The Staunch Calvinist

"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

...rmore, He ministers grace to us as we intimately meet with Him. Therefore, this holy ordinance should not be neglected.

Some churches choose to partake of the Lord Supper every Lord’s Day, but the danger in this is that it becomes very usual and nothing special. Other congregations celebrate the Lord’s Table once a month (my current church non-Reformed church), or once in three months, or some even once a year. I believe that once a month is pretty good and I find myself often looking forward to the first Lord’s Day of the month to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Once in three months and once a year seems pretty long to me to withhold the people of God from this MEANS OF GRACE. I think that there is directions in the Word of God to celebrate it every Lord's Day as in the words of Paul, "as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1Cor. 11:26). Don't we want to proclaim the Lord's sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection every Lord's Day? Don't we want to remember Him each Lord's Day through this ordinance (e.g. 1Cor. 11:24)? Why then not celebrate this token which the Lord Christ has given us each Lord's Day? Furthermore and especially for Reformed churches who believe the Lord's Supper to be a MEANS OF GRACE, why withheld this amazing MEANS OF GRACE from your people for so long? More on the Lord’s Supper in chapter 30, Lord willing.


§6 God Is To Be Worshipped Everywhere In Spirit And In Truth

  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 3 daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies,which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calleth thereunto. 7
    1. John 4:21
    2. Mal. 1:11; 1 Tim. 2:8; John 4:23-24
    3. Deut. 6:6-7; Job 1:5; 1 Peter 3:7
    4. Matt. 6:11
    5. Matt. 6:6
    6. Ps. 84:1-2, 10; Matt. 18:20; 1 Cor. 3:16; 14:25; Eph. 2:21-22
    7. Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:25

In the Old Testament, the place for prayer and the proper worship of God was the Temple in Jerusalem. But that is no longer the case. God is to be worshipped everywhere in the universe. There is no special place which God has appointed God He will receive our worship and hear our prayers under the New Covenant. He is everywhere with us. We can worship Him loudly or in silence. Thank You, Lord! See our discussion above on John 5.

We are not to neglect the gathering together of God's people on the Lord’s Day. Rather, we should look forward to the Lord’s Day on which we come with God’s people to publically worship our Lord, as a local church joining the worship in heaven (Heb. 12:22). We are not to be those who “neglect to meet together”, rather “encouraging one another” to meet as a corporate body to worship the Lord. We should be joyful when we see the Lord’s Day coming, preparing ourselves to the public worship of God in His congregation. We should be as joyful as David was:

Ps. 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”

We do not treat the church gathering as something common, but rather consider it holy and solemn. For the Lord manifests Himself to us there in a special manner, in the midst of His local community. We should battle against the common sinful ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 30: Of the Lord's Supper - Commentary

...com/the-word-modules/file/286-works-of-john-gill/">Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc. ...

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

...es fall into great sins whereby they come to the false conclusion that they were never saved in the first place, rather than realize that we all are sinners and we need to renew our repentance before God and go to Him and beg for cleansing in Christ’s blood and forgiveness (see chapter 15). We sometime wonder how long God can tolerate us, we are amazed at how wicked we sometimes can be, yet the Lord does not smite us in His righteous wrath.

Some get their assurance “shaken, diminished and intermitted” because they neglect the MEANS OF GRACE by which we come to know our assurance, for example Bible reading and communion with God in prayer. They get a season in their life where they are not that interested (anymore) in the things of God, yet because they're true believers, they will not fall away from the faith and apostatize (see chapter 17), but rather will come again to repentance and seek God earnestly. They cannot go on sinning, because God's Seed is in them which makes it impossible for the born again believer to live a life of continual sin (see comments on 1John 3:9 here). Even in our low times God will not forsake us, even if we forsake Him. He is always on our side even if we think or feel that He is not and therefore He will not leave us in our sin, but rather lead us back to Him as the Good Shepherd that He is does for the straying sheep.

Lord, lead us to test ourselves in light of Your Word and in light of Your work in us and for us in Jesus Christ our precious Lord and Savior. Lord, we are grateful for this blessed assurance that is ours in Jesus Christ. Thank You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Glory to the Triune! SDG.

 

 

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life

(1 John 5:13)

Footnotes

  1. ^ Many Scriptural references have been supplied by Samuel Waldron's Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which was apparently supplied by the Westminster Confession of Faith 1646.
  2. ^ Sam E. Waldron. A Modern Exposition Of The 1689 Baptist Confession Of Faith. (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 2013). pp. 279-280.
  3. a, b John Calvin. Commentaries. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  4. ^ John Gill. Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  5. ^ Matthew Poole. English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  6. ^ Joseph Henry Thayer's Greek Definitions. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. See reference for the Strong's number.
  7. ^ William D. Mounce. Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. (Zondervan, 2006). p. 1106, number 1010.
  8. ^ ibid., pp. 1106-1107, number 1011.
...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 13: Of Sanctification - Commentary

...fGrace"Will in the State of Grace. There I wrote about the fact that we are no longer under the dominion of sin, but there still remains corruption and sin in our body. We are no longer slaves to sin, but that does not mean that we no longer sin, but it does mean that we cannot live in a continued lifestyle of sin and still be regenerate (1Jn 3:9-10).

Paul writes:

Rom 6:14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

This is a continuous process wherein we battle and are at war with our lusts and sins, here we through the MEANS OF GRACE as the Word and Spirit continually war against our lusts. It's not something that happens at one moment as justification, but it's an ongoing continuous process throughout our life on earth.

Man Made Able to Obey God

Before regeneration and faith we were unable and unwilling to do that which is pleasing to God, but now we are made able by God and His Spirit to walk in His ways and do that in which He has pleasure. Ezekiel 36:25-27 is my favorite passage on this regard because it addresses my depravity and provides a solution for my helplessness. It is God who promises to work in us His pleasure and to cause us to walk in His ways. It is God who has given the regenerate His Holy Spirit through Whom the fruits pleasing to God are brought forth (Gal 5:22-23). It is He who has made us a new creation (2Cor 15:17) with a new nature, i.e. a new heart and a new spirit which desires to do the will of God and is no longer a slave of sin.

To similar effect is Philippians 2:11-12 which we briefly looked at above. Another passage is Hebrews 13:20-21 which is a source of great comfort:

Heb 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 

It is the God of peace, thanks to Whom we too who have been justified by Christ's blood have shalom (Rom. 5:1), Who works in us His will. It is He who gives us everything that is necessary so that we may do His will. Meaning, that our obedience to God does not spring forth from ourself, but instead it is worked in us by God the only Sovereign as we seek His face in prayer and in the Word. God gives us and equips us with everything good, so that we will walk in His statutes and rules, and so that we may do His will to the glory of His name. Ultimately, it is He who is "working in us that which is pleasing in his sight." It does not mean that we are passive and we do not do anything (contra the anti-Calvinists), but it means that those things did not spring from our nature and nor are they for our glory, but the glory is to God alone.

The Differences Between Sanctification and Justification

Grudem makes some helpful observations concerning the difference between justification and sanctification in the table below which is good to keep in mind and not mix these two things. In sanctification, unlike justification, man works together with God for his sanctification. But he can only do so because of the grace of God which is working in him to do God’s pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). This phraseology (God working in us) is used to not lead men to a passive mode where they do nothing in their sanctification, but all the more to encourage them...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

...The Lord rejects them as mere professors and not possessors of faith. True faith always works itself into obedience to God's commands (Rom. 1:5; 16:26; Jam. 1:22; 1John 2:3, 19; 3:7). Their faith may not have exactly been temporal, but their faith was a dead faith and thus not biblical and saving faith (Jam. 2:17, 26).

More examples from our Lord's earthly ministry could be mentioned, but I believe that these passages demonstrate that a person may have some kind of faith, other than saving and everlasting faith, which is not saving, but false faith.

The Lasting and Growing Faith

Those who neglect the use of the regular MEANS OF GRACE to grow their faith will be weak, but will not be lost totally. The Spirit through them will always win and bring them to His Kingdom. We may see this point in the example of Peter. The Lord Christ before His death told Peter that he would deny Him three times (Matt. 26:33-35). When this is fulfilled the Scripture tells us that Peter “wept bitterly" (Matt. 26:75) because of his rejection of his Lord. His faith at that time was very weak. But when the Lord had risen and He came to all the disciples at the end of the Gospel of John, He restores Peter by having Him affirm his love for his Lord (John 21:15-19). Peter later becomes the first evangelist to speak to the crowd about the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost. He becomes the one through whom the Gentiles are brought to Christ. He becomes the one who is crucified upside down following the footsteps of his Lord. We see Peter's very weak faith and trust in Jesus when he denied Him, but then when the Spirit came and when the Lord Jesus restored Peter, we see his bold and fearless faith that he could stand against authorities and say “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

It is at this time proper to contrast the faith of Judas with the faith of Peter. Judas, when he realized his sin did not come with repentance and faith to the Lord Jesus but went and hanged himself. That is not the case with Peter. Both get told what they will do to the Lord before they do it (John 13:26-27; Matt. 26:31-35). What is the reason that Peter comes to true repentance? It is I believe the intercession of Jesus on His behalf:

Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 

The prayer of the Lord Jesus for Peter assures the result that Peter will turn again, i.e., repent. Notice that the Lord does not say, “if you have turned again”, but “when you have turned again”. The intercession of Jesus on behalf of Peter assures his repentance and continuance in the faith. It is likewise for us who believed and place our hope in Christ the Lord for everything. Christ intercedes for us before the Father (Heb. 7:25; 1John 2:1-2). I believe we may rightly apply the passage about Peter to us. When we feel low and weak in our faith, Christ the risen Lord of glory and mercy is praying that our faith may not fail, but rather strengthened. True and lasting faith is of divine origin and it is a gift granted by sovereign grace. See chapter 11 on faith as a gift.

 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

(Hebrews 11:1)

Footnotes

  1. ^ Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Grand Rapids, M...