Harbins Community Baptist Church
Elder Affirmation of Faith
An Adaptation and Expansion upon the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.
- Chapter 1 - The Holy Scriptures
- Chapter 2 - God and the Holy Trinity
- Chapter 3 - God’s Decree
- Chapter 4 - Creation
- Chapter 5 - Divine Providence
- Chapter 6 - The Fall of Mankind, and Sin and it’s Punishment
- Chapter 7 - God’s Covenant
- Chapter 8 - Christ the Mediator
- Chapter 9 - Free Will
- Chapter 10 - Effectual Calling
- Chapter 11 - Justification
- Chapter 12 - Adoption
- Chapter 13 - Sanctification
- Chapter 14 - Saving Faith
- Chapter 15 - Repentance to Life and Salvation
- Chapter 16 - Good Works
- Chapter 17 - The Perseverance of the Saints
- Chapter 18 - Assurance of Grace and Salvation
- Chapter 19 - The Law of God
- Chapter 20 - The Gospel and the Extent of Its Grace
- Chapter 21 - Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
- Chapter 22 - Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day
- Chapter 23 - Civil Government
- Chapter 24 - Marriage
- Chapter 25 - The Church
- Chapter 26 - The Communion of Saints
- Chapter 27 - Baptism and the Lord's Supper
- Chapter 28 - Baptism
- Chapter 29 - The Lord's Supper
- Chapter 30 - The State of Humanity after Death and the Resurrection of the Dead
- Chapter 31 - The Last Judgment
Chapter 1 - The Holy Scriptures
- The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain, and infallible standard of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. The light of nature and the works of creation and providence so clearly demonstrate the goodness, wisdom, and power of God that people are left without excuse; however, these demonstrations are not sufficient to give the knowledge of God and his will that is necessary for salvation. Therefore, the Lord was pleased at different times and in various ways to reveal himself and to declare his will to his church. To preserve and propagate the truth better and to establish and comfort the church with greater certainty against the corruption of the flesh and the malice of Satan and the world, the Lord put this revelation completely in writing. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are absolutely necessary, because God’s former ways of revealing his will to his people have now ceased.
2 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29 , 31; Ephesians 2:20 . Romans 1:19-21; Romans 2:14,15; Psalm 19:1-3 . Hebrews 1:1 . Proverbs 22:19-21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19 , 20.
- The Holy Scriptures, or the Word of God written, consist of all the books of the Old and New Testaments. These are:
THE OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
THE NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
All of these are given by the inspiration of God to be the standard of faith and life.
2 Timothy 3:16.
- The books commonly called the Apocrypha were not given by divine inspiration and so are not part of the canon or standard of the Scriptures. Therefore, they have no authority for the church of God and are not to be recognized or used in any way different from other human writings.
Luke 24:27 , 44; Romans 3:2.
- The authority of the Holy Scriptures obligates belief in them. This authority does not depend on the testimony of any person or church but on God the author alone, who is truth itself. Therefore, the Scriptures are to be received because they are the Word of God.
2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 5:9.
- The testimony of the church of God may stir and persuade us to adopt a high and reverent respect for the Holy Scriptures. Moreover, the heavenliness of the contents, the power of the system of truth, the majesty of the style, the harmony of all the parts, the central focus on giving all glory to God, the full revelation of the only way of salvation, and many other incomparable qualities and complete perfections, all provide abundant evidence that the Scriptures are the Word of God. Even so, our full persuasion of and genuine submission to the infallible truth and divine authority of the Scriptures comes from the internal work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
John 16:13,14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20 , 27.
- The whole counsel of God concerning everything essential for his own glory and man’s salvation, faith, and life is either explicitly stated or by necessary inference contained in the Holy Scriptures. Nothing is ever to be added to the Scriptures, either by new revelation of the Spirit or by human traditions. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that the inward illumination of the Spirit of God is necessary for a saving understanding of what is revealed in the Word. We recognize that some circumstances concerning the worship of God and government of the church are common to human actions and organizations and are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian wisdom, following the general rules of the Word, which must always be observed.
2 Timothy 3:15-17; Galatians 1:8,9 . John 6:45; 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 . 1 Corinthians 11:13 , 14; 1 Corinthians 14:26 , 40.
- Some things in Scripture are clearer than others, and some people understand the teachings more clearly than others. However, the things that must be known, believed, and obeyed for salvation are so clearly set forth and explained in one part of Scripture or another that both the educated and uneducated may achieve a sufficient understanding of them by properly using ordinary measures.
2 Peter 3:16 . Psalm 19:7; Psalm 119:130.
- The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, the native language of the ancient people of God. The New Testament was written in Greek, which at the time it was written was most widely known to the nations. These Testaments were inspired directly by God and by his unique care and providence were kept pure down through the ages. They are therefore true and authoritative, so that in all religious controversies the church must make their ultimate appeal to them. All God’s people have a right to and a claim on the Scriptures and are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them. Not all of God’s people know these original languages, so the Scriptures are to be translated into the common language of every nation to which they come. In this way the Word of God may dwell richly in all, so that they may worship him in an acceptable manner and through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.
Romans 3:2 . Isaiah 8:20 . Acts 15:15 . John 5:39 . 1 Corinthians 14:6 , 9 , 11 , 12 , 24 , 28 . Colossians 3:16.
- The infallible rule for interpreting Scripture is the Scripture itself. Therefore, when there is a question about the true and full meaning of any part of Scripture, it must be understood in light of other passages that speak more clearly.
2 Peter 1:20 , 21; Acts 15:15 , 16.
- Ultimately, any interpretation of any Scripture must be interpreted in light of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the focal point of the Old and New Testaments. To view any Scripture without regards to how it fits into God’s grand plan for His Son is to not grasp the full significance of that Scripture. Though invaluable, relevant, sufficient, and essential for men, Scripture is not ultimately about men as much as it is about a Man. The Scriptures are finally about Jesus’ person, work, ministry, and glorification.
John 5:46-47 , Luke 24:27
- Because of the Christo-centric focus of the Scriptures, the Old Testament is to be interpreted in light of New Testament realities. This does not open the door to allegorizing or cavalierly spiritualizing the Old Testament. Instead, it means that we diligently examine the New Testament to see where the inspired apostles give us clear teachings on how best to understand the Old Testament Scriptures. There are many examples in the New Testament where explicit Old Testament references are made where the inspired writers shed light on how many Old Testament realities, stories, and situations, find their ultimate fulfillment and meaning in Christ. Such meaning would not have been fully evident by reading the Old Testament passage alone. Nevertheless, this does not negate or minimize the original intent of the inspired Old Testament authors. The original intent and context of Old Testament authors and Scriptures must be examined and meditated on and are beneficial and useful for the instruction and godliness of believers. But to disregard the inspired commentary of the New Testament writers concerning the Old Testament is to deny ourselves the fullness of what God would say to us in those very Scriptures.
Matthew 2:15 , John 6:32-35 , Matthew 1:22-23 , 1 Corinthians 10:4 , Matthew 2:17-18 , John 1:29 , John 15:1 , Luke 24:25-27 , 44-46; Matthew 5:17
- The supreme judge for deciding all religious controversies and for evaluating all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, human teachings, and individual interpretations, and in whose judgment we are to rest, is nothing but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit. In this Scripture our faith finds its final word.
Matthew 22:29 , 31 , 32; Ephesians 2:20; Acts 28:23.
- Regular intake of God’s Word is required for the spiritual health and flourishing of every believer. Regular intake happens by means of reading of God’s Word, hearing of God’s Word, studying of God’s Word, memorizing of God’s Word, and meditating upon God’s Word. Biblical meditation is the deliberate prayerful and contemplative reflection on God’s Word which leads to one or more of the following: Worship, praise, prayer, personal application, deeper insight into God’s ways and will, and greater sanctification.
Deuteronomy 8:3 , Matthew 4:4 , Joshua 1:8 , Psalm 1:2 , Psalm 119:15
Chapter 2 - God and the Holy Trinity
- The Lord our God is one, the only living and true God. He is self-existent and infinite in being and perfection. His essence cannot be fully understood by anyone but him. He is a perfectly pure spirit. He is invisible and has no body, parts, or changeable emotions and is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He alone is eternal, dwelling in light that no one can approach. He is unchangeable, immense, eternal, almighty, in every way infinite, absolutely holy, perfectly wise, wholly free, completely absolute, and one we are unable to fully comprehend. He works all things according to the counsel of his own unchangeable and completely righteous will for his own glory. He is most loving, gracious, merciful, and patient. He overflows with goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. He rewards those who seek him diligently. At the same time, he is perfectly just and terrifying in his judgments. He hates all sin and will certainly not clear the guilty.
1 Corinthians 8:4 , 6; Deuteronomy 6:4 . Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 48:12 . Exodus 3:14 . John 4:24 . 1 Timothy 1:17; Deuteronomy 4:15 , 16 . Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8 . 1 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:23 . Psalm 90:2 . Isaiah 6:3 . Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 46:10. Isaiah 55:9 . Proverbs 16:4; Romans 11:36 . Exodus 34:6 , 7; Hebrews 11:6 . Nehemiah 9:32 , 33 . Psalm 5:5 , 6 . Nahum 1:2 , 3.
- God has all life, glory, goodness, and blessedness in and of himself; he alone is all-sufficient in himself. He does not need any creature he has made nor does he derive any glory from them. Instead, he demonstrates his own glory in them, by them, to them, and upon them. He alone is the source of all being, and everything is from him, through him, and to him. He has absolute sovereign rule over all creatures, to act through them, for them, or upon them as he pleases. In his sight everything is open and visible. His knowledge is infinite and infallible. It does not depend upon any creature, so for him nothing is contingent or uncertain. He is absolutely holy in all his plans, in all his works, and in all his commands. Angels and human beings owe to him all the worship, service, or obedience that creatures owe to the Creator and whatever else he is pleased to require of them.
John 5:26 . Psalm 148:13 . Psalm 119:68 . Job 22:2 , 3 . Romans 11:34-36 . Daniel 4:25 , 34 , 35 . Hebrews 4:13 . Ezekiel 11:5; Acts 15:18 . Psalm 145:17 . Revelation 5:12-14.
- This divine and infinite Being consists of three real persons, the Father, the Word or Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three have the same substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence without this essence being divided. All three are infinite and without beginning and are therefore only one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being. Yet these three are distinguished by several distinctive characteristics and personal relations. Within the Godhead you find different roles and functions for the individual members of the Trinity. The Father is the head of the Son. The Son submits to the will of the Father. The Holy Spirit is sent into the world by the Son. The Father sends the Son into the world. The Son becomes the propitiation for our sins. The Holy Spirit indwells and empowers believers for Christian living and service. This truth of the Trinity is the foundation of all of our fellowship with God and of our comforting dependence on him.
1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14 . Exodus 3:14; John 14:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6 . John 1:14,18 . John 15:26; Galatians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 11:13 . John 4:34; Philippians 2:8 . John 15:26 . 1 John 4:14 . 1 John 2:2 . 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 12:11.
Chapter 3 - God’s Decree
- From all eternity God decreed everything that occurs, without reference to anything outside himself. He did this by the perfectly wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably. Yet God did this in such a way that he is neither the authorof sin nor has fellowship with any in their sin. This decree does not violate the will of the creature or take away the free working or contingency of second causes. On the contrary, these are established by God’s decree. In this decree God’s wisdomis displayed in directing all things, and his power and faithfulness are demonstrated in accomplishing his decree.
Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 6:17; Romans 9:15 , 18 . James 1:13; 1 John 1:5 . Acts 4:27 , 28; John 19:11 . Numbers 23:19; Ephesians 1:3-5.
- God knows everything that could happen under any given conditions. However, his decree of anything is not based on foreseeing it in the future or foreseeing that it would occur under such conditions.
Acts 15:18 . Romans 9:11 , 13 , 16 , 18.
- By God’s decree, and for the demonstration of his glory, some human beings and angels are predestined (or foreordained) to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace. Others are left to live in their sin, leading to theirjust condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.
1 Timothy 5:21; Matthew 25:34 . Ephesians 1:5 , 6 . Romans 9:22 , 23; Jude 4.
- These predestined and foreordained angels and people are individually and unchangeably designated, and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or decreased.
2 Timothy 2:19; John 13:18.
- Those people who are predestined to life were chosen by God before the foundation of the world, according to his eternal and unchangeable purpose and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will. He chose them in Christ for eternal glory, purelyas a result of his free grace and love, without anything else about them serving as a condition or cause moving him to do so.
Ephesians 1:4 , 9 , 11; Romans 8:30; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9 . Romans 9:13 , 16; Ephesians 2:5 , 12.
- Just as God has appointed the elect to glory, so he has by the eternal and completely free purpose of his will foreordained all the means. Therefore, those who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ and effectually called to faithin Christ by his Spirit working at the appropriate time. They are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith to salvation. No one but the elect are redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified,and saved.
1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 . 1 Thessalonians 5:9 , 10 . Romans 8:30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 . 1 Peter 1:5 . John 10:26; 17:9; 6:64.
- God created man as free moral agents, therefore His sovereign decrees in regards to salvation in no way removes man’s ability to choose according to man’s own nature and desires. For that reason all men are held responsible for the deeds they have donein the body. In addition, all who have received Christ have done so because, having had their eyes opened and their hearts softened by God, they have freely chosen to do so.
2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 23:37 . Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:16.
- The doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care so that those heeding the will of God revealed in his Word and obeying him may be assured of their eternal election by the certainty of their effectualcalling. In this way this doctrine will give reasons for praise, reverence, and admiration of God, as well as humility, diligence and rich comfort to all who sincerely obey the gospel.
1 Thessalonians 1:4 , 5; 2 Peter 1:10 . Ephesians 1:6; Romans 11:33 . Romans 11:5 , 6 , 20 . Luke 10:20.
Chapter 4 - Creation
- In the beginning it pleased the Triune God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit-to create the world and all things in it in six days. All was very good. In this way God glorified His eternal power, wisdom and goodness.
Gen . 1:31; Job 26:13; John 1:2,3; Rom . 1:20; Col . 1:16; Heb . 1:2.
- All creatures were made by God, the last to be fashioned being man and woman who received dominion over all other creatures on the earth. God gave man and woman rational and immortal souls, and in all respects fitted them for a life in harmony withHimself. They were created in His image, possessing knowledge, righteousness and true holiness. The divine law was written in their hearts and they had power to obey it fully. Yet, being left to the liberty of their own mutable wills, transgressionof the law was a possibility.
Gen . 1:26,27; 2:7; 3:6; Eccles . 7:29; Rom . 2:14,15.
- Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day of creation as fully-formed human beings fashioned in the image of God. The first human pair were real, historical beings, Adam created first from the dust of the ground, and Eve second from Adam’s rib. Asthe first human, Adam was the federal head of all mankind.
Gen 1:26-27; 2:7; 2:22; Rom . 5:12-21; 1 Cor . 15:21-22; 45-49
- The law of God in general was written in the hearts of the first human pair, but at the same time they were placed under a special prohibition not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Their happiness and fellowship with God dependedupon their yielding obedience to His will, as also did the continuance of their dominion over the creatures.
Gen . 1:26,28; Gen . 2:17.
Chapter 5 - Divine Providence
- God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom, upholds, directs, arranges, and governs all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least, by his perfectly wise and holy providence, to the purpose for which they were created.He governs according to his infallible foreknowledge and the free and unchangeable counsel of his own will. His providence leads to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.
Hebrews 1:3; Job 38:11; Isaiah 46:10 , 11; Psalms 135:6 . Matthew 10:29-31 . Ephesians 1:11.
- All things come to pass unchangeably and certainly in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, who is the first cause. Thus, nothing happens to anyone by chance or outside of God’s providence. Yet by the same providence God arranges all thingsto occur according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or in response to other causes.
Acts 2:23 . Proverbs 16:33 . Genesis 8:22.
- In his ordinary providence, God makes use of means, though he is free to work apart from them, beyond them, and contrary to them at his pleasure.
Acts 27:31 , 44; Isaiah 55:10 , 11 . Hosea 1:7 . Romans 4:19-21 . Daniel 3:27.
- The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God are so thoroughly demonstrated in his providence, that his sovereign plan includes even the first fall and every other sinful action both of angels and humans. God’s providence oversinful actions does not occur by simple permission but by a form of permission that God most wisely and powerfully limits and in other ways arranges and governs. Through a complex arrangement of methods he channels sinful actions to accomplish hisperfectly holy purposes. Yet he does this in such a way that the sinfulness of their acts arises only from the creatures and not from God. Because God is altogether holy and righteous, he can neither originate nor approve of sin.
Romans 11:32-34; 2 Samuel 24:1 , 1 Chronicles 21:1 . 2 Kings 19:28; Psalms 76;10 . Genesis 50:20; Isaiah 10:6 , 7 , 12. Psalms 50:21; 1 John 2:16.
- The perfectly wise, righteous, and gracious God often allows his own children for a time to experience a variety of temptations and the sinfulness of their own hearts. He does this to chastise them for their former sins or to make them aware of thehidden strength of the corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts so that they may be humbled. He also does this to lead them to a closer and more constant dependence on him to sustain them, to make them more cautious about all future circumstancesthat may lead to sin, and for other just and holy purposes. So whatever happens to any of his elect happens by his appointment, for his glory, and for their good.
2 Chronicles 32:25 , 26 , 31; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 . Romans 8:28.
- God, as the righteous judge, sometimes blinds and hardens wicked and ungodly people because of their sins. He withholds his grace from them, by which they could have been enlightened in their understanding and had their hearts renewed. Not only that,but sometimes he also takes away the gifts they already had and exposes them to situations that their corrupt natures turn into opportunities for sin. Moreover, he gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power ofSatan, so that they harden themselves in response to the same influences that God uses to soften others.
Romans 1:24-26 , 28; Romans 11:7 , 8 . Deuteronomy 29:4 . Matthew 13:12 . Deuteronomy 2:30; 2 Kings 8:12 , 13 . Psalms 81:11 , 12; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 . Exodus 8:15 , 32; Isaiah 6:9 , 10; 1 Peter 2:7 , 8.
- The providence of God in a general way includes all creatures, but in a special way it takes care of his church and arranges all things to its good.
1 Timothy 4:10; Amos 9:8 , 9; Isaiah 43:3-5
Chapter 6 - The Fall of Mankind, and Sin and it’s Punishment
- God created humanity upright and perfect. He gave them a righteous law that would have led to life if they had kept it but threatened death if they broke it. Yet they did not remain for long in this position of honor. Satan, in the guise of a serpent,seduced Eve into rebellion against God. Adam, who was with Eve, listened to the voice of his wife and joined her in the rebellion and deliberately transgressed the law of their creation and the command given to them by eating the forbidden fruit.God was pleased, in keeping with his wise and holy counsel, to permit this act, because he had purposed to direct it for his own glory.
Genesis 2:16 , 17 . Genesis 3:6; Genesis 3:12 , 13; Genesis 3:17; 2 Corinthians 11:3.
- By this sin our first parents fell from their original righteousness and communion with God. We fell in them, and through this, death came upon all. All became dead in sin and completely defiled in all the capabilities and parts of soul and body.
Romans 3:23 . Romans 5:12ff . Titus 1:15; Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-19.
- By God’s appointment, Adam is considered the root and the representative of the whole human race. Though both Adam and Eve are guilty of sin, it is to Adam, the head of his family and of the human race, that God approaches and holds accountable forthe rebellion, and the beginning of the corruption of the race is laid in Scripture at the feet of Adam. It is through Adam that the guilt of his sin was accounted, and his corrupt nature passed on to all his offspring who descended from Adam andEve by ordinary procreation. His descendants have sin within them from conception and are by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, and partakers of death and all other miseries—spiritual, temporal, and eternal—unless the Lord Jesus sets themfree.
Genesis 3:9-11; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21 , 22 , 45 , 49 . Psalms 51:5; Job 14:4 . Ephesians 2:3. Romans 6:20; 5:12 . Hebrews 2:14 , 15; 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
- All actual transgressions arise from this first corruption. By it we are thoroughly biased against, and disabled and antagonistic toward all that is good, and we are completely inclined toward all that is evil. While this does not mean that every sinnerwill commit every possible sin, it does mean that even such acts that appear be good are nevertheless stained and polluted by sin and are not considered righteous in the eyes of a perfect God. Indeed, apart from genuine faith in Christ, all that mandoes is considered sin.
James 1:14 , 15; Matthew 15:19 . Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 14:23
- During this life, this corruption of nature remains in those who are regenerated. Even though it is pardoned and put to death through Christ, yet both this corruption of nature and all actions arising from it are truly and actually sin.
Romans 7:18,23; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8 . Romans 7:23-25; Galatians 5:17.
Chapter 7 - God’s Covenant
- Though rational creatures are responsible to obey God as their Creator, the distance between God and these creatures is so great that they could never have attained the reward of life except by God’s voluntary condescension. He has been pleased to expressthis through a covenant framework.
Luke 17:10; Job 35:7 , 8.
- Since humanity brought itself under the curse of the law by its fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace. In this covenant he freely offers to sinners life and salvation through Jesus Christ. On their part he requires faith in him, thatthey may be saved, and promises to give his Holy Spirit to all who are ordained to eternal life, to make them willing and able to believe.
Genesis 2:17; Galatians 3:10; Romans 3:20 , 21 . Romans 8:3; Mark 16:15 , 16; John 3:16 . Ezekiel 36:26, 27; John 6:44, 45; Psalms 110:3.
- This covenant is revealed in the gospel. It was revealed first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation through the seed of the woman. After that, it was revealed step by step until the full revelation of it was completed in the New Testament. Thiscovenant is based on the eternal covenant transaction between the Father and the Son concerning the redemption of the elect. Only through the grace of this covenant have those saved from among the descendants of fallen Adam obtained life and blessedimmortality. Humanity is now utterly incapable of being accepted by God on the same terms on which Adam was accepted in his state of innocence.
Genesis 3:15 . Hebrews 1:1 . 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 11:6 , 13; Romans 4:1 , 2ff.; Acts 4:12; John 8:56.
Chapter 8 - Christ the Mediator
- God was pleased, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His one and only Son, according to the covenant made between them, to be the mediator between God and humanity. God chose Him to be prophet, priest and king, and to be headand savior of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world. From all eternity, God gave to the Son a people to be His offspring. In time these people would be redeemed, called, justified, sanctified and glorified by Him.
Ps . 2:6; Isa . 42:1 , 53:10; Luke 1:33; John 17:6; Acts 3:22 , 17:31; Rom . 8:30; Eph . 1:22-23; Heb . 1:2 , 5:5-6; 1Pet . 1:19-20.
- The divine Person who made the world, and upholds and governs all things that He has made, is the Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. He is true and eternal God, the ‘brightness of the Father’s glory’ having the same substance (or essence)and being equal with Him who made the world and who sustains and governs everything He has made. He is the offspring whom God promised to Eve would one day crush the head of the serpent. It is He who, at the appointed time, took upon Himself the natureof man, with all its essential characteristics and its common weaknesses, sin excepted. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Spirit came down upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her. Thus,He was born of a woman from the tribe of Judah, a descendant of Abraham and David in fulfillment of the Scriptures. In this way it came about that the two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the divine and the human, were inseparably joined togetherin one Person, without converting one into the other or mixing them together to produce a different or blended nature. Thus the Son of God is now both true God and true man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.
Matt . 1:22,23; Luke 1:27,31,35; John 1:14; Rom . 8:3; 9:5; Gal . 4:4; 1 Tim . 2:5; Heb . 2:14,16,17; 4:15.
- In the person of God’s Son the two natures, divine and human, are united, thus He was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit to an unlimited extent, and in Him are found all treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is replete with all that is pleasingto the Father, being holy, harmless, untouched by sin, and full of grace and truth. Thus He has become thoroughly qualified to execute the work of a mediator and guarantor. He did not take this work upon Himself, but was commissioned by His Fatherwho put all power and judgment in His hand and commanded Him to carry them out.
Ps . 45:7; Matt . 28:18; John 1:14; 3:34; 5:22,27; Acts 2:36; 10:38; Col . 1:19; 2:3; Heb . 5:5; 7:22,26.
- The Lord Jesus most willingly undertook the office of mediator, and in order that He might discharge it He was born under the law, which He perfectly kept and fulfilled. He also experienced the punishment that we deserved and that we should have enduredand suffered. He was made sin and a curse for us. He endured sorrows in His soul severe beyond our conception, and unimaginably painful sufferings in His body. His death was by crucifixion. While He remained in the state of death His body sustainedno decay. On the third day He arose from the dead in the same body in which He had suffered. In the same body He also ascended into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of His Father, interceding for His own. He will return to judge men and angelsat the end of the age.
Ps . 40:7-8; Isa . 53:6; Matt . 3:15 , 26:37-38 , 27:46; Mark 16:19; Luke 22:44; John 10:18 , 20:25 , 20:27; Acts 1:9-11; 10:42; 13:37; Rom . 8:34; 14:9-10; 1Cor . 15:3,4; 2Cor . 5:21; Gal . 3:13; 4:4; Heb . 9:24; 10:5-10; 1Pet . 3:18; 2Pet . 2:4.
- The Lord Jesus has fully satisfied the justice of God, obtained reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for all those given to Him by the Father. He has accomplished these things by fully satisfying the claimsof divine justice through His perfect obedience to the God’s law and sacrifice of Himself, which He once for all offered up to God through the eternal Spirit.
John 17:2; Rom . 3:25,26; Heb . 9:14,15.
- The price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ until after His incarnation. Yet the virtue, efficacy and benefit of it was imparted to the elect in every age since the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, shadows and sacrificesthat revealed Him and pointed to Him as the seed that would crush the serpent’s head and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. As the Christ He is ‘the same yesterday, and today, and forever’.
1 Cor . 4:10; Heb . 4:2; 13:8; 1 Pet . 1:10,11; Rev . 13:8.
- In His work as mediator between God and men, Christ acts according to His two natures, one divine, one human, in each nature doing that which is appropriate to it. Even so, because of the unity of the person, that which is appropriate to one natureis sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person under the designation of the other nature.
John 3:13; Acts 20:28.
- To all those for whom Christ has obtained eternal redemption, He certainly and effectually applies and imparts it. He intercedes for them, unites them to Himself by His Spirit, and reveals to them in and by His Word the mystery of salvation. He persuadesthem to believe and obey and governs their hearts by His Word and Spirit. He overcomes all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, using methods and means that are perfectly consistent with His wonderful and unsearchable governance. All thesethings are by free and sovereign grace, apart from any merit is foreseen in them.
Ps . 110:1; John 3:8; 6:37; 10:15,16; 17:6,9; Rom . 5:10; 8:9,14; 1 Cor . 15:25,26; Eph . 1:8,9; 1 John 5:20.
- Christ, and Christ alone, is fitted to be mediator between God and man. He is the prophet, priest and king of the church of God. His office as mediator cannot be transferred from Him to any other, either in whole or in part.
1 Tim . 2:5.
Chapter 9 - Free Will
- God has endowed human will with natural liberty and power to make choices so that man always chooses to do what he desires to do and is thus always held morally responsible for the choices he makes.
Deut . 30:19; Mat . 17:12; 2 Cor 5:10; Jas . 1:14.
- In his state of innocency man had freedom and power to will and to do what was good and acceptable to God. Yet it was possible for him to fall from his uprightness.
Gen . 3:6; Eccles . 7:29.
- Humanity, by falling into a state of sin, has lost all ability to choose any spiritual good. This does not mean that humans cannot do works that appear godly or that even provide some temporal benefits. It also does not mean that every person commitsas much evil as they can. What it does mean is that in essence, humans in their natural state are absolutely opposed to spiritual good and dead in sin, being slaves to sin and to the devil, so that they cannot convert themselves by their own strengthor prepare themselves for conversion.
Isa . 64:6; John 6:44; Rom . 5:6; 8:7; 14:23b; Eph . 2:1,5; Titus 3:3-5.
- When God converts sinners, and brings them out of sin into the state of grace, He frees them from their natural bondage to sin and, by His grace alone, He enables them to will and to do freely what is spiritually good. Yet because of their remainingcorruption, they do not perfectly nor exclusively will what is good but also will what is evil.
John 8:36; Rom . 7:15,18,19,21,23; Phil . 2:13; Col.1:13.
- It is not until mankind enters the state of glory that he is made perfectly and unchangeably free to will that which is good, and that alone.
Eph . 4:13.
Chapter 10 - Effectual Calling
- In God’s appointed and acceptable time, He is pleased to call effectually, by His Word and Spirit, those He has predestined to life. He calls them out of their natural state of sin and death to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. He enlightens theirminds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God. He takes away their heart of stone and gives them a heart of flesh. He renews their wills and by His almighty power turns them to good and effectually draws them to Jesus Christ. YetHe does all this in such a way that they come completely freely, since they are made willing by His grace.
Romans 8:30; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:10 , 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13 , 14 . Ephesians 2:1-6 . Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:17 , 18 . Ezekiel 36:26 . Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 1:19 . Psalm 110:3; Song of Solomon 1:4.
- This effectual call flows from God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in those called. God, as the proactive agent in salvation, takes the initiative in calling those He determines to save. Man, as the reactive agent,responds to the call. Man, prior to salvation, is dead in sins and trespasses until made alive and renewed by the Holy Spirit. It is through the Spirit’s working that man is enabled to freely and out of His own volition answer this call and to embracethe grace offered and conveyed in it. All who are called will inevitably and certainly come to God, and God will receive all who come to Him. This response is enabled by a power that is no less than that which raised Christ from the dead.
2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:8 . 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:5; John 5:25 . John 6:37-39 , John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:19 , 20.
- Those who are not elected will not come to Christ and therefore will not be saved, because they are not effectually drawn by the Father. They may even be called by the ministry of the Word and may receive some ordinary working of the Spirit withoutbeing saved. Much less can any be saved who do not receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter how diligently they live their lives according to the light of nature and the teachings of the religion they profess.
John 6:44 , 45 , 65; 1 John 2:24 , 25 . Matthew 22:14; Matthew 13:20 , 21; Hebrews 6:4 , 5 . Acts 4:12; John 4:22; John 17:3.
- The Bible does not explicitly comment on the ultimate fate of children who die in infancy, or on persons who have not the cognitive maturity to make willful moral decisions. Nevertheless, the Scriptural evidence is encouraging as it implies that suchpersons are elect, regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit who works when and how He pleases. God is able, through the Holy Spirit, to work in, fill, and set apart infants for His elective purposes. While every person has inherited Adam’ssin and guilt, no man answers for Adam’s sin, but for his own deeds. Nevertheless, we are provided encouraging hints regarding God’s intention towards the youngest of children. In God’s dealing with Israel in the wilderness, we clearly see God’s recognitionthat the youngest of children have no knowledge of good and evil and exempts them from the punishment to be received by their fathers. In the Pentateuch, the “Knowledge of Good and Evil” is associated with willful deeds of rebellion against God inmind and body. In Genesis 3, man is banished from the land (Eden), forbidden to return to God’s place of rest because of his refusal to trust God. In Deuteronomy 1, rebellious man is once again forbidden to enter into the land of rest (Canaan), forthe exact same sin. But the children of such rebels, who cognitively are in no place to rebel in such a way, are permitted to enter in. It is not insignificant to the discussion that both Eden and Canaan are types and shadows of God’s ultimate restin the New Heavens and New Earth. Today, believers whose children die in such a state of undeveloped cognitive ability can have hope, like King David, to see their departed children in heaven, the ultimate place of rest for the people of God. On theother hand, the Bible does not explicitly state how we would know when a young child is specifically in such a state and when he or she isn’t. Therefore, as a child grows in cognitive maturity, presumption is ill-advised. Because of the presence oforiginal sin and Adam’s imputed guilt in infants, the cross of Jesus Christ and His blood is still necessary to fully and finally deal with sin.
Romans 9:15-16 , John 3:6-8; Luke 1:15; Rom 2:6-8; Deut 1:39; Gen 3; Deut 1:35-36 , Deut 1:39; Rev 22:1-2 , Heb 11:10 , 13-16; 2 Sam 12:23; Matt 26:26
Chapter 11 - Justification
- Those God effectually calls he also freely justifies. He does this, not by infusing righteousness into them but by pardoning their sins and accounting and accepting them as righteous. He does this for Christ’s sake alone and not for anything producedin them or done by them. He does not impute faith itself, the act of believing, or any other gospel obedience to them as their righteousness. Instead, he imputes Christ’s active obedience to the whole law and passive obedience in his death as theirwhole and only righteousness by faith. This faith is not self-generated; it is the gift of God.
Romans 3:24; 8:30 . Romans 4:5-8; Ephesians 1:7 . 1 Corinthians 1:30 , 31; Romans 5:17-19 . Philippians 3:8 , 9; Ephesians 2:8-10 . John 1:12; Romans 5:17.
- Faith that receives and rests on Christ and his righteousness is the only instrument of justification. Yet it does not occur by itself in the person justified, but it is always accompanied by every other saving grace. It is not a dead faith but worksthrough love.
Romans 3:28 . Galatians 5:6; James 2:17 , 22 , 26.
- By his obedience and death, Christ fully paid the debt of all those who are justified. He endured in their place the penalty they deserved. By this sacrifice of himself in his bloodshed on the cross, he legitimately, really, and fully satisfied God’sjustice on their behalf. Yet their justification is based entirely on free grace, because he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction were accepted in their place. These things were done freely, not because of anythingin them, so that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God would be glorified in the justification of sinners.
Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:18 , 19; Isaiah 53:5 , 6 . Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:21 . Romans 3:26; Ephesians 1:6,7; 2:7.
- From all eternity God decreed to justify all the elect, and in the fullness of time Christ died for their sins and rose again for their justification. Nevertheless they are not justified personally until, in due time, the Holy Spirit actually appliesto them the benefits of Christ’s Person and work. Galatians 3:8; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Timothy 2:6 . Romans 4:25 . Colossians 1:21 , 22; Titus 3:4-7. 5. God continues to forgive the sins of those who are justified. Even though they can never fall from astate of justification, they may fall under God’s fatherly discipline because of their sins. In that condition they will not usually have the light of his face restored to them until they humble themselves, confess their sins, plead for pardon, andrenew their faith and repentance.
Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:7 , 9 . John 10:28 . Psalms 89:31-33; Hebrews 12:5-11 . Psalms 32:5; Psalms 51; Matthew 26:75
- In all these ways, the justification of believers under the Old Testament was exactly the same as the justification of believers under the New Testament.
Galatians 3:9; Romans 4:22-24.
Chapter 12 - Adoption
- God has granted that all those who are justified would receive the grace of adoption, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ. By this they are counted among the children of God and enjoy the freedom and privileges of that relationship. Theyinherit his name, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, and are enabled to cry, “Abba, Father!” They are given compassion, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as a father. Yet they are never castoff but are sealed for the day of redemption and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.
Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:4 , 5 . John 1:12; Romans 8:17 . 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 3:12 . Romans 8:15 . Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 2:18 . Psalms 103:13 . Proverbs 14:26 . 1 Peter 5:7 . Hebrews 12:6 . Isaiah 54:8 , 9; Lamentations 3:31 . Ephesians 4:30 . Hebrews 1:14; 6:12.
Chapter 13 - Sanctification
- Those who are united to Christ and effectually called and regenerated have a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. They are also further sanctified, really and personally, through the same power,by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them. The dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the various evil desires that arise from it are more and more weakened and put to death. At the same time, those called and regenerated are more and moreenlivened and strengthened in all saving graces so that they practice true holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
Acts 20:32; Romans 6:5 , 6 . John 17:17; Ephesians 3:16-19; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 . Romans 6:14. Galatians 5:24 . Colossians 1:11 . 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14.
- This sanctification extends throughout the whole person, though it is never completed in this life. Some corruption remains in every part. From this arises a continual and irreconcilable war, with the desires of the flesh against the Spirit and theSpirit against the flesh.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 . Romans 7:18 , 23 . Galatians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:11.
- In this war, the remaining corruption may greatly prevail for a time. Yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part overcomes. So the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear ofGod. They pursue a heavenly life, in gospel obedience to all the commands that Christ as Head and King has given them in his Word.
Romans 7:23 . Romans 6:14 . Ephesians 4:15 , 16; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 7:1.
Chapter 14 - Saving Faith
- The grace of faith, by which the elect are enabled to believe so that their souls are saved, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts. Faith is ordinarily produced by the ministry of the Word. By this same ministry and by the administrationof baptism and the Lord’s supper, prayer, and other means appointed by God, faith is increased and strengthened.
2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 2:8 . Romans 10:14 , 17 . Luke 17:5; 1 Peter 2:2; Acts 20:32.
- By this faith Christians believe to be true everything revealed in the Word, recognizing it as the authority of God himself. They also perceive that the Word is more excellent than every other writing and everything else in the world, because it displaysthe glory of God in his attributes, the excellence of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit in his activities and operations. So they are enabled to entrust their souls to the truth believed. They responddifferently according to the content of each particular passage—obeying the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and the one to come. But the principal acts of saving faith focus directly on Christ—accepting,receiving, and resting upon him alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.
Acts 24:14 . Psalms 27:7-10; Psalms 119:72 . 2 Timothy 1:12 . John 14:14 . Isaiah 66:2 . Hebrews 11:13. John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:20; Acts 15:11.
- This faith may exist in varying degrees so that it may be either weak or strong. Yet even in its weakest form, it is different in kind or nature (like all other saving graces) from the faith and common grace of false believers. Therefore, faith mayoften be attacked and weakened, but it gains the victory. It matures in many to the point that they attain full assurance through Christ, who is both the founder and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews 5:13 , 14; Matthew 6:30; Romans 4:19 , 20 . 2 Peter 1:1 . Ephesians 6:16; 1 John 5:4 , 5 . Hebrews 6:11 , 12; Colossians 2:2 . Hebrews 12:2.
Chapter 15 - Repentance to Life and Salvation
- Some of the elect are converted after their early years, having lived in the natural a state for a time and served various evil desires and pleasures. God gives these repentance to life as part of their effectual calling.
- There is no one who does good and does not sin. Even the best may fall into great sins and offenses, through the power and deceitfulness of the corruption in them, along with the strength of temptation. Therefore, God has mercifully provided in thecovenant of grace that believers who sin and fall will be renewed through repentance to salvation.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 . Luke 22:31 , 32.
- This saving repentance is a gospel grace in which those who are made aware by the Holy Spirit of the many evils of their sin, by faith in Christ humble themselves for it with godly sorrow, hatred of it, and self-loathing. They pray for pardon and strengthof grace and determine and endeavor by provisions from the Spirit to live before God in a well-pleasing way in everything.
Zechariah 12:10; Acts 11:18 . Ezekiel 36:31; 2 Corinthians 7:11 . Psalms 119:6 , 128.
- Repentance must continue throughout our lives, because of the body of death and its activities. So it is everyone’s duty to repent of each specific, known sin specifically.
Luke 19:8; 1 Timothy 1:13 , 15.
- God has made full provision through Christ in the covenant of grace to preserve believers in their salvation. Thus, although there is no sin so small that it is undeserving of damnation, yet there is no sin so great that it will bring damnation on thosewho repent. This makes the constant preaching of repentance necessary.
Romans 6:23 . Isaiah 1:16-18; 55:7.
Chapter 16 - Good Works
- Good works are only those works that God has commanded in his holy Word. Works that do not have this warrant are invented by people out of blind zeal or on a pretense of good intentions and are not truly good.
Micah 6:8; Hebrews 13:21 . Matthew 15:9; Isaiah 29:13.
- These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruit and evidence of a true and living faith. Through good works believers express their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, build up their brothers and sisters, adorn the professionof the gospel, stop the mouths of opponents, and glorify God. Believers are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, so that they bear fruit leading to holiness and have the outcome, eternal life.
James 2:18 , 22 . Psalms 116:12 , 13 . 1 John 2:3 , 5; 2 Peter 1:5-11 . Matthew 5:16 . 1 Timothy 6:1; 1 Peter 2:15; Philippians 1:11 . Ephesians 2:10 . Romans 6:22.
- Their ability to do good works does not arise at all from themselves but entirely from the Spirit of Christ. To enable them to do good works, they need—in addition to the graces they have already received—an actual influence of the same Holy Spiritto work in them to will and to do his good pleasure. Yet this is no reason for them to grow negligent, as if they were not required to perform any duty without a special motion of the Spirit. Instead, they should be diligent to stir up the grace ofGod that is in them.
John 15:4 , 5 . 2 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 2:13; Philippians 2:12; Hebrews 6:11 , 12; Isaiah 64:7.
- Those who attain the greatest heights of obedience possible in this life are far from being able to merit reward by going beyond duty or to do more than God requires. Instead, they fall short of much that is their duty to do.
Job 9:2 , 3; Galatians 5:17; Luke 17:10.
- We cannot, even by our best works, merit pardon of sin or eternal life from God’s hand, due to the huge disproportion between our works and the glory to come, and the infinite distance between us and God. By these works we can neither benefit God norsatisfy him for the debt of our former sins. When we have done all we can, we have only done our duty and are unprofitable servants. Since our good works are good, they must proceed from his Spirit; and since they are performed by us, they are defiledand mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they cannot withstand the severity of God’s punishment.
Romans 3:20; Ephesians 2:8 , 9; Romans 4:6 . Galatians 5:22 , 23 . Isaiah 64:6; Psalms 143:2.
- Nevertheless, believers are accepted through Christ, and thus their good works are also accepted in him. This acceptance does not mean our good works are completely blameless and irreproachable in God’s sight. Instead, God views them in his Son, andso he is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, even though it is accompanied by many weaknesses and imperfections.
Ephesians 1:6; 1 Peter 2:5 . Matthew 25:21 , 23; Hebrews 6:10.
- Works done by unregenerate people may in themselves be commanded by God and useful to themselves and others. Yet they do not come from a heart purified by faith and are not done in a right manner according to the Word nor with a right goal—the gloryof God. Therefore, they are sinful and cannot please God. They cannot qualify anyone to receive grace from God, and yet their neglect is even more sinful and displeasing to God.
2 Kings 10:30; 1 Kings 21:27 , 29 . Genesis 4:5; Hebrews 11:4 , 6 . 1 Corinthians 13:1 . Matthew 6:2 , 5. Amos 5:21 , 22; Romans 9:16; Titus 3:5 . Job 21:14 , 15; Matthew 25:41-43.
Chapter 17 - The Perseverance of the Saints
- Those God has accepted in the Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect can neither totally nor finally fall from a state of grace. They will certainly persevere in grace to the end and be eternallysaved, because the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. Therefore, he still brings about and nourishes in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit that lead to immortality. Even though many storms and floodsarise and beat against them, yet these things will never be able to move the elect from the foundation and rock to which they are anchored by faith. The felt sight of the light and love of God may be clouded and obscured from them for a time throughtheir unbelief and the temptations of Satan. Yet God is still the same; they will certainly be kept by the power of God for salvation, where they will enjoy their purchased possession. For they are engraved on the palms of his hands, and their nameshave been written in the book of life from all eternity.
John 10:28 , 29; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 2:19 . Psalms 89:31 , 32; 1 Corinthians 11:32. Malachi 3:6 . Matthew 25:21
- This perseverance of the saints does not depend on their own free will but on the unchangeableness of the decree of election, which flows from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father. It is based on the efficacy of the merit and intercessionof Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace. The certainty and infallibility of their perseverance is based on all these things.
Romans 8:30 Romans 9:11 , 16 . Romans 5:9 , 10; John 14:19 . Hebrews 6:17 , 18 . 1 John 3:9 . Jeremiah 32:40.
- They may fall into grievous sins and continue in them for a time, due to the temptation of Satan and the world, the strength of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of means of their preservation. In so doing, they incur God’s displeasure andgrieve his Holy Spirit; their graces and comforts become impaired; their hearts are hardened and their consciences wounded; they hurt and scandalize others and bring temporary judgments on themselves. Nevertheless, they will renew their repentanceand be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.
Matthew 26:70 , 72 , 74 . Isaiah 64:5 , 9; Ephesians 4:30 . Psalms 51:10 , 12 . Psalms 32:3 , 4 . 2 Samuel 12:14 . Luke 22:32 , 61 , 62.
Chapter 18 - Assurance of Grace and Salvation
- False believers and other unregenerate people may deceive themselves in vain with false hopes and fleshly presumptions that they have God’s favor and salvation, but their hope will perish. Yet those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus and love him sincerely,endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may be certainly assured in this life that they are in a state of grace. They may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, and this hope will never make them ashamed.
Job 8:13 , 14; Matthew 7:22 , 23 . 1 John 2:3; 3:14 , 18 , 19 , 21 , 24; 5:13 . Romans 5:2 , 5.
- This certainty is not merely an inconclusive or likely persuasion based on a fallible hope. It is an infallible assurance of faith founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel. It is also built on the inward evidence of thosegraces of the Spirit about which promises are made. It is further based on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God. As a fruit of this assurance, our hearts are kept both humble and holy.
Hebrews 6:11 , 19 . Hebrews 6:17 , 18 . 2 Peter 1:4 , 5 , 10 , 11 . Romans 8:15 , 16 . 1 John 3:1-3.
- This infallible assurance is not such an essential part of faith that it is always fully experienced alongside faith , but true believers may wait a long time and struggle with many difficulties before obtaining it. Yet with the enabling of the Spiritto know the things freely given to them by God, they may attain this assurance using ordinary means appropriately without any extraordinary revelation. Therefore, it is the duty of all to be as diligent as possible to make their calling and electionsure. In this way their hearts may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience. These effects are the natural fruits of this assurance. Thus, it doesnot at all encourage believers to be negligent.
Isaiah 50:10; Psalms 88; 77:1-12 . 1 John 4:13; Hebrews 6:11 , 12 . Romans 5:1 , 2 , 5; 14:17; Psalms 119:32 . Romans 6:1 , 2; Titus 2:11 , 12 , 14.
- True believers may in various ways have the assurance of their salvation shaken, decreased, or temporarily lost. This may happen because they neglect to preserve it or fall into some specific sin that wounds their conscience and grieves the Spirit.It may happen through some unexpected or forceful temptation or when God withdraws the light of his face and allows even those who fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light. Yet they are never completely lacking the seed of God, the life offaith, love of Christ and the brethren, sincerity of heart, or conscience concerning their duty. Out of these graces, through the work of the Spirit, this assurance may at the proper time be revived. In the meantime, they are kept from utter despairthrough them.
Song of Solomon 5:2 , 3 , 6 . Psalms 51:8 , 12 , 14 . Psalms 116:11; 77:7 , 8; 31:22; Psalms 30:7 . 1 John 3:9. Luke 22:32 . Psalms 42:5 , 11 . Psalm 51:12 . Lamentations 3:26-31.
Chapter 19 - The Law of God
- God gave Adam a law of comprehensive obedience written in his heart and a specific precept not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By these God obligated him and all his descendants to personal, total, exact, and perpetualobedience. God promised life if Adam fulfilled it and threatened death if he broke it, and he gave Adam the power and ability to keep it.
Genesis 1:27; Ecclesiastes 7:29 . Romans 10:5 . Galatians 3:10 , 12.
- The same law that was first written in the human heart continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the fall. It was delivered by God on Mount Sinai in ten commandments and was written in two tables. The first four commandments contain ourduty to God and the other six our duty to humanity.
Romans 2:14 , 15 . Deuteronomy 10:4.
- In addition to this law—usually called the moral law—God was pleased to give the people of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typological ordinances. In some ways these concerned worship, by prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings,and benefits. In other ways they revealed various instructions about moral duties. Since all of these ceremonial laws were appointed only until the new order arrived, they are now fulfilled in and through Jesus Christ, and therefore they are now abolishedby Him. As the true Messiah and the only law-giver, he was empowered by the Father to do this.
Hebrews 10:1; Colossians 2:17 . 1 Corinthians 5:7 . Colossians 2:14 , 16 , 17; Ephesians 2:14 , 16 . Hebrews 8:13
- To Israel he also gave various judicial laws, which ceased at the same time their nation ended. These laws no longer obligate anyone as part of that institution. Only their general principles of justice continue to have moral value.
1 Corinthians 9:8-10.
- The moral law forever requires obedience of everyone, both those who are justified as well as others. This obligation arises not only because of its content but also because of the authority of God the Creator who gave it. Nor does Christ in any waydissolve this obligation in the Gospel; instead he greatly strengthens it. Despite our obligation to keep the law, it is impossible to be saved through the law. For that reason, Christ fulfilled the obligations of the moral law on behalf of the believer,making the believer judicially righteous and guilt-free before God. The believer, in striving to keep the law, is now striving to be practically what he already is legally before God.
Romans 13:8-10; James 2:8 , 10-12 . James 2:10 , 11 . Matthew 5:17-19; Romans 3:31 . Romans 3:20. Romans 5:18-19 . Ephesians 4:1
- True believers are not under the law as a covenant of works, to be justified or condemned by it. Yet it is very useful to them and to others as a rule of life that informs them of the will of God and their duty. It directs and obligates them to liveaccording to its precepts. It also exposes the sinful corruptions of their natures, hearts, and lives. As they examine themselves in light of the law, they come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred of sin, along with a clearer viewof their need for Christ and the perfection of his obedience. The law is also useful to the regenerate to restrain their corruptions because it forbids sin. The punishment threatened by the law shows them what even their sins deserve and what troublesthey may expect in this life due to their sin, even though they are freed from the curse and undiminished severity of it. The promises of the law likewise show them God’s approval of obedience and the blessings they may expect when they keep it, eventhough these blessings are not owed to them by the law as a covenant of works. If people do good and refrain from evil because the law encourages good and discourages evil, that does not indicate that they are under the law and not under grace.
Romans 6:14; Galatians 2:16; Romans 8:1; 10:4 . Romans 3:20; 7:7 , etc; Romans 6:12-14; 1 Peter 3:8-13.
- These uses of the law are not contrary to the grace of the Gospel but are in sweet harmony with it, for the Spirit of Christ subdues and enables the human will to do freely and cheerfully what the will of God as revealed in the law requires.
Galatians 3:21 . Ezekiel 36:27.
Chapter 20 - The Gospel and the Extent of Its Grace
- Because the covenant of works was broken by sin and was unable to confer life, God was pleased to proclaim the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, as the means of calling the elect and producing in them faith and repentance. In this promise thegospel in its substance was revealed and made effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners.
Genesis 3:15 . Revelation 13:8.
- This promise of Christ and of salvation through him is revealed in the Word of God alone. Though the works of creation and providence reveal the glory of Christ to sufficiently condemn man in his refusal to acknowledge it or give proper thanks to theone whom the glory reveals, such works are not, when assisted only by the light of nature, sufficient to save man as they do not reveal the fullness of the person of Christ, nor his mission, nor the grace that is available through him in the gospel.Much less are those without the revelation of him in the promise or gospel enabled to attain saving faith or repentance by seeing these works of God.
Romans 1:17 . Psalm 19:1-3 . Romans 10:14,15,17; Romans 1:18:21 . Proverbs 29:18; Isaiah 25:7; Isaiah 60:2 , 3.
- The gospel has been revealed to sinners in various times and in different places, along with the promises and precepts describing the obedience that accompanies it. The particular nations and individuals who are granted this revelation are chosen solelyaccording to the sovereign will and good pleasure of God. This choice does not depend on any promise to those who demonstrate good stewardship of their natural abilities based on common light received apart from the gospel. No one has ever done thisnor can anyone do so. Therefore, in every age the preaching of the gospel to individuals and nations has been granted in widely varying degrees of expansion and contraction, according to the counsel of the will of God. Likewise, the preaching of thegospel to all nations until the return of Christ is commanded by God and expected of His people and is the means by which He effectually calls His children unto Himself.
Psalms 147:20; Acts 16:7 . Romans 1:18-32 . Matt . 28:19-20; Acts 1:8
- The gospel is the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and it is abundantly sufficient for that purpose. Yet to be born again, brought to life or regenerated, those who are dead in trespasses also must have an effectual, irresistiblework of the Holy Spirit in every part of their souls to produce in them a new spiritual life. Without this no other means will bring about their conversion to God.
Psalms 110:3; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 1:19 , 20 . John 6:44; 2 Corinthians 4:4 , 6.
Chapter 21 - Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
- The liberty Christ has purchased for believers under the gospel is found in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, and the severity and curse of the law. It also includes their deliverance from this present evil age, bondageto Satan, the dominion of sin, the suffering of afflictions, the fear and sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation. In addition, it includes their free access to God and their obedience to him, not from slavish fear butfrom a childlike love and willing mind. All these liberties were also enjoyed in their essence by Old Covenant believers, but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further expanded. They are free from the yoke of the ceremonial andcivil law to which the Jewish congregation was subjected; With the dawning of the New Covenant through the finished atoning work of Jesus, New Testament believers have greater confidence of access to the throne of grace; and they have a fuller supplyof God’s free Spirit than believers under the law usually experienced.
Galatians 3:13 . Galatians 1:4 . Acts 26:18 . Romans 8:3 . Romans 8:28 . 1 Corinthians 15:54-57. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 . Romans 8:15 . Luke 1:73-75; 1 John 4:18 . Galatians 3:9 , 14 . John 7:38 , 39; Hebrews 10:19-21 . 2 Cor 3:17 , John 20:22.
- God alone is Lord of the conscience, and he has left it free from obligation to follow human
doctrines and commandments that are in any way contrary to his word or not contained in it. So, believing such doctrines, or obeying such commands in violation of conscience, is a betrayal of true liberty of conscience. This does not mean that a Christian cannot follow a particular rule or practice should his conscience so dictate, as long as such a practice does not compromise biblical commands or is done without consideration of the sensibilities of fellow believers. Requiring implicit faith or absolute and blind obedience destroys liberty of conscience and reason as well.
James 4:12; Romans 14:4 . Acts 4:19 , 29; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Matthew 15:9 . Colossians 2:20 , 22 , 23. Romans 14:15:2 . 1 Corinthians 8:7-13 ; 2 Corinthians 1:24.
- Those who use Christian liberty as an excuse to practice any sin or nurture any sinful desire pervert the main objective of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction, and they completely destroy the purpose of Christian liberty. This purposeis that we, having been delivered from the hands of all our enemies, may serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our lives.
Romans 6:1 , 2 . Galatians 5:13; 2 Peter 2:18 , 21.
Chapter 22 - Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day
- The light of nature demonstrates that there is a God who has lordship and sovereignty over all. He is just and good and does good to everyone. Therefore, he should be feared, loved, praised, called on, trusted in, and served—with all the heart and allthe soul and all the strength. But the acceptable way to worship the true God is instituted by him, and it is guided by his own revealed will. New Covenant worship has been unbound from the Old Covenant structures by our Lord’s command to worshipHim in Spirit and in truth and yet the very same command does not allow us to worship according to man’s own imaginations.
Jeremiah 10:7; Mark 12:33 . Deuteronomy 12:32 . John 4:21-24
- Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and to him alone—not to angels, saints, or any other creatures. Since the fall, worship is not to be given without a mediator nor through any mediation other than of Christ alone.
Matthew 4:9 , 10; John 5:23; Matthew 28:19 . Romans 1:25; Colossians 2:18; Revelation 19:10 . John 14:6 . 1 Timothy 2:5.
- Prayer with thanksgiving is an element of natural worship and so is required by God of everyone. But to be acceptable, it must be made in the name of the Son, by the help of the Spirit, according to his will. It must be accompanied by understanding,reverence, humility, fervor, faith, love, and perseverance. Prayer with others must be in a language that is understood or interpreted by one who understands it.
Psalms 95:1-7; 65:2 . John 14:13 , 14 . Romans 8:26 . 1 John 5:14 . 1 Corinthians 14:16 , 17 , 27
- Prayer is to be made for lawful things and for all kinds of people who are alive now or will live later. But prayer should not be made for the dead or to the dead.
1 Timothy 2:1 , 2; 2 Samuel 7:29 . 2 Samuel 12:21-23 . Deuteronomy 18:11.
- Corporate religious worship in the weekly gathering of the saints includes reading the Scriptures, preaching and hearing the Word of God,teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts tothe Lord, as well as the administration of baptism and the Lord’s supper. They must be performed out of obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear. Also, purposeful acts of humbling with fasting and times of thanksgivingshould be observed on special occasions in a holy and religious manner.
1 Timothy 4:13 . 2 Timothy 4:2; Luke 8:18 . Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19 . Matthew 28:19 , 20 . 1 Corinthians 11:26 . Esther 4:16; Joel 2:12 . Exodus 15:1-19 , Psalms 107.
- Under the gospel, neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship is now restricted to or made more acceptable by the place where it is done or toward which it is directed. Instead, God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth—dailyin each family and privately by each individual. Also, more formal worship is to be performed in public assemblies, and these must not be carelessly or deliberately neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calls us to them.
John 4:21; Malachi 1:11; 1 Timothy 2:8 . Matthew 6:11; Psalms 55:17 . Acts 10:2 . Matthew 6:6 . Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:42.
- After creating the heavens and the earth in six days, the Lord rested on the seventh day, celebrating and enjoying the work of His hands. God made this seventh day holy. When God formed, Israel, His covenant people at Sinai, He commanded that they too,would image God in the pattern of work and rest. Six days they would work and on the seventh day would be set apart, made holy, for the purpose of joining God in celebrating, worshipping, and enjoying Him and the work of His hands. In addition, theSabbath rest was to be a means of remembering God’s mighty redemption of Israel from the harsh labors of slavery in Egypt. Therefore, the Old Testament Sabbath brought together the themes of creation and redemption. With the dawning of the New Covenantit has been revealed that Jesus Christ, who brings about spiritual re-creation and redemption, is the fulfillment of the Sabbath and in Him we find our rest. Therefore, while a particular day of the week is not mandated for God’s people in the NewTestament, the Church, from its earliest days, deemed it good and right to set aside one day in seven, the first day of the week, called the “Lord’s Day”, for the purpose of remembering, enjoying, and celebrating Jesus Christ’s new creation work broughtabout by His redemptive ministry, namely His death and resurrection. While the 7th day of the week marked the completed creation in Genesis, the 1st day of the week ushers in the New Creation in Christ as this was the day that Jesus emerged from thetomb in newness of life, and therefore it is fitting to worship Jesus, who identifies Himself as Lord of the Sabbath, on Sunday, the beginning of the week. With that said, it must be stressed that the New Testament does not explicitly command anyone day as the one on which the Church must regularly gather. While believers are not to neglect the regular assembling of themselves together in local congregations, we are not to pass judgment on one another regarding specific days and times inwhich believers set aside to honor the Lord. Christ is the fulfillment of all such Old Testament holy days which means the question “Are you in Christ?” is far more urgent than “Do you worship on this day or that?”
Gen 2:1-3 . Ex 20:8-11 . Deut 5:12-15 . Col 2:16-17; Matthew 11:28-30 . Rom 14:4-6 . Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2; Rev 1:10 . Mark 16:2; Matt 28:1; Luke 24:1 . Matt 12:8 . Heb 10:25 . Rom 14:4-5; Col 2:16.
Chapter 23 - Civil Government
- God, the supreme Lord and King of the whole world, has ordained civil authorities to be under him and over the people, for his own glory and the public good. For this purpose he has armed them with the power of the sword, to defend and encourage thosewho do good and to punish evildoers.
- Christians may lawfully accept and carry out the duties of public office when called to do so. In performing their office they must especially maintain justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom or other political entity. Tocarry out these duties they are authorized now under the New Testament to wage war in just and necessary situations.
2 Samuel 23:3; Psalms 82:3 , 4 . Luke 3:14.
- Because civil authorities are established by God for the purposes stated, we should submit in the Lord to them in everything lawful that they require. We should submit not only for fear of punishment but also for the sake of conscience. We ought tomake requests and prayers for government leaders and everyone in authority, so that under their rule we may live a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty.
Romans 13:5-7; 1 Peter 2:17 . 1 Timothy 2:1 , 2.
Chapter 24 - Marriage
- Marriage is to be between one man and one woman. A man must not have more than one wife nor a woman more than one husband at the same time.
Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:15; Matthew 19:5 , 6.
- Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of humanity with legitimate offspring, and for the prevention of immorality, and to put forth a living parable of the gospel.
Corinthians 7:2 , 9 . 5 Ephesians 5:22-33
- Everyone who is able to give rational consent may marry. Yet Christians are to marry in the Lord. Therefore, those who profess the true faith should not marry unbelievers or idolaters. Nor should the godly be unequally yoked by marrying those who leadevil lives or hold to damnable heresy.
Hebrews 13:4; 1 Timothy 4:3 . 1 Corinthians 7:39 . Nehemiah 13:25-27.
- Marriage should not occur within the degrees of blood relationship or kinship that are forbidden in the Word. These incestuous marriages can never be made lawful, so that the individuals may live together as husband and wife, by any human law or consentof the parties involved.
Leviticus 18 . Mark 6:18; 1 Corinthians 5:1.
Chapter 25 - The Church
- The catholic—that is, universal—church may be called invisible with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace. It consists of the full number of the elect who have been, are, or will be gathered into one under Christ her head. Thechurch is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Hebrews 12:23; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:10 , 22 , 23; Ephesians 5:23 , 27 , 32.
- All people throughout the world who profess the faith of the gospel and obedience to God through Christ in keeping with the gospel are and may be called visible saints, as long as they do not destroy their own profession by any foundational errors orunholy living. All local congregations ought to be made up of these.
1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 11:26 . Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:20-22.
- The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error. Some have degenerated so much that they have ceased to be churches of Christ and have become synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, Christ always has had and will have in this world to thevery end a kingdom of those who believe in him and profess his name.
1 Corinthians 5; Revelation 2; Revelation 3 . Revelation 18:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:11 , 12 . Matthew 16:18; Psalms 72:17; Psalm 102:28; Revelation 12:17.
- The Lord Jesus Christ alone is the head of the church. By the Father’s appointment, all authority is conferred on him in a supreme and sovereign manner to call, institute, order and govern the church. The Pope of Roman Catholicism cannot in any sensebe head of the church, nor is the church subservient to the traditions and councils of men.
Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11 , 12 . 2 Thessalonians 2:2-9.
- In exercising the authority entrusted to him, the Lord Jesus, through the ministry of his Word, by his Spirit, calls to himself out of the world those who are given to him by his Father. They are called so that they will live before him in all the waysof obedience that he prescribes for them in his Word. Those who are called he commands to live together in local societies, or churches, for their mutual edification and the fitting conduct of public worship that he requires of them while they arein the world.
John 10:16; John 12:32 . Matthew 28:20 . Matthew 18:15-20.
- The members of these churches are saints by calling, visibly displaying and demonstrating in and by their profession and life their obedience to the call of Christ. They willingly agree to live together according to Christ’s instructions, giving themselvesto the Lord and to one another by the will of God, with the stated purpose of following the ordinances of the Gospel.
Romans . 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2 . Acts 2:41 , 42; Acts 5:13 , 14; 2 Corinthians 9:13.
- To every church gathered in this way, conforming to Christ’s mind as declared in his Word, he has given all power and authority that is in any way necessary to conduct the form of worship and discipline that he has instituted for them to observe. Hehas also given them commands and rules to use and carry out that power rightly and properly.
Matthew 18:17 , 18; 1 Corinthians 5:4 , 5; 1 Corinthians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8.
- A local church, gathered and fully organized according to the mind of Christ, consists of officers and members. The officers appointed by Christ are two in number. They consist of 1) elders (also called overseers and pastors) and 2) deacons. They areto be chosen and set apart by the church called and gathered in this way, for the distinctive purpose of administering ordinances and for carrying out any other power or duty Christ entrusts them with or calls them to. This pattern is to be continuedto the end of the age.
Acts 20:17 , 28; Philippians 1:1.
- Christ has appointed the way to call someone prepared and gifted by the Holy Spirit to the office of overseer or elder in a church. He must be chosen by the collective by a vote of the church itself. He must then be solemnly set apart by fasting andprayer. The body of elders of the church must lay hands on him if there are any already in place. A deacon must be chosen by the same kind of vote and set apart by prayer and laying on of hands as well.
Acts 14:23 . 1 Timothy 4:14 . Acts 6:3 , 5 , 6.
- Some elders/overseers/pastors are set apart to give constant attention to the service of Christ in his churches in the ministry of the word and prayer. They are to watch over the souls of church members as those who must give an account to Christ. The churches to whom they minister must not only give them all due respect but also must share with them from all their good things according to their ability. They must do this so their pastors may have a comfortable living without having to be entangled in secular matters and so they can show hospitality to others. This is required by the law of nature and by the explicit command of our Lord Jesus, who has ordained that those who preach the Gospel should earn their living by the Gospel.
Acts 6:4; Hebrews 13:17 . 1 Timothy 5:17 , 18; Galatians 6:6 , 7 . 2 Timothy 2:4 . 1 Timothy 3:2 . 23 1 Corinthians 9:6-14.
- Although elders (or overseers/pastors) must be engaged in preaching the word as a function of their office, yet the work of preaching the word is not totally restricted to them. Others who are also gifted and prepared by the Holy Spirit for it and approved and called by the church may and should preach.
Acts 11:19-21; 1 Peter 4:10 , 11.
- All believers are obligated to join themselves to local churches when and where they have the opportunity. Likewise, all who are admitted to the privileges of a church are also subject to the discipline and government of it, according to the rule of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6 , 14 , 15.
- Church members who have been offended and have performed their duty concerning the person by which they are offended, should not disrupt any church action or absent themselves from the assemblies of the church or administration of any ordinances because of the offence at any of their fellow members. Instead, they should look to Christ in the further action of the church
Matthew 18:15-17; Ephesians 4:2 , 3.
- Every church and all its members are obligated to pray continually for the good and prosperity of all churches of Christ in every place. They must also—at every opportunity within the limits of their stations and callings—exercise their gifts and graces to benefit every church. Also, when churches are raised up by the providence of God, insofar as they enjoy opportunity and favorable circumstances for it, they should have fellowship among themselves for their peace, growth in love, and mutual edification.
Ephesians 6:18; Psalms 122:6 . Romans 16:1 , 2; 3 John 8-10.
- Cases of difficulties or differences—doctrinal or administrative—may arise, touching on the peace, union, and edification of all churches in general or an individual church. Other cases may occur when a member or members of a church are injured in or by disciplinary action that is not in keeping with truth and order. In such cases, it is according to the mind of Christ for many churches having fellowship together to meet through their messengers to consider and give their advice concerning the issue in dispute and to report their advice to all the churches concerned. Nevertheless, these assembled messengers are not entrusted with any church authority, strictly speaking. Neither do they have any jurisdiction over the churches themselves, to exercise any discipline either over any churches or individuals or to impose their decision on the churches or officers.
Acts 15:2 , 4 , 6 , 22 , 23 , 25 . 2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 John 4:1.
Chapter 26 - The Communion of Saints
- All saints are united to Jesus Christ their head by his Spirit and by faith, although this does not make them one person with him. They have fellowship in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory. Since they are united to one another inlove, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces and are obligated to carry out these duties, both public and private, in an orderly way to promote their mutual good, both in the inner and outer aspects of their lives.
1 John 1:3; John 1:16; Philippians 3:10; Romans 6:5 , 6 . Ephesians 4:15 , 16; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 . 31 Thessalonians 5:11 , 14; Romans 1:12; 1 John 3:17 , 18; Galatians 6:10.
- Saints by profession are obligated to maintain a holy fellowship and communion in worshiping God and in performing other spiritual services that promote their mutual edification. They are to aid each other in material things according to their variousabilities and needs. They should especially exercise communion in the relationships they have in their families and churches. Yet the rule of the gospel also directs them, as God provides opportunity, to extend their sharing to the whole householdof faith, to all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, their communion with one another as saints does not take away or infringe on the title or individual ownership that people have in their goods and possessions.
Hebrews 10:24 , 25; Hebrews 3:12 , 13 . Acts 11:29 , 30 . Ephesians 6:4 . 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 . Acts 5:4; Ephesians 4:28.
Chapter 27 - Baptism and the Lord's Supper
- Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution. They are appointed by the Lord Jesus the only lawgiver and are to be continued in his church to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19 , 20; 1 Corinthians 11:26.
- These holy appointments are to be administered to by disciples of Jesus in every age in the context of a local congregation , according to the commission of Christ.
Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Cor 11:20.
Chapter 28 - Baptism
- Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ. To those baptized it is a sign of their fellowship with him in his death and resurrection, of their being grafted into him, of remission of sins, and of submitting themselves toGod through Jesus Christ to live and walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27 . Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16 . Romans 6:4.
- Those who personally profess repentance toward God and faith in and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.
Mark 16:16; Acts 8:36 , 37; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Acts 18:8.
- The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, in which the individual is to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:19 , 20; Acts 8:38.
- Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is the most proper way for this ordinance to be administered.
Matthew 3:16; John 3:23.
Chapter 29 - The Lord's Supper
- The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night he was betrayed. It is to be observed in his churches to the end of the age as a perpetual remembrance and display of the sacrifice of himself in his death. It is given for the confirmationof the faith of believers in all the benefits of Christ’s death, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, and their further engagement in and to all the duties they owe him. The supper is to be a bond and pledge of their communion with Christand each other.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 . 1 Corinthians 10:16 , 17 , 21.
- In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor is any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the living or the dead. It is a sacred memorial of the one offering Christ made of himself on the cross once for all. It is alsoa spiritual offering of the highest possible praise to God for that sacrifice. Thus any view of the Lord's Supper that detracts from Christ's full and final substitutionary sacrifice is utterly detestable.
Hebrews 9:25 , 26 , 28 . 41 Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:26 , 27.
- Denying the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, lifting them up or carrying them around for adoration, or reserving them for some pretended religious use are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance and to the institution of Christ.
Matthew 26:26-28; 15:9; Exodus 20:4 , 5.
- The outward elements in this ordinance, properly set apart for the use ordained by Christ, have such a relationship to Christ crucified that they are sometimes called—truly though figuratively—by the names of the things they represent, that is, thebody and blood of Christ. However, in substance and nature they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before.
1 Corinthians 11:27 . 81 Corinthians 11:26-28.
- All unbelieving and ungodly people are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ and are thus unworthy of the Lord’s table. As long as they remain in this condition, they cannot partake of these holy mysteries or be admitted to the Lord’s table without committinga great sin against Christ. All those who receive the supper unworthily are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment on themselves.
2 Corinthians 6:14 , 15 . 1 Corinthians 11:29; Matthew 7:6.
Chapter 30 - The State of Humanity after Death and the Resurrection of the Dead
- The bodies of those who have died return to dust and undergo destruction. But their souls neither die nor sleep, because they have an immortal character, and immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous are then made perfect inholiness and are received into paradise. There they are with Christ and behold the face of God in light and glory while they wait for the full redemption of their bodies. The souls of the wicked are thrown into hell, where they remain in torment andutter darkness, reserved for the judgment of the great day. The Scripture recognizes no place other than these two for souls separated from their bodies.
Genesis 3:19; Acts 13:36 . Ecclesiastes 12:7 . Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:1 , 6,8; Philippians 1:23; Hebrews 12:23 . Jude 6 , 7; 1 Peter 3:19; Luke 16:23 , 24.
- At the last day, those saints who are found alive will not sleep but will be changed. All the dead will be raised up with the very same bodies, not different ones, though they will have different qualities. Their bodies will be united again to theirsouls forever.
1 Corinthians 15:51 , 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:17 . Job 19:26 , 27 . 1 Corinthians 15:42 , 43.
- The bodies of the unjust will be raised by the power of Christ to dishonor. By his Spirit the bodies of the just will be raised to honor and will be made like Christ’s own glorious body.
Acts 24:15; John 5:28 , 29; Philippians 3:21.
Chapter 31 - The Last Judgment
- God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given by the Father. In that day, the apostate angels will be judged. So also, all people who have lived on the earth will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds and to receive a reckoning according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
Acts 17:31; John 5:22 , 27 . 1 Corinthians 6:3; Jude 6 . 2 Corinthians 5:10; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:10 , 12; Matthew 25:32-46.
- God’s purpose for appointing this day is to manifest the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect, and of his justice in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For at that time the righteous will go intoeverlasting life and receive fullness of joy and glory with everlasting rewards in the presence of the Lord. But the wicked, who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, will be thrown into everlasting torments and punished witheverlasting destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.
Romans 9:22 , 23 . Matthew 25:21 , 34; 2 Timothy 4:8 . Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:48; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.
- Christ desires that we be firmly convinced that a day of judgment will come, both to deter everyone from sin and to comfort the godly more fully in their adversity. For this reason, he has determined to keep the day secret, to encourage people to shakeoff any fleshly security and always to be watchful, because they do not know the hour when the Lord will come and so that they may always be prepared to say, “Come Lord Jesus; come quickly. Amen.”
2 Corinthians 5:10 , 11 . 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7 . Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35 , 36 . Revelation 22:20.