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

...ore, 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

There was a time when the Lord chose special places where His religious worship ought to have taken place. But now under the gospel and the time of the New Covenant, it is not tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed (John 4:23-24), as Daniel did (Dan. 6:10). Since God is spirit and is everywhere, we can worship Him anywhere we are. Furthermore, believers have God indwelling them! Therefore, He is always with us. Our worship should be in spirit and in truth and at various places and occasions as in private familiesin secret each one by himself and most solemnly in the public assemblies on the Lord's Day, which we should not neglect or forsake (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 Lor...


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

...etimes 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 sometimes 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 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.
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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 13: Of Sanctification - Commentary

...StateOfGrace"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. We are comma...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

...ication"chapter 11:2). Furthermore, this grace of faith...is the work of the Spirit of Christ (John 6:63; Ezek. 36:25-27). Faith is our response to the call of God, but it does not originate with us. It is granted to us by God and it is worked in us by the Holy Spirit through regeneration and the creation of the new man in Christ. It is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word (2 Thess. 2:13 ; 1Pet. 1:23), i.e., by the preaching of the Gospel coupled with the work of the Spirit of Christ. This faith is further strengthened by the Means Of Grace. These are the Gospel ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But also prayer, Bible reading and study, the communion of the saints and other things prescribed and commended in the Word of truth. By these means, faith is not created, but it is increased and strengthened.


The Grace of Faith

We have already argued that faith is a gift in chapter 11 on Justification. It is something that God gave us to exercise. We Calvinists do not believe that God believes for us, but that our faith finds its origin in God and comes to us through regeneration (1John 5:1, see our discussion on this passage). By this faith, which is granted to us (Phil. 1:19) by the grace of God, we believe and are justified. The Word tells us that "whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). We believe, are justified and received into the arms of God (Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1; 10:9). Again and again we are told that we are justified by faith (e.g. Rom. 3:28-30; 4:5-10; 9:30; 10:4; 11:6; Gal. 2:15-16; Phil. 3:9) and then we understand that even our faith was by grace granted to us by God (Eph. 2:8-9; Acts. 3:16; 18:27; 2Pet. 1:1). So that we can truly say: Soli Deo Gloria! There is no contribution on our part for our salvation except the sin that made it necessary, as Jonathan Edwards said.

This faith is worked in us through the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who regenerates us and gives us new life (John 3:5-8) by which faith comes (1John 5:1). Regeneration precedes faith. The Spirit uses the Word of God preached to us in the Gospel. The Gospel proclamation goes out and the Spirit uses the Gospel proclamation to draw the elect to the Son (John 6:44, 63). 2 Thessalonians 2:14 says that God called us through the Gospel. The Lord did not merely elect a people and leave them. No, He goes out and through the Gospel preachers/witnesses draws them to the Son in faith and repentance. Peter writes:

1Pet 1:22-23 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God

It is through the Word of God that regeneration came and we became Christians. It is not without the Gospel that we became Christians. But it is through the Spirit of God working on our hearts in many ways through Bible reading, discussions and the proclamation of the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation among other things that God saves us. Peter says that "this word is the good news that was preached to you" (1Pet. 1:25). It is through the Gospel that the Sovereign Lord chooses to work.

Means Appointed For the Strengthening of our Faith

It is common sense and obvious I believe that things like Bible reading/study, the ordinances, namely—the Lord's Supper and Baptism, prayer, fellowship with other beli...