The Staunch Calvinist

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

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof - Commentary

... that of Christ, and not of Adam. It is not because of our works that we are saved, but because of Christ's works that we are saved (Rom. 5:18-19). Somebody else represented us before God and did for us that which we could not do. So before we dismiss Adam's Federal Headship, let us not forget about Christ's Federal Headship. If we dismiss that, we also dismiss the only way of salvation and justification. See for more on justification and imputed righteousness, chapter 11.


§4 TOTAL INABILITY

  1. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, 1 do proceed all actual transgressions. 2
    1. Matt. 7:17-18; 12:33-35; Luke 6:43-45; John 3:3, 5; 6:37, 39-40, 44-45, 65; Rom. 3:10-12; 5:6; 7:18; 8:7-8; 1 Cor. 2:14
    2. Matt. 7:17-20; 12:33-35; 15:18-20; James 1:14-15

All actual transgressions proceed from this original corruption of Adam and Eve (Matt. 7:17-20; 15:18-20). Through this original corruption, the nature of man was distorted and separated from God whereby it was made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil (Gen. 8:21; Rom. 3:10-12; 8:7-8). And from this corruption do all our sins spring and have their origin. 


Here follows the classic Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity from the acronym TULIP. I, and many others think it is better termed TOTAL INABILITY. Total Depravity gives the idea that we are as bad as we could be, which is obviously not true and not the historical sense given by the phrase. Rather, what is communicated by the phrase is that the total, i.e., whole, person is depraved and sinful. There is not an inch in us where sin does not dwell and have its reign in us. On the other hand, TOTAL INABILITY better expresses the point of the doctrine in saying that we are totally unable to do anything that is pleasing to God. Let's define Total Depravity.

Because of the Fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free; it is in bondage to his evil nature. Therefore, he will not –indeed, he cannot—choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ. Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not salvation, but itself a part of God’s gift of salvation. It is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.[6]

This is a pretty good definition of what Calvinists believe about the state of the unregenerate man. Now let us see what the Bible says. Here is a list of verses on Total Depravity.

Man's Intentions Are Evil

Gen. 8:21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 

Even from the beginning of our lives our motives are evil. This, the Lord God, said after the Flood, after cleansing the earth from wickedness. The Flood did not change human nature, but it demonstrated God's hatred and abhorrence of sin and what has become of His good creation. The same was said before the Flood (Gen. 6:5). Here it is said that our intentions – our motives, goals, purposes, ends, aims are evil from our youth. From the very beginning of ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 11: Of Justification - Commentary

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

Those whom God has predestined He effectually calleth (chapter 10) and He also freely justifieth (Rom. 8:30). In this chapter, the Confession is setting forth the biblical doctrine of justification as well as countering the doctrine of justification as taught by the Roman Catholic Church. This justification is not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous...for Christ's sake alone (Rom. 4:5-8; Eph. 1:7). God does not mix righteousness in us, but puts the righteousness of Christ into our account and counts it as our own. It is on this basis alone that we are righteous before God. Faith and obedience are not our righteousness, but our righteousness comes from Christ's active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in His death (1Cor. 1:30; 2Cor. 5:21; chapter 8:5). We stand in this righteousness by faith, but even this faith is not of themselves but is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9; see also chapter 14:1). Therefore, even the condition for our justification and life with God was provided by God. This is the glory and greatness of the New Covenant of Grace in which we stand and have our relationship with God. All the requirements of the covenant are provided by God through His Spirit based on Christ's work and obedience.


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 ...