Category: General Theology

Declaration of Faith of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association (1845)

Declaration of Faith of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association (1845)

I. OF THE SCRIPTURES.

We believe the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; 1 that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, 2 and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; 3 that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; 4 and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true centre of Christian union,5 and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions, should be tried. 6

Places in the Bible where taught.

1 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Also 2 Pet. i. 31. 2 Sam. xxiii. 2. Acts i. 16 ; iii. 21. John x. 35. Luke xvi. 29- 31. Ps. cxix. cxi. Rom. iii. 1, 2.

2 2 Tim. iii. 15: Able to make thee wise unto salvation. Also 1 Pet. i. 10-12. Acts xi. 14. Rom. i. 16. Mark xvi. 16. John v. 34-39.

3 Prov. xxx. 5, 6: Every word of God is pure. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Also John xvii. 17. Rev. xxii. 18, 19. Rom. iii. 4.

4 Rom. ii. 12: As many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law. John xii. 47, 48: If any man hear my words — the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. Also 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. Luke x. 10-16 ; xii. 47, 48.

5 Phil. iii. 16: Let us walk by the same rule; let us mind the same thing. Also Ephes. iv. 3-6. Phil. ii. 1, 2. 1 Cor. i. 10. 1 Pet. iv. 11.

6 I John iv. 1: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God. Isaiah viii. 20: To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. 1 Thess. v. 21: Prove all things. 2 Cor. xiii. 5: Prove your own selves. Also Acts xvii. 11. 1 John iv. 6. Jude 3d v. Ephes. vi. 17. Ps. cxix. 59, 60. Phil. i. 9-11.

II. OF THE TRUE GOD.

That there is one, and only one, true and living God, whose name is Jehovah, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth;* inexpressibly glorious in holiness;** worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love;*** revealed under the personal and relative distinctions of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost****equal in every divine perfection,***** and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.******

Places in the Bible where taught.

* Ps. Ixxxiii. 18: Thou whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth. Heb. iii. 4. Rom. i. 20. Jer. x. 10.

** Ex. xv. 11: Who is like unto thee, glorious in holiness? Isai. vi. 3. 1 Pet. i. 15, 16. Rev. iv. 6- 8.

*** Mark xii. 30: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. Rev. iv. 11: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Mat x. 37. Jer. ii. 12, 13.

**** Mat. xxviii. 19: Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. John xv. 26: When the Comforter is come, whom I will send you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. 1 Cor. xii. 4-6. 1 John v. 7.

***** John x. 30: I and my Father are one. John v. 17; xiv. 23. Acts v. 3, 4. 1 Cor. iii. 10, 11.

****** Ephes. ii. 18: For through Him [the Son] we both have an access by one Spirit unto the Father. 2 Cor. ii. 14: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Rev. i. 4, 5.

III. OF THE FALL OF MAN.

That man was created in a state of holiness, under the law of his maker;1 but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state it in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners,** not by constraint but choice;*** being by nature utterly void of that holiness required

by the law of God, wholly given to the gratification of the world, of Satan, and of their own sinful passions, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin,**** without defense or excuse.*****

Places in the Bible where taught.

1 Gen. i. 27: God created man in his own image: Gen. i. 31: And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Ec. vii. 29. Acts xvii. 20. Gen. ii. 16.

** Gen. iii. 6-24: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise; she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat; therefore the Lord God drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Rom. v. 12.

*** Rom. v. 19: By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners. John iii. 6, Ps. Ii. 5. Rom. v. 15-19; viii.7.

*** Isai. liii. 6: We have turned, every one to his own way: Gen. vi. 12. Rom. iii. 9-18.

**** Ephes. ii. 1-3: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others. Rom. i. 18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Rom. i. 32. Gal. iii. 10. Mat. xxv. 41. Rev. xx. 15.

***** Ez. xviii. 19, 20: Yet say ye, Why ? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? — the soul that sinneth it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Rom. i. 20: So that they are without excuse. Rom. iii. 19: That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Gal. iii. 22.

IV. OF THE WAY OF SALVATION.

That the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace,* through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God,** who took upon him our nature yet without sin:*** honored the law by his personal obedience, **** and made atonement for our sins by his death;***** being risen from the dead he is now enthroned in heaven,****** and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, is every way qualified to be a suitable; a compassionate, and an all- sufficient Savior.*******

Places in the Bible where taught.

* Ephes. ii. 5: By grace ye are saved. Mat. xviii. 11. 1 John iv. 10. 1 Cor. iii. 5-7. Acts xv. 11.

** John iii. 16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John i. 1-14. Heb. iv. 14 ; xii. 24.

*** Phil. ii. 6, 7 Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God ; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. Heb. ii. 9 ; ii. 14. 2 Cor. viii. 9.

**** Isaiah xlii. 21: The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable. Phil. ii. 8 Gal. iv. 4, 5. Rom. iii. 21.

***** Isaiah liii. 4: He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Mat. xx. 28. Rom. iv. 25 ; iii. 21-26. 1 John iv. 10 ; ii. 2. 1 Cor. xv. 1-3. Heb. ix. 13-15.

****** Heb. i. 8: Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. Heb. i. 3 ; viii. 3. Col. iii. 1-4.

******* Heb. vii. 25: Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Col. ii. 9: For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Heb. ii. 18 : In that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted. Heb. vii. 26. Ps. lxxxix. 19. Ps. xlv.

V. OF JUSTIFICATION.

That the great gospel blessing which Christ of his fulness,* bestows on such as believe in him is justification;** that justification consists in the pardon of sin***and the promise of eternal life, on principles of righteousness**** that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done,***** but solely through his own redemption and righteousness; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.******

Places in the Bible where taught.

* John i. 16: Of his fullness have we all received. Ephes. iii. 8. i Acts xiii. 39: By him all that believe are justified from all things. Isaiah liii. 11. Rom. viii. 1.

** Rom. v. 9: Being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Zech. xiii. 1. Mat. ix. 6. Acts x. 43.

*** Rom. v. 17: They which receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, 6hall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Titus iii. 5, 6. 1 Pet. iii. 7. 1 John ii. 25. Rom. v. 21.

**** Rom. iv. 4, 5: Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Rom. v. 21 ; vi. 23. Phil. iii. 7-9.

***** Rom. v. 19: By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Rom. iii. 24-26. 1 John ii. 12.

****** Rom. v. 1, 2: Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ; by whom also we have access by faith into his grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Rom. v. 3: We glory in tribulations also. Rom. v. 11: We also joy in God. 1 Cor. i. 30. Mat. vi. 36. 1 Tim. iv. 8.

VI. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION.

That the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel;* that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial and obedient faith,** and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, except his own voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ;*** which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation.****

Places in the Bible where taught.

* Rev. xxii. 17: Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. Isaiah lv. 1. Luke xiv. 17.

** Rom. xvi. 26: The gospel, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. Mark i. 15. Rom. i. 15, 17.

*** John v. 40: Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life. Matt, xxiii. 37. Rom. ix. 32. Prov. i. 24. Acts xiii. 46.

**** John iii. 19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Mat. xi. 20. Luke xix. 27. 2 Thess. i. 8.

VII. OF GRACE IN REGENERATION.

That in order to be saved, we must be regenerated or born again;* that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind;** and is effected in a manner above our comprehension or calculation,*** by the power of the Holy Spirit, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; **** and that its proper evidence is found in the holy fruit which we bring forth to the glory of God.*****

Places in the Bible where taught.

* John iii. 3: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John iii. 7. Rev. xxi. 27.

** Cor. v. 20 : If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Ez. xxxvi. 26. Deut. xxx. 6. Rom. ii. 28, 29 ; v. 5. -1 John iv. 7.

*** John iii. 8: The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John i 13. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. James i. 16-18. 1 Cor. i. 30. Phil. ii. 13.

**** 1 Pet. xxii. 25: Ye have purified your hearts by obeying the truth through the Spirit. 1 John v. 1. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. Ephes. iv. 20-24- Col. iii. 9-11.

***** Ephes. v. 9: The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth. Rom. viii. 9. Gal. v. 16-23. Ephes. iii. 14-21.

VIII. OF GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE.

That election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which he regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners;* that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end;** that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable;**** that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy;***** that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree;****** that it is ascertained by its effects in all who believe the Gospels is the foundation of Christian assurance;******* and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves, demands and deserves our utmost diligence.********

Places in the Bible where taught.

* 2 Tim. i. 8, 6: Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God; who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. Ephes. i. 3-14. 1 Pet. i. 1, 2. Rom xi. 5, 6. John xv. 16. 1 John iv. 19. Hos. xii. 9.

** 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14: But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation, through sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth; whereunto he also called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts xiii. 48. John x. 16. Mat. xx. 16. Acts xv. 14.

*** Ex. xxxiii. 18, 19 : And Moses said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And He said, I will cause all my goodness to pass be fore thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee ; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. Mat. xx. 15: Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own ? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? Eph. i. 11. Rom. ix. 23, 24. Jer. xxxi. 3. Rom. xi. 28, 29. James i. 17, 18. 2 Tim. ii. 9. Rom. xi. 32-36.

**** 1 Cor. iv. 7: For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? 1 Cor. i. 26-31. Rom. iii. 27; iv. 16. Col. iii. 12. 1 Cor. iii. 5-7; xv. 10. 1 Pet v. 10. Acts i. 24.

1 Thess. ii. 13. 1 Pet. ii. 9. Luke xviii. 7. John xv. 16. Ephes. i. 16. 1 Thess. ii. 12.

**** 2 Tim. 10: Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 1 Cor. ix. 22. I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Rom. viii. 28-30. John vi. 37-40. 2 Pet. i. 10.

***** 1 Thess. i. 4-10: Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God : for our Gospel came unto you, not in word only, but in power, etc .

****** Rom. viii. 28-39: Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called them he also justified, and whom he justified them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? if God be for us, who can be against us ? Isaiah, xiii. 16. Rom. xi. 29.

******* 2 Pet. i. 10: Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Phil. iii. 12. Heb. vi. 11.

IX. OF THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS.

That such only are real believers as endure unto the end;* that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors;** that a special Providence watches over their welfare,*** and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.****

Places in the Bible where taught.

* John viii. 31: Then said Jesus, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. 1 John ii. 27, 28; iii. 9; v. 18.

** 1 John ii. 19: They went out from us, but they were not of us ; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out that it might be made manifest that they were not all of us. John xiii. 18. Matt. xiii. 20, 21. John vi. 66-69.

*** Rom. viii. 28: And we know that all things work together for good unto them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose. Mat. vi. 30-33. Jer. xxxii. 40. Ps. xci. 11, 12; cxxi. 3.

**** Phil. i. 6: He who hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. ii. 12, 13. Jude 24, 25. Heb. i. 14. 2 Kings vi. 16. Heb. xiii. 6. 1 John iv. 4.

X. HARMONY OF THE LAW AND GOSPEL.

That the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government,* that it is holy, just, and good;** and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfil its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin;*** to deliver them from which, and to restore

them through a mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.****

Places in the Bible where taught.

* Rom. iii. 21: Do we make void the law through faith ? God forbid. Yea, we establish the law. Mat. v. 17. Luke xvi. 17. Rom. iii. 20 ; iv. 15.

** Rom vii. 12 : The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good, Rom. vii. 7, 14, 22. Gal. iii. 21. Ps. cxix. t Rom. viii. 7, 8: The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Josh. xxiv. 19. Jer. xiii. 23. John vi. 44; v. 44.

*** Rom. viii. 2-4: For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. Rom. x. 4. 1 Tim. i. 5. Heb. viii. 10. Jude 20, 21. Heb. xii. 14.

XI. OF A GOSPEL CHURCH.

That a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers,* associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel;** observing the ordinances of Christ;*** governed by his laws**** and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his word;***** that its only proper officers are bishops or pastors, and deacons,****** whose qualifications, claims, and duties, are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.

Places in the Bible where taught.

* 1 Cor. i. 1-13: Paul, (unto the church of God which is at Corinth,) Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? Mat. xviii. 17. Acts v. 11; viii. 1; xi. 26. 1 Cor. iv. 17; xiv. 23. 3 John 9. 1 Tim. iii. 6.

** Acts ii. 41, 42: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls: 2 Cor. viii. 5: They first gave their ownselves to the Lord, and then unto us by the will of God. Acts ii. 47. 1 Cor. v. 12, 13.

*** 1 Cor. xi. 2: Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I delivered them unto you. 2 These, iii. 6. Rom. xvi. 17-20. 1 Cor. xi. 23. Mat. xviii. 15- 20. 1 Cor. 5 and 6. 2 Cor. 2 and 7. 1 Cor. iv. 17. i

**** Mat. xxviii. 20: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. John xiv. 15; xv. 12. 1 John iv. 21; John xiv. 21. 1 Thess. iv. 2. 2 John vi. Gal. vi. 2. All the Epistles.

***** Ephes. iv. 7: Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 1 Cor. xv. 12: Seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Phil. i. 27: That I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel. 1 Cor. 12. 1 Cor. 14.

****** Phil. i 1: With the bishops and deacons. Acts xiv. 23. Acts xv. 22. I Tim. 3. Titus 1.

XII. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD S SUPPER.

That Christian baptism is .the immersion of a believer in water,* in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit;** to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its purifying power;*** that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a church relation, and to the Lord’s Supper,**** in which the members of the church, by the use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ;***** preceded always by solemn self-examination.******

Places in the Bible where taught.

* Acts viii. 36-39: And the eunuch said, See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized ? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest. And they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. Mat. iii. 5, 6. John iii. 22, 23. John iv. 1, 2. Mat. xxviii. 19. Mark xvi. 16. Acts ii. 38; viii. 12; xvi. 32-34; xviii. 8.

** Mat. xxviii. 19: Baptizing them” in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Acts x. 47, 48. Gal. iii. 27, 28.

*** Rom. vi. 1-14: Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Col. ii. 12. 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21. Acts xxii. 16.

**** Acts ii. 41, 42: Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and there were added to them, the same day, about three thousand souls: And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers. Mat. xxviii. 19, 20. Acts and Epistles.

***** 1 Cor. xi 26: As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord’s death till he come. Mat. xxvi. 26-29 Mark xiv. 22-25. Luke xxii. 14-21.

****** 1 Cor. xi. 28: But let it man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. 1 Cor. v. 7, 8 ; x. 3-32 ; xi. 17-32. John vi. 26-71.

XIII. OF THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH.

That the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath,* and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes,** by abstaining from all secular labor and recreations;*** by the devout

observance of all the means of grace, both private**** and public***** and by preparation for that rest****** which remaineth for the people of God.

Places in the Bible where taught.

*Acts xx. 7: On the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them. Gen. ii. 3. Col. ii. 16, 17. Mark ii. 27. John xx. 19. 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2.

** Ex. xx. 8: Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. Rev. i. 10: I was in the spirit on the Lord’s Day. Ps. cxviii 24: This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.

*** Isai. lviii. 13, 14: If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord honorable; and shall honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasures, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob. Isai. Ivi. 2-8.

**** Ps. cxviii. 15: The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacle of the righteous.

***** Heb. x. 24, 25: Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is. Acts xi. 26: A whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. Acts xiii. 44: The next Sabbath Day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. Lev. xix. 30. Ez. xlvi. 3. Luke iv. 16. Acts xvii, 2, 3. Ps. xxvi. 8; Ixxxvii. 2.

****** Heb. iv. 3-11 : Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest.

XIV. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.

That civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society;* and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed,** except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ,*** who is the only lord of the conscience, and the prince of the kings of the earth.****

Places in the Bible where taught.

* Rom. xiii. 1-7: The powers that be are ordained of God. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Dent. xvi, 18. 2 Sam. xxiii. 3. Ex. xviii. 23. Jer. xxx. 21.

** Mat. xxii. 21: Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s. Titus iii. 1. 1 Peter ii. 13. 1 Tim. ii. 1-8.

***Acts v. 29: We ought to obey God rather than man. Mat. x. 28. Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Dan. iii. 15-18; vi. 7-10. Acts iv. 18-20.

****Mat. xxiii. 10: Ye have one master, even Christ. Rom. xiv. 4: Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? Rev. xix. 16: And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written King, of kings and Lord of lords. Psalm ii; Ixxii. 11. Rom. xiv. 9-13.

XV. OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED.

That there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked;* that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem,** while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse;*** and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.****

Places in the Bible where taught.

* Mal. iii. 18: Ye shall discern between the righteous and the wicked ; between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. Isai. v. 20. Gen. xviii. 23. Jer. xv. 19. Acts x. 34, 85. Rom. vi. 16.

*** Rom. i. 17: The just shall live by faith. Rom. vi. 18: We are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. 1 John ii 29: If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. 1 John iii. 7. Rom. vi. 18-22. 1 Cor. xi. 32. Prov. xi. 31. 1 Peter iv. 17, 18.

*** 1 John v. 19: And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. Gal. iii. 10 : As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse. John iii. 36. Isaiah lvii. 21. Ps. x. 4. Isaiah lv. 6, 7.

**** Prov. xiv. 32: The wicked is driven away in his wickedness, but the righteous hath hope in his death. See, also, the example of the rich man and Lazarus. . Luke xvi. 25: Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented. John viii. 21-24. Prov. x. 24. Luke xii. 4, 5; ix. 23-26. John xii. 26, 26. Eccl. iii. 17. Mat. vii. 13, 14.

XVI. OF THE WORLD TO COME.

That the end of this world is approaching;* that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven,* and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution;* that a solemn separation will then take place**** that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy;*****and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.******

Places in the Bible where taught.

* 1 Peter iv. 7: But the end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 1 Cor. vii. 29-31. Heb. i. 10- 12. Mat. xxiv. 35. 1 John ii. 17. Mat. xxviii. 20; xiii. 39; xiii. 49. 2 Peter iii. 3-13.

** Acts i. 11: This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Rev. i. 7. Heb. ix. 28. Acts iii. 21. 1 Thess. iv. 13- 18, v. 1-11.

*** Acts xxiv. 15: There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 1 Cor. xv. 12-59. Luke xiv. 14. Dan. xii. 2. John v. 28, 29; vi. 40; xi. 25, 26. 2 Tim. i. 10. Acts x. 42.

**** Mat. xiii. 49: The angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked, from among the just. Mat. xiii. 37-43; xxiv. 30, 31; xxv. 27-33

***** Mat. xxv. 35-46: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. Rev. xxii. 11: He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Mark ix. 43-48. 2 Peter ii. 9, 10. Jude 7. Phil. iii. 19. Rom. vi. 22. 2 Cor. v. 10, 11. John iv. 36. 2 Cor. iv. 18.

****** Rom. iii. 5, 6 : Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance ? (I speak as a man). God forbid; for how then shall God judge the world? 2 Thess. i. 6-10. Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them who trouble you; and to you who are troubled, rest with us — when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. Heb. vi. 1, 2. 1 Cor. iv. 5. Acts xvii. 31. Rom. ii. 2-16. Rev. xx. 11, 12. 1 John ii. 8; iv. 17.

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God ?
2 Peter iii. 11-12.

The following churches were represented:

Churches. Counties. 6. Mount Olive* Chatham. 7. Love’s Creek… Chatham. 8. May’s Chapel . .. . 9 . Mount Zion 10 . Mount Carmel . . . 11. Mount Gilead 12. Mineral Spring.. 13 . Pleasant Grove . . Chatham . Orange . ., Orange. ., Chatham . . Chatham . Chatham . , Chatham . . Chatham . . Chatham . Randolph . Orange . . Chatham . 8 67 10 66 2 172 3 43 2 127 65 1 80 43 Names of Delegates. ( Elder Levi Andrews . < William Gean (William Robertson. ( Daniel Hackney . . . . < John Lambert ( D. Murchison (J. W. Stedman . 1 William Burns ( Sherwood White . . . ( David Patterson . < David Johnson ( Samuel Barker ( Eloer W. H. Merritt , 1 John Hutchins ( William G. Weaver. (William Griffin .? A. G. Hinton ( H. J. Stone f. Samuel Dowd . < James Cmtchfield . . ( William Culberson . ( Augustus W. Bynum . 1 Kelleo Mitchell . . . < Allen Ellis ( John Dark 14 . Beave’s Chapel . . . 1 Eli Webster ; 1 105 (John R. Marsh (William H. Bridges. 15. Rocky River …. . < Henry Dorsett 8 63 ( Elder Wm. Lineberry ( John Thompson …. 16. Bock Spring < E. A. Moore 3 47 ( Stephen Moore ( Leander York …. 17. Sandy Creek . < Solomon S. Siler. 1 75 ( William Reece . . . ( Hasten Poe 18. Sandy Field…. . 2 Ruffin Andrews . . 37 112 ( Neverson Cates . .

( James S. Lasater. 19. Gum Spring . < James Gross 19 125 ( Abner Lasater . . . * Formerly Lick Creek. No. Churches. Counties. …..m,.* .v …/l(.r,fi.-:f …. ^, v JElisha Cagle ) 20 Mechanic’s Hill, Asa Williamson >• 1 38 B. P. Person ) 21. Fall Creek Chatham Alston Jones ». Bethlehem Moore { JJ£ ^awhorn. . . . J j „ ( Spencer Dorsett ) 23. Cedar Falls Randolph .? Matthew Sumner. . . > 2 16 ( James F. Marsh ) 146 1660 In 1846, this body met at Love’s Creek M. H., Chat

A History of the Sandy Creek Association, from its Organization in A.D. 1758 to A.D. 1858, by Elder George W. Purefoy, (New York: Sheldon and Company, 1859), 199-213

The Abstract of Principles

The Abstract of Principles

  1. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.
  2. There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience.
  3. God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.
  4. God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.
  5. Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life — not because of foreseen merit in them, but of his mere mercy in Christ — in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified.
  6. God originally created man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.
  7. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the Law, suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose hand He ever liveth to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe.
  8. Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone.
  9. Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being, by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbleth himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things.
  10. Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness.
  11. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything wrought in them or done by them; but on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith.
  12. Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified, by God’s word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ’s commands.
  13. Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall, through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
  14. The Lord Jesus is the Head of the Church, which is composed of all his true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. According to his commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches he hath given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which he hath appointed. The regular officers of a Church are Bishops, or Elders, and Deacons.
  15. Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord’s Supper.
  16. The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be observed by his churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate his death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with him, and of their church fellowship.
  17. The Lord’s Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, resting from worldly employments and amusements, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.
  18. God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates being ordained of God, subjection in all lawful thing commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
  19. The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God — the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.
  20. God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life.
THE PHILADELPHIA CONFESSION OF FAITH, 1742

THE PHILADELPHIA CONFESSION OF FAITH, 1742

Chapter 1

Of the Holy Scriptures

1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.

(2Tim. 3:15-17; Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Eph. 2:20; Rom. 1:19-21, 2:14,15; Psalm 19:1-3; Heb.1:1; Prov. 22:19-21; Rom. 15:4; 2 Pet. 1:19,20)

2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:

OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomen, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah, Malachi

OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, To Titus, To Philemon, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Epistle of James, The first and second Epistles of Peter, The first, second, and third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation

All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life. (2 Tim. 3:16)

3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.

(Luke 24:27, 44; Rom. 3:2)

4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.

(2 Pet. 1:19-21; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 John 5:9)

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, and many other incomparable excellencies, and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

(John 16:13,14; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27)

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

(2 Tim. 3:15-17; Gal. 1:8,9; John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:9-12; 1 Cor. 11:13, 14; 1 Cor. 14:26,40)

7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.

(2 Pet. 3:16; Ps. 19:7; Psalm 119:130)

8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and

interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.

(Rom. 3:2; Isa. 8:20; Acts 15:15; John 5:39; 1 Cor. 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28; Col. 3:16)

9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.

( 2 Pet. 1:20, 21; Acts 15:15, 16)

10. The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.

(Matt. 22:29, 31, 32; Eph. 2:20; Acts 28:23)

Chapter 2

Of God and of the Holy Trinity

1. The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

(1 Cor. 8:4, 6; Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10; Isa. 48:12; Exod. 3:14; John 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17; Deut. 4:15, 16; Mal. 3:6; 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23; Ps. 90:2; Gen. 17:1; Isa. 6:3; Ps. 115:3; Isa. 46:10; Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36; Exod.34:6, 7; Heb. 11:6; Neh. 9:32, 33; Ps. 5:5, 6; Exod. 34:7; Nahum 1:2, 3)

2. God, having all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself, is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them; he is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things, and he hath most sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them,

or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth; in his sight all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain; he is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands; to him is due from angels and men, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, as creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased to require of them.

(John 5:26; Ps. 148:13; Ps. 119:68; Job 22:2, 3; Rom. 11:34-36; Dan. 4:25, 34, 35; Heb. 4:13; Ezek. 11:5; Acts 15:18; Ps. 145:17; Rev. 5:12-14)

3. In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him.

(1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Exod. 3:14; John 14:11; I Cor. 8:6; John 1:14,18; John 15:26; Gal. 4:6)

Chapter 3

Of God’s Decree

1. God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken way, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.

(Isa. 46:10; Eph. 1:11; Heb. 6:17; Rom. 9:15, 18; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5; Acts 4:27, 28; John 19:11; Num. 23:19; Eph. 1:3-5)

2. Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

(Acts 15:18; Rom. 9:11, 13, 16, 18)

3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.

(I Tim. 5:21; Matt. 25:34; Eph. 1:5, 6; Rom. 9:22, 23; Jude 4)

4. These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

(2 Tim. 2:19; John 13:18)

5. Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto.

(Eph. 1:4, 9, 11; Rom. 8:30; 2 Tim. 1:9; I Thess. 5:9; Rom. 9:13, 16; Eph. 2:5, 12)

6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so he hath, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto; wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

(1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Thess. 5:9, 10; Rom. 8:30; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:5; John 10:26, 17:9, 6:64)

7. The doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election; so shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.

(1 Thess. 1:4, 5; 2 Pet. 1:10; Eph. 1:6; Rom. 11:33; Rom. 11:5, 6, 20; Luke 10:20)

Chapter 4

Of Creation

1. In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.

(John 1:2, 3; Heb. 1:2; Job 26:13; Rom. 1:20; Col. 1:16; Gen. 1:31)

2. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change.

(Gen. 1:27; Gen. 2:7; Eccles. 7:29; Gen. 1;26; Rom. 2:14, 15; Gen. 3:6)

3. Besides the law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which whilst they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

(Gen. 2:17; Gen. 1:26, 28)

Chapter 5

Of Divine Providence

1. God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will; to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.

(Heb. 1:3; Job 38:11; Isa. 46:10, 11; Ps. 135:6; Matt. 10:29-31; Eph. 1;11)

2. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly; so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without his providence; yet by the same providence he ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

(Acts 2:23; Prov. 16:33; Gen. 8:22)

3. God, in his ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at his pleasure.

(Acts 27:31, 44; Isa. 55:10, 11; Hosea 1:7; Rom. 4:19-21; Dan. 3:27)

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that his determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful actions both of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, which also he most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth and governeth, in a manifold dispensation to his most holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

(Rom. 11:32-34; 2 Sam. 24:1, 1 Chron. 21:1; 2 Kings 19:28; Ps. 76;10; Gen. 1:20; Isa. 10:6, 7, 12; Ps. 1;21; 1 John 2:16)

5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good.

(2 Chron. 32:25, 26, 31; 2 Cor. 12:7-9; Rom. 8:28)

6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as the righteous judge, for former sin doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding, and wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, under those means which God useth for the softening of others.

(Rom. 1:24-26, 28, 11:7, 8; Deut. 29:4; Matt. 13:12; Deut. 2:30; 2 Kings 8:12, 13; Ps. 81:11, 12; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Exod. 8:15, 32; Isa. 6:9, 10; 1 Pet. 2:7, 8)

7. As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof.

(1 Tim. 4:10; Amos 9:8, 9; Isa. 43:3-5)

Chapter 6

Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof

1. Although God created man upright and perfect, and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof, yet he did not long abide in this honour; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them, in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.

(Gen. 2:16, 17; Gen. 3:12,13; 2 Cor. 11:3)

2. Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.

(Rom. 3:23; Rom 5:12, etc; Tit. 1:15; Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:10-19)

3. They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.

(Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22, 45, 49; Ps. 51:5; Job 14:4; Eph. 2:3; Rom. 6:20, 5:12; Heb. 2:14, 15; 1 Thess. 1:10)

4. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.

(Rom. 8:7; Col. 1:21; James 1:14, 15; Matt. 15:19)

5. The corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and the first motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.

(Rom. 7:18, 23; Eccles. 7:20; 1 John 1:8; Rom. 7:23-25; Gal. 5:17)

Chapter 7

Of God’s Covenant

1. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.

(Luke 17:10; Job 35:7,8)

2. Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.

(Gen. 2:17; Gal. 3:10; Rom. 3:20, 21; Rom. 8:3; Mark 16:15, 16; John 3:16; Ezek. 36:26, 27; John 6:44, 45; Ps. 110:3)

3. This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament; and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect;

and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.

(Gen. 3:15; Heb. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 11;6, 13; Rom. 4:1, 2, &c.; Acts 4:12; John 8:56)

Chapter 8

Of Christ the Mediator

1. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both, to be the mediator between God and man; the prophet, priest, and king; head and saviour of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.

(Isa. 42:1; 1 Pet. 1:19, 20; Acts 3:22; Heb. 5:5, 6; Ps. 2:6; Luke 1:33; Eph. 1:22, 23; Heb. 1:2; Acts 17:31; Isa. 53:10; John 17:6; Rom. 8:30)

2. The Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, being very and eternal God, the brightness of the Father’s glory, of one substance and equal with him who made the world, who upholdeth and governeth all things he hath made, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her: and the power of the Most High overshadowing her; and so was made of a woman of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David according to the Scriptures; so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.

(John 1:14; Gal. 4;4; Rom. 8:3; Heb. 2:14, 16, 17, 4:15; Matt. 1:22, 23; Luke 1:27, 31, 35; Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 2:5)

3. The Lord Jesus, in his human nature thus united to the divine, in the person of the Son, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure, having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of mediator and surety; which office he took not upon himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who also put all power and judgment in his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.

(Ps. 45:7; Acts 10:38; John 3:34; Col. 2:3; Col. 1:19; Heb. 7:26; John 1:14; Heb. 7:22; Heb. 5:5; John 5:22, 27; Matt. 28:18; Acts 2;36)

4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which that he might discharge he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have borne and suffered, being made sin and a curse for us; enduring most grievous sorrows in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption: on the third day he arose from the dead with the same body in which he suffered, with which he also ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father making intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.

(Ps. 40:7, 8; Heb. 10:5-10; John 10:18; Gal 4:4; Matt. 3:15; Gal. 3:13; Isa. 53:6; 1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21; Matt. 26:37, 38; Luke 22:44; Matt. 27:46; Acts 13:37; 1 Cor. 15:3, 4; John 20:25, 27; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9-11; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; Acts 10:42; Rom. 14:9, 10; Acts 1:11; 2 Pet. 2:4)

5. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him.

(Heb. 9:14, 10:14; Rom. 3:25, 26; John 17:2; Heb. 9:15)

6. Although the price of redemption was not actually paid by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefit thereof were communicated to the elect in all ages, successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed which should bruise the serpent’s head; and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, being the same yesterday, and to- day and for ever.

(1 Cor. 4:10; Heb. 4:2; 1 Pet. 1:10, 11; Rev. 13:8; Heb. 13:8)

7. Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture, attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.

(John 3:13; Acts 20:28)

8. To all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them; uniting them to himself by his Spirit, revealing unto them, in and by his Word, the mystery of salvation, persuading them to believe and obey, governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit, and overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such

manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation; and all of free and absolute grace, without any condition foreseen in them to procure it.

(John 6:37, 10:15, 16, 17:9; Rom. 5:10; John 17:6; Eph. 1:9; 1 John 5:20; Rom. 8:9, 14; Ps. 110:1; 1 Cor. 15:25, 26; John 3:8; Eph. 1:8)

9. This office of mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, who is the prophet, priest, and king of the church of God; and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof, transferred from him to any other.

(Tim. 2:5)

10. This number and order of offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical office; and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his priestly office to reconcile us and present us acceptable unto God; and in respect to our averseness and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his kingly office to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his heavenly kingdom.

(John 1:18; Col. 1:21; Gal. 5:17; John 16:8; Ps. 110:3; Luke 1:74, 75)

Chapter 9

Of Free Will

1. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.

(Matt. 17:12; James 1:14; Duet. 30:19)

2. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God, but yet was unstable, so that he might fall from it.

(Eccles. 7:29; Gen. 3:6)

3. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

(Rom. 5:6, 8:7; Eph. 2:1, 5; Tit. 3:3-5; John 6:44)

4. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and

to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that by reason of his remaining corruptions, he doth not perfectly, nor only will, that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.

(Col. 1:13; John 8:36; Phil. 2:13; Rom. 7:15, 18, 19, 21, 23)

5. This will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only.

(Eph. 4:13)

Chapter 10

Of Effectual Calling

1. Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

(Rom. 8:30, 11:7; Eph. 1:10, 11; 2 Thess. 2:13, 14; Eph. 2:1-6; Acts 26:18; Eph. 1:17, 18; Ezek. 36:26; Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36:27; Eph. 1:19; Ps. 110:3; Cant. 1:4)

2. This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.

(2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 2:8; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:5; John 5:25; Eph. 1:19, 20)

3. Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

(John 3:3, 5, 6; John 3:8)

4. Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.

(Matt. 22:14, 13:20, 21; Heb 6:4, 5; John 6:44, 45, 65; 1 John 2:24, 25; Acts 4:12; John 4:22, 17:3)

Chapter 11

Of Justification

1. Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ’s active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.

(Rom. 3:24, 8:30; Rom. 4:5-8; Eph. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:30, 31; Rom. 5:17-19; Phil. 3:8, 9; Eph. 2:8-10; John 1:12; Rom. 5:17)

2. Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.

(Rom. 3:28; Gal. 5:6; James 2:17, 22, 26)

3. Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf; yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

(Heb. 10:14; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Isa. 53:5, 6; Rom. 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:26; Eph. 1:6, 7, 2:7)

4. God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in time due actually apply Christ unto them.

(Gal. 3:8; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Tim. 2:6; Rom. 4:25; Col. 1:21, 22; Tit. 3:4-7)

5. God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified, and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure; and in that condition they have not usually the light of his

countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.

(Matt. 6:12; 1 John 1:7, 9; John 10:28; Ps. 89:31-33; Ps. 32:5; Ps. 51; Matt. 26:75)

6. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.

(Gal. 3:9; Rom. 4:22-24)

Chapter 12

Of Adoption

All those that are justified, God vouchsafed, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name put upon them, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a Father, yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.

(Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:4, 5; John 1:12; Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 6:18; Rev. 3:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18; Ps. 103:13; Prov. 14:26; 1 Pet. 5:7; Heb. 12:6; Isa. 54:8, 9; Lam. 3:31; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 1:14, 6:12)

Chapter 13

Of Sanctification

1. They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, are also farther sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

(Acts 20:32; Rom. 6:5, 6; John 17:17; Eph. 3:16-19; 1 Thess. 5:21-23; Rom. 6:14; Gal. 5;24; Col. 1:11; 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14)

2. This sanctification is throughout the whole man, yet imperfect in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war; the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

(1 Thess. 5:23; Rom. 7:18, 23; Gal. 5:17; 1 Pet. 2:11)

3. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, pressing after an heavenly life, in evangelical obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King, in His Word hath prescribed them.

(Rom. 7:23; Rom. 6:14; Eph. 4:15, 16; 2 Cor. 3:18, 7:1)

Chapter 14

Of Saving Faith

1. The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord’s supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened.

(2 Cor. 4:13; Eph. 2:8; Rom. 10:14, 17; Luke 17;5; 1 Pet. 2:2; Acts 20:32)

2. By this faith a Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word for the authority of God himself, and also apprehendeth an excellency therein above all other writings and all things in the world, as it bears forth the glory of God in his attributes, the excellency of Christ in his nature and offices, and the power and fullness of the Holy Spirit in his workings and operations: and so is enabled to cast his soul upon the truth thus believed; and also acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come; but the principal acts of saving faith have immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, and resting upon him alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.

(Acts 24:14; Ps. 19:7-10, 119:72; 2 Tim. 1:12; John 15:14; Isa. 66:2; Heb. 11:13; John 1:12; Acts16:31; Gal. 2:20; Acts 15:11)

3. This faith, although it be different in degrees, and may be weak or strong, yet it is in the least degree of it different in the kind or nature of it, as is all other saving grace, from the faith and common grace of temporary believers; and therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.

(Heb. 5:13, 14; Matt. 6:30; Rom. 4:19, 20; 2 Pet. 1:1; Eph. 6:16; 1 John 5:4, 5; Heb. 6:11, 12; Col. 2:2; Heb. 12:2)

Chapter 15

Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation

1. Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, having sometime lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual calling giveth them repentance unto life.

(Titus 3:2-5)

2. Whereas there is none that doth good and sinneth not, and the best of men may, through the power and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them, with the prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins and provocations; God hath, in the covenant of grace, mercifully provided that believers so sinning and falling be renewed through repentance unto salvation.

(Eccles. 7:20; Luke 22:31, 32)

3. This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.

(Zech. 12:10; Acts 11:18; Ezek. 36:31; 2 Cor. 7:11; Ps. 119:6, 128)

4. As repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives, upon the account of the body of death, and the motions thereof, so it is every man’s duty to repent of his particular known sins particularly.

(Luke 19:8; 1 Tim. 1:13, 15)

5. Such is the provision which God hath made through Christ in the covenant of grace for the preservation of believers unto salvation; that although there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; yet there is no sin so great that it shall bring damnation on them that repent; which makes the constant preaching of repentance necessary.

(Rom. 6:23; Isa. 1:16-18, 55:7)

Chapter 16
Of Good Works

1. Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his Holy Word, and not such as without the warrant thereof are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intentions.

(Mic. 6:8; Heb. 13:21; Matt. 15:9; Isa. 29:13)

2. These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith; and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that having their fruit unto holiness they may have the end eternal life.

(James 2:18, 22; Ps. 116:12, 13; 1 John 2:3, 5; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; Matt. 5:16; 1 Tim. 6:1; 1 Pet. 2:15; Phil. 1:11; Eph. 2:10; Rom. 6:22)

3. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is necessary an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure; yet they are not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit, but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.

(John 15:4, 5; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 2:13; Phil. 2:12; Heb. 6:11, 12; Isa. 64:7)

4. They who in their obedience attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.

(Job 9:2, 3; Gal. 5:17; Luke 17:10)

5. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because as they are good they proceed from his Spirit, and as they are wrought by us they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s punishment.

(Rom. 3:20; Eph. 2:8, 9; Rom. 4:6; Gal. 5:22, 23; Isa. 64:6; Ps. 143:2)

6. Yet notwithstanding the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in God’s sight, but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

(Eph. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:5; Matt. 25:21, 23; Heb. 6:10)

7. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, nor are done in a right manner according to the word, nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, nor make a man meet to receive grace from God, and yet their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing to God.

(2 Kings 10:30; 1 Kings 21:27, 29; Gen. 4:5; Heb. 11:4, 6; 1 Cor. 13:1; Matt. 6:2, 5; Amos 5:21, 22; Rom. 9:16; Tit. 3:5; Job 21:14, 15; Matt. 25:41-43)

Chapter 17

Of The Perseverance of the Saints

1. Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.

(John 10:28, 29; Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 2:19; Ps. 89:31, 32; 1 Cor. 11:32; Mal. 3:6)

2. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

(Rom. 8:30, 9:11, 16; Rom. 5:9, 10; John 14:19; Heb. 6:17, 18; 1 John 3:9; Jer. 32:40)

3. And though they may, through the temptation of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein, whereby they incur God’s displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit, come to have their graces and comforts

impaired, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded, hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves, yet shall they renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.

(Matt. 26:70, 72, 74; Isa. 64:5, 9; Eph. 4:30; Ps. 51:10, 12; Ps. 32:3, 4; 2 Sam. 12:14; Luke 22:32, 61, 62)

Chapter 18

Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

1. Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God and state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.

(Job 8:13, 14; Matt. 7:22, 23; 1 John 2:3, 3:14, 18, 19, 21, 24, 5:13; Rom. 5:2, 5)

2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural and probable persuasion grounded upon a fallible hope, but an infallible assurance of faith founded on the blood and righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel; and also upon the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God; and, as a fruit thereof, keeping the heart both humble and holy.

(Heb. 6:11, 19; Heb. 6:17, 18; 2 Pet. 1:4, 5, 10, 11; Rom. 8:15, 16; 1 John 3:1-3)

3. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it; yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of means, attain thereunto: and therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart 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, the proper fruits of this assurance; -so far is it from inclining men to looseness.

(Isa. 50:10; Ps. 88; Ps. 77:1-12; 1 John 4:13; Heb. 6:11, 12; Rom. 5:1, 2, 5, 14:17; Ps. 119:32; Rom. 6:1,2; Tit. 2:11, 12, 14)

4. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of his countenance, and suffering

even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light, yet are they never destitute of the seed of God and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be revived, and by the which, in the meantime, they are preserved from utter despair.

(Cant. 5:2, 3, 6; Ps. 51:8, 12, 14; Ps. 116:11; 77:7, 8, 31:22; Ps. 30:7; 1 John 3:9; Luke 22:32; Ps. 42:5, 11; Lam. 3:26-31)

Chapter 19

Of the Law of God

1. God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience written in his heart, and a particular precept of not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.

(Gen. 1:27; Eccles. 7:29; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10, 12)

2. The same law that was first written in the heart of man continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the fall, and was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables, the four first containing our duty towards God, and the other six, our duty to man.

(Rom. 2:14, 15; Deut. 10:4)

3. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties, all which ceremonial laws being appointed only to the time of reformation, are, by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only law-giver, who was furnished with power from the Father for that end abrogated and taken away.

(Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:17; I Cor. 5:7; Col. 2:14, 16, 17; Eph. 2:14, 16)

4. To them also he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution; their general equity only being of modern use.

(1 Cor. 9:8-10)

5. The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in

respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.

(Rom. 13:8-10; James 2:8, 10-12; James 2:10, 11; Matt. 5:17-19; Rom. 3:31)

6. Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned, yet it is of great use to them as well as to others, in that as a rule of life, informing them of the will of God and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their natures, hearts, and lives, so as examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against, sin; together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ and the perfection of his obedience; it is likewise of use to the regenerate to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin; and the threatenings of it serve to shew what even their sins deserve, and what afflictions in this life they may expect for them, although freed from the curse and unallayed rigour thereof. The promises of it likewise shew them God’s approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof, though not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works; so as man’s doing good and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law and not under grace.

(Rom. 6:14; Gal. 2:16; Rom. 8:1, 10:4; Rom. 3:20, 7:7, etc; Rom. 6:12-14; 1 Pet. 3:8-13)

7. Neither are the aforementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it, the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.

(Gal. 3:21; Ezek. 36:27)

Chapter 20

Of the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof

1. The covenant of works being broken by sin, and made unprofitable unto life, God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, as the means of calling the elect, and begetting in them faith and repentance; in this promise the gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and [is] therein effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners.

(Gen. 3:15; Rev. 13:8)

2. This promise of Christ, and salvation by him, is revealed only by the Word of God; neither do the works of creation or providence, with the light of nature, make discovery of Christ, or of grace by him, so much as in a general or obscure way; much less that men destitute of the revelation of Him by the promise or gospel, should be enabled thereby to attain saving faith or repentance.

(Rom. 1;17; Rom. 10:14,15,17; Prov. 29:18; Isa. 25:7; 60:2, 3)

3. The revelation of the gospel unto sinners, made in divers times and by sundry parts, with the addition of promises and precepts for the obedience required therein, as to the nations and persons to whom it is granted, is merely of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God; not being annexed by virtue of any promise to the due improvement of men’s natural abilities, by virtue of common light received without it, which none ever did make, or can do so; and therefore in all ages, the preaching of the gospel has been granted unto persons and nations, as to the extent or straitening of it, in great variety, according to the counsel of the will of God.

(Ps. 147:20; Acts 16:7; Rom. 1;18-32)

4. Although the gospel be the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and is, as such, abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are dead in trespasses may be born again, quickened or regenerated, there is moreover necessary an effectual insuperable work of the Holy Spirit upon the whole soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual life; without which no other means will effect their conversion unto God.

(Ps. 110:3; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 1:19, 20; John 6:44; 2 Cor. 4:4, 6)

Chapter 21

Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

1. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel, consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the rigour and curse of the law, and in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the fear and sting of death, the victory of the grave, and ever- lasting damnation: as also in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto Him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind. . All which were common also to believers under the law for the substance of them; but under the New Testament the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of a ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected, and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.

(Gal. 3:13; Gal. 1:4; Acts 26:18; Rom. 8:3; Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; 2 Thess. 1:10; Rom. 8:15; Luke 1:73-75; 1 John 4:18; Gal. 3;9, 14; John 7:38, 39; Heb. 10:19-21)

2. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also.

(James 4:12; Rom. 14:4; Acts 4:19, 29; 1 Cor. 7:23; Matt. 15:9; Col. 2:20, 22, 23; 1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 1:24)

3. They who upon pretence of Christian liberty do practice any sin, or cherish any sinful lust, as they do thereby pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel to their own destruction, so they wholly destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righeousness before Him, all the days of our lives.

(Rom. 6:1, 2; Gal. 5:13; 2 Pet. 2:18, 21)

Chapter 22

Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.

1. The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.

(Jer. 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deut. 12:32; Exod. 20:4-6)

2. 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; and since the fall, not without a mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone.

(Matt. 4:9, 10; John 6:23; Matt. 28:19; Rom. 1:25; Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; John 14:6; 1 Tim. 2:5)

3. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one part of natural worship, is by God required of all men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of the Spirit, according to his will; with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others, in a known tongue.

(Ps. 95:1-7, 65:2; John 14:13, 14; Rom. 8:26; 1 John 5:14; 1 Cor. 14:16, 17)

4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.

(1 Tim. 2:1, 2; 2 Sam. 7:29; 2 Sam. 12:21-23; 1 John 5:16)

5. The reading of 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 to the Lord; as also the administration of baptism, and the Lord’s supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, with fastings, and thanksgivings, upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.

(1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2; Luke 8:18; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19; Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 11:26; Esther 4:16; Joel 2:12; Exod. 15:1-19, Ps. 107)

6. Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calleth thereunto.

(John 4:21; Mal. 1:11; 1 Tim. 2:8; Acts 10:2; Matt. 6:11; Ps. 55:17; Matt. 6:6; Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:42)

7. As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.

(Exod. 20:8; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10)

8. The sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts, about their worldly employment and recreations, but are also taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

(Isa. 58:13; Neh. 13:15-22; Matt. 12:1-13)

Chapter 23

Of Singing Psalms, & c.

We believe that (Acts 16:25, Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16) singing the praises of God, is a holy ordinance of Christ, and not a part of natural religion, or a moral duty only; but that it is

brought under divine institution, it being enjoined on the churches of Christ to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; and that the whole church in their public assemblies, as well as private Christians, ought to (Heb. 2:12, Jam. 5:13) sing God’s praises according to the best light they have received. Moreover, it was practiced in the great representative church, by (Matt.26:30, Matt. 14:26) our Lord Jesus Christ with His disciples, after He had instituted and celebrated the sacred ordinance of His Holy Supper, as commemorative token of redeeming love.

Chapter 24

Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

1. A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein the person swearing in truth, righteousness, and judgement, solemnly calleth God to witness what he sweareth, and to judge him according to the truth or falseness thereof.

(Exod. 20:7; Deut. 10:20; Jer. 4:2; 2 Chron. 6:22, 23)

2. The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear; and therein it is to be used, with all holy fear and reverence; therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred; yet as in matter of weight and moment, for confirmation of truth, and ending all strife, an oath is warranted by the word of God; a lawful oath being imposed by lawful authority in such matters, ought to be taken.

(Matt. 5:34, 37; James 5:12; Heb. 6:16, 2 Cor. 1:23; Neh. 13:25)

3. Whosoever taketh an oath warranted by the Word of God, ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he knoweth to be truth; for that by rash, false, and vain oaths, the Lord is provoked, and for them this land mourns.

(Levit. 19:12; Jer. 23:10)

4. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation or mental reservation.

(Ps. 24:4)

5. A vow, which is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone, is to be made and performed with all religious care and faithfulness; but popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.

(Ps. 76:11; Gen. 28:20-22; 1 Cor. 7:2, 9; Eph. 4:28; Matt. 19:11)

Chapter 25

Of the Civil Magistrate

1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword, for defense and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.

(Rom. 13:1-4)

2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called there unto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament wage war upon just and necessary occasions.

(2 Sam. 23:3; Ps. 82:3, 4; Luke 3:14)

3. Civil magistrates being set up by God for the ends aforesaid; subjection, in all lawful things commanded by them, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but for conscience sake;and we ought to make supplications and prayers for kings and all that are in authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.

(Rom. 13:5-7; 1 Pet. 2:17; 1 Tim. 2:1, 2)

Chapter 26

Of Marriage

1. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman; neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.

(Gen. 2:24; Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:5,6)

2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and the preventing of uncleanness.

(Gen. 2:18; Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 7:2, 9)

3. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent; yet it is the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord; and therefore such as profess the true religion, should not marry with infidels, or idolaters; neither should such as are

godly, be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresy.

(Heb. 13:4; 1 Tim. 4:3; 1 Cor. 7:39; Neh. 13:25-27)

4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity, forbidden in the Word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful, by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.

(Levit. 18; Mark 6:18; 1 Cor. 5;1)

Chapter 27

Of the Church

1. The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

(Heb. 12:23; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:10, 22, 23, 5:23, 27, 32)

2. All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints; and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted.

(1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 11:26; Rom. 1:7; Eph. 1:20-22)

3. The purest churches under heaven are subject to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his name.

(1 Cor. 5; Rev. 2, 3; Rev. 18:2; 2 Thess. 2:11, 12; Matt. 16:18; Ps. 72:17, 102:28; Rev. 12:17)

4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

(Col. 1:18; Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 4:11, 12; 2 Thess. 2:2-9)

5. In the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the world unto himself, through the ministry of his word, by his Spirit, those that are given unto him by his Father, that they may walk before him in all the ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his word. Those thus called, he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or churches, for their mutual edification, and the due performance of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the world.

(John 10:16; John 12:32; Matt. 28:20; Matt. 18:15-20)

6. The members of these churches are saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together, according to the appointment of Christ; giving up themselves to the Lord, and one to another, by the will of God, in professed subjection to the ordinances of the Gospel.

(Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 2:41, 42, 5:13, 14; 2 Cor. 9:13)

7. To each of these churches thus gathered, according to his mind declared in his word, he hath given all that power and authority, which is in any way needful for their carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands and rules for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power.

(Matt. 18:17, 18; 1 Cor. 5:4, 5, 5:13 2 Cor. 2:6-8)

8. A particular church, gathered and completely organized according to the mind of Christ, consists of officers and members; and the officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the church (so called and gathered), for the peculiar administration of ordinances, and execution of power or duty, which he intrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the world, are bishops or elders, and deacons.

(Acts 20:17, 28; Phil. 1:1)

9. The way appointed by Christ for the calling of any person, fitted and gifted by the Holy Spirit, unto the office of bishop or elder in a church, is, that he be chosen thereunto by the common suffrage of the church itself; and solemnly set apart by fasting and prayer, with imposition of hands of the eldership of the church, if there be any before constituted therein; and of a deacon that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by prayer, and the like imposition of hands.

(Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 4:14; Acts 6:3, 5, 6)

10. The work of pastors being constantly to attend the service of Christ, in his churches, in the ministry of the word and prayer, with watching for their souls, as they that must give an account to Him; it is incumbent on the churches to whom they minister, not only to give them all due respect, but also to communicate to them of all their good things

according to their ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves entangled in secular affairs; and may also be capable of exercising hospitality towards others; and this is required by the law of nature, and by the express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel.

(Acts 6:4; Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim. 5:17, 18; Gal. 6:6, 7; 2 Tim. 2:4; 1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Cor. 9:6-14)

11. Although it be incumbent on the bishops or pastors of the churches, to be instant in preaching the word, by way of office, yet the work of preaching the word is not so peculiarly confined to them but that others also gifted and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved and called by the church, may and ought to perform it.

(Acts 11:19-21; 1 Pet. 4:10, 11)

12. As all believers are bound to join themselves to particular churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; so all that are admitted unto the privileges of a church, are also under the censures and government thereof, according to the rule of Christ.

(1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15)

13. No church members, upon any offence taken by them, having performed their duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any church- order, or absent themselves from the assemblies of the church, or administration of any ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow members, but to wait upon Christ, in the further proceeding of the church.

(Matt. 18:15-17; Eph. 4:2, 3)

14. As each church, and all the members of it, are bound to pray continually for the good and prosperity of all the churches of Christ, in all places, and upon all occasions to further every one within the bounds of their places and callings, in the exercise of their gifts and graces, so the churches, when planted by the providence of God, so as they may enjoy opportunity and advantage for it, ought to hold communion among themselves, for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.

(Eph. 6:18; Ps. 122:6; Rom. 16:1, 2; 3 John 8-10)

15. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of doctrine or administration, wherein either the churches in general are concerned, or any one church, in their peace, union, and edification; or any member or members of any church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth and order: it is according to the mind of Christ, that many churches holding communion together, do, by their messengers, meet to consider, and give their advice in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled, are not intrusted with any church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the churches themselves,

to exercise any censures either over any churches or persons; or to impose their determination on the churches or officers.

(Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23, 25; 2 Cor. 1:24; 1 John 4:1)

Chapter 28

Of the Communion of Saints

1. All saints that are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by his Spirit, and faith, although they are not made thereby one person with him, have fellowship in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.

(1 John 1:3; John 1:16; Phil. 3:10; Rom. 6:5, 6; Eph. 4:15, 16; 1 Cor. 12:7; 3:21-23; 1 Thess. 5:11, 14; Rom. 1:12; 1 John 3:17, 18; Gal. 6:10)

2. Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things according to their several abilities, and necessities; which communion, according to the rule of the gospel, though especially to be exercised by them, in the relation wherein they stand, whether in families, or churches, yet, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended to all the household of faith, even all those who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus; nevertheless their communion one with another as saints, doth not take away or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions.

(Heb. 10:24, 25, 3:12, 13; Acts 11:29, 30; Eph. 6:4; 1 Cor. 12:14-27; Acts 5:4; Eph. 4:28)

Chapter 29

Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

1. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world.

(Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 11;26)

2. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.

(Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 4:1)

Chapter 30

Of Baptism

1. Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.

(Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2;12; Gal. 3:27; Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:4)

2. Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.

(Mark 16:16; Acts 8;36, 37, 2:41, 8:12, 18:8)

3. The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

(Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38)

4. Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance.

(Matt. 3:16; John 3:23)

Chapter 31

Of Laying on of Hands

We believe that (Heb 5:12, 6:1-2, Acts 8:17-18, 19:6) laying on of hands (with prayer) upon baptized believers, as such, is an ordinance of Christ, and ought to be submitted unto by all such persons that are admitted to partake of the Lord’s Supper; and that the end of this ordinance is not for the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, but for (Eph. 1:13-14) a farther reception of the Spirit of promise, or for addition of the graces of the Spirit, and the influences thereof; to confirm strengthen, and comfort them in Jesus Christ; it being ratified and established by the (Acts 8 and 19:6) extraordinary gifts of the Spirit in the primitive times to abide in the Church, as meeting together on the first day of the week was, (Acts 2:1) that being the day of worship, or Christian Sabbath, under the gospel; and as preaching the Word was, (Acts 10:44) and as baptism was, (Mat 3:16) and prayer was, (Acts 4:31) and singing psalms & c. was, (Acts 16: 25-26) so this the laying on of hands was, (Acts 8, 19) for as the whole gospel was confirmed by ( Heb 2:3-4) signs and wonders, and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost in general, so was every ordinance in like manner confirmed in particular.

Chapter 32

Of the Lord’s Supper

1. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.

(1 Cor. 11:23-26; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17,21)

2. In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same. So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ’s own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.

(Heb. 9:25, 26, 28; 1 Cor. 11;24; Matt. 26:26, 27)

3. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup, and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants.

(1 Cor. 11:23-26, etc.)

4. The denial of the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance, and to the institution of Christ.

(Matt. 26:26-28, 15:9, Exod. 20:4, 5)

5. The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before.

(1 Cor. 11;27; 1 Cor. 11:26-28)

6. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ’s body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but

even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.

(Acts 3:21; Luke 14:6, 39; 1 Cor. 11:24, 25)

7. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.

(1 Cor. 10:16, 11:23-26)

8. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord’s table, and cannot, without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves.

(2 Cor. 6:14, 15; 1 Cor. 11:29; Matt. 7:6)

Chapter 33

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

1. The bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous being then made perfect in holiness, are received into paradise, where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell; where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day; besides these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.

(Gen. 3:19; Acts 13:36; Eccles. 12:7; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:1, 6,8; Phil. 1:23; Heb. 12;23; Jude 6, 7; 1 Peter 3:19; Luke 16:23, 24)

2. At the last day, such of the saints as are found alive, shall not sleep, but be changed; and all the dead shall be raised up with the selfsame bodies, and none other; although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever.

(1 Cor. 15:51, 52; 1 Thess. 4:17; Job 19:26, 27; 1 Cor. 15:42, 43)

3. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honour, and be made conformable to his own glorious body.

(Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29; Phil. 3:21)

Chapter 34

Of the Last Judgment

1. God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ; to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father; in which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.

(Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27; 1 Cor. 6:3; Jude 6; 2 Cor. 5:10; Eccles. 12:14; Matt. 12:36; Rom. 14:10, 12; Matt. 25:32-46)

2. The end of God’s appointing this day, is for the manifestation of 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 then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fulness of joy and glory with everlasting rewards, in the presence of the Lord; but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast aside into everlasting torments, and punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

(Rom. 9:22, 23; Matt. 25:21, 34; 2 Tim. 4:8; Matt. 25:46; Mark 9:48; 2 Thess. 1;7-10)

3. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity, so will he have the day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come, and may ever be prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus; come quickly. Amen.

(2 Cor. 5:10, 11; 2 Thess. 1:5-7; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-40; Rev. 22:20)

Logos (Part 2) God is the Word

Logos (Part 2) God is the Word

Continuing our exposition of John 1:1, this week we are looking further at Jesus as God the Son and Son of God.

Jesus Christ has all the attributes of Godhood

  • He is eternal(John 1:1-3 1 John 1:1-4 John 1:15 John 8:58 John 17:5, 24 Hebrews 1:11)
  • He is omnipresent (John 3:13 Matthew 18:20 Ephesians 1:23)
  • He is omniscient (John 16:30 John 21:17 Colossians 2:3 John 4:29 Luke 6:8)
  • He is omnipotent (John 5:19 Hebrews 1:2-3 Matthew 28:18)
  • He is immutable (Hebrews 1:12 Hebrews 13:8)
  • Jesus Christ is Creator and Sustainer (John 1:3 Colossians 1:15-17 Hebrews 1:3, 10 Psalm 33:6)
  • Jesus Christ has the prerogatives of God (Matthew 9:2, 6 Luke 7:47 John 5:25-29 John 6:39 John 11:25-26 John 5:22)

Jesus Christ is identified with Jehovah

  • Creator (Psalm 102:24-27 Hebrews 1:10-12
  • Seen by Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-4 John 12:41)
  • Holy (Isaiah 8:13 1 Peter 3:15)
  • Object of faith (Joel 2:32 Romans 10:9, 13)

 

Jesus appropriates God’s personal Name,“I AM”  Consider His “I AM” statements in John

  • the Bread of Life (6:35, 41)
  • the Light of the world (8:12)
  • the Good Shepherd (10:11, 14)
  • the Door (10:7, 9)
  • the Way the Truth and the Life (14:6)
  • the Resurrection and the Life (11:25-26)
  • the True Vine (15:1)

 

The Title, Lord Jesus Christ
The title/appellation, “Lord Jesus Christ,” is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament, either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God. (Romans 1:1-3,7 2 John 3)

The Lord Jesus Christ, God with Us
The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man is “Immanuel,” God with us.  (Matthew 1:23 1 John 4:2 1 John 4:10 1 John 4:14 Revelation 1:13 Revelation 1:17)

The Title, Son of God
Since the name “Immanuel” embraces both God and man in the one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title, Son of God, describes His proper deity, and the title, Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God, belongs to the order of eternity, and the title, Son of Man, to the order of time. (Matthew 1:21-23 2 John 1:3 1 John 3:8 Hebrews 7:3 Hebrews 1:1-13)

Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ
Wherefore, it is a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title, Son of God, solely from the fact of the incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption. Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father, and the Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. (2 John 9 John 1:1 John 1:2 John 1:14 John 1:18 John 1:29 John 1:49 1 John 2:22,23 1 John 4:1-5 Hebrews 12:2

Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him. And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all. Hebrews 1:3 1 Peter 3:22 Acts 2:32-36 Romans 14:111 Corinthians 15:24-28

Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of Deity, and to give Him all honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead except those which express relationship (see Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead, Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit , and Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead) and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father.John 5:22,231 Peter 1:8 Revelation 5:6-14 Philippians 2:8,9 Revelation 7:9-10 Revelation 4:8-11

The Lordship Issue in our salvation

Submitting to Christ as Lord goes hand-in-hand with trusting in Christ as Savior. To call this doctrine Lordship salvation is a bit of a misnomer because it implies that anything else is the Gospel. When we are saved from sin it is because we recognize Christ as who He is, Lord and God, we have a change of mind about who we are, what sin is, and our need for a savior, and we confess/say the same things about sin that He does.

John MacArthur: “The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. Our Lord’s words about eternal life were invariably accompanied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following Him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said many who call him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matthew 7:13-23).”

“Lordship salvation” teaches that a true profession of faith will be backed up by evidence of faith.If a person is truly following the Lord, then he or she will obey the Lord’s instructions. A person who is living in willful, unrepentant sin has obviously not chosen to follow Christ, because Christ calls us out of sin and into righteousness. Indeed, the Bible clearly teaches that faith in Christ will result in a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22–23; James 2:14–26).

Lordship salvation is not a salvation-by-works doctrine. Advocates of lordship salvation are careful to say that salvation is by grace alone, that believers are saved before their faith ever produces any good works, and that Christians can and do sin. However, true salvation will inevitably lead to a changed life. The saved will be dedicated to their Savior. A true Christian will not feel comfortable living in unconfessed, unforsaken sin.

9 Key Teachings set “lordship salvation” apart from easy-believism:

First, Scripture teaches that the gospel calls sinners to faith joined in oneness with repentance (Acts 2:3817:3020:212 Peter 3:9). Repentance is a turning from sin (Acts 3:19Luke 24:47) that consists not of a human work but of a divinely bestowed grace (Acts 11:182 Timothy 2:25). It is a change of heart, but genuine repentance will effect a change of behavior as well (Luke 3:8Acts 26:18-20). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that repentance is simply a synonym for faith and that no turning from sin is required for salvation.

Second, Scripture teaches that salvation is all God’s work. Those who believe are saved utterly apart from any effort on their own (Titus 3:5). Even faith is a gift of God, not a work of man (Ephesians 2:1-58). Real faith therefore cannot be defective or short-lived but endures forever (Philippians 1:6; cf. Hebrews 11). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that faith might not last and that a true Christian can completely cease believing.

Third, Scripture teaches that the object of faith is Christ Himself, not a creed or a promise (John 3:16). Faith therefore involves personal commitment to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15). In other words, all true believers follow Jesus (John 10:27-28). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that saving faith is simply being convinced or giving credence to the truth of the gospel and does not include a personal commitment to the person of Christ.

Fourth, Scripture teaches that real faith inevitably produces a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17). Salvation includes a transformation of the inner person (Galatians 2:20). The nature of the Christian is new and different (Romans 6:6). The unbroken pattern of sin and enmity with God will not continue when a person is born again (1 John 3:9-10). Those with genuine faith follow Christ (John 10:27), love their brothers (1 John 3:14), obey God’s commandments (1 John 2:3John 15:14), do the will of God (Matthew 12:50), abide in God’s Word (John 8:31), keep God’s Word (John 17:6), do good works (Ephesians 2:10), and continue in the faith (Colossians 1:21-23Hebrews 3:14). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that although some spiritual fruit is inevitable, that fruit might not be visible to others and Christians can even lapse into a state of permanent spiritual barrenness.

Fifth, Scripture teaches that God’s gift of eternal life includes all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3Romans 8:32), not just a ticket to heaven. In contrast, according to easy-believism, only the judicial aspects of salvation (e.g., justification, adoption, and positional sanctification) are guaranteed for believers in this life; practical sanctification and growth in grace require a post-conversion act of dedication.

Sixth, Scripture teaches that Jesus is Lord of all, and the faith He demands involves unconditional surrender (Romans 6:17-1810:9-10). In other words, Christ does not bestow eternal life on those whose hearts remain set against Him (James 4:6). Surrender to Jesus’ lordship is not an addendum to the biblical terms of  salvation; the summons to submission is at the heart of the gospel invitation throughout Scripture. In contrast, easy-believism teaches that submission to Christ’s supreme authority is not germane to the saving transaction.

Seventh, Scripture teaches that those who truly believe will love Christ (1 Peter 1:8-9Romans 8:28-301 Corinthians 16:22). They will therefore long to obey Him (John 14:1523). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that Christians may fall into a state of lifelong carnality.

Eighth, Scripture teaches that behavior is an important test of faith. Obedience is evidence that one’s faith is real (1 John 2:3). On the other hand, the person who remains utterly unwilling to obey Christ does not evidence true faith (1 John 2:4). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that disobedience and prolonged sin are no reason to doubt the reality of one’s faith.

Ninth, Scripture teaches that genuine believers may stumble and fall, but they will persevere in the faith (1 Corinthians 1:8). Those who later turn completely away from the Lord show that they were never truly born again (1 John 2:19). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that a true believer may utterly forsake Christ and come to the point of not believing.

A person who has been delivered from sin by faith in Christ should not desire to remain in a life of sin (Romans 6:2). Of course, spiritual growth can occur quickly or slowly, depending on the person and his circumstances. And the changes may not be evident to everyone at first. Ultimately, God knows who are His sheep, and He will mature each of us according to His perfect time table.

Is it possible to be a Christian and live in lifelong carnality, enjoying the pleasures of sin, and never seeking to glorify the Lord who bought him? Can a sinner spurn the lordship of Christ yet lay claim to Him as Savior? Can someone pray a “sinner’s prayer” and go about his life as if nothing had happened and still call himself a “Christian”? Lordship salvation says “no.” Let us not give unrepentant sinners false hope; rather, let us declare the whole counsel of God: “You must be born again” (John 3:7).

The New Hampshire Baptist Confession

The New Hampshire Baptist Confession

I. OF THE SCRIPTURES.

We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; [2062] that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, [2063] and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; [2064] that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; [2065] and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true centre of Christian union, [2066] and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried. [2067]

II. OF THE TRUE GOD.

We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is Jehovah, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; [2068] inexpressibly glorious in holiness, [2069] and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; [2070] that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; [2071] equal in every divine perfection, [2072] and executing distinct and harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. [2073]

III. OF THE FALL OF MAN.

We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker; [2074] but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; [2075] in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, [2076] not by constraint, but choice; [2077] being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, [2078] without defense or excuse. [2079]

IV. OF THE WAY OF SALVATION.

We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace, [2080] through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God; [2081] who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; [2082] honored the divine law by his personal obedience, [2083] and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; [2084] that having risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in heaven; [2085] and uniting in his wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Saviour. [2086]

V. OF JUSTIFICATION.

We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ [2087] secures to such as believe in him is Justification; [2088] that Justification includes the pardon of sin, [2089] and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; [2090] that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; [2091] by virtue of which faith his perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; [2092] that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity. [2093]

VI. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION.

We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; [2094] that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and obedient faith; [2095] and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; [2096] which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation. [2097]

VII. OF GRACE IN REGENERATION.

We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; [2098] that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind; [2099] that it is effected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, [2100] so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; [2101] and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life. [2102]

VIII. OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH.

We believe that Repentance and Faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; [2103] whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, [2104] we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; [2105] at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Saviour. [2106]

IX. OF GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE.

We believe that Election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners; [2107] that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; [2108] that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable; [2109] that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; [2110] that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; [2111] that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel; [2112] that it is the foundation of Christian assurance; [2113] and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence. [2114]

X. OF SANCTIFICATION.

We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; [2115] that it is a progressive work; [2116] that it is begun in regeneration; [2117] and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means — especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer. [2118]

XI. OF THE PERSEl’ERANCE OF SAINTS.

We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; [2119] that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; [2120] that a special Providence watches over their welfare; [2121] and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. [2122]

XII. OF THE HARMONY OF THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL.

We believe that the Law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of his moral government; [2123] that it is holy, just, and good; [2124] and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin; [2125] to deliver them from winch, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy Law, is one great end of the Gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible Church. [2126]

XIII. OF A GOSPEL CHURCH.

We believe that a visible Church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers, [2127] associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; [2128] observing the ordinances of Christ; [2129] governed by his laws, [2130] and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his Word; [2131] that its only scriptural officers are Bishops, or Pastors, and Deacons, [2132] whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.

XIV. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER.

We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, [2133] into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; [2134] to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; [2135] that it is prerequisite to the privileges of a Church relation; and to the Lord’s Supper, [2136] in which the members of the Church, by the sacred use of bread and wine, are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; [2137] proceeded always by solemn self-examination. [2138]

XV. OF THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH.

We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath; [2139] and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, [2140] by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations; [2141] by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private [2142] and public; [2143] and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God. [2144]

XVI. OF CIVIL GOl’ERNMENT.

We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; [2145] and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; [2146] except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, [2147] who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. [2148]

XVII. OF THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED.

We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; [2149] that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in his esteem; [2150] while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in his sight wicked, and under the curse; [2151] and this distinction holds among men both in and after death. [2152]

XVIII. OF THE WORLD TO COME.

We believe that the end of the world is approaching; [2153] that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven, [2154] and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; [2155] that a solemn separation will then take place; [2156] that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; [2157] and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness. [2158]


Footnotes:

[2062] 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Samuel 23:2; Acts 1:16; iii. 21; John 10:35; Luke 16:29-31; Psalm 119. Romans 3:1, 2.

[2063] 2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Pet. i. 10-12; Acts 11:14; Romans 1:16; Mark 16:16; John 5:38, 39.

[2064] Proverbs 30:5, 6; John 17:17; Revelation 22:18, 19; Romans 3:4.

[2065] Romans 2:12; John 12:47, 48; 1 Corinthians 4:3, 4; Luke 10:10-16; xii. 47, 48.

[2066] Philippians 3:16; Ephesians 4:3-6; Philippians 2:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Pet. iv. 11.

[2067] 1 John 4:1; Isaiah 8:20; 1 Thess. v. 21; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:6; Jude 3. 5; Ephesians 6:17; Psalm 119:59, 60; Philippians 1:9-11.

[2068] John 4:24; Psalm 147:5; lxxxiii. 18; Hebrews 3:4; Romans 1:20; Jeremiah 10:10.

[2069] Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Pet. i. 15, 16; Revelation 4:6-8.

[2070] Mark 12:30; Revelation 4:11; Matthew 10:37; Jeremiah 2:12, 13.

[2071] Matthew 28:19; John 15:26; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 1 John 5:7.

[2072] John 10:30; v. 17; xiv. 23; xvii. 5, 10; Acts 5:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11; Philippians 2:5, 6.

[2073] Ephesians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Revelation 1:4, 5; comp. ii., vii.

[2074] Genesis 1:27; i. 31; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Acts 16:26; Genesis 2:16.

[2075] Genesis 3:6-24; Romans 5:12.

[2076] Romans 5:19; John 3:6; Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:15-19; viii. 7.

[2077] Isaiah 53:6; Genesis 6:12; Romans 3:9-18.

[2078] Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 1:18; i. 32; ii. 1-16; Galatians 3:10; Matthew 20:15.

[2079] Ezekiel 18:19, 20; Romans 1:20; iii. 19; Galatians 3:22.

[2080] Ephesians 2:5; Matthew 18:11; 1 John 4:10; 1 Corinthians 3:5-7; Acts 15:11.

[2081] John 3:16; i. 1-14; Hebrews 4:14; xii. 24.

[2082] Philippians 2:6, 7; Hebrews 2:9; ii. 14; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

[2083] Isaiah 42:21; Philippians 2:8; Galatians 4:4, 5; Romans 3:21.

[2084] Isaiah 53:4, 5; Matthew 20:28; Romans 4:25; iii. 21-26; 1 John 4:10; ii. 2; 1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Hebrews 9:13-15.

[2085] Hebrews 1:8; i. 3; viii. 1; Colossians 3:1-4.

[2086] Hebrews 7:25; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 2:18; vii. 26; Psalm 89:19; xiv.

[2087] John 1:16; Ephesians 3:8.

[2088] Acts 13:39; Isaiah 3:11, 12; Romans 8:1.

[2089] Romans 5:9; Zechariah 13:1; Matthew 9:6; Acts 10:43.

[2090] Romans 5:17; Titus 3:5, 6; 1 Pet. iii. 7; 1 John 2:25; Romans 5:21.

[2091] Romans 4:4, 5; v. 21; vi. 23; Philippians 3:7-9.

[2092] Romans 5:19; iii. 24-26; iv. 23-25; 1 John 2:12.

[2093] Romans 5:1, 2; v. 3; v. 11; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; Matthew 6:33; 1 Timothy 4:8.

[2094] Isaiah 55:1; Revelation 22:17; Luke 14:17.

[2095] Romans 16:26; Mark 1:15; Romans 1:15-17.

[2096] John 5:40; Matthew 23:37; Romans 9:32; Proverbs 1:24; Acts 13:46.

[2097] John 3:19; Matthew 11:20; Luke 19:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:8.

[2098] John 3:3; iii. 6, 7; 1 Corinthians 1:14; Revelation 8:7-9; xxi. 27.

[2099] 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ezekiel 36:26; Deuteronomy 30:6; Romans 2:28, 29; v. 5; 1 John 4:7.

[2100] John 3:8; i. 13; James 1:16-18; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 2:13.

[2101] 1 Pet. i. 22-25; 1 John 5:1; Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:9-11.

[2102] Ephesians 5:9; Romans 8:9; Galatians 5:16-23; Ephesians 3:14-21; Matthew 3:8-10; vii. 20; 1 John 5:4, 18.

[2103] Mark 1:15; Acts 11:18; Ephesians 2:8; 1 John 5:1.

[2104] John 16:8; Acts 2:37, 38; xvi. 30, 31.

[2105] Luke 18:13; xv. 18-21; James 4:7-10; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Romans 10:12, 13; Psalm 51.p>[2106] Romans 10:9-11; Acts 3:22, 23; Hebrews 4:14; Psalm 2:6; Hebrews 1:8; viii. 25; 2 Timothy 1:12.

[2107] 2 Timothy 1:8, 9; Ephesians 1:3-14; 1 Pet. i. 1, 2; Romans 11:5, 6; John 15:15; 1 John 4:19; Hosea 12:9.

[2108] 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; Acts 13:48; John 10:16; Matthew 20:16; Acts 15:14.

[2109] Exodus 33:18, 19; Matthew 20:15; Ephesians 1.ll; Romans 9:23, 24; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 11:28, 29; James 1:17, 18; 2 Timothy 1:9; Romans 11:32-36.

[2110] l 1 Corinthians 4:7; i. 26-31; Romans 3:27; iv. l6; Colossians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 3:5-7; xv. 10; 1 Pet. v. 10; Acts 1:24: 1 Thess. ii. 13; 1 Pet. ii. 9; Luke 18:7; John 15:10; Ephesians 1:16; 1 Thess. ii. 12.

[2111] 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Corinthians 9:22; Romans 8:28-30; John 6:37-40; 2 Peter 1:10.

[2112] 1 Thess. i. 4-10.

[2113] Romans 8:28-30; Isaiah 42:16; Romans 11:29.

[2114] 2 Peter 1:10, 11; Philippians 3:12; Hebrews 6:11.

[2115] 1 Thess. iv. 3; 1 Thess. v. 23; 2 Corinthians 7:1; xiii. 9; Ephesians 1:4.

[2116] Proverbs 4:18; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Hebrews 6:1; 2 Peter 1:5-8; Philippians 3:12-16.

[2117] John 2:29; Romans 8:5; John 3:6; Philippians 1:9-11; Ephesians 1:13, 14.

[2118] Philippians 2:12, 13; Ephesians 4:11, 12; 1 Pet. ii. 2; 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Luke 11:35; ix. 23; Matthew 26:41; Ephesians 6:18; iv. 30.

[2119] John 8:31; 1 John 2:27, 28; iii. 9; v. 18.

[2120] 1 John 2:19; John 13:18; Matthew 13:20, 21; John 6:66-69; Job 17:9.

[2121] Romans 8:28; Matthew 6:30-33; Jeremiah 32:40; Psalm 121:3; xci. 11, 12.

[2122] Philippians 1:6; ii. 12, 13; Jude 24, 25; Hebrews 1:14; 2 Kings 6:16; Hebrews 13:5; 1 John 4:4.

[2123] Romans 3:31; Matthew 5:17; Luke 16:17; Romans 3:20; iv. 15.

[2124] Romans 7:12; vii. 7, 14, 22; Galatians 3:21; Psalm 119.p>[2125] Romans 8:7, 8; Joshua 24:19; Jeremiah 13:23; John 6:44; v. 44.

[2126] Romans 8:2, 4; x. 4; 1 Timothy 1:5; Hebrews 8:10; Jude 20, 21; Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 16:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 12:28.

[2127] 1 Corinthians 1:1-13; Matthew 18:17; Acts 5:11; viii. 1; xi. 31; 1 Corinthians 4:17; xiv. 23; 3 John 1 Timothy 3:5.

[2128] Acts 2:41, 42; 2 Corinthians 8:5; Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 5:12, 13.

[2129] 1 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Romans 16:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23; Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 4:17.

[2130] Matthew 28:20; John 14:15; xv. 12; 1 John 4:21; John 14:21; 1 Thess. iv. 2; 2 John Galatians 6:2; all the Epistles.

[2131] Ephesians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 14:12; Philippians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 12:14.

[2132] Philippians 1:1; Acts 14:23; xv. 22; 1 Timothy 3. Titus 1.p>[2133] Acts 8:36-39; Matthew 3:5, 6; John 3:22, 23; iv. 1, 2; Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; viii. 12; xvi. 32-34; xviii. 8.

[2134] Matthew 28:10; Acts 10:47, 48; Galatians 3:27, 28.

[2135] Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; 1 Pet. iii. 20, 21; Acts 22:16.

[2136] Acts 2:41, 42; Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts and Epistles.

[2137] 1 Corinthians 11:20; Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20.

[2138] 1 Corinthians 11:28; v. 1, 8; x. 3-32; xi. 17-32; John 6:26-71.

[2139] Acts 20:7; Genesis 2:3; Colossians 2:16, 17; Mark 2:27; John 20:19; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2.

[2140] Exodus 20:8; Revelation 1:10; Psalm 118:24.

[2141] Isaiah 58:13, 14; lvi. 2-8.

[2142] Psalm 113:15.

[2143] Hebrews 10:24, 25; Acts 11:26; xiii. 44; Leviticus 19:30; Exod. 46. 3; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2, 3; Psalm 26:8; lxxxvii. 3.

[2144] Hebrews 4:3-11.

[2145] Romans 13:1-7; Deuteronomy 16:18; 1 Samuel 23:3; Exodus 18:23; Jeremiah 30:21.

[2146] Matthew 22:21; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. ii. 13; 1 Timothy 2:1-8.

[2147] Acts 5:29; Matthew 10:28; Daniel 3:15-18; vi. 7-10; Acts 4:18-20.

[2148] Matthew 23:10; Romans 14:4; Revelation 19:16; Psa.lxxii. 1l; ii.; Romans 14:9-13.

[2149] Malachi 3:18; Proverbs 12:26; Isaiah 5:20; Genesis 18:23; Jeremiah 15:19; Acts 10:34, 35; Romans 6:16.

[2150] Romans 1:17; vii. 6; 1 John 2:29; iii. 7; Romans 6:18, 22; 1 Corinthians 11:32; Proverbs 11:31; 1 Pet. iv. 17, 18.

[2151] 1 John 5:19; Galatians 3:10; John 3:36; Isaiah 57:21; Psalm 10:4; Isaiah 55:6, 7.

[2152] Proverbs 14:32; Luke 16:25; John 8:21-24; Proverbs 10:24; Luke 12:4, 5; ix. 23-26; John 12:25, 26; Ecclesiastes 3:17; Matthew 7:13, 14.

[2153] 1 Pet. iv. 7; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Hebrews 1:10-12; Matthew 24:35; 1 John 2:17; Matthew 28:20; xiii. 39, 40; 2 Peter 3:3-13.

[2154] Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7; Hebrews 9:28; Acts 3:21; 1 Thess. iv. 13-18; v. 1-11.

[2155] Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:12-59; Luke 14:14; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28, 29; vi. 40; xi. 25, 26; 2 Timothy 1:10; Acts 10:42.

[2156] Matthew 13:49; xiii. 37-43; xxiv. 30, 31; xxv. 31-33.

[2157] Matthew 25:35-41; Revelation 22:11; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Mark 9:43-48; 2 Peter 2:9; Jude 7; Philippians 3:19; Romans 6:32; 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11; John 4:36; 2 Corinthians 4:18.

[2158] Romans 3:5, 6; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-12; Hebrews 6:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Acts 17:31; Romans 2:2-16; Revelation 20:11, 12; 1 John 2:28; iv. 17.

Election and Predestination

Election and Predestination

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

Election.

There are three Greek words pertaining to election whose meaning is to choose or select. The first is eklégō. This word means to select, choose, and is translated choose, chose, chosen, elect. It involves preference and selection from among many choices. A relationship is established between the one choosing and the object chosen. This word is used twenty-two times. The second word is eklektós. This word means to choose, to select, and is translated chosen, elect. Same meaning as eklégō, as influenced by context. This word is used twenty-two times. The third word is eklogé. This word means choice, selection, and is translated chosen, election, elect. Same meaning as eklégō, as influenced by context. This word is used seven times.

The word eklégō means the selection of some out of many. The word eklektós indicates those who have been selected. The word eklogé refers to the act of selection. The selection of some out of many never indicates malice or prejudice toward those not selected. For example, Jesus chose twelve disciples out of many disciples to be his apostles. There is no indication of anything wrong with those not chosen, no indication of future prejudice or bias against those not chosen. Those not chosen continued to be disciples, even though they were not chosen to be apostles. Nor is there any indication of merit or special character in those chosen. In Acts 6:5 the Jerusalem church chose seven men to make the daily distribution to the needy. Obviously the many from whom the seven were selected was the male population of the church who met the qualifications set at 6:3. Many males met those qualifications; seven were chosen. Those not selected continued as they were.

In every use of these words, no reason is given as to why some were selected but not others. Acts 6:3–5 and 1:15–26 are not exceptions. The conditions set in these passages establishes who will be in the total number from which the selection is to be made. There is never any prejudice against those not chosen; they are left to continue as they were before the selection was made.

When we come to God’s choices in salvation these same conditions apply. God chose to save some. The qualification required to be among the group from which the selection was to be made was to be a sinner: the entire population of human beings from Adam forward to the eternal state. The reason why some sinners were chosen to salvation and others were not is never stated. There is no action, negative or positive, taken toward those not chosen; they are left to continue in their original state.

Statement of the doctrine. Election is the choice of a sovereign God, 1) to give the gift of grace-faith-salvation to some sinners to effect their salvation, and 2) to take no action, positive or negative, to either effect or deny the salvation of other sinners. The decree of election includes all means necessary to effect salvation. An illustration of the doctrine:

The river of sinful humanity is justly racing toward the waterfall of death emptying into the lake of eternal fire; God reaches into the river and saves many; he prevents no one from swimming to the safety of the heavenly shore; he will receive any person who comes to him by way of Christ. The saved are standing on the shore urging everyone in the river to come to Christ.

The illustration communicates the important aspects of the doctrine of election: 1) every human being is a sinner and thus is justly due eternal judgment in the lake of fire; 2) God takes direct action to save some sinners from eternal punishment; 3) God does not take any action which would prevent any sinner from coming to him to receive salvation; 4) God sends his saved people to evangelize the unsaved.

Predestination

There is one word translated “predestination.” That word is proorízō. This word means to determine or decree beforehand. The word is translated “determined before, predestined, ordained.” This word is used six times. In four out of six uses the word proorízō refers to God’s purposes regarding the believer. To wit, the believer is to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, be adopted as a Son of God, to be God’s heritage, and to receive an inheritance from God. Although the Reformers, and their spiritual heirs today, use proorízō in the sense of election, the Scripture testimony is that proorízō expresses God’s decrees affecting the believer after his or her salvation. The order in which predestination works out in the decrees of God is elected in eternity-past, saved in historical-present, and then the decree of predestination begins its sanctifying work.

Statement of the doctrine. Predestination is God’s decree to (1) to adopt the believer as his son and heir (Ephesians 1:5), (2) to conform the believer to be like Christ according to certain aspects of Christ’s spiritual character and physical form (Romans 8:29–30; 1 John 3:2), (3) to give the believer an inheritance, and (4) to make the believer God’s heritage (Ephesians 1:11).

Brief explanation: the Reformation theologians (and their spiritual heirs today) often used “predestined” in the sense of election, a case of naming the cause from one of its effects. However, it is clear from the scriptures that predestination is not synonymous with election, nor is it the cause of election. Predestination is the result of election. The prior election of those predestined is seen in (1) that the elect were “called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28, before they were predestined, v. 29, and (2) that the elect were chosen, Ephesians 1:4, before they were predestined, v. 5. Predestination is a decree affecting the future of the elect after their salvation.

Election is a decree of God by which he determined those whom he will take positive action to save, which (decree) includes all the means necessary to the redemption of those whom he has elected.

Predestination is a separate decree of God affecting the saved after their salvation, which (decree) includes all the means necessary to effect the adoption the believer as God’s son, heir, and heritage, and to conform the believer to be like Christ.

The Believer and the Law

The Believer and the Law

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

What is the believer’s relation to “The Law?” The apostle Paul said the New Testament believer is “not under law but under grace,” Romans 6:14. But then Paul said he was “not being without law to God but within law to Christ,” 1 Corinthians 9:21. Paul said, “The law is good if one uses it lawfully,” 1 Timothy 1:8, and “the law is holy,” Romans 7:12, and “the law is spiritual,” Romans 7:16. How do we resolve this seeming contradiction, as being not under law but not without law?

When Paul says the believer is “not under law,” he is speaking of the Mosaic Law—specifically the way his unsaved Jewish brethren used the Mosaic Law. The Judaism of New Testament times viewed obedience to the Mosaic Law as the only way to obtain the kind of righteousness that resulted in a saving relationship with God. Every negative use of “law” in the New Testament is a reference to this view of righteousness gained through obedience to the Mosaic Law. Paul specifically says this at Romans 9:31–32, “Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.” Paul’s statement at Ephesians 2:9, that salvation is “not of works” is partly a reference to the Jewish effort to obtain salvation through “works of the [Mosaic] law.” (The Gentiles had a similar view of obedience to their gods as the way to pagan heaven.)

What was the real purpose of the Mosaic Law? There are three aspects to the Mosaic Law. First, the Mosaic Law revealed God’s values through its precepts. These are the values by which human beings are to conduct their manner of life. Notice I did not say “these are the commandments” but “these are the values,” because some of the commandments do not make sense in these New Testament times, but the values and principles underlying the commandments remain valid. God’s moral values from the Mosaic Law are repeated in the New Testament—what some call the Law of Christ. God’s moral values do not change, therefore obedience to those values is still required.

Second, the Mosaic Law was a moral guide to protect God’s saved people from the destructive power of sin. “The [Mosaic] law is holy, the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). “Before faith we were kept under guard by the [Mosaic] law . . . the [Mosaic] law was our paidagōgós to bring us to Christ,” (Galatians 3:23, 24). The paidagōgós was originally a slave who accompanied the adolescent minor heir when he left the security of the home, whose purpose was to protect the heir morally and physically. One of the more frequent trips was to the school house (in modern terms) and thus the paidagōgós became identified with this frequent task. The original meaning is exactly what Paul has said, “kept under guard” by the Mosaic law.

Third, the Mosaic Law condemned the sinner by revealing his or her sin. The Mosaic Law is “a ministry of death” and a “ministry of condemnation” (2 Corinthians 3:7, 9). And Romans 7:13, “But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good,” the Mosaic Law, 7:12,  “so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.”  “I would not have known sin,” said Paul (Romans 7:7), “except through the [Mosaic] law.”

So, when Paul speaks of “the law,” he is usually referring to the Mosaic Law. The New Testament believer is “not under the Mosaic law but under grace,” Romans 6:14. But is the New Testament believer without law? No. We saw above Paul said he was “not being without law to God but within law to Christ,” 1 Corinthians 9:21. The believer has been set free from the condemnation of the Mosaic Law, but obedience to the moral values the Mosaic Law expresses are still required of the believer. The believer has been set free from the worldly pursuit of righteousness and salvation through the works required by the Mosaic Law. But the believer is not free to sin because under grace, Romans 7:15. Rather, there is still a law the believer must obey—not to gain righteousness, but as the expression of righteousness received.

No careful reader of the New Testament letters can fail to be impressed by the commandments to moral behavior. For example, Paul repeats the second table of the Ten Commandments at Romans 13:9 as required of the believer—he even quotes Leviticus 19:18 as a requirement for obedience, noting that love of one’s neighbor incorporates doing the commandments. The Hebrews’ Writer gives several commandments in chapter 13. The book of James gives many commandments to “do this” but “don’t do that.” Peter in his first letter says, “let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, a busybody” (1 Peter 4:15), and positively, “honor all people love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17), and many more “do this-don’t do that” commandments. John’s first letter is full of instruction for Christian behavior. When Jude says “contend earnestly for the faith” he isn’t just speaking of doctrine, but practice also, noting all the immoral behaviors s examples of the things believers are to not do. Paul gives a rather complete list of “do this” behaviors in Titus 2:1–11. The moral commandments of the New Testament, the Law of Christ, as it is sometimes called, tells the believer how he/she “ought to walk and to please God,” 1 Thessalonians 4:1, through the commandments of Christ and the apostles, 1 Thessalonians 4:2–7.

The believer, of course, is able to obey God’s commandments and lead a life pleasing to God, just because he/she has been saved and regenerated (born-again), and continually receives grace, guidance, and power from the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. The believer has been justified and sanctified, and therefore strives to lead a life of sanctification—through obedience to God’s commandments—as the expression of his or her sanctification, 1 John 2:6. Thus the many New Testament exhortations. Calvin brilliantly describes the believer’s relationship to the law. “The whole life of Christians ought to be an exercise of piety, since they are called to sanctification (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7). It is the office of the law to remind them of their duty and thereby excite them to the pursuit of holiness and integrity” (“Institutes,” 3.19.2).

To summarize. The New Testament writers spoke against the wrongful use of the Mosaic Law as a means to gain saving righteousness, teaching rather that salvation is not by doing but by believing. Thus the New Testament believer is not a participant in the Jewish effort to gain righteousness through obedience to the Mosaic Law. The New Testament writers, however, always exhort the believer to obey the law in the sense of God’s moral commandments, which express God’s moral values in specific precepts (thus the moral commandments of the Mosaic law are repeated in the New Testament for action by the believer), thereby urging a sanctified manner of living.

More simply, the New Testament commands obedience to God’s law as the expression of the believer’s salvific righteousness and sanctification, versus the wrongful use of the Mosaic Law as an attempt to gaining salvific righteousness and sanctification.

Understanding Heresy

Understanding Heresy

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

Heresy is an oft misused term and concept in Christianity. This essay will attempt to define the idea of heresy and its proper use. My sources are Geoffrey Bromiley, Gen. Ed., “The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia” (ISBE), s. v. “Heresy.” (The initials s. v. represent the Latin phrase, “under the word.”) Everett F. Harrison, Ed., “Baker’s Dictionary of Theology,” s. v. “Heresy.” R. K. Harrison, Ed. “The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary,” s. v. “Heresy.”  Spiros Zodhiates, Gen. Ed. “The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament,” s. v. “139. haíresis.” Gerhard Kittel, Ed., Geoffrey Bromiley, Translator, “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,” s. v. “haíresis” (1:180–184).

The basic meaning of the word haíresis is “choice.” The Greeks used haíresis to identify the various philosophical schools: the groups that in larger society follow the teachings of particular leaders in distinction from others. A Greek speaker looking at the FB groups I am a member of might identify the school (haíresis) of MacArthur, or the school (haíresis) of Sproul. To the ancient Greeks, a “heresy” was a teaching, a doctrine, or a school where doctrine was taught. At this time in history the word did not have the negative meaning it developed in Christian history.

The Jews used haíresis similar to the Greeks. For example, Josephus (“Antiquities,” 13.5.9) identified three religious “heresies”: Essenes, Sadducees, Pharisees. Josephus used the word in the neutral sense of a party with a distinctive emphasis. The New Testament, for the most part, uses “heresy” in the same sense as Josephus. Acts 15:17, the party (haíresis) of Sadducees; Acts 24:5, Paul is called a ringleader of the sect (haíresis) of the Nazarenes; Acts 28:22, “this sect (haíresis) is everywhere spoken against.” Paul, in Galatians and 1 Corinthians, further developed the idea of haíresis into dissensions, divisions, and factions. Peter (second letter) added the idea of incompatibility of opinion to that of faction, beginning the process that resulted in the technical sense the word is used throughout Christian history.

“Heresy,” as used in the history of the New Testament church, is a doctrinal departure from revealed truth, or an erroneous view held in opposition to revealed truth. A heretic is one who causes factions in the church through his heresy.

The key to properly using the word heresy is to accurately identify “a doctrinal departure from revealed truth, or an erroneous view held in opposition to revealed truth.” The key phrase is “revealed truth.” In the most simplistic terms, revealed truth is “what scripture says,” “what God says,” “what the Bible says.” I am not denigrating the Bible in using the term “simplistic,” because I know and believe and teach that the Bible is the source of truth. What I am doing is recognizing that an accurate identification of the body of revealed truth depends on what the Bible says *and* how the New Testament Church defines what the Bible says. To the Roman Catholic I am a heretic because I do not depend on works to gain or maintain my salvation. To the Reformed Covenant theologian I am a heretic because I follow Dispensational theology. To some in the Presbyterian or Episcopalian camps I am a heretic because I practice baptism by immersion. To the Anglican—and many other modern denominations—I am a heretic because I interpret the Bible to mean homosexuality is immoral. To me, but not others in the modern Christian camp, “Mormon” doctrine is heresy.

The early church, in its first 500 years (or so) spent a great deal of time and discussion and hard theological labor answering the question, “what is revealed truth?” Modern Christians must be equally careful. Too often “heresy” and “heretic” are used in the sense, “he is a heretic because he disagrees with . . .” and here fill in the blank: “what I believe; what my church believes; what my denomination believes.” No essential doctrine of the Christian faith is without controversy and dissent. To list only modern heresies requires a book (of which there are several, usually identified by the word “apologetics” in the title). Instead of a list, I will use three examples of recurring issues on my FB groups.

The fact of the second advent of Christ is beyond doubt. “I go to prepare a place for you. And when I should go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:2b–3). Any theology that denies Christ is coming again is heresy, because Scripture makes an unambiguous statement: revealed truth. Some deny this truth with a “spiritual” interpretation: Christ has returned in every soul he saves. That is heresy. Note merely in John’s Gospel, but in other New Testament writings, Christ’s return is a fact of future history, clearly and unambiguously stated.

On the other hand, disagreement as to when Christ will return will occur is not heresy. No one can point to particular scriptures that say when—calendar date—Christ is returning. As a premillennialist I have my opinion, but amillennialism and postmillennialism is not heresy. To me, these two views are erroneous, but the revealed truth is that Christ said, “No one can know when I am returning” (summarizing all he said on the subject). If no one can know, then divergent opinions on the when of his return are not heresy.

Dispensationalism is identified by many as a heresy, primarily because the non-dispensationalist believes Dispensationalism teaches more than one way of salvation. Dispensationalists have reproved this error time and again, but the error persists. Dispensationalism agrees with revealed truth: every sinner from Adam forward to the present and into the future was, is, and will be saved by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith in God’s testimony concerning salvation. On the other hand, few Reformed theologians would declare heretical the dispensational view that the NT church is not Israel. Most Reformed recognize that if they also consistently applied the historical-grammatical hermeneutic to ecclesiology and eschatology, they also would be dispensationalists.

A third issue that continues to appear on FB, (the groups of which I am a member) is (summarizing) “do angels have sexual gender?” Angels usually appear in Scripture as male gender—but not always, as the angels in Genesis 3; Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1; Revelation 4 demonstrate. Moreover, the use of the masculine pronouns “he, his, him” is often an artifact of good English, either because not present in the original language, or a matter of syntax, not gender, in the original language. You can see my opinion in the last sentence. But some look at the same textual evidence and do believe angels are sexually male, and thus angels are capable of sexual intercourse with female human beings. Others take a different view: angels do not have sexual gender as we understand gender, and therefore cannot engage in sexual intercourse with human beings. What do the scriptures say? The scriptures do not say. Neither view is heretical, simply different opinions. There are those on both sides of the interpretation who will disagree, some vehemently, but the Bible does not say—with the same clarity of, e.g., Christ’s return—whether angels do or do not have gender as we know it. Unlike the second advent of Christ, all opinions, pro or con, concerning angelic gender are inferred from what the little the Bible does say about angels.

Christians should take careful thought before applying the label of heresy to any particular opinion or person. The list of essential doctrines and unambiguous interpretations is quite short. There is room for different interpretations where the essentials of biblical doctrine are not present.

 

 

Understanding Grace

Understanding Grace

(Guest Post by James Quiggle, ThM)

The biblical word “grace” is one of the most used words in Christian vocabulary, and one of the hardest to define. Hebrew and Greek lexicons are very good at telling the reader what grace does, but not what grace is. The definition I learned as a new Christian was “God’s unmerited favor or blessing which we in no way deserve.” (That is a little redundant, because “unmerited” means “which we in no way deserve,” but I guess my mentor wanted to make sure I understood.)

In the Old Testament grace is used more often in a non-theological setting than theological. In the Old Testament, “grace” translates, hēn, a derivative of hānan, “a heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need . . . an action from a superior to an inferior who has no real claim for gracious treatment [Harris, et al., “Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament,” s. v. “694 (hānan),” “694a (hēn)”]. The word hēn, “bears the predominant sense of favor, with an undertone of meaning that the favor is undeserved” [Harrison, Ed., Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, s. v. “Grace”].

When the Old Testament speaks of grace in a theological sense, hēn may be translated “favor.” Thus, “Noah found hēn [grace, i.e., favor] in the eyes of the Lord.” God approved of Noah and looked upon him with the intent of blessing him. Moses said, Ex. 33:13, “if I have found hēn [grace, i.e., favor] in your sight, show me now your way, that I may know you and that I may find grace hēn [grace, i.e., favor] in your sight.” Moses was asking YHWH for reassurance that he was YHWH’s choice to lead Israel (see vv. 12–23).

In the New Testament, the Greek word is cháris, from chaírō, to rejoice [Zodhiates, Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament,” s. v. “5485”]. Grace, cháris, is said in the New Testament to do a lot of things. The basic theological meaning, however, is the same as in the Old Testament theological use: undeserved favor; the goodwill of God and Christ as exercised toward human beings; divine favors, benefits, blessings, gifts conferred on human beings through Christ.”

Thus, Luke 2:40, the grace [favor] of God was upon him [Jesus]. Acts 13:43, Paul and Barnabus “persuaded them [the Jews of the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia] to continue in the grace of God,” meaning the favor and blessing that came through Jesus Christ, rather than continuing in the grace and favor that came through Moses.

That the above interpretation of Acts 13:43 is correct is seen at John 1:16–17. This verses are best translated, “16 That out of his fullness we all received, even grace instead of grace [chárin antí cháritos], 17 because the law was given through Moses; the grace and the truth came through Jesus Christ.” John’s point is a comparison between the grace that came through the Law given through Moses and the grace that came through Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus is the means in this New Testament age by which the merit of his propitiating death is applied to the spiritual needs of the soul. Thus, Acts 13:43, Paul tells those Jews and proselytes who wanted to hear more about Christ to continue in the grace that comes through Jesus rather in the grace that came through the law of Moses.

At Acts 20:24, grace means the Gospel of Salvation, “the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Romans 6:1, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Shall God’s favor and blessing abound if we ignore the regeneration salvation has brought and continue to sin as though unsaved? Romans 12:6, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us” etc., where the word “grace” indicates the Holy Spirit’s favor in giving his saved people various spiritual gifts. For, as 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, spiritual gifts are “the manifestation [the working] of the Spirit, and v. 11, the Holy Spirit distributes his gifts “as he wills,” which is to say, the spiritual gift is undeserved, given at the sovereign choice of God the Holy Spirit.

2 Cor. 9:8, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” God supplies the spiritual power that enables the believer to perform God’s will. 2 Cor. 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God’s favor provides the spiritual and physical strength to persevere in God’s will. Eph. 1:2, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” A prayer for blessings in general. Favor and peace are often associated. Col. 3:16, “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord,” is one of those occasions when the believer blesses God, which is to say, gives praise to God.

2 Tim. 2:1, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”: the blessing from Christ that gives the believer spiritual power to persevere in the faith. Heb. 4:16, “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” which is to say, come in prayer and faith to God who gives his people spiritual strength to persevere in the faith by faith, and causes all things to work together for good. James 4:6, “But he gives more grace. Therefore he says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” God has favor toward those who submit to him and depend on him. 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Grace as spiritual gifts. 2 Peter 3:18, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Grace in the context of knowledge and growth is the power of the Holy Spirit interpreting and illuminating the Word while convicting and empowering the believer to obey the Word.

Grace, then, is a term that depending on context may refer to God’s blessing in salvation, perseverance, spiritual strength, spiritual maturity, spiritual gifts, or God’s blessing in general. When we speak and write about grace, we should reflect on the context.

The Security of the Believer Pt. 3

The Security of the Believer Pt. 3

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)
This post is the third of three on the eternal security of salvation and the personal assurance of salvation.
What is Persevering Faith?

The biblical principle of persevering faith is quite simple. Perseverance is a grace God gives the believer to overcome all spiritual and physical obstacles to faith, and persevering faith is the believer using the means of grace God has provided to continue in the faith. To persevere in the faith is to continue in the faith by faith all the way through life and death.
The doctrine of perseverance is derived from the several results of salvation.

– The believer has been given eternal life and will never lose that eternal life, John 10:28.

– The believer cannot come under condemnation, Romans 8:1, 33, and cannot be separated from the love of Christ, Romans 8:35.

– Sin no longer has dominion over the believer Romans 6:14.

– Believers are sons of God and led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14, 16.

– God has predestined believers to be conformed to the image of his Son, Romans 8:29.

– God has reconciled the believer to himself, Romans 5:10.

– God loves those who are his own, John 13:1, and nothing is able to separate the believer from the love of God, Romans 8:39.

– God will complete the work begun in the believer from the day of his or her salvation, Philippians 1:6.

– Believers are kept by the power of God, 1 Peter 1:5.

The promises of God to the believer and God’s purposes for the believer must be fulfilled as decreed by the sovereign God. God, therefore, has obligated himself to preserve the believer’s salvation and cause the believer to persevere in the faith.

Bible passages that teach the necessity of striving and warn against falling away should not be used to reinterpret or contradict the clear, unambiguous verses, such as those above, that teach perseverance. Those exhortations and warnings indicate a believer is the one who abides in the Word (John 8:31) and uses the grace God gives to persevere in the faith by faith. The duty of the believer is to live a holy and righteous life. Believers are given grace and faith in order that by God’s grace and their faith they may overcome every obstacle to faith, and live the manner of life God requires, e.g., 1 John 2:6.

What we are speaking of, then, is the kind or quality of faith God gives which results in perseverance. Hebrews 10:36 speaks of the necessity of persevering faith and chapter 11 examples persevering faith at work. Chapter 11 begins with a particular definition of faith as (NKJV) the “substance (hupóstasis) of things hoped for (elpízō)” and “the evidence (élegchos) of things not seen.” The kind of faith God gives is the objective conviction that spiritual realities testified to in Scripture are genuine and are certain to be received.

Hebrews 11:1 uses three words to describe faith. The first is hupóstasis. This word means “substance” or “real presence.” Jesus is the real presence (hupóstasis) of God in the universe, Hebrews 1:3. In secular Greek hupóstasis was used to describe real property [Moulton and Milligan, “Vocabulary,” 659–660], thus, faith is the “title deed” of things hoped for. A title deed is the objective proof of legal possession. The faith God gives the believer is itself the title deed to God’s promises.

The second word in Hebrews 11:1 is elpízō. This word means hope. But not hope in the sense the world means hope. Worldly hope is anxiety: I hope this or that does, or does not, happen. Hope in Scripture is assurance. Biblical hope is certainty based on God’s Word. Faith is the absolute assurance, the unwavering certainty (elpízō), of receiving the promises. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And when I should go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to myself” (John 14: 2, 3). The believer’s hope—his absolute assurance and certainty—is that Jesus is coming again for him or her. Enduring in the world by faith in the hope of Christ’s return is perseverance.

The third word is élegchos. This word can mean subjective proof (persuasion), or it can mean objective evidence (demonstration). In the context of the “real presence-title deed” and “assurance-certainty” of God’s promises, the meaning is objective evidence. The presence of God-given faith is in and of itself the objective demonstration that the believer will receive things God has promised.

Faith, then, is the real presence (hupóstasis) of the things of which we are assured (elpízō), and is the objective evidence (élegchos) of the things we do not yet see. The kind of faith God gives—the kind or quality of faith that results in perseverance—is itself the real presence and objective evidence of the promises God has given to his saved people. The objective certainty that God gives in the promises is itself the proof the believer possesses the promises, because that kind or quality of faith comes only from God.

The believer’s subjective faith— I know, I feel, therefore I act—comes from the objective faith given by God. The biblical truth is that the believer perseveres in faith, a subjective act, because he/she has been give an objective faith in the reality of the promises.

Because we are sensual, rational creatures, I will say this in a more familiar way: faith gives the perception of immediate presence to spiritual realities. Perseverance is knowing that God said it, that settles it, I’m going to believe it and do it.

God-given faith—a quality of faith only believers possess—is the kind of faith necessary to persevere and receive the promises. Genuine believers are given the faith and grace necessary to persevere, and genuine believers receive and use the grace of perseverance to persevere.

 

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