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



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

...’s appointment, be set apart for the worship of God. This is also evidenced by the feasts and religious days that all religions have had. But this says nothing how long or when this proportion of time should be. That is revealed by His Word as, for example, is the acceptable way of worshiping Him revealed only by His Word (paragraph 1). The Confession then goes on to talk about the day of worship. The commandment is said to be a positive moral, and perpetual commandment. What do these words mean? Positive is something which is added to the law of nature or the Moral Law. It is not intuitive or part of that which is written in the hearts of men. That which is written in the hearts of men is that a proportion of time should be set apart for the worship of God. But as to when this time is, is revealed by His Word. It is also a moral commandment. It has its ground in God and its essence is written in the hearts of all men. Lastly, it is said to be a perpetual commandment, i.e., one which will not go away but remain with man forever. What does this commandment do? It is said to be binding on all men, in all ages that one day in seven is a sabbath to be kept holy unto Him (Ex. 20:8-11). This is the essence of the Sabbath commandment: one day in seven is a Sabbath unto the Lord. Finally, the Confession goes on to identify the specific day of the Sabbath under the Old Testament and the New Testament. Prior to the resurrection of Christ, it fell on the last day of the week. But from the resurrection of Christ, it was changed into the first day of the week (John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10). The first day of the week is also called the Lord’s day in Scripture and history (see the sections below). The Lord’s day is to be continued as the Sabbath under the New Covenant, hence it is called the Christian Sabbath. The observation of the last day of the week has been abolished with the resurrection of Christ and the change of the specific day of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first (or eight).


My Study

This is a topic that has fascinated me for some time. When I first read the Confession, I could remember that I had a general agreement with what was said here, but I couldn’t have made a biblical case for it. At some times I thought that the Sabbath was abolished, other times I thought it was not. I was not sure. A desire came in me a while ago to study this subject and to understand why Reformed Christians observe the Christian Sabbath. By the grace of God, I was and am convinced that the Lord’s commandments are not burdens, but a path of joy and liberty. I could never understand those who limit the Old Testament times to law and legalism. I can’t read the Psalms (e.g. 1, 119) and say, “Yes, poor fellas. They didn’t know what grace was and they were trying to gain righteousness through the law.” I knew that these people were saved by grace through faith, the same way that I have been saved by God and they praised God and His Laws. They were not a burden to them, as they seem to be to modern Christianity. Therefore, if the Sabbath commandment is still binding, I knew that God designed it for my good and not to be a burden of legalism to me. Furthermore, it is clear that the Pharisees were, in fact, legalists concerning not only the Sabbath but many other matters. Yet, they were rebuked by our Lord on many points, including the Sabbath.

I was familiar with the usual idea of “only nine of the Ten Commandments ...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 9: Of Free Will - Commentary

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The difference is between the thinking and the meditating upon the actions. The desire, the understanding of good and evil, etc. They do not have an understanding as us humans, created in the Imago Dei, do and act upon that. They do things simply by their nature and instinct, not by premeditated understanding and desires as humans. Edwards notes a difference between us and the Supreme Being. The difference lies in the moral inducements which arise from the difference of circumstance. He differentiates between the moral agency of a ruler and a subject. God is not capable of being influenced by the Moral Law, its sanctions and threatenings as we the subjects are, though both moral agents and the Supreme Being are influenced by a knowledge of the law. The law of God is simply a reflection of His own nature. It is not something outside of Him, constraining Him or hindering Him from some actions or choices. 

And therefore the moral Agency of the Supreme Being, who acts only in the capacity of a ruler towards his creatures, and never as a subject, differs in that respect from the moral Agency of created intelligent beings. God’s actions, and particularly those which he exerts as a moral governor, have moral qualifications, and are morally good in the highest degree. They are most perfectly holy and righteous; and we must conceive of Him as influenced, in the highest degree, by that which, above all others, is properly a moral inducement; viz. the moral good which He sees in such and such things: and therefore He is, in the most proper sense, a moral Agent, the source of all moral ability and Agency, the fountain and rule of all virtue and moral good; though by reason of his being supreme over all, it is not possible He should be under the influence of law or command, promises or threatenings, rewards or punishments, counsels or warnings. The essential qualities of a moral Agent are in God, in the greatest possible perfection; such as understanding to perceive the difference between moral good and evil; a capacity of discerning that moral worthiness and demerit, by which some things are praiseworthy, others deserving of blame and punishment; and also a capacity of choice, and choice guided by understanding, and a power of acting according to his choice or pleasure, and being capable of doing those things which are in the highest sense praiseworthy. And herein does very much consist that image of God wherein he made man, (which we read of, Gen 1:26-27, and Gen 9:6) by which God distinguished man from the beasts, viz. in those faculties and principles of nature, whereby He is capable of moral Agency. Herein very much consists the natural image of God; whereas the spiritual and moral image, wherein man was made at first, consisted in that moral excellency with which he was endowed.[26]

God is not under the Moral Law as men are under the law, as He is the Supreme Being and the Lawgiver, which is a reflection of His nature. God is not able to do that which is contrary to His nature and we praise Him for that. The Psalmist sings,  “You are good and do good; teach me your statutes” (Ps. 119:68). God’s good actions spring from the fact that He is good (Matt. 19:17).

Glossary of Edwards

Moral Agency

  • A moral agent is a being that is capable of those actions that have a moral quality, and which can properly be denominated good or evil in a moral sense, virtuous or vicious, commendab...

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

...ry referent and meaning in a Messianic kingdom context.[19]

Dr. Renihan summarizes that “types reveal that which is greater and other than themselves. They have a purpose and meaning in their own contexts, and when their fulfillment arrives, they are removed.”[20]

The Law of Creation

It is important to mention something about that which is called the Law of Creation or the Moral Law here. What I mean by that is the Moral Law of God that is put in us by virtue of us being in His image (see chapter 4:2 on the image of God). This Law of Creation was given to Adam and Eve from their creation. The Lord put into their minds and hearts certain basic laws which all humans have. This basic Law was summarized in the Ten Commandments and given at Sinai. You don’t have to know the Ten Commandments to know, for example, that stealing, coveting, lying, murdering and dishonoring God are wrong. You know it intuitively. You know it by virtue of the fact that you are a creature of God, in covenant with Him either in Adam or in Christ. All that this means is that the Ten Commandments were not new commandments, but were a summary of the basic Moral Law which is on the mind and heart of every image-bearer of God. Of the fact that everyone has the basic Moral Law, we read in Romans 1-2. I would like to look at Romans 2:12-16:

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. 

We could go all ways into this passage, but let me focus on what I want to prove, namely, that every human has the basic Moral Law stamped upon them. This is clear from reading the passage. What we must realize is the two-fold way that Paul is using the word law. When in reference to Jews, he’s using it as the complete revelation of God’s Law given under Moses, the written law of God. But when speaking of the Gentiles, they do not have such a revelation of God, but they sure know Him and His Law (Rom. 1:18ff, 32). Gentiles do not have the written law, but they, by nature, do what the law requires. Why? Because the law contains the basic moral precepts for all humans and everyone knows right from wrong. Obviously, let us not suppose that this means that everyone does what is right because men are sinful and our consciences can be weakened. The work of the Law, or the summary of the Law, is written on their hearts and in their consciences. From there they also know the God they deny and that is the basis of their condemnation.

To not go more than necessary, I summarize, every image-bearer knows the Law of God and the Lawgiver and they are obligated to obey, their disobedience and rejection of the true God lead to their demise. The Ten Commandments sealed and made sure the Law that was given in the Garden to man. It did not leave “maybes” and “ifs.” It made certain what the Law of Creation was by summarizing it for us in stone. Because our nature is sinful, our consc...

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

...of the “we” in v. 5. Paul is writing to a largely Gentile audience about the dangers of placing the Jewish traditions and laws above the Gospel of Christ. The way that I understand this is in the same way that I understand Romans 2:12-14 (see here and here). Both Jews and Gentiles are under the Law and possess it, yet in a different sense. Jews possess the fullness of the written Law, while Gentiles only have the Moral Law written on their hearts. Therefore, the way that I understand Galatians 4:4-5 is that the Lord Jesus was indeed born under the Mosaic Law to redeem those who were under the Law. But the Law of Moses is itself an expansion of the Law of Creation given to us through Adam our federal head. In essence, it is the same as the Mosaic and has the same Moral Law as the Decalogue. Therefore, both Jews and Gentiles could properly be said to be under the law and thus were redeemed through Christ. Matthew Poole comments on this phrase:

This makes it appear, that Christ’s being under the law must be understood as well of the moral as of the ceremonial law, that is, subject to the precepts of it, as well as to the curse of it; for if the end of this being born under the law, was to redeem those that were under it, that he had not reached by being merely under the ceremonial law; for the Gentiles were not under that law, but only under the Moral Law; and they also were to be redeemed, and to receive the great privilege of [adoption.][4]

The Expositor’s Greek Testament puts it in this way:

The description under Law includes Gentiles as well as Jews: for though they had not the Law, they were not without Law to God (cf. Romans 2:14…): they have indeed been expressly specified in Galatians 3:14 as included in the redemption from the curse of the Law.[15]

The Lord Jesus fulfilled the Law on our behalf. This is part of His active obedience. The Lord Jesus, the federal head of the New Covenant people of God, was fulfilling the Law for us and in our place. Since we could not fulfill the Law, we were doomed, but when Christ fulfilled the Law for us, both in its commandments and curses, we were set free! The purpose of Christ’s coming was not to destroy the Law but to fulfill it.

Matt. 5:17-19 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 

Perhaps in the context that the Lord, as the new Moses, was giving a Law to His people on the mountain, people might have gotten the idea that He was doing away with the Mosaic Law. The Lord is emphatic. He by no means is destroying, abrogating or doing away with the Law. Rather He is come to fulfill the Law. To do it and to be the true representation of it. To be a true keeper of the Law of God and work the Law in the hearts of His people. The Lord also speaks of the Scriptures in the phrase “Law or the Prophets.” He has come so that the many types, shadows, and prophecies from the Old Testament may have their fulfillment in Him and His people (2 Cor. 1:20). He had to identify Himself with His people and that is why He was baptized. To identify H...

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

...nness; animal sacrifices; dietary laws; feasts; ceremonial Sabbaths and so on. These things have been fulfilled in Christ thereby have been done away with. Therefore, anyone obligating the people of God to obey those laws is intruding upon the liberty which God has given His children from the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and is therefore anti-Gospel. This was the law which the Judaizers wanted the Gentile Christians to follow and about which Paul said that it functioned as a dividing wall between Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:14-16). As Christians, we are freed from the rigor and curse of the law (point 3 above), we are freed from the ceremonial law, but we are not freed from the Moral Law. In fact, the Moral Law is enforced in chapter 19 of the Confession. Therefore, we should not understand obedience to God’s Moral Law to be something that is intruding on our liberty, but rather, something which we, having liberty, are called to walk in.

2. Greater boldness of access to the throne of grace

This point is similar to point 10 above. The Epistle to the Hebrews says:

Heb. 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We have confidence in Christ Jesus to find grace from God. We no longer fear God as a judge who will condemn us, but we love and know Him as our caring and beloved Father who has saved us, although we hated Him. Calvin notes concerning this passage:

Let us therefore come boldly, or, with confidence, etc. He draws this conclusion, — that an access to God is open to all who come to him relying on Christ the Mediator; nay, he exhorts the faithful to venture without any hesitation to present themselves before God. And the chief benefit of divine teaching is a sure confidence in calling on God, as, on the other hand, the whole of religion falls to the ground, and is lost when this certainty is taken away from consciences.[3]

We know and we are confident that if we go to God through Christ we will find Him sitting on the throne of grace from which He will pour His grace upon His needy children. We strive to love God and obey Him, not because we fear His punishment, but because He has displayed amazing grace and love to us and therefore, we strive to show our thankfulness and love for Him. We love Him as our Father, and as His children, we seek to do that which is pleasing in His sight.

3. Fuller communications of the free Spirit of God

The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers after the ascension of Christ is greater than His work prior to that event. John says that the Spirit “dwells with you [the disciples] and will be in you” (John 14:17). He is at the present with them and around them, but in the future, He will be in them. Furthermore,

John 7:39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Albert Barnes notes:

For the Holy Ghost was not yet given. Was not given in such full and large measures as should be after Jesus had ascended to heaven. Certain measures of the influences of the Spirit had been always given in the conversion and sanctification of the ancient saints and prophets; but that abundant and full effusion which the apostles were permitted afterward to behold had not yet been given. See Acts 2:1-12; Acts 10:44; Acts 10:45.[6]

It was necessary for the Son to go back ...

1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

... 23
  • Col. 2:14, 16-17; Eph. 2:14-16
  • Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:16-17
    1. To them also he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution; their general equity only being of moral use.
      1. Luke 21:20-24; Acts 6:13-14; Heb. 9:18-19 with 8:7, 13; 9:10; 10:1
      2. 1 Cor. 5:1; 9:8-10
    1. The Moral Law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.
      1. Matt. 19:16-22; Rom. 2:14-15; 3:19-20; 6:14; 7:6; 8:3; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Cor. 7:19 with Gal. 5:6; 6:15; Eph. 4:25-6:4; James 2:11-12
      2. James 2:10-11
      3. Matt. 5:17-19; Rom. 3:31; 1 Cor. 9:21; James 2:8
    1. Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned, yet it is of great use to them as well as to others, in that as a rule of life, informing them of the will of God and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their natures, hearts, and lives, so as examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against, sin; together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ and the perfection of his obedience; it is likewise of use to the regenerate to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin; and the threatenings of it serve to shew what even their sins deserve, and what afflictions in this life they may expect for them, although freed from the curse and unallayed rigour thereof. The promises of it likewise shew them God’s approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof, though not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works; so as man’s doing good and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law and not under grace.
      1. Acts 13:39; Rom. 6:14; 8:1; 10:4; Gal. 2:16; 4:4, 5
      2. Rom. 7:12, 22, 25; Ps. 119:4-6; 1 Cor. 7:19
      3. Rom. 3:20; 7:7, 9,14, 24; 8:3; James 1:23-25
      4. James 2:11; Ps. 119:101, 104, 128
      5. Eph. 6:2-3; Ps. 37:11; Matt. 5:6; Ps. 19:11
      6. Luke 17:10
      7. Matt. 3:7; Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:40; Heb. 11:26; 1 Peter 3:8-13
    1. Neither are the aforementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it, the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done. 
      1. Gal. 3:21; Jer. 31:33; Ezek. 36:27; Rom. 8:4; Titus 2:14

    Chapter 20: Of the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof [Return] [Commentary]

    1. The covenant of works being broken by sin, and made unprofitable unto life, God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, as the means of calling the elect, and begetting in them faith and repentance; in this promise the gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and [is] therein effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners.
      1. Gen. 3:15 with Eph. 2:12; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 11:13; Luke 2:25, 38; 23:51; Rom. 4:13-16; Gal. 3:15-22; Rev. 13:8
    1. This promise of Christ, and salv...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 4: Of Creation - Commentary


    Besides the law of God which was written in their hearts, they receive a positive commandment (Gen. 2:16-17). Something which is not grounded in the nature of God. The Ten Commandments, for example, are things that are grounded in the nature of God. They are commanded because they are good and reflect God. Positive commands, on the other hand, are good because they are commanded. Examples of positive commands are the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. They do not have their ground in the nature of God neither in man. But since they are commanded by God, they are good and they are to be obeyed. So also, in addition to the Moral Law of God in their hearts, God gave Adam and Eve the command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17) and while they kept it, they were happy in their communion with God. Not only that, but this obedience to God and His command made it such that Adam and Eve had dominion over the creatures. Their obedience did not only affect their vertical relationship, but also the horizontal so much so that all other creatures helped them to fulfill or was obedient to their God-given commission to subdue the earth and have dominion over the other creatures (Gen. 1:28).

    Not only was the Law written on their hearts, but they also had a positive command delivered to them verbally so as to cast away any doubt or excuse. The command was simple and to the point:

    Gen. 2:15-17 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 

    But our parents did disobey God’s command and brought condemnation to all men. But all those who trust in Christ are justified because of what Christ did on their behalf by His perfect life and on Golgotha (Rom. 5:17-21). Our parents, at the moment of their rebellion, lost holy and sinless communion with God for themselves and for all their descendants when they took and ate of the forbidden fruit, and thus bringing condemnation and death upon all men. See chapter 7 for more on the Covenant of Works and chapter 6 for more on the Fall.


    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 

    (Genesis 1:1)


    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. ^ See more at Creation Ministries International. For example Jonathan Sarfati. How could the days of Genesis 1 be literal if the sun wasn’t created until the fourth day?
    3. ^ What Luther Says. A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, compiled by Ewald M. Plass, Concordia, 1959, p. 93.
    4. ^ John Calvin. Institutes of the Christian Religion. 3.21.4.
    5. ^ Louis Berkhof. Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Banner of Truth Trust. 1963). p. 203.
    6. ^ John M. Frame. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014). p. 785.
    7. ^ J. I. Packer. Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993). p. 71.
    8. ^ Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994). p. 444.
    9. ^ Richard C. Barcellos. Getting the Garden Right: Adam’s Wo...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

    ...s is enough to establish that the people for whom Christ is the Mediator are His covenant people, and His mediation is perfect which brings people to eternal salvation. In summary, Christ died for His covenant people, Christ intercedes and mediates for His covenant people, and Christ brings all His covenant people to salvation, without losing any.

    4. The blessings of the New Covenant. Now we go back to Hebrews 8:10-11. The Lord now gives us a description of the New Covenant. He does not promise a new covenant without telling us what it will be. There is a fundamental difference and a new aspect to this covenant which is absent in the others. (1) The Moral Law of God will no longer be on tablets of stone, but it will be on tablets of heart (2 Cor. 3:3). The Law of God will become a part of our nature, it will be written on our hearts and our minds and the Lord will give us the ability and willingness to obey (Ezek. 36:27). This is not said about the other covenants. This is a unique promise of the New Covenant. This is the circumcision of the heart. To be sure, circumcision of the heart is sometimes commanded by God (Deut. 10:16; Jer. 4:4), but it is not granted as part of the Old Covenant. Certainly, believers under the Old Covenant, were circumcised of heart and had the Law of God written on their hearts, but not in virtue of the Abrahamic or Mosaic Covenant, but by virtue of the retroactive New Covenant or the Covenant of Grace, which was in promise form before its formal establishment in Christ’s blood (see chapter 8:6 for more on this). The members of this covenant will have the Law upon their hearts and minds, it will be part of their nature, unlike Old Covenant Israel which had the Law merely in stone, and some of them, who were elect and true believers, had the law in their hearts (e.g., Ps. 40:8). (2) God being our God and we being His people is not a unique promise for the New Covenant, but part of the Abrahamic as well as the Mosaic covenants. But obviously, this is promise a relative to the covenant in which it is given. Our relationship with God, under the New Covenant, is much greater than the saints of old experienced. We have the completed Scriptures, we have Christ not in the shadows, but in the realities. We have a greater knowledge of God and His Father’s heart and so on. Though this is not a unique aspect of the New Covenant, yet the intimacy between the redeemed and God is greater in the New Covenant. It cannot merely be assumed that because the same words of the promise are repeated that they are speaking of the one and same promise. God was a God to all Israel, even unbelievers and they could claim Him as their God, but in a different sense than that which is given here. (3) Another unique part of the New Covenant is the fact that there will be no need to teach people, who are part of the covenant, about salvation (knowing the Lord). This obviously does not mean we do not need to study the Bible and learn about God, but rather, the point of Hebrews 8:11 is more specific, namely, the Israel with whom God will make this New Covenant will all know Him salvifically. They will not merely hear about God and know Him among many other gods, but they will know Him intimately and be among His children and elect. That this fact concerns everyone in the covenant is seen in the way that it is described, it is said to be “all shall know me from the least of them to the greatest.” Even if there are children in the Covenant...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper - Commentary

    ...:5; Col. 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 Cor. 11:26; Luke 22:14-20

    Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances and commandments of positive and sovereign institution. They have been instituted and commanded by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver and are, therefore, to be obeyed and continued in His church to the end of the world (Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:26). What does it mean that the ordinances are of positive and sovereign institution? It means that Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are moral commandments which are added to the Moral Law already existing. They are not things which of themselves are moral, but they are moral because they have been instituted and appointed by the Lord Jesus. They are given to us as a law, which the Lord Jesus Christ, by His power and authority as Head, King and Lawgiver of the church has instituted. Finally, baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only ordinances under the New Covenant which the Confession speaks about. Christ has given us only to ordinances which we ought to obey, not seven sacraments according to Roman Catholic teaching.

    Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are two ordinances or sacraments which the Lord Jesus by sovereign authority instituted and commanded us to observe. Now, what does the word “positive” mean in the sentence “positive and sovereign institution”? Does it mean something that is happy and good, over against something negative and bad? No, that is not the contextual meaning of the word. Rather, by “positive institution” or “positive command,” the Confession means an institution or a command that is not inherently moral. A person who has not read the Bible or heard of the God of the Bible, still knows that murder is wrong and lying is bad. But, can it be argued that they know that not being baptized is sin and not partaking of the Lord’s Supper is sin? Obviously not. So, these things, just like the command of Genesis 2:16-17 in the Garden, are things which are not inherently moral, but become moral when God commands them. They are things that are good because commanded, in contrast to pure Moral Laws that are commanded because they are good. The Lord Christ, by His own power and authority, established two ordinances for the New Covenant people of God. But, what do we mean by ordinance or sacrament? A.H. Strong writes, “By the ordinances, we mean those outward rites which Christ has appointed to be administered in his church as visible signs of the saving truth of the gospel. They are signs, in that they vividly express this truth and confirm it to the believer.”[2] They are the only visible signs which God has given His people to show the truths of the gospel with. He has not allowed us to use images of any of the blessed Persons of the Trinity (see here), but has given us the bread and wine, and the waters of baptism as signs which symbolize the truths of the gospel.

    These two ordinances are to be continued to the end of this world. In the case of the Supper, this could be seen in 1 Corinthians 11:26. We proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore, since He has not yet come, we should celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Furthermore, His coming will be at the end of the age (Matt. 13:36-43). Therefore, as long as this present age goes on, the people of God ought to proclaim the Lord’s death through the cup and the bread. As for baptism, the Lord, before ascending to His rightful throne, commanded us:

    Matt. 28:19-20 ​Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizin...