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"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards


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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 15: Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation - Commentary

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Chapter 15: Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation

In this chapter, we will consider what Repentance actually is. Is Repentance a gift? Do we repent only when we become Christians? Does Repentance always accompany faith? Is Repentance necessary for salvation?

I find the division of the paragraphs a bit unhelpful. The Confession speaks of those who are aged repenting unto life (par. 1), Christians repenting of their sins (par. 2) and defines what Repentance actually is in paragraph 3. It seems to me that it would have been more natural to begin by defining what Repentance actually is and then proceeding with what are now paragraphs 1 and 2. Therefore, I will begin here by giving a definition of what Repentance is and then I will try to defend that definition biblically in paragraph 3. Wayne Grudem says that:

Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.[1]

Thus, Repentance is not only a sorrow for our sins against God, it is not only us being sorry for doing what we did, but it the commitment to forsake our sins and instead obey Christ the Lord. But more on this in paragraph 3.

That the Baptist Confession depends and copies from the Savoy Declaration of 1658 can very clearly be seen especially in this chapter, which is wholly different in the Westminster, but almost identical in the Savoy. See the comparison here.

§1 God in their effectual calling giveth them Repentance unto life

  1. Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, having sometime lived in the state of nature, 1 and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual calling giveth them Repentance unto life. 2
    1. Titus 3:2-5[2]
    2. 2 Chron. 33:10-20; Acts 9:1-19; 16:29-30

The Confession begins by noting that some of the elect...are converted at riper years. This means that they have sometime lived in the state of nature and therein served divers lusts and pleasures (e.g. Saul in Acts 9; the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:29-30; Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10). The nature of their Repentance may be different than those who have not been given so much time to live in the state of nature and sin. In other words, not everyone has to have a radical conversion or Repentance. But everyone is to repent of their sins and turn to God. It is God Who giveth them Repentance unto life. Repentance, like faith (chapters 11:114:1), is a gift of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the elect. 

In this paragraph, the Confession is speaking about the Repentance of those who have lived manifestly wicked lives. The words of Dr. Waldron here are especially helpful:

The Confession makes this distinction out of a desire to distinguish Repentance as a crisis experience from Repentance as an ordinary grace. All believers are marked by the ordinary grace, but not all believers will know, or need to know, Repentance as a crisis experience.

In this chapter two types of such a crisis experience are mentioned. The Confession first refers to ‘such of the elect as are converted at riper years having sometime lived in the state of nature’. Scriptural examples of this are Manasseh, Paul and the Philippian jailor. Secondly, it refers to ‘believers [who]…fall into great sins and provocations’. The scriptural examples here are David and Peter.[3]

We simply think of Saul of Tarsus and his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. In the sight...

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

...rance of the Saints; and second, examine some passages which are often brought up against the doctrine.

§1 Can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace

  1. Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without Repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, Repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity. 
    1. John 10:28-29; Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 2:19; 2 Peter 1:5-10; 1 John 2:19[2]
    2. Ps. 89:31-32; 1 Cor. 11:32; 2 Tim. 4:7
    3. Ps. 102:27; Mal. 3:6; Eph. 1:14; 1 Peter 1:5; Rev. 13:8

Those whom God hath accepted (chapter 11), effectually called (chapter 10), sanctified by His Spirit (chapter 13) and given the precious faith of His elect (chapter 14), can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace (e.g., John 10:28-29; 1 John 2:19). If we follow what was said in the previous chapters, as this paragraph begins by enlisting these things, we cannot but expect such a declaration. If God is absolutely sovereign over all things (chapters 3 and 5), even electing, calling, justifying, adopting (chapter 12) and sanctifying us, how can it be that God could fail in His purpose and we be lost to eternal perdition? It cannot. The elect will certainly persevere in the state of the end. This is the essential difference between true and false faith. True faith perseveres to the end (1 John 2:19). This is because the gifts and callings of God are without Repentance (Rom. 11:29), in other words, He does not change His mind. Therefore, the elect are safe and He will grant them all these things which are necessary for their final salvation and perseverance.

This does not mean that the journey will be easy. In fact, the Confession speaks of storms and floods that arise and beat us. Nonetheless, no one and nothing can shake us off that foundation and rock which by faith we are fastened upon. In these storms and floods and by the temptations of Satanthe sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured for us (so also with our assurance, see chapter 18:4). This does not mean that God has changed; he is still the same. But we are being attacked by the enemy and are fighting or giving into temptation and are in need of restoration. Even in these storms and floods, we may be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation and the enjoyment of our purchased possession. The fact that the elect cannot lose their salvation is further shown from the fact that we are engraven upon the palm of His hands (Isa. 49:16) and our names having been written in the book of life from...

Hebrews 6:4-6, Apostasy and Calvinism

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Hebrews 6:4-6 – It is impossible to restore them again to Repentance

Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to Repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

(This post is taken from a section in my commentary on chapter 17 of the 1689 Baptist Confession, so there are some things here that have been previously argued for, as for example the positive case for the doctrine of Perseverance).

This is arguably one of the most difficult and notorious passages in Holy Writ. There is no consensus on its interpretation. I have consulted many commentaries and articles on this passage and I come to it knowing that I don’t have all the answers. But I also come to it with presuppositions in mind. I am unashamed to say that the Bible does in fact teach the Perseverance of the Saints, therefore this passage cannot be describing the actual apostasy of a regenerate believer totally from the faith. It may be a warning about true believers, it may be hypothetical, but what it cannot be is say that some true and regenerate believers will in fact fall away completely from the faith. I have argued that even in the book of Hebrews itself, the doctrine of Perseverance and the perfection of the work of Christ on behalf of the elect is taught. I have consulted the following articles and commentaries and will cite from some of them freely in the following discussion:

The passage does not say that regenerate believers apostatize:

  • John Calvin. Commentaries. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Hebrews 6:4-9. Can also be found at here.
  • John Gill. Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Hebrews 6:4-9. Can also be read at here.
  • Arthur W. Pink. Exposition of Hebrews. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. Chapters 24-27. His commentary on Hebrews 6 can be found here.
  • Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994). Chapter 40.
  • John M. Frame. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014). Chapter 44.
  • J. Ligon Duncan III – Falling Away? (Sermon)
  • Mathew Poole - English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • William Burkitt – Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here
  • Albert Barnes - Notes on the New Testament. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here. He accepts that the descriptions describe a true Christian, but rejects that it is possible for a true Christian to apostatize.
  • Robert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset, David Brown – Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Matthew Henry – Complete Commentary on the Bible. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Bob Utley – You Can Understand The Bible (Not that explicit). Commentary on Hebrews 6, here and here.
  • John Owen – Exposition of Hebrews. Commentary on Hebrews 6, here.
  • Steven J. Cole – Lesson 17: When Repentance Becomes Impossible (Hebrews 6:4-8).

The passage describes regenerate believers who have fallen away:

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

...silon;ως ἐπὶ θεόν, pisteus epi theon]” (Heb. 6:1). Peter says that through Christ we are “believers in God” (the adjective of pistis), so that our “faith and hope are in God [τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν...εἶναι εἰς θεόν, ten pistin humon...einai eis theon]” (1 Pet. 1:21).

But more prominently, faith is spoken of as in faith in Christ. Paul’s gospel call was “Repentance toward God, and faith toward [πίστιν εἰς, pistin eis] our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Acts 3:16 speaks of ”faith in his name [τῇ πίστει τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ, te pistei tou onamatos autou]” and “faith that is through Jesus [ἡ πίστις ἡ δι’ αὐτοῦ, he pistis he di autou]”. The passage very simply teaches that our faith is not only in Christ, but it is always through Christ! Faith in Christ may also be seen in the following passages: Acts 24:24; Romans 3:22, 26; Ephesians 3:12; Galatians 2:20; 3:22, 26; Ephesians 1:15; Colossians 1:4; Philippians 1:29; 1 Timothy 1:14; 3:13; 2 Timothy 1:13; 3:15; James 2:1. While not directly, it is also deducible from the context as in Romans 1:8; 5:1-2; 1 Corinthians 2:5; 15:14, 17; Ephesians 2:8 and passages about justification by faith (e.g., Acts 15:19; Rom. 3:28, 30; 9:30, 32; Gal. 3:8; see chapter 11).

Faith is also spoken of as the set of doctrine or religion. This sense is found in 1 Timothy 1:19 where he is told to “[hold] faith [πίστιν, pistin] and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith [πίστινpistin]”. Matthew Poole observes here, “By faith here is meant, the doctrine of faith, and the holding of it signifies a steadiness of the mind’s assent unto it, without wavering or fluctuation, much less deserting or denying it.”[6] “Hymenaeus and Alexander” have shipwrecked their (profession of) faith (1 Tim. 1:20). In Philippians 1:27, Paul speaks of “the faith of the gospel [τῇ πίστει τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, te pistei tou euangeliou]” for which they are to strive, which seems to mean the doctrine or teaching of the gospel. In Titus 2:2, older men are to be “sound in faith [τῇ πίστει, te pistei]”, which means sound in doctrine. Jude 3 calls us “to contend for the faith [πίστει, pistei (it occurs at the end of the sentence)] that was once for all delivered to the saints.” This faith was handed down to the saints by them who came before us. It was said of Paul in Galatians 1:23 that ‘“He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”’ We are called to stand firm in the faith in which the sense is given of continuing in the teaching and doctrine (1 Cor. 16:13; Acts 13:8; 14:22; 2 Cor. 13:5; Phil. 1:25; Col. 2:7; 1 Tim. 3:9; 4:1, 6; 2 Tim. 4:7; Titus 3:15). Christians are spoken of as “those who are of the household of the faith [τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως, tous oikeious tes pisteos]” (Gal. 6:10).

Finally, pistis “can also denote a conviction or certainty of belief.”[7] So, the Lord Jesus speaks of faith which is able to move mountains (Matt. 17:20; Mark 11:23; cf. 1 Cor. 13:2). One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is faith, which cannot be that which is common to all believers because not all have the same gifts (1 Cor. 12:9; 13:2).


We see that the noun pistis can be used to designate faith in God, in Christ; or the set of doctrine; the certainty of belief. Now we move to the verb πιστεύω (pisteuo, G4100), which comes from pistis and Thayer defines as “to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in” and “to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelit...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

... to approach this subject asking what our Master says concerning it in His inerrant, sufficient, and infallible Word.

What Baptism Signifies

Christian Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, in token of his previous entrance into the communion of Christ’s death and resurrection,—or, in other words, in token of his regeneration through union with Christ.[4]

Baptism signifies the new life and the blessings thereof, which the believer has received through faith and Repentance. The Confession describes it as “a sign of fellowship with” Christ. Baptism shows our union with Christ, just as He Himself was baptized, so we share in a baptism similar to His and follow His example. Stanford E. Murrell defines baptism as “an ordinance wherein the washing with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, signifies and seals the engrafting of a soul into Christ, and the partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace and our pledge to be the Lord’s.”[5]

We will look at the different aspects of baptism as presented in the New Testament below.

Union With Christ In Death, Resurrection, Newness Of Life

Galatians 3:27

Gal. 3:25-27 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 

We are children of God, why? Because we have been baptized into Christ. What does this mean? It means that we identify with Christ and we declare that we belong to Him. What is the meaning of “have put on Christ”? This means that we “have put on his sentiments, opinions, characteristic traits”[6] (cf. Rom. 13:14). We are identifying with Him and saying to those watching that we belong to Him. To Paul’s argument, this then would mean that all who are baptized into Christ are children of God because they have put on His characteristics. They identify with Him. Jamieson, Fausset, Brown give the input of Paul’s argument well when they write: “By baptism ye have put on Christ; therefore, He being the Son of God, ye become sons by adoption, by virtue of His Sonship by generation. God regards us in Him, as bearing Christ’s name and character, rather than our own.”[7] These are realities which baptism signifies, but are not caused by water baptism. The baptism into Christ is not the same as water baptism in the name of Christ. But we will see why that is the case below in our discussions on Romans 6 and Colossians 2.

Romans 6:3-5

Rom. 6:3-5 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 

This is the most familiar aspect of baptism amongst Baptists. Baptism symbolizes our death to the old life and our resurrection to the new life in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is even more strengthened when we understand the mode of baptism to be immersion. The whole body goes into the water, symbolizing the death of our old self and identification with Christ’s death, and then we come out of the water, symbolizing the resurrection of the new man in Christ and with Christ. It is a given fact, the apostle assumes, that baptism into Christ,...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity - Commentary

... he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (cf. 1Sam. 15:29)

While it is true of men that they are liars (Rom. 3:4), that is untrue of the “God of truth” (Isa. 65:16). While it is true of the sons of men to change their minds, that is untrue of God. See how the passage mentions two things common to man, while at the same time completely denying them to God. God can neither lie (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18), nor will He change His mind. A change of mind or Repentance (KJV) are incompatible with God. This is said with the most straightforward and plain words. Two things mentioned in this passage that are common to man are completely denied of God. We will see that this statement and the like form the basis and the backdrop against which we interpret the passages which say that God repents or changes His mind. Matthew Poole notes that God does not “change his counsels or purposes; which men do, either because they are not able to execute them, or because they are better informed and their minds changed by some unexpected occurrent, or by their lusts and passions, none of which have a place in God. And therefore I plainly see that all our endeavors and repeated sacrifices are to no purpose, and can make no impression in God, nor induce him to curse those whom he hath purposed, and solemnly and frequently promised, to bless.”[13] A change of mind and Repentance is peculiarly connected to man and excluded from God.

Job 23:13 plainly declares, “But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does.” This passage declares both the absolute freedom as well as the absolute sovereignty of God. No one can influence God so that He changes His plans, nor can anyone thwart His purposes (Job 42:2). What He has desired and planned, that He will purpose and there is no change to His plans and His purposes. The promises to the Patriarchs and to His people are called are said to be “unchangeable character of his purpose”, which is guaranteed by an oath (Heb. 6:17).

Psalm 102:25-27 teaches that unlike the creation, which is the work of His hands and which will perish, yet the Lord remains. They will be changed by the Lord and they will pass away, but in contrast, “you are the same, and your years have no end” (v. 27). This passage is quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12 and applied to God the Son. While the creation and all that is in it changes, the Lord of the Bible, does not change and remains the same as He was. In Hebrews 13:8, it is said that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Yesterday refers not merely to the previous day, but to the whole period from the beginning of the world. Basically, this passage applies, as did Hebrews 1:10-12, what was common of God in the Old Testament to the Lord Jesus, and thereby making a claim to deity. Christ does not change in His nature, nor in His purposes. Albert Barnes comments on the passage saying that:

he is unchangeable. The evident design of this independent proposition here is, to encourage them to persevere by showing that their Saviour was always the same; that he who had sustained his people in former times, was the same still, and would be the same forever. The argument here, therefore, for perseverance is founded on the “immutability” of the Redeemer. If he were fickle, vacillating, changing in his character and plans; if today he aids his people, and to...

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

...of God was certainly satisfied for the ones for whom Christ died. Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10 speak of Christ being a propitiation. “The word propitiation carries the basic idea of appeasement or satisfaction, specifically toward God. Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person and being reconciled to him.”[24] Christ certainly satisfied the wrath of God on behalf of those for whom He died. Although Christ earned our justification on the cross, the fruits of salvation are not applied until God grants us faith and Repentance, as it is through faith that He is our propitiation (Rom. 3:25). Christ was the once-for-all-time sacrifice that satisfied the wrath and justice of God.

Reconciliation with God and Particularity

Christ the Lord, by the sacrifice of Himself, has cleansed us from sin, imputed His perfect righteousness to us and brought us into a loving and harmonious relationship with God. That is what it means that Christ has reconciled us. To “reconcile” means “To reestablish a close relationship between...To make compatible, harmonious, or consistent.”[25] How a relationship is reestablished is seen from the federal headship of Adam. In him, before the Fall we too were, as he was our representative, righteous before God. But as he fell from the state of his innocence, so likewise we fell with him and lost the harmonious relationship we had in him with God.

There are a couple of passages that speak about Christ’s reconciliation of us to God. I would like to look at one specifically. The text is 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. The other text which speaks of God reconciliation is found in Colossians 1:20-23 and is to be interpreted in the same way that 2 Corinthians 5 is interpreted. There is no major difference.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 – through Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself

This is going to be a little bit lengthy and that because I decided that we cannot rightly deal with verses 18-19 if we do not understand the clear context of Christ’s death for a specific people. The context speaks of the ministry of reconciliation, which we as believers and evangelists, have received to share with the world. We are to call everyone to Repentance and faith in Christ. In verse 14 Paul says that the love of Christ controls, constrains and compels us based on the fact that Christ has died for all. But we must dig deeper to understand the meaning of the word “all” in this context. To better understand the passage, we can illustrate what vv. 14-15 are saying in a table:

The Action The Result
One has died for all All have died
He died for all “ longer live for themselves, but for him who for their sake died and was raised”

Christ’s death was not His death alone, but also the death of “all” for whom He died. How can this be if this speaks of all men without exception? For all men were already dead in sin and trespasses because of Adam (Eph. 2:1-3), but this speaks of Christ’s substitutionary death. This is seen from the fact that Paul speaks of us being united to Christ in His death. See for example Galatians 2:20—

I have been crucified with ChristIt is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 

Who else but the elect can say these words? Can any reprobate truly say that they were united with Christ in His death and they frustra...

1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

..."#chap7" id="chap7_up" name="chap7_up"Of God’s Covenant
  • Of Christ the Mediator
  • Of Free Will
  • Of Effectual Calling
  • Of Justification
  • Of Adoption
  • Of Sanctification
  • Of Saving Faith
  • Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation
  • Of Good Works
  • Of the Perseveraance of the Saints
  • Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation
  • Of the Law of God
  • Of the Gospel and the Extent of Grace thereof
  • Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
  • Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day
  • Of Lawful Oaths and Vows
  • Of the Civil Magistrate
  • Of Marriage
  • Of the Church
  • Of the Communion of Saints
  • Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
  • Of Baptism
  • Of the Lord’s Supper
  • Of the State of Man after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead
  • Of the Last Judgement
  • (More) Scriptural references have been added from Sam Waldron’s excellent Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.

    Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures [Return] [Commentary]

    1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience 1, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable 2; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation 3. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church 4; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary 5, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased. 6
      1. Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29; Eph. 2:20; 2 Tim. 3:15-17
      2. Ps. 19:1-3; Rom. 1:19-21, 32; 2:12a, 14-15
      3. Ps. 19:1-3 with vv. 7-11; Rom. 1:19-21; 2:12a, 14-15 with 1:16-17; and 3:21
      4. Heb. 1:1-2a
      5. Prov. 22:19-21; Luke 1:1-4; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 3:1; Deut. 17:18ff; 31:9ff, 19ff; 1 Cor. 15:1; 2 Thess. 2:1-2, 15; 3:17; Rom. 1:8-15; Gal. 4:20; 6:11; 1 Tim. 3:14ff; Rev. 1:9, 19; 2:1 etc.; Rom. 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19-21
      6. Heb. 1:1-2a; Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:7-8; Eph. 2:20
    2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these: 
      Genesis Matthew
      Exodus Mark
      Leviticus Luke
      Numbers John
      Deuteronomy Paul’s Epistle to the Romans
      Joshua  I Corinthians & II Corinthians
      Judges Galatians
      Ruth Ephesians
      I Samuel & II Samuel Philippians
      I Kings & II Kings Colossians
      I Chronicles, II Chronicles I Thessalonians & II Thessalonians
      Ezra I Timothy & II Timothy
      Nehemiah To Titus
      Esther To Philemon
      Job The Epistle to the Hebrews
      Psalms Epistle of James
      Proverbs The first and second Epistles of Peter
      Ecclesiastes The first, second, and third Epistles of John
      The Song of Solom...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 11: Of Justification - Commentary

    ...;salvation by grace through faith” as being the gift of God and not something that we can accomplish ourselves. This use of the neuter pronoun to take in the whole of a complex idea is quite common in Greek (e.g., 6:1); its use here makes it clear that faith, no less than grace, is a gift of God. Salvation, therefore, in every respect, is not your own doing.[24]

    The “this” refers to the whole “by grace through faith”; it refers to the whole of our salvation. Neither our faith nor our Repentance (2 Tim. 2:26) originate with us, but were given to us by grace (demerited favor). Our entire salvation, including faith and Repentance (Acts 20:21), was given to us as a gift with the purpose that we would have no ground to boast. In fact, Ephesians 2:10 even says that God beforehand prepared works for us to walk in them. This also is a gift so that we may glorify Him through them. So, even in our good works, we cannot actually boast. Charles J. Ellicott observes that “This attribution of all to the gift of God seems to cover the whole idea—both the gift of salvation and the gift of faith to accept it.”[7] The Expositor’s Greek Testament observes:

    τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσωσμένοι: for by grace have ye been saved. More exactly “by the grace,” i.e., by this grace, the grace already mentioned. Grace is the explanation of their own salvation, and how surpassingly rich the grace must be that could effect that!—διὰ τῆς πίστεως: through faith. That is, by faith as the instrument or means. Paul never says διὰ τὴν πίστιν, as if the faith were the ground or procuring cause of the salvation. It is the χάριτι, not the explanatory πίστεως that has the first place in Paul’s thoughts here.—καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ἡμῶν: and that not of yourselves. That is, not as proceeding from yourselves or of your own performance...But to what does the τοῦτο refer? To the πίστεως say some (Chrys., Theod., Jer., Bez., Beng., Bisp., Moule, etc.). The neut. τοῦτο would not be irreconcilable with that. The formula καὶ τοῦτο indeed might rather favour it, as it often adds to the idea to which it is attached. It may also be granted that a peculiarly suitable idea results—the opportune reminder that even their faith, in which at least they might think there was something of their own, has its origin in God’s grace, not in their own effort. But on the other hand the salvation is the main idea in the preceding statement, and it seems best to understand the καὶ τοῦτο as referring to that salvation in its entire compass, and not merely to the one element in it, its instrumental cause, appended by way of explanation...[25]

    While a bit technical, the point is clear that the “gift relates not merely to faith immediately preceding, but to the whole sentence”[16], which means that our salvation from the first to the last is of God’s grace and gift, including faith.

    Now we move to the next passage, Philippians 1:29

    For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

    The word granted is the Greek lexical form of χαρίζομαι (charizomai, G5483), which is basically defined as “to grant as a favor, i.e. gratuitously, in kindness, pardon or rescue”.[26] God has not only graciously granted us to suffer for Christ’s sake, which is not a reproach, but an honor and an occasion of joy (Acts 5:41; 16:23-25; Matt. 5:10-12; Luke 6:22; Rom. 5:3; 2 Cor. 12:10; Heb. 10:34; Jam. 1:2; 1 Pet. 4:13-16). He has also granted us to ...

    2 Peter 3:8-9, not wishing that any should perish


     [5] John Gill, Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the Bible software The Word. See “Resources.”