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

...gnty 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 Christian, but believe me, I’ve seen people who believe that God only “permits” death and does not cause it. What does the Scripture say?

1 Sam. 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 secondary agents as Satan, the Sabeans (Job 1:15), fire from heaven (Job 1:16), the Chaldeans (Job 1:17), a great wind (Job 1:18-19). Job never says that Satan took anything from him, the Chaldeans or anything or anyone else. His charge was always against God. He connected His misery directly to the will of God. To be honest, by my reading of Job, I do not hear him or any of his friends say any word about Satan. Satan is totally absent from Job’s mind and the narrative of his friends. It is likewise an interesting observation, and in many ways sobering, that Job and his friends, never once questioned the absolute sovereignty of God, but over and over again confessed and affirmed it. That is usually the first thing which we question at the time of tragedy, but not so Job.

It is often customary when an elder sister or brother dies on their death bed or in their sleep to say that the Lord took them to Himself. But what about when one dies at the hands of ISIS, in a car crash or any other horrendous way to die? Does the manner of death, how horrible it may be, invalidate the statements that the “LORD kills” (1 Sam. 2:6) and the “LORD has taken away” (Job 1:21)? Job’s children did not die in a painless way, rather a great wind came which caused the house, in which they were feasting, to fall upon them. Still, Job cries, “the LORD has taken away” and blesses God. What about if one is eaten by a lion? Still, the Lord kills and the Lord has taken away (1 Kgs. 13:24-28). What about if people die from a famine? The Lord has called the famine upon the land (2 Kgs. 8:1; Ezek. 5:17). In whatever way we die, whether “normally” or in a dreadfu...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary in their insistence that water baptism has something to do with one’s salvation and regeneration. What we have left is option 1, the subsequent optionThis position would read the text as follows: “you were circumcised before being buried with him in baptism”, that is, regeneration came before this baptism. Dr. Barcellos gives a few reasons to adopt this position [not all reasons mentioned]:

  1. Aorist participles [συνταφέντες (“having been buried”)] subordinate to aorist Verbs [περιετμήθητε (“you were circumcised”)] can express subsequent action.
  2. The burial in baptism here happens after the putting off the body of flesh which was affected by regeneration (circumcision made without hands). The “putting off the body of flesh” implies the death of the old man and then comes the burial.
  3. This view maintains the death, burial, resurrection motif of other Pauline texts (e.g., Col. 2:12, 20; 3:13, 3; Rom. 6:3-8).
  4. This view does not get into the difficulties of the others. This option maintains that there is a causal or logical relationship between regeneration and burial with Christ in baptism.

But, if there is a causal connection between baptism and regeneration, how have we not fallen into the errors of options 2 and 3? The reason is that we have not argued that this baptism is, in fact, water baptism. I believe that just like Romans 6:3-4 and Galatians 3:27, what we have here in Colossians 2:12 is not water baptism, but union with Christ, which is typified and shown by water baptism. The baptism, strictly speaking, of which Paul writes here is metaphorical and not water baptism, but the reason the apostle chooses to express himself by “baptism” language is because the realities which he describes are typified and signified by water baptism. We gave a few reasons above for seeing regeneration (“circumcision made without hands”) as “the presupposition of and causal prerequisite to burial with Christ...The baptism in view here, though typified by water baptism, is not to be equated with it.”[17] What we have here is Paul teaching us that “all who are circumcised of heart are buried with Christ in spiritual baptism and raised with him spiritually, typified by their water baptism, effected through faith”[17], and not that water baptism preceded (came before) regeneration (“circumcision made without hands”). All the elect of God were united with their Savior in His death and resurrection, and by faith, they experience the blessings of this union after regeneration. Together with Christ the Lord, we were raised through faith to walk in newness of life. It would be very strange to see Paul believing that there is a certain kind of faith with which people could go into the waters of baptism to be regenerated, but that faith is one which does not justify them, or that they receive such a faith after they come out of the water. The fact is that this passage teaches that whoever is baptized is vitally united with Christ, but this couldn’t be said of those who are merely water baptized. For there are many unbelievers who were either baptized as children or later by their decision, yet they are unregenerate and reprobate, like Simon Magus who was baptized as an unbeliever. The resurrection of the believers in v. 12, which is spiritual, happens through faith, not water baptism. This is typified by the person immersed coming out of the water. To equate the baptism spoken of here directly and only with water baptism is to reject salvation by ...

Koine Greek Verb Parsing Flowchart

In the past few months, I’ve been pushing myself to continue my study of Greek which I began in 2013, having finished the section on Verbs in Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek, I started looking for flowcharts to help me with parsing. I came across one on which I based mine.

I pray that it is helpful to you.

Edit: There was a mistake that I corrected concerning the 2 Aorist. The tense formative σα goes with passive voice instead of the active/middle.


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary

... after v. 10, in v. 11, the Author calls upon “us” that we should “strive to enter God’s rest”. If the Author is speaking of believers in v. 10, why doesn’t he continue with his use of the plural and say “for we have entered God’s rest and have also rested from our works…” It is certainly strange because that is how the Author speaks throughout his discourse. Moreover, notice that this rest which is entered into is Christ’s own rest or alternatively, the believer’s. But all throughout the Author’s discourse, the believers do not enter their rest, but God’s.

The Tense Of The Verbs

The work of the one under discussion is said to be in the past. He has both “entered” and “rested.” He is already fully in God’s Sabbath. But the believers are in fact not yet fully in God’s Sabbath rest. That is why they still need to “strive” and to persevere to enter that rest (Heb. 4:11). Yet the one being spoken of here has already entered and rested from his works. Dr. Pipa observes that “In verse 10, the writer described a rest that is already completed, while in verse 11 he clearly stated that the responsibility to enter into the rest remains for the believer.”[131] Therefore, this cannot be the believer.

The Analogy

According to those who say that the believers are being spoken of here, what works are they resting from? Some say the works of the law (Adam Clarke); our cares, anxieties, and labors (Albert Barnes); and others generally see this rest as being resting from our sinful works and attempts of self-justification. But, whichever option we pick, how could there be a parallel and an analogy between the work of sinful man and the work of God in creating a “very good” world (Gen. 1:31)? How could it be said that the believer rested from his sinful works “as God did from his”? How could it be said that the believer rested from his attempts of self-justification “as God did from his”? You see, the analogy and the parallel which the Author here intends to make utterly fails if what we have in view is the believer and not the Lord Christ. Owen writes:

But how can they be said to rest from these works as God rested from his own? for God so rested from his as to take the greatest delight and satisfaction in them, to be refreshed by them: “In six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed,” Exo 31:17. He so rested from them as that he rested in them, and blessed them, and blessed and sanctified the time wherein they were finished.[132]

It is proper to parallel the work of God the Father in Creation to the work of God the Son in Redemption. There we have a valid and an appropriate parallel and analogy, but not with the works of sinful man. Therefore, considering these points, we conclude that it is indeed the Lord Christ Who is being spoken of in the singular person in v. 11. The passage could be read as: ”For Christ has entered into His rest and has also rested from His works as God the Father did from His.” Christ finished His work of redemption and has ceased from His work. But as with God the Father and the Creation, His rest does not imply inactivity. Christ now mediates for His people and points the Father to His perfect work on behalf of His elect. He is satisfied with His redemptive work and takes joy in it (Isa. 53:11).

This introduction of Christ in v. 10 is not at all out of place, for in Hebrews 3:6 the Author there speaks of the Lord Christ just before beginning his discussion on th...