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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 13: Of Sanctification - Commentary

...allen, carnal, sinful nature of man. It is not confined to sensuality, but embraces also the evil dispositions of the mind (Gal 5:20).[26]

The Spirit and flesh are not friends, neither are they indifferent to each other. They are mortal enemies. We cannot mortify our sinful nature by doing good and thinking about positive things. The way in which the Bible teaches us to do this is right before us in this passage. It is by walking by the Spirit that we destroy the desires of the flesh. Romans 8:13 says, "by the Spirit [we] put to death the deeds of the body". Without The Work Of The Holy Spirit, there is no victory in our spiritual life. 

That sanctification is progressive is seen in the fact that it is represented as a present reality and aim. So, the apostle Paul says that he is still pressing to make perfection his own (Phil. 3:12). It is something that he has not yet attained. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul speaks about a most essential aspect of our growth in holiness: beholding the beauty of Christ. He speaks of us "beholding the glory of the Lord" and we "are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." This is a present reality. It is only in heaven or when the Lord comes back that we will perfectly be conformed to His image. John says that "we know that when he appears we shall be like him" (1John 3:2). Notice also how Paul begins in 2 Corinthians 3:18, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord..." This is not a privilege for a few, but it is for all believers. He includes himself within the group which is beholding and being transformed. We may even say that he is being transformed even as he is beholding. He is being changed as he is enjoyed the infinite beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians 4, Paul uses the metaphor of a body reaching unity and maturity. God gave ministries to the church "to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12). Building up is not a short process, but in this case, a life-long process. This building up of the saints continues "until we all attain to the unity of the faith...to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). As long as we have sin our lives, we will need sanctification. The Scriptures teach that no one is sinless in this life (e.g. 1John 1:8-9). This shows us also that sanctification is incomplete in this life. Colossians 3 was also discussed above (see here), in which it is said that "the new self...is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator" (Col. 3:10). It is true that we were renewed in regeneration, but there is still a continual renewal through our life. The image will be the same only when we see Him (1John 3:2).

We may see that sanctification is progressive in another way, namely, in the commands of the New Testament to live holy. For example, Peter says:

1Pet 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 

Peter knows that those to whom he is writing are holy. He began his epistle by identifying them as "elect exiles", who were chosen "in the sanctification of the Spirit" (1Pet. 1:1-2). We are a holy priesthood and a holy nation (1Pet. 2:5, 9). Yet this does not mean that we are in no need of sanctification. There is both a ...


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

...t promises about the Messiah. That He will be the Son of the Most High and the Son of David. But obviously, Mary wasn't born yesterday. She knew for a birth to occur there needs to be sexual intercourse between a male and a female. That's why she questions the angel's proclamation that she would bear a son. She objects that this is impossible because she has not sexually known any man and obviously to have a son you need sex. Literally, the text says “`How shall this be, seeing a husband I do not know?'” This knowing refers to sexual intimacy as in Genesis 4:1, for example. The birth of this child shall be supernatural. It shall come to pass by The Work Of The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, God the Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity will do a work within Mary in order that which is unnatural shall happen to her and in her. Barnes notes that "This evidently means that the body of Jesus would be created by the direct power of God. It was not by ordinary generation; but, as the Messiah came to redeem sinners - to make atonement for “others,” and not for himself it was necessary that his human nature should be pure, and free from the corruption of the fall. God therefore prepared him a body by direct creation that should be pure and holy."[2]

The virgin birth is also important for the Lord Jesus' sinlessness. This is because without an earthly father, he would not have Adam as His federal head, but He Himself will be the beginning of a new humanity. All those who are in Adam have already sinned in him (Rom. 5:12-14). Therefore, if Adam was the federal head of the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus would have been born in sin. But the Bible nowhere indicates that the Lord Jesus was under the headship of Adam or that He sinned. The Lord Jesus was born under the Mosaic Law (Gal. 4:4-5), but not Adamic headship. Furthermore, the promise of the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15 is likewise confirmed and established by the Lord Jesus' virgin birth. That idea of "the seed of the woman" occurs only once in the Old Testament. There are many passages which speak of men's seeds or offspring, but this is the only one which promises that the Serpent's-Head-Crusher will be from the seed of the woman, and not the man as is usual in the Old Testament. 

The Lord Jesus’ Earthly Descent

The Confession specifically mentions that the Lord Jesus was a descendent of Abraham, Judah, and David. Why is this necessary? Because of the promises made to those individuals. David was promised the kingdom and Abraham was promised the kingdom people. See chapter 7 on the Davidic and Abrahamic covenants. The genealogies trace His descent to Abraham and David (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23-38). His earthly descent further confirms His true and full humanity. His humanity was obviously from His mother's side, as He had no earthly begetting father. 

Very God and Very Man

The Christian creeds teach that the Lord Jesus was truly man and truly God. The Chalcedonian Creed (451 A.D.) teaches:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [coessential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead...


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

...need not imply that they had a redeeming work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, or that they were regenerated. By similar analogy with the example of the fishing companions in Luke 5:7, Peter and the disciples could be associated with them and even to some degree influenced by them without having a thoroughgoing change of life caused by that association. The very word metochos allows for a range of influence from fairly weak to fairly strong, for it only means “one who participates with or shares with or accompanies in some activity.” This was apparently what had happened to these people spoken of in Hebrews 6, who had been associated with the church and as such associated with The Work Of The Holy Spirit, and no doubt had been influenced by him in some ways in their lives.[21]

The question we must next answer concerns the manner in which these apostates shared in the Holy Spirit. Does the Holy Spirit only work with the elect? Or does He even work in some of the reprobates? I think that this is an easy answer because we have a clear word from the mouth of our Lord concerning those who worked miracles, yet whom He never knew. In Matthew 7, we read of people who will come before our Lord claiming that they’re His:

Matt. 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

These are not people who have “fallen away” but at some time in the past they were true and regenerate believers, but rather they were never true believers to begin with. This is seen from the strong language that the Lord uses against them. He does not say “I knew you for some time”, but rather the rejection is too strong; He says “I never knew you!” There was never a time in which Christ the Lord had a special and loving relationship with these “workers of lawlessness.” But He does not refute their claim that they prophesied, performed exorcisms and did mighty works in Jesus’ name, because spiritual gifts are not the criteria for knowing if one is a true believer or not. The criteria is fruit (Matt. 7:15-20). How did these “workers of lawlessness” perform these mighty things if it was not by the Holy Spirit? Therefore, they had some sort of relationship and association with the Holy Spirit and His powers. I believe that the Hebrews 6 refers to the apostates either themselves possessing spiritual gifts like tongues, prophecy, miracles, healing and other things, or being recipients of the effects of these gifts.

When the Lord gave authority to His disciples “over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction” (Matt. 10:1) do we read anywhere that Judas was not able to perform these? Even to the last moment, they were not saying “yes, it is Judas”, but rather questioning individually if they are the betrayers by saying, “Is it I?” (Matt. 26:22). There was not a special signal or sign on Judas which said that he was a wolf. Nowhere do we read that he was not able to perform something which the other disciples were able to perform. But we also know that he was “the son of destruction” (John 17:12) and “the one destined for destruction” (NET) concerning whom the Lord sai...


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

Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures

What does the Bible itself teach about the Word of God? Which books are contained in the Bible? Are the Apocryphal books God-inspired and authoritative? Who made the Bible authoritative? What is Sola Scriptura? What does it mean that Scripture is inerrant and infallible? Is Scripture sufficient? What does it mean that the Scripture is inspired? Are creeds and confessions above or subordinate to the Scriptures? In this chapter, we will explore the Bible’s view of the Word of God. The paragraphs in which I deal with parts of the Scripture's doctrine are not necessarily in logical order, therefore, here are the topics in a somewhat more logical order:

  1. Necessity of Scripture (paragraph 1)
  2. Scripture As Self-Revelation (paragraph 1)
  3. Canon of the Old Testament (paragraph 4)
  4. Canon of the New Testament (paragraph 3)
  5. Inspiration of Scripture (paragraph 2)
  6. Inerrancy and Infallibility of Scripture (paragraph 1)
  7. Authority of Scripture (paragraph 4)
  8. Sufficiency of Scripture (paragraph 6)
  9. Sola Scriptura (paragraph 110)
  10. Authentication of Scripture (paragraph 5)
  11. Perspicuity of Scripture  (paragraph 7)
  12. Interpretation of Scripture (paragraph 9)

This chapter is in many ways based upon the truths in 2 Timothy 3:16. All the particular subjects which are treated are part of a unified whole doctrine about God's Word.


§1 The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule

  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[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

Holy Scripture, which is defined to be the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is “sufficient, certain, and infallible”. This means that Scripture is enough; true and sure; and cannot err. What is the scope of this sufficiency, certainty, and infallibility? The Confession says that Scripture is the only infallible “rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience”. Holy Scripture is given as a measuring line and a standard. It is a standard of standards. There are other standards and rules besides the Bible, but the Bible alone is the “sufficient, certain, and infallible rule”. The Bible is the norm and rul...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...tnote">[27]

Yes, we believe that baptism symbolizes regeneration and union with Christ, but it is not an instrument nor cause of regeneration. Even if the “washing of regeneration” is taken to be a reference to the waters of baptism, which I deny, even then, “Baptismal regeneration can only be found here by substituting the sign for the thing signified.”[28] The one baptized pictures their regeneration and union with their Lord by it but does not owe their regeneration to baptism, but to The Work Of The Holy Spirit in them.

1 Peter 3:21

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 

To me, it is an utter sign of disrespect to the Word of God when passages are quoted partially or out of context, and the use of this passage by those who believe in baptismal regeneration is a perfect example. I've seen a couple of people online partially quoting “Baptism...now saves you” and act like this was the only thing that Peter said. The obvious thing that they want to communicate by this is that baptism is necessary for salvation, but reading the verse as a whole, this idea is refuted by the passage itself!

Baptism does in fact save, but the question we must ask ourselves is, “how does baptism save?” The Apostle Peter was just writing about the Flood and he says that baptism corresponds to the flood waters. Albert Barnes, the Presbyterian, noted on this passage, saying, “The meaning here is, that baptism corresponded to, or had a resemblance to, the water by which Noah was saved; or that there was a use of water in the one case which corresponded in some respects to the water that was used in the other; to wit, in effecting salvation.”[4] The way that baptism saves is “not as a removal of dirt from the body.” What might this mean? I believe the obvious answer is that Peter is speaking of sin as dirt of the body. Water Baptism does not cleanse or remove sin from the body. John Gill noted that the design of baptism is not “to take away either original or actual sin; this only the blood of Christ can do, and it is not a mere external cleansing of the body”[7]. Sometime in the early church, some thought that baptism cleansed sin or original sin from infants, but this idea is refuted by the Apostle. Albert Barnes noted on this clause:

Not a mere external washing, however solemnly done. No outward ablution or purifying saves us, but that which pertains to the conscience. This important clause is thrown in to guard the statement from the abuse to which it would otherwise be liable, the supposition that baptism has of itself a purifying and saving power. To guard against this, the apostle expressly declares that he means much more than a mere outward application of w

...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

... according to critics, faith is a blind leap into the dark, how can this verse say that there is “assurance” and “conviction” in faith? Biblical faith is obviously not as the skeptics often see it. Rather, biblical faith is trust and belief in God based on what He has done in the past and does in the present. Faith is based on truth.

Saving faith is first of all a fruit of regeneration and work of the Holy Spirit, as briefly discussed above. This means that it is a God-given faith. Temporal faith and historical faith are both man-wrought. It does not come through The Work Of The Holy Spirit, but it is something which man can work up. Because saving faith is a God-given faith, it, therefore, believes what God says. It places its dependence and hope in God and His grace. True faith sees God rightly as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures. True faith places all its boast not in its efforts, but in Jesus Christ. "But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14). It knows that all its righteousness comes from Jesus Christ alone. Paul's hope is in this:

Phi. 3:8-9 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 

True faith treasures Christ above all. You can take anything and everything from me, but I already count them as rubbish, because Christ is my boast, my treasure, my love, my righteousness, and my life.

True faith is based on God and His Word. The assurance that we have in our Christian faith is based upon the character of the object of our faith, namely—the Triune God. Our faith is based upon the fact that God is truthful (Isa. 65:16; John 3:33) and thus His Word likewise is the truth (John 17:7) and reflects His unchanging character (Heb. 13:8; Num. 23:19; Mal. 3:6). We know that God does not lie (Titus 1:2) and thus we trust His promises to us about overcoming our sin, having our sins forgiven by the blood of Christ, the eternal state, the resurrection and all things which His Word speaks about. Saving faith longs to listen to Christ in His Word. Saving faith produces praise as Psalm 1 or Psalm 119. Saving faith delights to hear God speaking and His Word preached to us.

True and saving faith is not a dead faith. It is a working faith. Paul speaks of "faith working through love" (Gal. 5:6). In Titus 2:12, he says:

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

Being saved by grace is not a license to sin, but a call to live holy as He is holy (1Pet. 1:15-16). James calls us to "be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (Jas. 1:22). If we claim to believe but do not bear fruit, we must do some serious questioning why that is the case. Our Lord said, "Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). To claim faith without works is to say that our faith is dead and we are certainly not justified by it. This is...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

Preface to the Second London Baptist Confession, 1677

To The Judicial and Impartial Reader

Courteous Reader: It is now many years since divers of us (with other sober Christians then living, and walking in the way of the Lord, that we profess) did conceive ourselves to be under a necessity of publishing a Confession, of our Faith, for the information and satisfaction of those that did not thoroughly understand what our principles were, or had entertained prejudices against our profession, by reason of the strange representation of them by some men of note who had taken very wrong measures, and accordingly led others into misapprehension of us and them. And this was first put forth about the year 1643, in the name of seven congregations then gathered in London; since which time divers impressions thereof have been dispersed abroad, and our end proposed in good measure answered, inasmuch as many (and some of those men eminent both for piety and learning) were thereby satisfied that we were no way guilty of those heterodoxies and fundamental errors which had too frequently been charged upon us without ground or occasion given on our part. 

And forasmuch as that Confession is not now commonly to be had, and also that many others have since embraced the same truth which is owned therein, it was judged necessary by us to join together in giving a testimony to the world of our firm adhering to those wholesome principles by the publication of this which is now in your hand. And forasmuch as our method and manner of expressing our sentiments in this doth vary from the former (although the substance of this matter is the same), we shall freely impart to you the reason and occasion thereof. One thing that greatly prevailed with us to undertake this work was (not only to give a full account of ourselves to those Christians that differ from us about the subject of baptism, but also) the profit that might from thence arise unto those that have any account of our labors in their instruction and establishment in the great truths of the Gospel, in the clear understanding and steady belief of which our comfortable walking with God, and fruitfulness before him in all our ways, is most nearly concerned; and therefore we did conclude it necessary to express ourselves the more fully and distinctly; and also to fix on such a method as might be most comprehensive of those things we designed to explain our sense and belief of; and finding no defect in this regard in that fixed on by the Assembly, and, after them by those of the congregational way, we did readily conclude it best to retain the same order in our present Confession; and also when we observed that those last mentioned did in their Confessions (for reasons which seemed of weight both to themselves and others) choose not only to express their mind in words concurrent with the former in sense concerning all those articles wherein they were agreed, but also for the most part without any variation of the terms, we did in like manner conclude it best to follow their example in making use of the very same words with them both in these articles (which are very many) wherein our faith and doctrine are the same with theirs; and this we did the more abundantly to manifest our consent with both in all the fundamental articles of the Christian religion, as also with many others whose orthodox Confessions have been published to the world on the behalf of the Protestant in diverse nations and citi...


Hebrews 6:4-6, Apostasy and Calvinism

...need not imply that they had a redeeming work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, or that they were regenerated. By similar analogy with the example of the fishing companions in Luke 5:7, Peter and the disciples could be associated with them and even to some degree influenced by them without having a thoroughgoing change of life caused by that association. The very word metochos allows for a range of influence from fairly weak to fairly strong, for it only means “one who participates with or shares with or accompanies in some activity.” This was apparently what had happened to these people spoken of in Hebrews 6, who had been associated with the church and as such associated with The Work Of The Holy Spirit, and no doubt had been influenced by him in some ways in their lives.[10]

The question we must next answer concerns the manner in which these apostates shared in the Holy Spirit. Does the Holy Spirit only work with the elect? Or does He even work in some of the reprobates? I think that this is an easy answer because we have a clear word from the mouth of our Lord concerning those who worked miracles, yet whom He never knew. In Matthew 7 we read of people who will come before our Lord claiming that they’re His:

Matt 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

These are not people who have “fallen away” which at some time they were true and regenerate believers, but rather they were never true believers to begin with. This is seen from the strong language that the Lord uses against them. He does not say “I knew you for some time”, but rather the rejection is too strong, He says “I never knew you!” There was never a time in which Christ the Lord had a special and loving relationship with these “workers of lawlessness.” But, He does not refute their claim that they prophesied, performed exorcisms and did mighty works in Jesus’ name, because spiritual gifts are not the criteria for knowing if one is a true believer or not. The criteria is fruit. How did these “workers of lawlessness” perform these mighty things if it was not by the Holy Spirit? Therefore, they had some sort of relationship and association with the Holy Spirit and His powers. I believe that the Hebrews 6 passages refers to the apostates either themselves possessing spiritual gifts like tongues, prophecy, miracles, healing and other things, or they receiving the benefit of these gifts.

When the Lord gave authority to His disciples “over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction” (Matt 10:1) do we read anywhere that Judas was not able to perform these? Even to the last moment, they were not saying “yes, it is Judas”, but rather questioning individually if they are the betrayers by saying “Is it I?” (Matt 26:22). There was not a special signal or sign on Judas which said that he was a wolf. Nowhere do we read that he was not able to perform something which the other disciples where able to perform. But we also know that he was “the son of destruction” or the one “the one destined for destruction” (NET) concerning whom the Lord said that “It would be better for ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling - Commentary

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

This entire chapter is about the Calvinistic doctrine that has been called Irresistible Grace. Unfortunately, that has been misunderstood to mean that men never disobey and resist God, but that is not how the phrase has been historically defined. Rather, it means that the resistance which natural man always has to the Spirit (Acts 7:51) is overcome when God decides to save a person.

The material in this chapter has a connection with what we have already dealt with. There would be no effectual calling if there was no predestination, so that should be kept in mind. Predestination is dealt with in chapter 3, so I will not make a case for predestination here, but will take it for granted.


§1 Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call

  1. Those 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

Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, He, in His appointed and accepted timeeffectually calls to Himself by His Word and Spirit (Rom. 8:28-29; 1Cor. 1:23-24; 2Thess. 2:13-14; John 3:5-6; 6:63; 2Cor. 3:3, 6). That which was planned from eternity is applied and actualized in time. They are called out of that state of sin and death (Eph. 2:1-6) and transferred to the “state of grace” (chapter 9:4). He enlightens our minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God (1Cor. 2:10; Eph. 1:17-18 ), for fallen man cannot accept and understand the things of God (1Cor. 2:14). He takes from us that heart of stone, which is full of sin and gives a new heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26), which desires to love and obey Him. He renews our wills and sets us free from slavery to sin. The ability and willingness to desire and do the good comes by His almighty power (e.g. Phil. 2:12-13; Heb. 13:20-21). It is by grace alone and it is the work of God in us. He draws us to Jesus Christ in such a way that we will effectually and certainly come to Him, yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace (Ps. 110:3; John 6:37; Rom. 6:16-18 ). God changes our nature and gives us the desire to believe and come to Christ. This is the miracle of regeneration. No one comes to Christ against their will. But works so powerfully in us that those who did not desire Christ, come to desire Him and most willingly and freely cast them...


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

...e to God. I believe that it is God who works in me to do His pleasure. Anything good that comes from me, comes because God is at work in me and not because of my efforts. The reason that I seek to be obedient is not because of my free will, but because God is very gracious to me and wants my good, which is staying within His will for His glory. See my comments on the book of Hebrews in the chapter on Perseverance about the perfect work of Christ on behalf of His people, which is the basis of our assurance (see here).

The Work Of The Holy Spirit

Our hope and infallible assurance are also founded upon the inward work of the Spirit. These promises, which are the promises of the Gospel, include the promise that we may and can know that we have eternal life and know God (e.g. 1John 2:3; 3:24; 5:13). These promises are believed and held onto by us because of the grace of the Holy Spirit leading us to stand firm upon God's promises. An important part of the Spirit's work in the child of God is witnessing that we are children of God. The Apostle Paul expresses that in the following words:

Rom. 8:13-17 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 

God is truly amazing Who not only sent His Son to die in our place but give us His Spirit and pours out upon us blessings which we cannot comprehend. Why? Not because of anything in us, that's for sure!

1. To be “led by the Spirit” means "by the Spirit” putting “to death the deeds of the body” and thereby we show evidences that we are children of God because God will lead His children as the Shepherd leads his sheep. If we do not have the Spirit we do not even belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9)! But if we have the Spirit we belong to Christ and we have the ability and willingness to resist sin (Rom. 8:4-5, Gal. 5:16-17). Therefore, if we seek to obey God and walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) we thereby show fruit that we belong to Christ and are children of the Most High God. We do not become children by obeying God and walking by the Spirit, but rather, if these things are true in our lives, they are true because they are evidences that we are children of God and are saved. They are fruits of salvation and not causes of salvation.

2. The Spirit here is said to be the Spirit of adoption. He is the Spirit through Whom we are adopted into the family of God. He is the Spirit who initiates our adoption and brings us into the family of God. He is the Spirit through Whom God's love comes to us (Rom. 5:5) and through Whom we are regenerated (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5; etc.). He is not the Spirit of slavery, but rather of freedom, love, and peace. It is through the Spirit that we understand the things of God (1Cor. 2:12-14) and it is through the Spirit that we are able to know that God is our Father and seek to understand what that means.

3. The Holy Spirit in us bears testimony along with our own human spirit that we indeed belong to God. We ourselves are not sufficient witnesses...