The Staunch Calvinist

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

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

... but gives us a proof—Cyrus the Great. God directs all history according to His counsel and purpose, an example of that is the rise of Cyrus the Great, who is called “a bird of prey...a man of [God’s] counsel.” He has risen on the scene of history to accomplish God’s purpose. One of his purposes was to bring the Old Covenant people of God back to their land and build the Temple of God. He was used for a good purpose. But in contrast, there was someone else who was raised by God for God's purposes, but that was a dishonorable purpose (Rom. 9:17; see the discussion about Pharaoh and Reprobation in paragraph 3).

Note the monergy in v. 11 (mono = one, ergon = work; one working) of God. I am not using this term in the same way as it relates to salvation. God is the One Who has purposed history and He is the One Who will bring it to pass, according to His fore-purpose and fore-counsel. He will move history to its appointed end and work all things according to His purpose (Heb. 1:3; Eph. 1:11). Nothing is left to chance or fate. God controls and directs history and man's actions, obviously, are part of what He controls, if He truly controls and ordains all things. God knows the future not because He looks to the "corridors of time," but because He creates the shape of the future–He foreordains all that happens and knows the future infallibly because He knows what He has foreordained and purposed.

This should be enough about general sovereignty. I believe that I have provided a decent case for God's absolute sovereignty over history. I have not gone deep and to other texts, but that is because I have already provided a case for God’s absolute sovereignty, though not exegetically. In the next section, we will look at God's sovereignty over particular matters as evil and human responsibility, among other things.

Particular Sovereignty

Here, I’m going to provide verses for God’s sovereignty in and over specific cases. Let's start with simple things. Simple, does not mean easy-to-swallow-things.

Life And Death

This should not be an issue for any Christians, but believe me, I've seen people who believe that God only "permits” death and does not cause it. What does the Scripture say?

1Sam. 2:6 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

It is Yahweh, the LORD, the God of the Bible, Who gives life and takes life. Both words are verbs. It is something that God does and not merely “permits.” As the Giver of life He has every right to take it at any point He so wishes, in any way He wishes. It is He Who gives us life and creates us in the womb (Ps. 139:13-16). He is the Ultimate and Foremost Cause in our conception. It is He Who closes wombs so that they do not conceive and opens wombs so that they bear children (e.g. Gen. 20:17-18; 30:2; Ruth 4:13). After all the calamity that God (Job 42:11) brought upon Job and the death of his children, what did Job say?

Job 1:21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Who took? Yahweh. The Lord doesn’t owe us anything, even if we do all that He says we should do, we will only do our duty (Luke 17:7-10). We owe our very existence to His mercy and there is not a single obligation upon God that He would give us life or keep us alive. Therefore, He gives life whenever He pleases and takes life how, and whenever He pleases. All that Job had, wealth, family...


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

...;"because you are not among my sheep

The Lord finds the cause of their unbelief in the fact that they were not among His sheep. If John was an Arminian, this verse would have said something like: you are not among my sheep because you do not believe. But the verse finds the cause of their unbelief in the fact that they are not among the Lord's sheep. What this means is that those not among Christ's sheep are unbelievers, while those who are among Christ's sheep are believers. They are sheep because of their election, and they are non-sheep because of their Reprobation. The Lord speaks of sheep which He has still to gather from the Gentiles—

John 10:16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

He seeks out His sheep and He brings them into His fold. Because they are His sheep, they will listen to the voice of their Master. This is certain to happen. It is not an "iffy" thing. They will listen and come into His fold, because of His power and grace. They are currently not among His fold, but He will bring them.

John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 

In this verse, the Shepherd assures us that His sheep hear His voice calling them, He knows them intimately. He does not merely know facts about them, rather He knows them personally. Not only that, but those sheep whom He knows and loves, follow Him. They are not among those who do not follow Him. Simply by the fact that they are His sheep and He is the Shepherd, they trust and follow Him. To the same sheep, in v. 28, He gives eternal life and assures us that those same sheep will never perish. They cannot but have eternal life and in the words of John 6, they will be raised on the last day.

Now let us turn to v. 11 where the Lord says that He lays His life for the sheep. Now we see that obviously, John 10:1-30 speaks of the same subject. The same sheep for whom He lays down His life in v. 11, are the same sheep to whom He gives eternal life and they will never perish. Those are the same sheep who know Him and He knows them personally and intimately. As we have pointed out at the beginning of the discussion about John 6 above, all salvation is presupposed upon Christ's perfectly and substitutionary death. So, I would like to ask the Arminian, how does this verse fit with the idea that Christ the Lord died for all people without exception? How is Christ's death effective for the Jews who rejected Him? How is Christ's death effective for those who are wolves? If the work of Christ in laying down His life for the sheep assures the bringing in of the sheep into His fold, giving them eternal life, preserving them and raising them up on the last day, how could this work be said to be done also on behalf of those who are not sheep and who have not been given by the Father? How is Christ not a failure for not achieving the same for the sheep as for the non-sheep if He gave His life for and in the place of every man without exception?

It seems clear to me that this chapter teaches that the scope of the atonement is limited to the sheep, i.e., the believers, the elect. This does mean that He dies for those who already are believers, but that all for whom He dies are among the elect and will, thanks to His death, become beli...


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

...so that whoever looks upon the Son and believes in Him, will do so as a result of being given by the Father to the Son, and not as a result of human will or effort. Therefore, verse 40 is a call to everyone to look and believe in the Son, and not to say in the state of unbelief, "I don't see evidence of election in me" or "I don't think I'm elect, so it doesn't matter". Rather, the call of verse 40 is to everyone to look upon the Son and believe in Him and in that way you will know whether you're elect or not. Those who look and adore the Son prove their election by their faith. Those who reject and spurn the Son until death, prove their Reprobation by their rejection.

John 10:27-29 – No one will snatch them

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

1. First of all, we again encounter the idea of the Father giving a specific people to the Son in verse 29 as we did in chapter 6 above. The believers here are designated as the sheep of Jesus the Shepherd. They are His, why? Because the Father has given them to Him. They hear His voice, why? Because He is their Shepherd and they follow no other. They follow Him, why? Because He is their Good Shepherd and the sheep recognize the voice of their Shepherd and they follow Him. The elect are Jesus the Shepherd's possessions and He is the One who seeks out the sheep when they've gone astray. He has this charge, as we saw from John 6.

2. The sheep are given eternal life by the Son. They are given eternal life in the present time, not after death or after Judgment Day. Eternal life begins on this side of eternity. It is the sheep who are specifically given eternal life, which does not primarily describe the length, but rather the quality of life. Eternal life is described in terms of knowing and having a relationship with God, and does not merely refer to unending life after the grave, although it does also refer to that, but we also know that the Bible speaks of eternal life as a present possession of believers on this side of eternity (e.g. John 3:16; 5:13). But more on this point below in the next section.

3. The sheep are given eternal life and then another thing follows, namely the fact that they will never perish. The same group is still under discussion. The same sheep who were given by the Father, are given eternal life and we are assured that "they will never perish." The expression οὐ μὴ ἀπόλωνται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα (ou me apolontai eis ton aiona) may be translated with "shall certainly not perish for ever". The HSCB translates it with "they will never perish — ever!" The idea here is clear that apostasy, or perishing for the sheep is an impossibility. It is not an exaggeration to claim this. It is simply what our Lord says here. We see first that they're given eternal life by the Son, which according to John 3:16 means therefore that they will not perish. But also that they're Christ's sheep who were bought by His blood. He died to save them. He is the Good Shepherd who will lead them and be their Guide and the One Whom they will follow, because they know Him (John 10:7-9, 14-15).

4. Our Shepherd says that it is not possible for the sheep to be snatched from the Son's hand. They are in His hand, they are under His care and protec...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 4: Of Creation - Commentary

...r that thing happened or not. He creates these things by His will so that they would bring glory and honor to Him. In Proverbs 16:4, we read, “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Everything that God created, He created with its assigned purpose. It is He Who gives everything its purpose. It is not to be thought that the created things gave themselves a purpose. That is absurd. He has even created the wicked for a purpose, namely, a purpose of destruction and punishment (see more in chapter 3 on Reprobation). All things exist and were created to display His glory in one way or another. The people of God are said to be that sons and daughters of God who were created for His glory, and they are called by His holy Name (Isa. 43:6-7). In Colossians 1:16, we read:

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

The Son of God was not only the Agent of Creation, but He was the goal of Creation. Not only were all things that were created, created by Him and through Him, but also for Him. Do not miss this bit. The reason that the Creation exists is for the Son—for His pleasure and for His glory. Everything is set up and is created for the praise of Jesus’ glory. Such is the Father's good pleasure that the Son may be glorified in all things, just like the Father (John 5:22-23).

Even salvation has the glory of God as its end and goal. Three times in Ephesians 1 we are told that we have been predestined and saved “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6) and “to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12, 14). See also Isaiah 43:7; 60:21; 61:3; Psalm 143:11; Ezekiel 36:21-22; 39:7; Ephesians 3:9-10.

In Romans 9:22-23, it is said:

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 

God will display both the glory of His justice and wrath in bringing just punishment upon the reprobate, as He will glorify Himself in the riches of His glory for the elect. Proverbs 16:4 says, “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Romans 9:17 says of Pharaoh, ‘For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”’

All things were created and exist to glorify God and God will glorify Himself in all things, no doubt!

See also John Piper, Why Did God Create the World?

The Days

This controversy concerning the days of Genesis started with Augustine, I believe. He believed that God basically made everything in a moment, as time means nothing to an Eternal God. But many have taken Augustine's position and pointed to it to “excuse” or “support” their radical departure from a straightforward reading of Genesis. What can we learn from the Bible about the days of creation? I believe that a straightforward reading of the account will give us nothing apart from 6 days of God’s work in creating everything and the 7th day for rest. But this has been challenged by the rise of secular theories of origin, and some Christians have been comfortable to come up with all sort of ways to make the Bible fit with “scien...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence - Commentary

... to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Rom. 1:28). There is a progression of wickedness and sinfulness, and it is a miserable and wicked path to Hell. When God brings judgment on these people by giving them over to their sins, He is doing that which is right to those who sin against Him. These are not some innocent people whom God is punishing, but these are criminals and rebels against the Lord of heaven and earth. Take a look at chapter 3, paragraph 3 where I try to lay a case out for Reprobation.


§7 The Providence of God as it relates to His Church

  1. As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof. 1
    1. Prov. 2:7-8; Isa. 43:3-5, 14; Amos 9:8-9; Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:11, 22; 3:10-11, 21; 1 Tim. 4:10

The promise of Romans 8:28 is given to His church. It is for them that “all things work together for good”. The Lord Christ is given as head over all things “to the church” (Eph. 1:22). He exercises His sovereign rule for the good of the church and disposeth of all things to the good thereof. What a comfort and what a blessing to know that all things work together for our good and that nothing is outside of His control. 


It is only the elect—the Church of God, the people of God, that have received the promise of Romans 8:28. For the reprobate, everything works for the bad and for more condemnation. For the sake of the righteous, the godless often are blessed (e.g. Gen. 39:2-4). Joseph found favor with Potiphar because the Lord was with Him and God gave success both to Joseph and Potiphar, because of Joseph's presence. Laban says to Jacob, “If I have found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you” (Gen. 30:27). God takes care of all His creation, but especially of His covenant people, and He often blesses the godless for their sake.

The love of God for His own is shown in Isaiah 43:3-5, 14 in how God gives other nations away as “ransom” for His covenant people. He regards these people as nothing compared to the love that He has for Israel, His covenant people, which He brought up from the Babylonian captivity. Why? “Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you” (Isa. 43:4). The love of God for His people is incomparable to the common grace and love which He displays toward the godless. God does not give His people up for the sake of the wicked, but He does give the wicked up for the sake of His people. Although it is true that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth”, it is especially true that they do so as “to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2Chron. 16:9). Although the Lord Christ is God and ruler over all things (e.g. Matt. 28:18), yet He is especially given to His Church (Eph. 1:22). King Jesus exercises His sovereign reign for the good of His people to whom He is given as ruler over all things, even for those who persecute them (Rev. 1:5). Although God is the Savior, i.e., Preserver and Protector, of all people without exception, yet He is “especially” the Savior of His people who believe in Him (1Tim. 4:10).

It is those, chosen by God, who are promised that God works everything for their good, what a blessing. We, wicked sinners, loved by an infinitely holy, righteous, pure and sovereign God! Amazing Grace. We have not earned it, we are not only unde...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling - Commentary

...ave argued for Unconditional Election in chapter 3, therefore, ultimately, no human choice is decisive in salvation but God's (Rom. 9:16).

The next claim which we will take up concerns damnation by works. Is it true? Yes, I believe it indeed is true. We are not damned for no reason, we are always damned for our sins. And yes I believe in Reprobation. That this is the case may be seen from the passages which describe, for example, what things keep us from heaven. Nowhere do we read of people being sent to hell because of Adam's sin. Let us admit that the Bible is simply silent on whether there are children in hell/Hades. You may check all the references that Dr. MacArthur gives where things are described which keep us out of heaven, in no list is there anything other than willful disobedience to the Law of God. They are choices that we consciously make and sinful lifestyles that we live. Furthermore, we are also changed according to our works. 2 Corinthians 5:10 declares, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." We are to answer for what we have done in our body. Notice that we do not have to answer for Adam's sin. Adam's sin makes us incapable of righteousness and faith apart from the sovereign Holy Spirit. But we will not answer for Adam's sin, but our own. Romans 2:6 says, "He will render to each one according to his works". The Son of Man "will repay each person according to what he has done" (Matt. 16:27; see also 1Pet. 1:17; Rev. 2:23; 20:12; 22:12; see also chapter 32). All this serves to demonstrate that we are not judged for Adam's sin, but for our own personal sinning and that this judgment is according to what we have done in the body.

How Are They Saved?

It is certainly a special operation of the Spirit unlike the one we know wherein He regenerates them. The Confession in this paragraph states, "Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word." They are saved by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit and by the Lord Jesus Christ. They are saved from damnation. Had they been sinless or not subjects of damnation, there would be no need for them to be saved. This is also the case for all who are incapable of being outwardly called. For those who are capable of being outwardly called, the Confession in the first paragraph said that this happens by "by his Word and Spirit". But since these persons under consideration in paragraph 3 are not capable of being outwardly called, they are saved by the special operation of the Holy Spirit and by Jesus Christ, their Savior.

We don't have many examples, therefore, we must be careful in this. But there is the example of John the Baptist who was saved from the womb. Luke 1:15 says that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. This language of being filled with the Holy Spirit is always associated with believers, never with unbelievers. See for example Luke 1:41, 67; 4:1; Acts 2:4; 4:8; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52; Ephesians 5:18. In every instance, it speaks exclusively about believers, therefore we have the warrant to believe that John was indeed regenerated and given the Holy Spirit even from the womb—before he was born, he was already saved. Theref...


God's Absolute Sovereignty: Concise Scripture List

... LORD; how then can man understand his way?

1Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Prov 16:1,9,21:1; Phil 2:12-13

Sovereignty over evil and sin

Jesus

Acts 2:22-23, 4:26-28; Isa 53:10

Joseph

Gn 37:4-8, 20, 45:5, 8, 50:20; Ps 105:16-17

Job

Job 1, 2:10, 42:11

Assyria, the rod of His anger

Isa 10:5-6, 12-13, 15-16, 14:24-27

Reprobation

Jn 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

2Thess 2:11-12 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

1Thess 5:9; 1Pet 2:8; 2Pet 2:12; Jude 4

Total Depravity

Rom 3:9-18 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 

Rom 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Eph 2:1-3 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Jn 6:43-47; Rom 6:20; 1Cor 2:14; Col 2:13-15; 2Tim 2:24-26

Unconditional Election

Rom 8:29-30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Eph 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Jn 1:11-13; Rom 9: 10-13, 15-16, 22-24, 10:20; Phil 1:29-30

Limited Atonement

Jn 10:14-18 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my o...


A Review of O. Palmer Robertson's The Israel of God

...elites to jealously so that they would cling to their Messiah and in this way the world will be blessed (Rom 11:11-15).

Then there is a very interesting discussion on the most controversial verses in the chapter, namely, vv. 25-26. I will make this short. Dr. Robertson argues that the “partial hardening” (Rom 11:25) means that a part of Israel after the flesh has been hardened, i.e., not elected and given a hard heart (Rom 11:7-8). Then he argues that the word “until” in the Greek does not necessitate a change of course after its termination. In another words, the word “until” in itself cannot indicate that there will be a day when the decree of Reprobation will not be in effect in Israel. This is something which he hammers on throughout this section. The word “until” in itself is not enough to indicate a change of course after “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” He argues that

Romans 11:25 speaks of eschatological termination. Throughout the present age, until the final return of Christ, hardening will continue among part of Israel. Too often "until" has been understood as marking the beginning of a new state of things with regard to Israel. It has hardly been considered that "until" more naturally should be interpreted as reaching an eschatological termination point. The phrase implies not a new beginning after a termination, but the continuation of a circumstance until the end of time. (p. 180)

Then comes the question for the identity of “all Israel” in v. 26. He sees both the interpretation which sees “all Israel” as all elect Jews as well as the interpretation which sees “all Israel” as the Israel of God, exegetically supportable in the context. But his preference goes for the second option and his reason is enlightening. I’ve never thought of it in this way. The question concerns where the “fullness of the Gentiles” in v. 25 “has come in”? He argues from Ephesians 2 where it is said that the Gentile believers are brought near to the “commonwealth of Israel and…to the covenants of promise” (Eph 2:12-13), that this “coming in” of the Gentiles is a coming into Israel. He also sees the olive tree as Israel, therefore, since the only place in Romans 11 where the Gentiles “come in” or are engrafted in is the olive tree of Israel, therefore, it makes sense that the Gentile believers now being part of the Israel of God, along with elect Jews, constitute the “all Israel” which shall be saved.

This is very interesting and mind-opening to say the least. I held to the opinion that “all Israel” means “all elect Jews throughout history”, but seeing “all Israel” as the Israel of God, is likewise a valid and exegetically sound interpretation within the context. I find Romans 11 to be a difficult chapter, but it is a chapter I want to spend more time on so that I may have a position on it. I will not be too quick to say that I agree with everything Dr. Robertson said, but I think he presented a very well argued case for his interpretation on all points.

More importantly, Dr. Robertson notes what the chapter actually does not say:

Nothing in this chapter says anything about the restoration of an earthly Davidic kingdom, or of a return to the land of the Bible, or of the restoration of a national state of Israel, or of a church of Jewish Christians separated from Gentile Christians. (p. 191)

While ethnic Israelites will always be part of God’s plan, there is nothing in Romans 11 about a distinct (future) pl...


Review of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology

...(Phil 2:5-11). He was resurrected with a human body and went into heaven with that glorified body, nothing actually convinces us that the Lord Jesus ceased to be human at the moment of His ascension. In fact the Bible tells us that it is the man Christ Jesus who is our Mediator:

1Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 

The Application of Redemption

Part 5 is entitled The Doctrine of The Application of Redemption. Therein Dr. Grudem handles among other things:

  1. Common Grace
  2. Election and Reprobation
  3. The Gospel Call and Effective Calling 
  4. Regeneration
  5. Conversion (Faith and Repentance)
  6. Justification (Right Legal Standing Before God)
  7. Adoption (Membership in God’s Family)
  8. Sanctification (Growth in Likeness to Christ)
  9. Death and the Intermediate State
  10. Glorification (Receiving a Resurrection Body)
  11. Union with Christ

These chapters are excellent like the rest and if you didn't know, Dr Wayne Grudem is a full-fetched Calvinist and in these chapters, what is called “Calvinism” is argued and shown to be the system of the Bible itself. He follows Romans 8:29-30 in laying out these doctrine sin this way:

Rom 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 

The Doctrine of the Church

Part 6 of this treatment deals with Ecclesiology. I've learned a ton in this part, because it wasn't something that I've read about before.

Being a baptist, he argues for a congregational and independent type of church and makes the case for the consistent plurality of elders in NT congregations.

What I also liked was the distinction that he made with with more and less pure churches. He admits that in the present time there will not be a church which is perfect in doctrine, but there will be churches which are more or less pure churches. There are no perfect churches.

Being a Reformed Baptist myself, I loved his treatment of Baptism (chapter 49) and his interaction with Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology on Protestant Infant Baptism. I though that his case for Credobaptism was strong and he was gracious toward our Padeobaptist brethren.

An important doctrine which he got me more thinking about was the Gifts of the Spirit. He being a continuationist and I...kinda undecided, but was practically a cessationist, but couldn't make up my mind from the Scriptures because according to my judgment I didn't see any where in the NT the idea that the spritual gifts would stop.

A few things should be said, Dr. Grudem is an excellent theologian, so he is not like the prosperity preachers and the Benny Hinns. He does not believe that “NT congregational prophecy” is the speaking of the very words of God, but he defines prophecy as “telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.”[3] He does not believe that NT congregation prophecy is predicting the future. Further, he believes that in the OT the prophets spoke the very words of God and to disobey a prophet was the same as to disobey God. But this is not the case in the NT. In the NT, the prophets are replaced with the Apostles (which is an office limited to the first century he believes) which are given the authority to write the God-breathed word...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgment - Commentary

...e.g. 2Thess. 1:8-9; Matt. 25:41, 46). Their terrible and fearful lot is to be punished for all eternity. It is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31). Although all of us deserve this punishment from God, yet no human mind can fathom the misery that is for the wicked and their lot. Many of us can sympathize with such a lot because we have not yet seen the fullness of God's righteousness and holiness as it is and compared sin with it. When we are in the presence of God, everlasting punishment will be the most reasonable thing to do with the wicked and we will praise God for it.


On the Day of Judgment, God's decree of election and Reprobation will fully come to pass and be manifested. God has ordained all things which come to pass, including the salvation and damnation of people, for the glory of His holy Name. He saves those who are not righteous and accepts them as righteous because of Jesus Christ to demonstrate His grace. At the same time, He leaves those who likewise are not righteous in their unrighteousness to demonstrate His justice and His wrath. The one group gets that which they do not deserve, the other gets that which they deserve. The center of the Day of Judgment is God, not man, as God will on that day vindicate His holiness and His justice. Jesus Christ will sit in judgment to vindicate the Name of the Triune God. The righteous, who are so because of imputed righteousness and not inherit righteousness, will be received into the New Heavens and New Earth, the home of righteousness and will be welcomed with the words: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). Those are the ones of whom Christ said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt. 25:35-36). The righteous are shown to be righteous by their deeds. Their deeds testify to their righteousness. On the other hand, to the wicked He says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). The wicked will share the same fate as the fallen angels in the eternal fire. The wicked are described as the opposite of the righteous: “For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me” (Matt. 25:42-43). They will be condemned and sent to Hell because of their lack of good works, which testifies to the fact that they're not believers. There are only two destinations which the Bible knows of, either one goes into the presence of God, or out of the presence of God, and the conditions in these two places are antithetical. Now I want to focus more on Hell.

Hell

It is the common confession of Christianity (whether Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox) that the wicked will be tormented without end in Hell. In recent times, the attack upon the doctrine of Hell has become more popular. The doctrine is very hard to swallow and it is a doctrine with which we are not happy. We may try to imagine the idea of what it means for a person to suffer unceasingly in Hell, but we simply cannot. The doctrine is very hard and terrifying, but the reason that it has received the prominence ...