The Staunch Calvinist

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

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

...span 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

The Impossibility Of Final Apostasy For The Elect

The biblical and Reformed doctrine of perseverance is a great mountain, which gives the saints assurance and faith in God’s almighty power in overcoming sin in us and completely saving us. The doctrine does not teach, contrary to non-Protestant caricatures, that Christians after being saved can do whatever they want to do and still remain saved. Rather, the doctrine teaches that those who have the Spirit of God indwelling in them will persevere in the faith by the almighty power of God. The Lord will chastise, sanctify and lead them toward a holier life.

That the doctrine is true and biblical may be seen from many ways (see paragraph 2), including (1) the decree of election, (2) regeneration, (3) justification and (4) Christ’s obedience.

Election: It has pleased God from all eternity to select a particular people in the Lord Jesus Christ whom He will redeem from sin to be with Him forever without any consideration of foreseen faith or works, merely because of His good pleasure. Seeing that their Salvation was not dependent upon them, how would their perseverance be (completely) dependent upon them? There is no debate among Calvinists about whether the elect can lose their Salvation. Someone who accepts Unconditional Election must believe in perseverance. It is logically necessary, for to contend otherwise is to say that God has unconditionally chosen a person to be saved, but has not chosen to preserve that particular person, which is absurd on its face. Therefore, the one who accepts Unconditional Election inevitably must accept the Perseverance of the Saints. For to reject the doctrine is to contend that God fails to save those whom He intends to save. See chapter 3, paragraph 5 for more on Unconditional Election.

Regeneration: Through regeneration, we have been made new creatures, given a new heart and a new spirit. Plus, the Spirit of the Almighty has come into our hearts (e.g. Ezek. 36:25-27). We’ve been given a new nature with the Law of the God written upon our hearts (Jer. 31:31-34). What happens when (supposedly) a person loses their Salvation? Do they become unregenerate? Do they receive their old nature back? Do they become unborn again? Do you see the difficulty that such an idea of “falling away” brings with it? It is simply impossible that such a thing will happen. And what if the person loses their Salvation and then comes to the Lord Jesus again, does God cause him to be born again for a second time? See chapter 11 for more on regeneration.

Justification: Justification is a legal a...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...ing in Christ. They did not receive regeneration, faith, or justification by water baptism, but they showed that they possessed these things by water baptism. All these truths are clearly represented and symbolized in water baptism by immersion. But, is the Apostle actually speaking of water baptism here? Dr. John MacArthur calls the baptism in Romans 6 a "dry baptism” in a sermon of his. This baptism which Paul is writing about is a spiritual baptism into Christ. Baptism symbolizes our union with Christ but it is not the means which brings our union with Him. To claim so would make Salvation to be dependent upon baptism and reject what the Apostle had laid before this chapter about justification by faith alone. The baptism of Romans 6 is a metaphorical baptism into Christ at the moment of faith, when the believer is united to their Savior and experiences the blessings of this union. But does this overthrow everything that I've said above? Not for a bit! The truths of union with Christ in His death and resurrection are still represented and shown by baptism in water, but they are not the effects of water baptism. If baptism was the means of union with Christ, i.e., Salvation, then that would mean that Salvation is by faith and works, which is contrary to the foundation which the Apostle had laid in chapters 3-5. Although I deny that this passage is directly speaking of water baptism, yet, I believe that Paul had water baptism in mind because it was a sign given by the Lord to symbolize our union in His death, burial, and resurrection. Therefore, its use for the meaning and mode of baptism is proper. Although the baptism here is spiritual baptism, yet it cannot be denied that water baptism signifies spiritual baptism, i.e., regeneration.

A.H. Strong makes the following observation on the significance of Christian baptism:

Baptism, like the Fourth of July, the Passover, the Lord's Supper, is a historical monument. It witnesses to the world that Jesus died and rose again. In celebrating it, we show forth the Lord's death as truly as in the celebration of the Supper. But it is more than a historical monument. It is also a pictorial expression of doctrine. Into it are woven all the essential truths of the Christian scheme. It tells of the nature and penalty of sin, of human nature delivered from sin in the person of a crucified and risen Savior, of Salvation secured for each human soul that is united to Christ, of obedience to Christ as the way to life and glory. Thus baptism stands from age to age as a witness for God—a witness both to the facts and to the doctrine of Christianity. To change the form of administering the ordinance is therefore to strike a blow at Christianity and at Christ, and to defraud the world of a part of God's means of Salvation.[8]

Colossians 2:11-12

Another passage which is quite similar to Romans 6:3-5 is Colossians 2:11-12:

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off

...

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

...ter 7 that the Covenant of Redemption was the eternal covenant between the Persons of the Trinity, which laid out their roles in the self-glorification of God and the redemption of God’s elect. The Father was to elect a people and give them to the Son. The Son was to redeem the people whom the Father gave to Him. The Spirit was to apply the benefits of Son on their behalf to them and indwell them.

Christ was chosen by the Father from before the foundation of the earth to be the Savior of God’s people. God’s plans had Him as the center. In Ephesians 1:3-6 we read that before the foundation of the world we were chosen and predestined in Christ for Salvation, meaning that Christ was already then chosen to be the Savior of God’s elect. He is the only One who can save us. We also read about the Servant Messiah in Isaiah’s prophecies. In Isaiah 42, we read –

Isa. 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

The Servant of the Lord is none other than the Lord Jesus who is prophesied about before He came on the scene. He is the Lord’s chosen and He is in whom God delights (Matt. 3:17; 17:5, etc). We also read of Christ being the chosen of God and in whom God delights in the New Testament Scriptures often with allusion to the Old Testament (John 6:27; 1Pet. 2:4-6). Christ is the prime elect of God, and all the believers have been elected in Him and when they believe they are united with Him.

Christ the Priest and Mediator

Our Lord is not only the prime elect of God, the Son of God, God the Son, the Savior and Awaited One, but He is also the High Priest of God’s people. The task of the priest is to be a mediator between God and man. This was the case in the Old Testament also for example when the people would come with their sacrifices to the Levitical priests, or on the Day of Atonement when the High Priest would intercede and make atonement for the people of Israel (Lev. 16). Christ the Lord is the High Priest and Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 8:6; 12:24). The priests were to stand between God and man, but the problem with the Levitical priesthood was the fact that the priests themselves were not pure. They themselves were full of weaknesses and sin and they were to stand between sinful man (themselves being sinful) and holy God. That’s problematic. 

After the Order of Melchizedek

The Book of Hebrews (which is now my second favorite epistle after Romans) lays great stress, especially in chapter 7, on Melchizedek and his priesthood. Melchizedek comes on the scene in the life of Abraham after the slaughter of the kings in Genesis 14. He comes at once on the scene and the text tells us that “He was priest of God Most High” (Gen. 14:18). Even at that time, there were more people who knew God other than the ones we meet in the Bible. Melchizedek was a priest of God the Most High. He comes here on the scene and for centuries we hear nothing about him until we come to the Messianic Psalm 110:4.

Ps. 110:4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

Here, Yahweh promises to David’s Adonai (Lord) that He would be a priest forever. The vague part is, is that His priesthood would not be after the order of Levi and Aaron, as it was the only acceptable form of priesthood under the Law, but “after the order of Melchizedek.” The significance of the...


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

...ve's case, the shedding of the animal blood provides a covering for them, the same is true for what Christ the Lord did for us on the cross. By the shedding of His blood and faith in His name, we are clothed in His perfect righteousness and our sins are covered.


§2 The Covenant Of Redemption

  1. Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and Salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe. 3
    1. Gal. 3:10; Gen. 2:17; 3:15; Ps. 110:4 (with Heb. 7:18-22; 10:12-18); Eph. 2:12 (with Rom. 4:13-17 and Gal. 3:18-22); Heb. 9:15
    2. John 3:16; Rom. 10:6, 9; Gal. 3:11
    3. Ezek. 36:26-27; John 6:44-45

The Curse Of The Law

After Adam and Eve rebelled against God, they were cast off from His sight and out of the Garden. They lost the amazing fellowship which they enjoyed with God. Their disobedience brought the sentence of death upon them and all creation:

Gen. 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

1Cor. 15:21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

Rom. 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

The Holy God cannot stand in the presence of sinners, they will be consumed if He did. Yet for the glory of His grace, He had, in Christ, foreordained the Salvation of a particular people. He had even in some way foreordained the Fall (see chapter 3 on God's sovereignty over evil). The means of restoring that relationship was for the Son of God to come down and bear the curse of the law on behalf of sinners.

Gal. 3:10-14 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 

The Condemning Adamic Covenant

The covenant of Adam has no more the capacity to offer eternal life to those who obey it since only its condemning power is exercised now. The covenant is broken and what it now administers is the curse of the covenant. The Bible credits the existence of death and sin back to the disobedience of Adam (Rom. 5:12; 1Cor. 15:21). That was the punishment for disobedience of the Adamic Covenant (Gen. 2:17). Therefore, since only the condemning power of the covenant was in work and not the life-giving power, the Lord had to make another covenant if He wanted people to get saved. This is where we come into the discussion of the Covenant of Grace, which will be taken in paragraph 3 and the Covenant of Redemption, which is the basis for the Covenant of Grace, to which we now turn.

The Covenant of Redemption...


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

...plish 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, cattle and whatever else he may have had, the Lord had given all of that to him. None of it ultimately came from Job, rather it was Yahweh Who gave it and He is to be blessed for that. But likewise, it is Yahweh Who ultimately took it. Yes, He did use se...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling - Commentary

...whom God 1 hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, 3 effectually to call, 4 by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and Salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; 10 yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace. 11
  1. Rom. 8:28-29[1]
  2. Rom. 8:29-30; 9:22-24; 1 Cor. 1:26-28; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:9
  3. John 3:8; Eph. 1:11
  4. Matt. 22:14; 1 Cor. 1:23-24; Rom. 1:6; 8:28; Jude 1; John 5:25; Rom. 4:17
  5. 2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Peter 1:23-25; James 1:17-25; 1 John 5:1-5; Rom. 1:16-17; 10:14; Heb. 4:12
  6. John 3:3, 5-6, 8; 2 Cor. 3:3, 6
  7. Rom. 8:2; 1 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 2:1-6; 2 Tim. 1:9-10
  8. Acts 26:18; 1 Cor. 2:10, 12; Eph. 1:17-18
  9. Ezek. 36:26; Jer. 31:33
  10. Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36:27; John 6:44-45; Eph. 1:19; Phil. 2:13
  11. Ps. 110:3; John 6:37; Rom. 6:16-18

Called by the Word and Spirit

It is the Word of God–the precious Gospel, which comes to us, which is the message of Salvation used by the Spirit to awaken us to newness of life. God has ordained to call His elect people through the means of preaching the Gospel. Notice that the Confession says effectually call because there are two types of calling: 1) the general call and 2) the effectual call. By the general call of the Gospel, we mean the simple preaching of the Gospel to all who are able to hear and understand the proclamation. In this sense, all who are able to hear (or read) and understand the call of the Gospel are invited but are not supplied with the Spirit to make them willing to accept the Gospel. This is the case in Matthew. 22:14, which I believe is the only explicit instance on which this “general call” is based. Clearly, our Lord there distinguishes between those who are called and those who are chosen. A lot of people are called, in the sense of Matthew 22:14, but few people are chosen. The effectual call is the call of the Gospel proclamation used by the Spirit to cause us to be born again. We don’t merely hear the Gospel, but the Spirit applies the message of the Gospel to our life and grants us the ability to accept the call of the Gospel and respond positively. It is in this sense that most passages that speak of God’s calling are concerned with. My favorite passage on the effectual calling of the Spirit and the Gospel proclamation is in 2 Thessalonians 2–

2Thess 2:13-14 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In contrast to those to whom God sends delusions because they refuse to love the truth (2Thess. 2:11-12), Paul praises and thanks God because He has chosen the Thessalonians. He always gives thanks to God for their Salvation. He is thankful that they're beloved and they are elect. God's choice was made in eternity as is elsewhere clear in Paul (Eph. 1:4-5, or if the alternative option is more correct: “Some manuscripts chose you from the beginning”), but the application of that w...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures - Commentary

...l 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 Salvation3 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[1]
  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

The Confession starts with the authority of the Bible, because the Confession is meant to be an interpretation of the Bible. Therefore, it must start with its position on the Bible. The Confession seeks to be faithful to the Bible in what it confirms and thus it is most appropriate to start by its position on the Bible. I think it’s appropriate, though it may be strange that the Confession starts with the Bible rather than with God. But that is the case because the presentation of God in the Confession is drawn from the Scriptures and that’s why it was necessary for the Confession to declare what it believes about the Bible before it dives into topics whose belief is based upon Scripture above all. According to the Confession, the Scripture is sufficient, certain and infallible. It is all that we need in this life for godliness and to know the will of God. We don’t need extra revelations from God, when we have His pure and sufficient Word in our hands.

General Revelation And The Necessity Of Scripture

Looking at Creation, we perceive that there must be a powerful Creator Who has created all these things and brought them into being. Looking in our hearts, we see that our conscience condemns us and that there is a law which dictates what is right and what is wrong. Looking at the beauty of the world, it is most reasonable for us to conclude that there must be an Amazing Designer to this world. This is what we call General Revelation. This is the revelation of God which is available to everywhere. This revelation, says the Confession, “manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God”, but it is not perfect. The purpose of general revelation is to condemn and leave men inexcusable for their rebellion against the God Whom they know. The Apostle Paul makes very clear in Romans 1:18ff that all people know the true God, yet they hold down the truth, suppressing it and choosing rather to believe the lie. He says that the created world testifies to the fact that there is a Creator Who has revealed Himself to them. God reveals Himself in Creation. But since we live in a fallen world, this revelation of God is distorted, hence the nece...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...
In the name of and on the behalf of the whole assembly.

 


CONFESSION OF FAITH

Put forth by the ELDERS and BRETHREN Of many CONGREGATIONS OF Christians

(baptized upon Profession of their faith) in London and the Country.

With the Heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the Mouth Confession is made unto Salvation, Rom. 10:10.
Search the Scriptures, John 5:39.


Table of Contents

  1. Of the Holy Scriptures

  2. Of God and the Holy Trinity

  3. Of God's Decree

  4. Of Creation

  5. Of Divine Providence

  6. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the punishment thereof

  7. Of God's Covenant

  8. Of Christ the Mediator

  9. Of Free Will

  10. Of Effectual Calling

  11. Of Justification

  12. Of Adoption

  13. Of Sanctification

  14. Of Saving Faith

  15. Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation

  16. Of Good Works

  17. Of the Perseveraance of the Saints

  18. Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

  19. Of the Law of God

  20. Of the Gospel and the Extent of Grace thereof

  21. Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

  22. Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

  23. Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

  24. Of the Civil Magistrate

  25. Of Marriage

  26. Of the Church

  27. Of the Communion of Saints

  28. Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper

  29. Of Baptism

  30. Of the Lord's Supper

  31. Of the State of Man after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead

  32. 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: 
    OF THE OLD TESTAMENT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
    Genesis Matthew
    Exodus Mark
    Leviticus Luke
    Numbers John
    Deuteronomy Paul's Epistle to...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation - Commentary

...

Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

In many ways this chapter is dependent upon the previous chapter about the Perseverance of the Saints and we concluded in the previous chapter that the doctrine is indeed biblical. If eternal security is biblical for those who are regenerate and have true faith, may we conclude that God is willing that they have assurance of Salvation and have confidence that they will be with God forever? The answer of this chapter is “yes.” The most texts for the doctrine of perseverance at the same time are texts about the assurance that we are called to have in Scripture, therefore, I will reference the exegesis of the relevant texts, if necessary, in the previous chapter.


§1 Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves

  1. Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and state of Salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed. 2
    1. Job 8:13, 14; Jer. 17:9; Matt. 7:21-23; Luke 18:10-14; John 8:41; Eph. 5:6-7; Gal. 6:3, 7-9[1]
    2. Rom. 5:2, 5; 8:16; 1 John 2:3; 3:14, 18-19, 24; 5:13; 2 Peter 1:10

Temporary Believers

The Confession starts first with a word of warning, namely, a warning about false believers. These false believers are said to be “temporary believers” and are “unregenerate men.” They do have assurance, but a vain and false assurance. The temporary believers are the seeds that fell on the rock in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:13). They fell away from their profession because they had no true faith in them which is by nature lasting (1John 2:19). Their faith was merely feel good and not borne out sincere love for God and hatred for sin (repentance). Nowhere does Holy Scripture call such a faith true faith, because it is not. True faith perseveres and justifies forever. We may compare these temporary believers to the people who used to go to church, heard the preaching of the Gospel in a manner which sounded good to them, they were called to come forward and repeat a prayer after the preacher. They did not know much about the faith, they had not been presented a clear and biblical Gospel and after repeating a prayer they were told that they were saved. Such people are told to “accept” Jesus into their hearts and pray (or better, repeat after the preacher) the Sinner's Prayer to be saved. They have no root, they have not been confronted with their sin, righteousness, and judgment. For all that we know they may have heard a false and vile prosperity message and told that God will make them happy, healthy and successful. These people profess to be believers for a while. They may even have assurance in them that they will go to heaven, but their assurance consists in, as the Confession says, "false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and state of Salvation”. They look back to a card they signed, to a date and time, to the fact they repeated the Sinner's Prayer and etc., which true conversion and assurance does not consist in. They have been deceived and they deceive themselves with this fal...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 11: Of Justification - Commentary

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Chapter 11: Of Justification

Now we come to the great biblical and Protestant doctrine of justification. Calvin said that “Justification is the main hinge on which Salvation turns.” There is no Salvation without a proper understanding of justification. This is not a secondary issue, it is a foremost essential of true and biblical Christianity. It is one of the things which separates confessional Protestantism from Roman Catholicism. There will be a lot of things which I will point the interested reader to previous chapters, rather than expound again here.


§1 Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth

  1. Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ's active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God. 4
    1. Rom. 8:30; 3:24[1]
    2. Rom. 4:5-8; Eph. 1:7
    3. 1 Cor. 1:30-31; Rom. 5:17-19
    4. 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Titus 3:5, 7; Rom. 3:22-28; Jer. 23:6; Phil. 3:9; Acts 13:38-39; Eph. 2:7-9; Phil 1:29; 2Pet 1:1

Now that we've dealt with the first three things in Romans 8:29-30, namely God (1) foreknowing us and (2) electing us in chapter 3 and (3) effectually calling us in chapter 10 we come to the to the 4th point in the five-pointed chain–justification. What is justification? Dr. Wayne Grudem defines it in this way:

Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.[2]

Section one first deals with a distortion about justification and then gives the biblical position.

Not Infusion of Righteousness

Roman Catholics believe what may be called "infused righteousness." That means that at Salvation the merits of the Lord Jesus on the cross are infused with the righteousness of the sinner and together they constitute the basis of Salvation. Meaning, Christ’s righteousness is not enough, rather it is given to help us with our own righteousness through works and obedience to God and the Roman Catholic Church. In their words:

1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:[3]

This “infused righteousness” is attained by a work, namely baptism. That is the way you get this righteousness. Basically, this position teaches that Salvation by grace alone is not enough. You have to add your works and obedience to the work of Christ. It is wrong to think that Roman Catholics do not believe in the necessity of grace. Rather, they don’t believe in the sufficiency of grace. Grace alone is not enough to justify. In their own words from the Council of Trent:

"If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of...