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

...o us. Not only has God reconciled us to Christ, but He has given the ministry of reconciliation to the believers, that through them God may reconcile the world to Himself.

Verse 19: Paul speaks of Christ's reconciliation of the world to Himself as a past action. God was reconciling the world to Himself. He did that on the cross of Calvary. The way in which He did reconcile the world to Himself was to not count their trespasses and sins against them, i.e., forgive them of their wickedness. Now we should pay attention to the word “world.” It is here that the non-Calvinists see universal rather than Particular Atonement. This is the reason that I did not start the exegesis of vv. 18-19, which is the subject at hand in v. 18, but went back to v. 14. I believe that I fairly demonstrated the particularity of the death of Christ in vv. 14-15. It is not for every single human being that was made. His death was particular, which is the basis of this reconciliation. For God to be righteous and not count our sin against us means that He has counted them against a Substitute and punished them in Him (2Cor. 5:21). Unless we believe that Paul contradicts himself within a few sentences we must throw away the very simplistic understanding of the word world meaning the whole humanity without exception. The same group, which was made a new creation, for whom Christ died, is still under discussion, but now Paul speaks in the context of evangelism. We have the message that God on the cross reconciled the world to Himself and that is the basis that we plead with people and God makes His plea through us that people should be reconciled to Him.

The use of the word “world” gauds against the error to believe that we should not preach the Gospel to anyone we do not think is elect. The message of reconciliation is to be preached to everyone and God will draw His elect to Christ. That the word world is not used to mean “all humanity without exception” may be seen from Luke 2:1; John 7:4; 12:19; 13:1; 14:17; Acts 19:27; Romans 1:8; Colossians 1:6; Revelation 12:9; 13:3, 7-8. The word world here means humanity without distinction, instead of all without exception. Meaning, all people from everywhere and not all Jews or all who we think are the elect. It is proper to use the word “world” when speaking of Christ death as the Bible does that. But we must not go to the simplistic understanding, which contradicts the context of the present passage. It is proper to speak of Christ died for the world as in Revelation 5:9-10 –

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” 

The death of Christ is both particular and universal here. But obviously in two senses. It is particular in the sense that Christ is here spoken of to have shed His precious blood for a purpose. That purpose was to ransom a specific people for God. To purchase them for God. It is not an “iffy” purchasing and ransom which is spoken of, but a definite one. It is to purchase people from every tribe, language, people and nation. It is not, pay attention, to ransom every tribe, language, people and nation, but to ransom people from every… Here is seen the particularity of the atonement. All those whom He has purchased for God He h...


John Owen's Case For Particular Atonement

...

John Owen’s Case for Particular Atonement

 

(This post was originally written for a section in chapter 8 of the 1689 Baptist Confession.) 

Introduction

Dr. John Owen’s work titled “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” is, by the admission of many Calvinists, the most extensive work on the doctrine of Limited Atonement, or better named, Particular/Definite or Atonement/Redemption. Therefore, it is beneficial for us to take a brief look at his case for Particular Atonement over against Universal Atonement. Dr. Owen is aware and acquainted with the material of the opposing position and he interacts with them and answers their objections. He is not writing against caricatures of the opposing side but has researched the materials and arguments of the opposing side and, in my opinion, utterly refutes their arguments.

Almost everyone who has any reasonable knowledge of the debates concerning limited or unlimited atonement must have heard of Owen’s trilemma, which we have presented above. The trilemma is really forceful, but it is merely one argument out many more from Dr. Owen’s arsenal. The trilemma is not his only argument for Particular Redemption. But it may be an accurate summary of his case. He argues each of his points biblically. For a good summary of his arguments see here.

Dr. Owen’s book is divided into four books and various chapters dealing with the issues related to the atonement.

  1. Book 1 (8 chapters) deals with the purpose of the Trinity in the design of the atonement.
  2. Book 2 (5 chapters) deals with the effects and application of the work of Christ.
  3. Book 3 (11 chapters) presents 16 arguments against Universal Atonement and for Definite Atonement.
  4. Book 4 (7 chapters) answers various interpretations and objections to Particular Atonement.

Note: All biblical references in the quotes are modernized (e.g. John i. 1 to John 1:1 for the ease of reading and the recognition by the Scripture Tag).

The General Purpose of Christ’s Death

First, he enquires about the “general of the end [i.e., purpose] of the death of Christ” (book I, chap. 1). What does the big picture of Scripture say about the death of Christ? What is indisputable there about it? He divides this question into two sections:

  1. “that which his Father and himself intended in it” (book I, chap. 1):
    1. Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
    2. 1Tim. 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
    3. Matt. 20:28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
    4. Gal. 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
    5. Eph. 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
    6. Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

After citing and alluding to the above-cited passages, Owen says:

Thus clear, then, and apparent, is the intention and design of Christ and his Father in...


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

...lor: #008000;"language and people and nation,

Contrary to the classic Arminian cry that “all means all,” many times, in fact, it does not (John 4:29; 8:2; Luke 3:21; Mark 1:5; Matt. 2:3-4; Jer. 13:19 and Jer. 39:9-10; see chapter 8 on universal redemption and Owen's Case for Particular Atonement). Each instance must be examined within its context. We cannot make a dogmatic declaration on the meaning of a word and force it in every place. Rather, the meaning should be justified from the context. Furthermore, this understanding of John 12:32 destroys the consistency of the Scriptures. We are taught that many will end up in Hell and in destruction. Indeed, we have above, in paragraph 3 of this chapter, discussed the doctrine of reprobation. If Jesus draws “every single individual in the world without distinction”, then the question is, why do they not come? John 6:37 says that everyone given to the Son will, not may or might, but will come. The one given will definitely come, but we know that some do not come (John 5:40), because they are not drawn by the Father, otherwise they would come. And those given are also not cast out but raised on the last day (John 6:39). But all this would be inconsistent if the Arminian usage of John 12:32 is correct. If the non-Calvinists are correct in their use of John 12:32 to understand John 6, then the Son fails in His work miserably as most Arminians believe that there will be an eternal Hell for the wicked to pay. According to this understand and use of John 12:32, many people given to the Son do not come, and He loves them and does not raise them up on the last day. But all that aside, let us not forget a most important fact for Jesus’ usage of “all”: the presence of Greeks. There were Greeks who were seeking the Lord Jesus (John 12:21) and if they truly were seeking Him, they were given to the Son by the Father and the Son would have never cast them out. This is an “all” without distinction and not an “all” without exception. It is speaking about all kinds of people, not only Jews. The presence of Greeks among the Jews gives rise to this glorious declaration that the Lord Jesus will draw people not only from the Jews but from all peoples, just like Revelation 5:9 makes clear. He will draw all kinds of people, not all people without exception. The context of John 6 is indisputable in teaching unconditional sovereign election, therefore, it is a great inconsistency to force the context and the a-contextual meaning of John 12:32 upon John 6.

More Grumbling

Back to our text. We will go a little bit further down to John 6:60-65. The things that Jesus was saying, were heavy and unbearable for many. Indeed, He started with some 5000+ followers and ended up with 12 confused disciples, one of which was a devil.

John 6:61-65 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

The Lord Jesus reminds the people that their unbelief is "natural" and expected given the f...


2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 'he died for all'

... to Him and His righteousness to us.

Not only has God reconciled us to Christ, but He has given the ministry of reconciliation to the believers, that through them God may reconcile the world to to Himself.

Verse 19: Paul speaks of Christ's reconciliation of the world to Himself as a past action. God was reconciling the world to Himself. He did that on the cross of Calvary. The way in which He did reconcile the world to Himself was to not count their trespasses and sins against them, i.e. forgive them of their wickedness.

Now we should pay attention to the word “world.” It is here that the non-Calvinists see universal rather than Particular Atonement. This is the reason that I did not start the exegesis of verses 18-19 which is the subject at hand in verse 18, but went back to verse 14.

I believe that I fairly demonstrated the particularity of the death of Christ in verses 14-15. It is not for every single human being that was made. His death was particular which is the basis of this reconciliation. For God to be righteous and not count our sin against us means that He has counted them against a Substitute and punished them in Him (2Cor 5:21).

Unless we believe that Paul contradicts himself within a few sentences we must throw away the very simplistic understanding of the word world meaning the whole humanity. The same group which was made a new creation, for whom Christ died is still under discussion, but now Paul speaks in the context of evangelism. We have the message that God on the cross reconciled the world to Himself and that is the basis that we plead with people and God makes His plea through us that people should be reconciled to Him.

The use of the word “world” gauds against the error to believe that we should not preach the Gospel to anyone we do not think is elect. The message of reconciliation is to be preached to every and God will draw His elect to Christ.

That the word world is not used to mean “all humanity” may be seen from Luke 2:1; John 7:4; 12:19; 13:1; 14:17; Acts 19:27; Rom 1:8; Col 1:6; Rev 12:9; 13:3, 7-8.

The word world here means humanity all without distinction, instead of all without exception. Meaning, all people from everywhere and not all Jews or all who we think are the elect. It is proper to use the word “world” when speaking of Christ death as the Bible does that. But we must not go to the simplistic understanding which contradicts the context of the present passage. It is proper to speak of Christ died for the world as in Rev 5:9-10 –

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

The death of Christ is both particular and universal here. But obviously in two senses. It is particular in the sense that Christ is here spoken of to have shed His precious blood for a purpose. That purpose was to ransom people for God. To purchase them for God. It is not an “iffy” purchasing and ransom which is spoken of, but a definite one. It is to purchase people from every tribe, language, people and nation. It is not, pay attention, to ransom every tribe, language, people and nation, but to ransom people from every… Here is seen the particularity of the atonement. All those ......


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 12: Of Adoption - Commentary

Chapter 12: Of Adoption

In this chapter, we will try to find what the Bible says about us being the children of God. What does it mean to be children of God and how do we become children of God? These are the questions that we will try to answer.


§1 Make partakers of the grace of adoption

  1. All those that are justified, 1 God vouchsafed, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name put upon them, 4 receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, 5 are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a Father, yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.7
    1. Gal. 3:24-26[1]
    2. 1 John 3:1-3
    3. Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:4-5; Rom 8:17, 29
    4. Rom. 8:17; John 1:12; 2 Cor. 6:18; Rev. 3:12
    5. Rom. 8:15; Eph. 3:12; Rom. 5:2; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18
    6. Ps. 103:13; Prov. 14:26; Matt. 6:30, 32; 1 Peter 5:7; Heb. 12:6; Isa. 54:8-9; Lam. 3:31; Eph. 4:30
    7. Rom. 8:17; Heb. 1:14; 9:15

God has vouchsafed, i.e., granted, all of them that are justified...in and for the sake of His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption (Eph. 1:5; Gal. 3:24-26; John 1:12-13). No justified person misses this grace of adoption. Their adoption, as well as their election (chapter 3:5), having the blessings of redemption (chapter 8:8), effectual calling and regeneration (chapter 10:2), justification (chapter 11:3), were not based in themselves. The absolute and free grace of God dominates all of the Christian life. Because we are in...His Only Son Jesus Christ, we are likewise counted as sons (Gal. 3:26-29; 4:4-5). And for the sake of His Only Son and the work He accomplished upon the cross, whereby He purchased our redemption with all of its blessings, we are adopted as sons of God. By this grace of adoption, we are to enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God (John 1:12-13). We are freed from sin and are able to willingly please God. We are privileged as children of God and of having God as our Father. The Confession then goes on to list the privileges which the children of God have.

They have His name put upon them (Rev. 3:12), meaning that they belong to Him. He is their owner. He is their Father and Master. They receive the spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15), Who is the Holy Spirit of God. The Spirit testifies with our spirit about our identity as children of God (Rom. 8:14-17). As children, we have access to the throne of grace with boldness (Heb. 4:16), because God is our Abba, Father. A child should be afraid to approach their father. So likewise, we, as children of the Father, we may go to the throne of grace with boldness! We, by the fatherly care of God, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by Him as by a Father (Ps. 103:13; Prov. 14:26; Matt. 6:30-32; Heb. 12:6 ). He cares for us and provides for us. But an important part of how He proves that He is our Father and we are His children is by disciplining us. He thereby proves that He cares for us and the wrong things which we do. But this disciplining or chastising is not for the purpose of condemning us. No. We are never cast off (John 6:37-39). It is for the purpose of us sharing in His holiness (Heb. 12:10). We are never cast...