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

...www.amazon.com/Finger-God-Biblical-Theological-Threefold/dp/1845506014/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463785115&sr=8-1&keywords=from+the+finger+of+God"From the Finger of God. This is technical stuff containing a lot of Hebrew and Greek, and interacting with a lot of pro and con literature. It is not a book for the average reader. Waht is to follow is not a detailed case for the threefold division, but this is what convinces me of the validity of the division. That the threefold divisions are not neat and exact is acknowledged by the Confession. In paragraph 3 it is said that “God was pleased to give to the people of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typical ORDINANCES, partly of worship…partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties” meaning that just because there are ceremonial laws does not mean that they do not have moral aspects. In fact, the ceremonial laws were moral as long as they were binding on the people of Israel and had not yet been fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. They were positive laws for only a limited time, unlike the Decalogue which is moral law for all time and rooted in the nature of God.

The Division Of The Law In The Old Testament

The Division in the Pentateuch

From the beginning, the Decalogue is distinguished from the other laws which God gave. Most of the Pentateuch contains laws given by God to Moses. Although the Pentateuch is often called the Law of Moses, this does not refer to the origination of the laws, but rather the way in which they were communicated to Israel. The Decalogue alone was spoken and delivered directly by God, all the other laws were mediated through Moses, but the Ten Commandments were directly spoken by God to the people (Ex. 20:1; Deut. 4:33; 5:4-5, 22; 9:10). This already gives us the idea that there is some significance to the Decalogue, for why would God only speak these Ten Commandments and not the other ones directly to Israel? This shows their primacy over the others. In fact, Moses tells the purpose why God directly came and spoke the words to Israel, namely, “that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin” (Ex. 20:20). Obviously, this does not mean that they would not sin merely because of hearing the Law, they surely did. But it does increases their liability as they heard these words directly from the mouth of God and still rebelled against Him.

That only the Decalogue was written by the finger of God on tablets of stone shows their everlasting character (Ex. 24:12; 31:18; 32:15-16; Deut. 4:13; 5:22; 9:10). To be written in stone means that they are meant to survive and remain unchanged, unlike all the other laws which were communicated by God to Moses and written by the hand of Moses. This shows non-temporary character of the Decalogue, unlike the ceremonial and judicial laws. Furthermore, the Decalogue was to be stored in the Ark of the Covenant showing their centrality to the Old Covenant, unlike all the other laws (Ex. 25:16; 40:20; Deut. 10:1-5; Heb. 9:4).

The Decalogue has a timeless character to it, unlike the other laws which were only for a particular time shadowing the sacrifice of Christ and thereby showing that they were temporary. The laws of the Decalogue are “obvious” and self-evident to man in general. If God exists, we are to worship Him and to obey Him. If we want to live a good life, we must love our neighbor as ourselves. These laws are not things like brining animal sacrifices or not eating pork, which do...


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

...

Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper

What does it mean that the ORDINANCES are positive institution? What is the difference between the Reformed and Roman Catholic understanding of the sacraments? Who may administer the ORDINANCES?


§1 ORDINANCES Of Positive And Sovereign Institution

  1. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ORDINANCES of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world. 2
    1. Matt. 28:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:24-25[1]
    2. Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 1:13-17; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 Cor. 11:26; Luke 22:14-20

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 image 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, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

An important part of discipleship is the baptism of believers. Therefore, as long as people believe, baptism should be practiced. As long as the Lord Jesus receives new disciples, baptism should be observed. After t...


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

...ligion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature: Whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense: Whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ORDINANCES which God has appointed.[8]

Nadab and Abihu

Lev. 10:1-3 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace.

I think the clearest and most cited example of the Regulative Principle of Worship is the case of Nadab and Abihu. In a sense, you may have sympathy with them and we may see the reaction of God as over the top. But then again, as priests, they had to listen carefully to what God commanded and do that, not turning to the right or to the left. ‘The mere fact that they dared to bring “unauthorized fire” (the translation of the NIV) brought fiery death upon them.’[9]In this case, as was with Cain and Abel, we have the principle of "what is not commanded, is forbidden."

In Exodus 24:1, Nadab and Abihu are explicitly mentioned and commanded to come and worship in the very presence of God. In fact, the text says “they saw the God of Israel” (Ex. 24:9-10). In Exodus 28:1, they were instituted as priests to the Lord. But in Leviticus 10 we read of the action which brought their immediate death. They dared bring something to the worship of God which He had not commanded. There is not a command that no other fire may be presented before the Lord. The fire which Nadab and Abihu brought was not from the fire which the LORD sent from heaven:

Lev. 9:24 And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

This fire lit the burnt offering and the altar. All the other necessary fires had to be taken from this fire. But the fire which Nadab and Abihu brought, was “unauthorized” or “strange” because it came from another source. Then the text explicitly says that concerning this strange fire “he had not commanded them.” John Gill observes:

which he commanded not; yea, forbid, by sending fire from heaven, and ordering coals of fire for the incense to be taken off of the altar of burnt offering; and this, as Aben Ezra observes, they did of their own mind, and not by order. It does not appear that they had any command to offer incense at all at present, this belonged to Aaron, and not to them as yet; but without any instruction and direction they rushed into the holy place with their censers, and offered incense, even both of them, when only one priest was to offer at a time, when it was to be offered, and t...


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

...ans in the 17th century is their idea or non-idea of the administration of the Covenant of Grace. What did they mean by "administration"? The Westminster Confession 7:5 lays it out:

This covenant [the Covenant of Grace] was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ORDINANCES delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation, and is called the Old Testament.

What they meant by "administration" is that the substance of the all the covenants in the OT are the same, namely, the Covenant of Grace, but the administration of the particular covenants is different. The substance is the same, but the (outward) form is different. This distinction justifies the practice of infant baptism when understanding their position on the Covenant of Grace...it kind of makes sense. If the Abrahamic Covenant was an administration of the Covenant of Grace and it had the sign of circumcision, which was administered to both Jacob and Esau when they were infants, then it makes sense that if the New Covenant has the same substance as the Abrahamic Covenant. This point would be carried over to the New Covenant and there we would also baptize our infants since they are part of the covenant just like in Abraham's time. Circumcision is replaced by baptism in the New Covenant administrations of the Covenant of Grace. The outward form is different, but the substance is still the same. Therefore, the promise also of "you and your seed" applies to believers in the New Covenant and their natural offspring. Such is the reasoning of our Presbyterian brethren. With such thinking, I can see some possibility of infant baptism being right, but there is more that needs to be examined before declaring infant baptism biblical. See chapter 29 for more on baptism and the Covenant of Grace.

This is not only the Presbyterian understanding but even some Reformed Baptists' understanding. I think Richard Barcellos was right in observing that many Reformed Baptists assumed a Covenant Theology like their Presbyterian brethren, while not looking at the distinct Covenant Theology of our Baptist forefathers. In a recent Reformed Baptist book this idea was promoted:

It is absolutely imperative to understand that while there is just one Covenant of Grace, there are different methods of administrating it; each being of gracious promise serving the first manifestation of the Covenant of Grace (Genesis 3:15), culminating in the New Covenant, and enjoyed in eternal glory. This is not a flattening of Scripture nor is it “a reductionism which has the tendency of fitting Scripture into our theological system rather than the other way around.” On the contrary, the one Covenant of Grace exponentially builds, increases, and heightens throughout redemptive history until it crescendos in heaven.[23]

Other Reformed Baptists contend that this view of "a single covenant, multiple administrations" is not the view of the signers of the 1689 Confession, but the Westminster Confession. There is a lot of similarity between the two Confessions, therefore, it is not strange for some Reforme...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...o;a sign and seal of the covenant of grace” and in 27:1 that the “Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace.” The 1689 omits these two things in their respective chapters, but does this entail a denial and rejection of these things? It does entail a denial of some aspects, but not an entire denial. Baptists reject that baptism functions as a seal of the Covenant of Grace, rather, it is the Holy Spirit who is named to be the seal on believers in the New Testament. The same is true for the Lord's Supper; it is not a seal of the New Covenant, but the Holy Spirit is the seal. But we do believe that the holy ORDINANCES do function as signs of the New Covenant.

In 1689 Federalist understanding, the Covenant of Grace is the New Covenant before it was formally established in in the blood of Christ. In contrast, in Westminster Federalism, the New Covenant is an administration of the Covenant of Grace. Westminster Federalism teaches that the Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic covenants were administrations of the Covenant of Grace. But the Covenant of Grace reaches its final administration and revelation in the New Covenant. But we, 1689 Federalists, deny this. We believe rather that the New Covenant/Covenant of Grace was revealed in these covenants and the blessings thereof given to the elect, but not because of the covenant they found themselves in, but because they believed the promise. We believe that the Covenant of Grace, prior to the cross, existed in promise form, and not an established covenant. As John Owen famously said, “Believers were saved under it [the Mosaic Covenant], but not by virtue of it. Sinners perished eternally under it, but by the curse of the original law of works.”[18] See more on 1689 Federalism and the case for it in chapter 7.

Signs

What do we actually mean by a sign and a seal? A sign is something visible which points to inward and spiritual realities. The rainbow was the visible sign of the Noahic Covenant, it functioned as a token (“Something serving as an indication, proof, or expression of something else”[19]) that God will not destroy the earth by water again (Gen. 9:13-17). Circumcision functioned as a visible sign of the Abrahamic Covenant, which symbolized the need to be cleansed from sin through blood spilling. For Abraham, it was a sign and a seal of the faith which he had prior to circumcision (Rom. 4:11). The Sabbath functioned as a visible sign of the Mosaic Covenant. It functioned as a sign that God had set His people apart (Ex. 31:12-17; Ezek. 20:12, 20). There is no sign mentioned in connection with the Davidic or the New Covenant explicitly. But the throne would probably fit as a visible sign for David that he will always have someone from his posterity to sit on it and rule over Israel. As for the New Covenant, we only have two “positive and sovereign institution[s]” (1689 28:1). I admit from the start that we have no text in the New Testament identifying baptism or the Lord's Supper either as a sign individually, or signs together of the New Covenant. But does this then imply that we have no reason to see them as signs at all? Obviously not. We see them as signs of the New Covenant when we understand what a sign or a token is.

We noted above on Colossians 2:11-12 that we do not see baptism replacing/fulfilling circumcision as the sign of the New Covenant, as it is often alleged by our Presbyterian brethren, but rather, circumcision of the foreskin has its counterpart in the c...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

...our nature as the Bible describes it, the doctrine of grace alone is the hope of us walking obedient lives to the Lord and having the willingness to do His will. He commanded us all as His Church to do all that He commanded us (Matt. 28:20), therefore, we should observe His ways and walk in His commandments.

The idea of a standalone Christian is foreign to Scripture. From the earliest times, the Christians always met with a company of others. There has always been a community of believers who gather together to worship their Lord. The company of the church is a place where we corporately worship our Triune God. Hear His Word preached and proclaimed (2Tim. 4:2). See His Word in the ORDINANCES of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper which He has given us (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:42). As brothers and sisters learn to know each other and edify each other with the gifts which the Spirit has given each of us (1Cor. 12:7). The public worship of God on the Lord’s Day is of utmost importance and we should strive to never be absent from the church gather on the Lord’s Day unless necessity demands so. We are not to be like those who neglect the gather of God’s people, but rather as we look forward to the Lord’s coming, so we long for the day where we meet Him with His people in corporate worship (Heb. 10:25).


§6 The Members Of These Churches Are Saints By Calling

  1. The members of these churches are saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together, according to the appointment of Christ; giving up themselves to the Lord, and one to another, by the will of God, in professed subjection to the ORDINANCES of the Gospel. 2
    1. Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 14:22-23; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2 with verses 13-17; 1 Thess. 1:1 with vv. 2-10; Acts 2:37-42; 4:4; 5:13-14
    2. Acts 2:41-42; 5:13-14; 2 Cor. 9:13

The saints of God show themselves to be of God in the church, where they do what the Lord Jesus commands them through His Word. They have been called to be saints, i.e., set apart for the purpose of God, and thus to act like that toward each other (1Cor. 1:2; Rom. 1:7). We should willingly be eager to serve each other and to do that with joy and as service to our Savior. We should as brothers and sisters encourage each other to serve the Lord and to help each other in serving the Lord (1Thess. 5:11; Heb. 3:13). It is not the intention of God that believers be lone-rangers, rather, they should be in a church and thus grow in their faith and serve each other. When we show love and render loving service to each other, then the love of Christ will manifest itself amongst us. This is the mark of Christians which the Lord wants them to have (John 13:34-35).


§7 He Hath Given All That Power And Authority

  1. To each of these churches thus gathered, according to his mind declared in his word, he hath given all that power and authority, which is in any way needful for their carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands and rules for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power. 1
    1. Matt. 18:17-20; 1 Cor. 5:4-5, 13; 2 Cor. 2:6-8

Power, Authority, And Worship

God has granted authority to the officers in a local church to govern their church in accordance to the Word. He has not granted absolute power and authority, but only as the...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...n. 12:17; 39:7-9; Lev. 18:20, 27; Job 24:15; 31:1
  • 8th Commandment: Gen. 3:11; 30:33; 31:30-32; 40:15; 44:8-9; Job 24:14
  • 9th Commandment: Gen. 3:4, 13-14; 12:11-13; 27:12; 29:25; Job 24:25; 27:4; 36:4; John 8:44
  • 10th Commandment: Gen. 3:6; 6:2, 5; 13:10-11; Exod. 15:9-10; Job 31:1, 9-11
  • Rom. 2:12a, 14-15
  • Exod. 32:15-16; 34:4, 28; Deut. 10:4
    1. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typical ORDINANCES, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties, all which ceremonial laws being appointed only to the time of reformation, are, by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only law-giver, who was furnished with power from the Father for that end abrogated and taken away.
      1. 1 Cor. 5:7; 2 Cor. 6:17; Jude 23
      2. Col. 2:14, 16-17; Eph. 2:14-16
      3. 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 cont...

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

    .... 3
    1. 1 Cor. 11:28
    2. John 6:29, 35, 47-58
    3. 1 Cor. 10:16

    Means Of Grace

    What is a means of grace? Is it a thing which grants grace to whom it is administered? Does it matter if the person has faith or not? In Reformed understanding, the means of grace supply grace and sanctification to those who already have faith. In Catholic understanding, grace is administered by the work performed. The Means of Grace include:

    1. The Word of God: (a) the reading, (b) teaching, and (c) preaching thereof.
    2. The twofold ORDINANCES, Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
    3. Church fellowship.
    4. Prayer.
    5. Worship.
    6. Spiritual gifts.
    7. Giving.
    8. Church discipline.
    9. Evangelism.

    According to Wayne Grudem, “The means of grace are any activities within the fellowship of the church that God uses to give more grace to Christians.[20] They are not meant to convey regenerating grace, but sanctifying grace. In other words, a person does not become a Christian by being baptized (Roman Catholic view), but they are baptized and strengthened in their faith because of their regeneration (Reformed Baptist view). The Means of Grace are intended for believers alone. There are longer and shorter lists of the Means of Grace. Some point to Acts 2:42 as containing the elements of the Means of Grace, which are: 1) the teaching and preaching of the Word of God, 2) church fellowship, 3) the Lord’s Supper, and 4) prayer. These are the things mentioned in the passage, but undoubtedly, we may understanding both ORDINANCES to be meant under “the breaking of bread.” The reason why baptism is not mentioned is not because it is not a Means of Grace, or because it is not important. Rather, because baptism is the initiatory sign of the New Covenant, while the Lord’s Supper is the continuing sign of the New Covenant. In other words, there are no Means of Grace if there is no visible church. The Means of Grace are intended, primarily, to be communicated to the community of believers. Baptism is the ordinance which creates a visible community of believers, while the Lord’s Supper is the ordinance which upholds and nourishes this community of believers. We focus here upon the Lord’s Supper as a Means of Grace.

    In the Roman Catholic view, the sacraments (including Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), communicate grace regardless the faith of the recipient. I’ll let Louis Berkhof explain the Roman Catholic view:

    As far as the Lord’s Supper as a sacrament is concerned, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that it works ex opere operato, which means, “in virtue of the sacramental act itself, and not in virtue of the acts or disposition of the recipient, or of the worthiness of the minister (ex opere operantis).” This means that every one who receives the elements, be he wicked or pious, also receives the grace signified, which is conceived of as a substance contained in the elements. The sacramental rite itself conveys grace unto the recipient. At the same time it also teaches, rather inconsistently, it would seem, that the effects of the sacrament may be completely or partially frustrated by the existence of some obstacle, by the absence of that disposition that makes the soul capable of receiving grace, or by the priest’s want of intention to do what the Church does.[21]

    In contrast and in rejection of that abominable practice, which does not distinguish between the sign and the thing(s) signified, the Reformed see that grace is only communicated in the Lord’s ...


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

    ...which, confessedly, Christ doth not for all. Yea, that Christ is not a mediator for every one needs no proof. Experience sufficiently evinceth it, besides innumerable places of Scripture.[41] (Book III, chapter 3)

    Typological Exodus (Arg. X)

    The exodus of the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt is typological of our exodus from the slavery of sin by the death of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Lord freed the Israelites out of Egypt. He gave them His laws and ORDINANCES, and not other nations. His redemption was limited to His covenant people and did not extend to everyone without exception in the world. The type is not identical to the antitype, otherwise, there would be no reason to speak of these things. There are some significant differences. The significant difference between the Old and New covenants is that the New Covenant has only believers as its members, over against the Old, which contained both elect and reprobate. The redemption was limited to the covenant people. In the Old Covenant, it was believers and unbelievers alike who were descended from Abraham and who joined themselves to Yahweh. The New Covenant has only believers in its membership.

    In his own words:

     The whole people itself was a type of God’s church, his elect, his chosen and called people: whence as they were called a “holy people, a royal priesthood;” so also, in allusion to them, are believers, 1 Pet. 2:5, 9. Yea, God’s people are in innumerable places called his “Israel,” as it is farther expounded, Heb. 8:8. A true Israelite is as much as a true believer, John 1:47; and he is a Jew who is so in the hidden man of the heart. I hope it need not be proved that that people, as delivered from bondage, preserved, taken nigh unto God, brought into Canaan, was typical of God’s spiritual church, of elect believers. Whence we thus argue:— Those only are really and spiritually redeemed by Jesus Christ who were designed, signified, typified by the people of Israel in their carnal, typical redemption (for no reason in the world can be rendered why some should be typed out in the same condition, partakers of the same good, and not others); but by the people of the Jews, in their deliverance from Egypt, bringing into Canaan, with all their ORDINANCES and institutions, only the elect, the church of God, was typed out, as was before proved.[42] (Book III, chapter 4)

    Reconciliation (Arg. XII)

    By the precious blood of Christ, we have reconciliation with God. God is said to reconcile us to Himself through Christ (2Cor. 5:18). It is even said that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (2Cor. 5:19). This reconciliation is through the blood of Christ (Rom. 5:10-11; Col. 1:20-22). But it is an undeniable fact that not all people are reconciled to God. Therefore, what does Christ's work mean for them? Nothing! The non-Calvinists do not believe that faith, which is the condition of salvation on our part, is, in fact, a gift  of  God Himself. Therefore, in a real sense, the New Covenant is unconditional as all of its condition are provided through grace by God.

    Reconciliation “is the renewing of friendship between parties before at variance, both parties being properly said to be reconciled, even both he that offendeth and he that was offended”[43] (Book III, chapter 6). There is an enmity between God and man, and it is not one-sided (e.g. Rom. 5:10; 8:7-8). God has set Himself against the wicked by pouring out His wrath upon them (...


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

    ...t be said to depart from it; but they were not truly regenerated by the grace of God, and so apparently were not of the number, of God's elect: notwithstanding their profession and communion with the church, they were of the world, and not of God; they were not true believers; they had not that anointing which abides, and from which persons are truly denominated Christians, or anointed ones:

    for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us; in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the fellowship of the church, as true believers do: if their hearts had been right with God, they would have remained steadfast to him, his Gospel, truths, and ORDINANCES, and faithful with his saints; for such who are truly regenerate are born of an incorruptible seed, and those that have received the anointing which makes them truly Christians, that abides, as does every true grace, faith, hope, and love; and such who are truly God's elect cannot possibly fall into such errors and heresies as these did, and be finally deceived, as they were:

    but [they went out]; "they went out from us", so the Syriac version reads;

    that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us; the word "all" is left out in the Syriac version. The defection and apostasy of these persons were permitted by God, that it might appear they had never received the grace of God in truth; and their going out was in such a manner, that it was a certain argument that they were not of the elect; since they became antichrists, denied the deity or sonship of Christ, or that he was come in the flesh, or that he was the Christ, and therefore are said to be of the world, and not of God, 1Jo 2:22, so that this passage furnishes out no argument against the saints' perseverance, which is confirmed in 1Jo 2:20.[8]

    Therefore, I seek to read all the apostasy passages with this in mind, namely, that it is possible for people to be deceived by the false piety of others, thinking that they're Christian, but they (false believers) in time will demonstrate that, in fact, they are not Christian and are false brethren.

    Difficult Passages

    With all this in mind that we have discussed concerning the impossibility of apostasy for the elect, the warning passages not being conclusive and those who were not of us from the beginning, now we are in a position to be able to look at these passages which some claim do, in fact, teach true believers can fall away.

    Romans 14:15 and 1 Corinthians 8:11 – Destroy the one for whom Christ died

    Rom. 14:15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.

    1Cor. 8:11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.

    The warning is strong and in fact, it is just that, a warning and not an actual description of someone for whom Christ died being destroyed and perish. The Greek word for "destroy" is clear and unambiguous and denotes eternal destruction in multiple places (Matt. 5:29; 10:28; John 3:16; Rom. 2:12; 2Pet. 3:9) and therefore the issue here is not translational, but it is an issue of interpretation: whether this describes an actual situation or whether this is a warning not to make other believers stumble. I believe that it is the latter.

    The evidence for this is in the fact that this word is used to denote the impossibility of the elect perishing. In John 6:39 and 10:2...