wages war against the flesh and therefore, cannot live in continual sin (Gal. 5:17ff; c.f. 1 John 3:9). He will rather be led to a life of holiness because of the great display of grace from God toward him whereby he will seek to preach this amazing gospel to others so that they too may come to know God and have this unshakable peace, which is founded upon Christ the Victor.

§3 This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith

  1. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it; yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of means, attain thereunto: and therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.3 
    1. Acts 16:30-34; 1 John 5:13
    2. Rom. 8:15-16; 1 Cor. 2:12; Gal. 4:4-6 with 3:2;1 John 4:13; Eph. 3:17-19; Heb. 6:11-12; 2 Peter 1:5-11
    3. 2 Peter 1:10; Ps. 119:32; Rom. 15:13; Neh. 8:10; 1 John 4:19, 16; Rom. 6:1-2, 11-13; 14:17; Titus 2:11-14

This infallible assurance does not come directly nor doth...so belong to the essence of faith. In other words, just because someone has faith does not mean they also have and know of this infallible assurance. They do have assurance if they have true faith, but they do not have a knowledge of it or they do not embrace it. These two are different. All believers will certainly r...