Our Confessions of Faith
The Second London Confession of 1689
The Second London Confession of 1689 shall be our primary statement, supplemented by the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Pastors must teach in accordance with and not contrary to our Articles of Faith. All members sincerely agree to learn from everything taught in the Articles of Faith, not to teach against them, and not to cause any division over anything in them.
Of the Holy Scriptures.
1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible (a) rule of all saving Knowledge, Faith and Obedience; Although the (b) 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 unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and His will, which is necessary unto Salvation. (c) 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 (d) writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of Gods revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
a 2 Tim. 3 15,16,17. Isa. 8. 20. Luk. 16. 29,31. Eph. 2. 20. b Rom. 1. 19,20,21. &c. ch 2. 14,15. Psal. 19. 1,2,3.
c Heb. 1. 1.
d Pro. 22. 19,20,21. 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 Testament which are these,
Of the Old Testament.
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
Of the new Testament.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Pauls Epistle to the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Phillippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 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 which are given by the (e) inspiration of God, to be the rule of Faith and Life.
e 2 Tim. 3. 16.
3. The Books commonly called Apocrypha not being of (f) 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, then other humane writings.
f Luk. 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 (g) God (who is truth it self) the Author thereof; therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.
g 2 Pet. 1. 19,20,21. 2 Tim. 3. 16. 2 Thes. 2. 13. 1 Joh. 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 stile, 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 mans salvation, and many other incomparable Excellencies, and intire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence it self to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding; our (h) full perswasion, 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.
h Joh. 16. 13,14. 1 Cor. 2. 10,11,12. 1 John 2. 2.20.27.
6. The whole Councel of God concerning all things (i) necessary for his own Glory, Mans Salvation, Faith and Life, is either expressely 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 (k) 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 humane actions and societies; which are to be (l) ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
i 2 Tim. 3. 15,16,17. Gal. 1. 8,9.
k John 6. 45. 1 Cor. 2. 9,10,11,12.
l 1 Cor. 11, 13,14. & ch. 14. 26. & 40.
7. All things in Scripture are not alike (m) plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for Salvation, are so (n) 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.
m 2 Pet. 3. 16.
n Ps. 19. 7. and 119. 130.
8. The Old Testament in (o) 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 (p) authentical; so as in all controversies of Religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them (q) 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 (r) and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every Nation, unto which they (s) come, that the Word of God dwelling (t) plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.
o Rom. 3. 2.
p Isa. 8. 20.
q Act. 15. 15.
r John 5. 39.
s 1 Cor. 14, 6.9.11,12.24.28. t Col. 3. 16.
9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the (u) Scripture it self: 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.
u 2 Pet. 1. 20,21. Act. 15. 15,16.
10. The supream judge by which all controversies of Religion are to be determined, and all Decrees of Councels, opinions of antient 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 (x) Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.
x Mat. 22. 29.31. Eph. 2. 20 Acts 28. 23.
Of God and of the Holy Trinity.
1. The Lord our God is but (a) one only living, and true God; whose (b) subsistence is in and of himself, (c) infinite in being, and perfection, whose Essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; (d) a most pure spirit, (e) invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto, who is (f) immutable, (g) immense, (h) eternal, incomprehensible, (i) Almighty, every way infinit, (k) most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute, (l) working all things according to the councel of his own immutable, and most righteous will, (m) for his own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, (n) the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withall most just, (o) and terrible in his judgements, (p) hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the (q) guilty.
a 1 Cor. 8.4 6. Deut. 6.4. b Jer 10.10. Isaiah 48.12. c Exod 3.14.
d Joh. 4.24.
e 1 Tim. 1.17. Deut. 4.15,16. f Mal. 3.6.
g 1 King. 8.27. Jer. 23.23.
h Ps. 90.2.
i Gen. 17.1.
k Isa. 6.3.
l Ps. 115.3. Isa. 46.10.
m Pro. 16.4. Rom. 11.36.
n Exod. 34.6,7. Hebr. 11.6. o Neh. 9.32,33.
p Ps. 5.5,6.
q Exod. 34.7. Nahum. 1,2,3.
2. God having all (r) life, (s) glory, (t) goodness, blessedness, in and of himself: is alone in, and unto himself all-sufficient, not (u) standing in need of any Creature which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but onely manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them, he is the alone fountain of all Being, (x) of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things, and he hath most soveraign (y) dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth; in his sight (z) all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is (a) infinite, infallible, and independant upon the Creature, so as nothing is to him contingent, or uncertain; he is most holy in all his Councels, in (b) all his Works, and in all his Commands; to him is due (c) 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.
r Joh. 5.26.
s Ps. 148.13.
t Ps. 119.68.
u Job, 22.2,3.
x Rom. 11.34.35,36.
y Dan. 4.25. and v.34,35. z Heb. 4.13.
a Ezek. 11.5 Act. 15.18. b Ps. 145.17.
c Rev. 5.12,13,14.
3. In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, (d) the Father the Word (or Son) and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and Eternity, each having the whole Divine Essence, (e) yet the Essence undivided, the Father is of none neither begotten nor proceeding, the Son is (f) Eternally begotten of the Father, the holy Spirit (g) 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 dependance on him.
d 1 Joh. 5.7. Mat. 28.19. 2 Cor. 13.14. e Exod. 3.14. Joh. 14.11. 1 Cor. 8.6.
f Joh. 1.14.18.
g Joh. 15.26. Gal. 4.6.
CHAP. III. Of Gods Decree.
1. God hath (a) Decreed in himself from all Eternity, by the most wise and holy Councel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things whatsoever comes to passe; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin, (b) 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 away, but rather (c) established, in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power, and faithfulness (d) in accomplishing his Decree.
a Is. 46.10. Eph. 1.11. Heb. 6.17. Rom. 9.15,18. b Jam. 1.15,17. 1 Joh. 1.5.
c Act 4.27,28. Joh. 19.11.
d Numb. 23.19. Eph. 1.3,4,5.
2. Although God knoweth whatsoever may, or can come to passe upon all (e) supposed conditions; yet hath he not Decreed anything, (f) because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
e Act. 15.18.
f Rom. 126.96.36.199.18.
3. By the decree of God for the manifestation of his glory (g) some men and Angels, are predestinated, or fore-ordained to Eternal Life, through Jesus Christ to the (h) praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their (i) just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.
g 1 Tim. 5.21. Mat. 25.41. h Eph. 1.5,6.
i Rom. 9.22,23. Jud. 4.
4. These Angels and Men thus predest inated, and fore-ordained, are particularly, and unchangeably designed; and their (k) number so certain, and definite, that it cannot be either increased, or diminished.
k 2 Tim. 2.19. Joh. 13.18.
5. Those of mankind (l) that are predestinated to life, God before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret Councel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his meer free grace and love; (m) without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto.
l Eph. 188.8.131.52. Rom. 8.30. 2 Tim. 1.9. 1 Thes. 5.9. m Rom. 9.13.16. Eph. 1.6.12.
6. As God hath appointed the Elect unto glory, so he hath by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, fore-ordained (o) all the means thereunto, wherefore they who are elected, being faln in Adam, (p) are redeemed by Christ, are effectually (q) called unto faith in Christ, by his spirit working in due season, are justifyed, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith (r) unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the Elect (s) only.
o 1 Pet. 1.2. 2 Thes. 2.13. p 1 Thes. 5.9,10.
q Rom. 8.30. 2 Thes. 2.13. r 1 Pet. 1.5.
s Joh. 10.26. Joh. 17.9. Joh. 6.64.
7. The Doctrine of this 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 yeilding obedience thereunto, may from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their (t) eternal election; so shall this doctrine afford matter (u) of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and (x) of humility, diligence, and abundant (y) consolation, to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.
t 1 Thes. 1.4,5. 2 Pet. 1.10. u Eph. 1.6. Rom. 11.33.
x Rom. 11.5,6.
y Luk. 10.20.
CHAP. IV. Of Creation.
1. In the beginning it pleased God the Father, (a) Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of (b) his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to Create or make the world, and all things therein, (c) whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.
a John 1.2,3. Heb. 1.2. Job 26.13 b Rom. 1.20.
c Col. 1.16. Gen 2.1,2.
2. After God had made all other Creatures, he Created (d) man, male and female, with (e) reasonable and immortal souls, rendring them fit unto that life to God; for which they were Created; being (f) made after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holyness; having the Law of God (g) written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was (h) subject to change.
d Gen. 1.27.
e Gen. 2.7.
f Eccles. 7.29. Gen. 1.26.g Rom. 2.14,15.
h Gen. 3.6.
3. Besides the Law written in their hearts, they received (i) 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 (k) over the Creatures.
i Gen. 6.17. & ch. 3.8,9,10. k Gen. 1.26,28.
Of Divine Providence.
1. God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power, and wisdom, doth (a) uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all Creatures, and things, from the greatest even to the (b) 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 Councel of his (c) own will; to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness and mercy.
a Heb. 1.3. Job 38.11. Isa. 46 10,11. Ps. 135.6. b Mat. 10.29,30,31.
c Eph. 1.11.
2. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and Decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass (d) immutably and infallibly; so that there is not any thing, befalls any (e) 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 (f) necessarily, freely, or contingently.
d Act. 2.23. e Pro. 16.33. f Gen. 8.22.
3. God in his ordinary Providence (g) maketh use of means; yet is free (h) to work, without, (i) above, and (k) against them at his pleasure.
g Act. 27.31.44. Isa. 55.10 11. h Hos. 1.7
i Rom. 4.19,20,21.
k Dan. 3.27.
4. The Almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his Providence, that his determinate Councel (l) extendeth it self 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 (m) boundeth, and otherwise ordereth, and governeth, in a manifold dispensation to his most holy (n) 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 (o) approver of sin.
l Rom. 11 32,33.34. 2 Sam. 24 1. 1 Chro. 21.1. m 2 Kings 19.28. Ps. 76.10.
n Gen. 50 20. Isa. 10 6,7.12.
o Ps. 50.21 1 Joh. 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 heart, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption, and deceitfulness of their hearts, (p) 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, (q) and their good.
p 2 Chro. 32.25,26.31. 2 Sam. 24 1. 2 Cor. 12.7,8,9. q Rom. 8.28.
6. As for those wicked and ungodly men, whom God as a righteous judge, for former sin doth (r) blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his (s) Grace, whereby they might have been inlightned in their understanding, and wrought upon in their hearts: But sometimes also withdraweth (t) the gifts which they had, and exposeth them to such (u) objects as their corruptions makes occasion of sin; and withall (x) gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it comes to pass, that they (y) harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softning of others.
r Rom. 184.108.40.206. ch. 11.7,8.
s Deut. 29.4.
t Mat. 13.12.
u Deut. 2.30. 2 King. 8.12,13.
x Psal. 81.11,12. 2 Thes. 2.10,11,12.
y Exod. 8.15.32. Is. 6.9,10. 1 Pet. 2.7,8.
7. As the Providence of God doth in general reach to all Creatures, so after a most special manner it taketh care of his (z) Church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof.
z 1 Tim. 4.10. Amos 9.8.9. Isa. 43.3,4,5.
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, (a) and threatned death upon the breach thereof; yet he did not long abide in this honour; (b) Satan using the subtilty of the serpent to seduce Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who without any compulsion, did wilfully 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 Councel to permit, having purposed to order it, to his own glory.
a Gen. 2.16,17,
b Gen. 3.12,13. 2 Cor. 11 3.
2. Our first Parents by this Sin, fell from their (c) original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them, whereby death came upon all; (d) all becoming dead in Sin, and wholly defiled, (e) in all the faculties, and parts, of soul, and body.
c Rom. 3.23.
d Rom 5.12 & c.
e Tit. 1.15 Gen. 6.5. Jer. 17 9. Rom. 3.10-19.
3. They being the (f) root, and by Gods 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 (g) conceived in Sin, and by nature children (h) of wrath, the servants of Sin, the subjects (i) of death and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus (k) set them free.
f Rom. 5.12-19. 1 Cor. 15.21,22.45.49. g Ps. 51.5. Job 14.4.
h Eph. 2.3.
i Rom. 6.20. & ch. 5.12.
k Heb. 2.14. 1 Thes. 1.10.
4. From this original corruption, whereby we are (l) utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do (m) proceed all actual transgressions.
l Rom. 8.7. Col. 1.21.
m Jam. 1 14,15. Mat. 15.19.
5. The corruption of nature, during this Life, doth (n) remain in those that are regenerated: and although it be through Christ pardoned, and mortified, yet both it self, and the first motions thereof, are truely and properly (o) Sin.
n Rom. 7.18.23. Eccles. 7.20. 1 Joh. 1.8. o Rom. 7.24.25. Gal. 5.17
Of Gods Covenant.
1. The distance between God and the Creature is so great, that although reasonable Creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of Life, but by some (a) voluntary condescension on Gods part, which he hath been pleased to express, by way of Covenant.
a Luk. 17.10. Job 35.7.8.
2. Moreover Man having brought himself (b) 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, (c) Life and Salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them Faith in him, that they may be saved; and (d) promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal Life, his holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.
b Gen. 2.17. Gal. 3.10. Rom. 3.20,21.
c Rom. 8.3. Mark 16.15.16. Joh. 3.16.
d Ezek. 36.26,27. Joh. 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 (e) seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, untill the full (f) discovery thereof was compleated 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 of the posterity of fallen Adam, that ever were (g) saved, did obtain life and a blessed immortality; Man being now utterly uncapable of acceptance with God upon those terms, on which Adam stood in his state of innocency.
e Gen. 3.15.
f Heb. 1.1.
* 2 Tim. 1.9. Tit. 1.2.
g Heb, 11.6.13. Rom. 4.1,2, & c. Act. 4.12. Joh. 8.56.
Of Christ the Mediator.
1. It pleased God in his eternal purpose, to chuse and ordain the Lord Jesus his only begotten Son, according to the Covenant made between them both, (a) to be the Mediator between God and Man; the (b) Prophet, (c) Priest and (d) King; Head and Saviour of his Church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world: Unto whom he did from all Eternity (e) give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
a Is. 42.1. 1 Pet. 1.19,20.
b Act. 3.22.
c Heb. 5.5,6.
d Ps. 2.6, Luk. 1.33 Eph. 1.23 Heb. 1.2. Act. 17.31
e Is. 53.10. Joh. 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 Fathers 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 unto him (f) mans nature, with all the Essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, (g) 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, (h) 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 (i) Christ, the only Mediator between God and Man.
f Joh. 1.1.14. Gal. 4.4.
g Rom. 8.3. Heb. 2.14.16,17. ch. 4.15. h Luk. 1.27,31.35.
i Rom. 9.5. 1 Tim. 2.5.
3. The Lord Jesus in his humane nature thus united to the divine, in the Person of the Son, was sanctified, & anointed (k) with the Holy Spirit, above measure; having in him (l) all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that (m) all fullness should dwell: To the end that being (n) holy, harmless, undefiled, and full (o) of Grace, and Truth, he might be throughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator, and (p) Surety; which office he took not upon himself, but was thereunto (q) called by his Father; who also put (r) all power and judgement in his hand, and gave him Commandement to execute the same.
k Ps. 45.7. Act. 10.38 Joh. 3.34. l Col. 2.3.
m Col. 1.19.
n Heb. 7.26.
o Joh. 1.14.
p Heb. 7.22.
q Heb. 5.5.
r Joh. 5.22.27. Mat. 28.18. Act. 2.36.
4. This office the Lord Jesus did most (s) willingly undertake, which that he might discharge he was made under the Law, (t) and did perfectly fulfill it, and underwent the (u) punishment due to us, which we should have born and suffered, being made (x) Sin and a Curse for us: enduring most grievous sorrows (y) 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 (z) corruption: on the (a) third day he arose from the dead, with the same (b) body in which he suffered; with which he also (c) ascended into heaven: and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, (d) making intercession; and shall (e) return to judge Men and Angels, at the end of the World.
s Ps. 40.7,8. Heb. 10.5-11. Joh. 10.18. t Gal. 4 4. Mat. 3.15.
u Gal. 3.13. Isa. 53.6. 1 Pet. 3.18.
x 2 Cor. 5 21.
y Mat. 26.37,38. Luk. 22.44. Mat. 27.46.
z Act. 13.37.
a 1 Cor. 15.3,4.
b Joh. 20.25.27.
c Mark 16 19. Act. 1.9,10,11.
d Rom. 8.34. Heb. 9.24
e Act. 10.42. Rom. 14.9,10. Act. 1.10. [Note]
5. The Lord Jesus by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the Eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, (f) hath fully satisfied the Justice of God, procured reconciliation, and purchased an Everlasting inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven, (g) for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.
f Heb. 9.14. ch. 10.14. Rom. 3.25,26. g Joh. 17.2. Heb. 9.15.
6. Although the price of Redemption was not actually paid by Christ, till after his Incarnation, (*) yet the vertue, 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 of the Woman, which should bruise the Serpents head; (h) and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World: (i) Being the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
* 1 Cor. 4.10. Heb. 4.2. 1 Pet. 1.10,11. h Rev. 13.8.
i Heb. 13.8.
7. Christ in the work of Mediation acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to it self; yet by reason of the Unity of the Person, that which is proper to one nature, is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the Person (k) denominated by the other nature.
k Joh. 3.13. Act. 20.28.
8. To all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly, and effectually (l) apply, and communicate the same; making intercession for them, uniting them to himself by his spirit, (m) revealing unto them, in and by the word, the mystery of salvation; perswading them to believe, and obey; (n) governing their hearts by his word and spirit, and (o) overcoming all their enemies by his Almighty power, and wisdom; in such manner, and wayes as are most consonant to his wonderful, and (p) unsearchable dispensation; and all of free, and absolute Grace, without any condition foreseen in them, to procure it.
l Joh. 6.37. ch. 10.15.16. & ch. 17.9. Rom. 5.10. m Joh. 17.6, Eph. 1.9. 1 Joh. 5.20.
n Rom. 8.9.14.
o Ps. 110.1. 1 Cor. 15.25,26. p Joh. 3.8 Eph. 1.8.
9. This office of Mediator between God and Man, is proper (q) onely 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 transfer’d from him to any other.
q 1 Tim. 2.5.
10. This number and order of Offices is necessary; for in respect of our (r) ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical Office; and in respect of our alienation from God, (s) 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 o our averseness, and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue, and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his Kingly office, (t) to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his Heavenly Kingdome.
r Joh. 1.18.
s Col. 1.21. Gal. 5.17.
t Joh. 16.8. Ps. 110.3 Luk. 1.74.75.
CHAP. IX. Of Free Will.
1. God hath indued the Will of Man, with that natural liberty, and power of acting upon choice; that it is (a) neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.
a Mat. 17.12. Jam. 1 14. Deut. 30.19.
2. Man in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power, to will, and to do that (b) which was good, and well-pleasing to God; but yet (c) was mutable, so that he might fall from it.
b Eccl. 7.29. c Gen. 3.6
3. Man by his fall into a state of sin hath wholly lost (d) all ability of Will, to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, (e) and dead in Sin, is not able, by his own strength, to (f) convert himself; or to prepare himself thereunto.
d Rom. 5.6. ch. 8.7.
e Eph. 2.1.5.
f Tit. 3 3,4,5. Joh. 6.44.
4. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of Grace (g) he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone, enables him (h) freely to will, and to do
that which is spiritually good; yet so as that by reason of his (i) remaining corruptions he doth not perfectly nor only will that which is good; but doth also will that which is evil.
g Col. 1.13. Joh. 8.36.
h Phil. 2.13.
i Rom. 7.15.18,19 21.23.
5. The Will of Man is made (k) perfectly, and immutably free to good alone, in the state of Glory only.
k Eph. 4.13.
Of Effectual Calling.
1. Those whom God hath predestinated unto Life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, (a) 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 (b) by Jesus Christ; inlightning their minds, spiritually, and savingly to (c) understand the things of God; taking away their (d) heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his Almighty power determining them (e) to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come (f) most freely, being made willing by his Grace.
a Rom. 8.30. Rom. 11.7. Eph. 1.10,11. 2 Thes. 3.13,14.[Note] b Eph. 2.1-6.
c Act. 26.18. Eph. 1.17.18.
d Ezk. 36.26.
e Deut. 30 6. Ezek. 36.27. Eph. 1.19. f Ps. 110.3. Cant. 1.4.
2. This Effectual Call is of God’s free, and special grace alone, (g) not from any thing at all foreseen in man, nor from any power, or agency in the Creature, coworking with his special Grace, (h) the Creature being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickned & 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 (i) power, then that which raised up Christ from the dead.
g 2 Tim. 1.9. Eph. 2.8.
h 1 Cor. 2.14. Eph. 2.5. Joh. 5.25. i Eph. 1.19,20.
3. Elect Infants dying in infancy, are (k) regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and (l) how he pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons, who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the Ministry of the Word.
k Joh. 3.3 5,6.
l Joh. 3.8.
4. Others not elected, although they may be called by the Ministry of the word, (m) and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will, nor can truly (n) come to Christ; and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian Religion (o) 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.
m Mat. 22 14. ch. 13.20,21. Heb. 6.4,5. n John 6.44,45.65. 1 Joh. 2.24,25.
o Act. 4.12. Joh. 4.22. ch. 17.3.
CHAP. XI. Of Justification.
1. Those whom God Effectually calleth, he also freely (a) justifieth, not by infusing Righteousness into them, but by (b) pardoning their sins, and by accounting, and accepting their Persons as (c) Righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone, not by imputing faith it self, the act of beleiving, or any other (d) evangelical obedience to them, as their Righteousness; but by imputing Christs active obedience unto the whole Law, and passive obedience in his death, for their whole and sole Righteousnnss, they (e) receiving, and resting on him, and his Righteousness, by Faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.
a Rom. 3.24. ch. 8.30.
b Rom. 4.5,6,7,8. Eph. 1.7.
c 1 Cor. 1.30,31. Rom. 5.17 18,19. d Phil. 3.8,9. Eph. 2.8,9,10.
e Joh. 1.12. Rom. 5.17.
2. Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ, and his Righteousness, is the (f) 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, (g) but worketh by love.
f Rom. 3.28.
g Gal. 5.6 Jam. 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 (h) to Gods justice in their behalf: yet in asmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his Obedience and Satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both (i) freely, not for any thing in them; their Justification is only of Free Grace, that both the exact justice and rich Grace of God, might be (k) glorified in the Justification of sinners.
h Heb. 10.14. 1 Pet. 1.18,19. Isa. 53.5,6.
i Rom. 8.32. 2 Cor. 5.21.
k Rom. 3.26. Eph. 1 6,7. ch. 2.7.
4. God did from all eternity decreeto (l) justifie all the Elect, and Christ did in the fulness of time die for their sins, and rise (m) again for their Justification; Nevertheless they are not justified personally, untill the Holy Spirit, doth in due time (n) actually apply Christ unto them.
l Gal. 3.8. 1 Pet. 1.2. 1 Tim. 2.6. m Rom. 4.25.
n Col. 1.21;22. Tit. 3.4,5,6,7.
5. God doth continue to (o) Forgive the sins of those that are justified, and although they can never fall from the state of (p) justication; yet they may by their sins fall under Gods (q) Fatherly displeasure; and in that condition, they have not usually the light of his Countenance restored unto them, untill they (r) humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith, and repentance.
o Mat. 6.12. 1 John 1.7.9.
p Joh. 10 28.
q Ps. 89.31,32,33.
r Psal. 32:5. & 51. Mat. 26.75.
6. The Justification of Believers under the Old Testament was in all these respects, (s) one and the same with the justification of Believers under the New Tement.
s Gal. 3.9. Rom. 4.22,23,24.
CHAP. XII. Of Adoption.
1. All those that are justified, God vouchsafed, in, and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the Grace (a) of Adoption; by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the Liberties, and (b) Priveledges of Children of God; have his (c) name put upon them, (d) receive the Spirit of Adoption, (e) have access to the throne of Grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, are (f) pitied, (g) protected, (i) provided for, and (k) chastned by him, as by a Father; yet never (l) cast off; but sealed (m) to the day of Redemption, and inherit the promises, (n) as heirs, of everlasting Salvation.
a Eph. 1.5. Gal. 4.4,5.
b Joh. 1.12 Rom. 8.17
c 2 Cor. 6.18. Rev. 3.12. d Rom. 8.15.
e Gal. 4.6. Eph. 2.18
f Ps. 103.13.
g Prov. 14 26.
i 1 Pet. 5.7.
k Heb. 12.6.
l Is. 54.8,9. Lam. 3.31. m Eph. 4.30.
n Heb. 1.14. ch. 6.12.
CHAP. XIII. 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 vertue of Christ’s death, and Resurrection; are also (a) farther sanctified, really, and personally, through the same vertue, (b) by his word and Spirit dwelling in them; (c) the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, (d) and the several lusts thereof, are more and more weakned, and mortified; and they more and more quickened, and (e) strengthned in all saving graces, to the (f) practice of all true holyness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
a Act. 20.32. Rom. 6.5,6.
b Joh. 17.17. Eph. 3.16,17,18,19. 1 Thes. 5.21,22,23. c Rom. 6.14.
d Gal. 5.24.
e Col 1.11.
f 2 Cor. 7.1. Heb. 12.14.
2. This Sanctification is (g) throughout, in the whole man, yet imperfect (h) in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a (i) continual, and irreconcilable war; the Flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the Flesh.
g 1 Thes. 5.23.
h Rom. 7.18,23.
i Gal. 5.17. 1 Pet. 2.11.
3. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much (k) prevail; yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ the (l) regenerate part doth overcome; and so the Saints grow in Grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, (m) pressing after an heavenly life, in Evangelical Obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King, in his Word hath prescribed to them.
k Rom. 7.23.
l Rom. 6.14.
m Eph. 4.15.16. 2 Cor. 3.18. ch. 7.1.
CHAP. XIV. Of Saving Faith.
1. The Grace of Faith, whereby the Elect are enabled to beleive to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ (a) in their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the Ministry of the (b) Word; by which also, and by the administration of Baptisme, and the Lords Supper, Prayer and other Means appointed of God, it is increased, (c) and strengthned.
a 2 Cor. 4.13. Eph. 2.8.
b Rom. 10 14.17.
c Luk. 17.5. 1 Pet. 2.2. Act. 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, (d) 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 (e) cast his Soul upon the truth thus beleived; and also acteth differently, upon that which each particular, passage thereof containeth; yeilding obedience to the (f) commands, trembling at the (g) threatnings, and embracing the (h) 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 (i) him alone, for Justification, Sanctification, and Eternal Life, by vertue of the Covenant of Grace.
* Act. 24.14.
d Ps. 19.7,8,9,10. Ps. 119.72.
e 2 Tim. 1.12.
f Joh. 15.14.
g Is. 66.2.
h Heb. 11.13.
i Joh. 1.12. Act. 16 31. Gal. 2.20. Act. 15.11.
3. This Faith although it be different in degrees, and may be weak, (k) 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, (l) and common grace of temporary beleivers; and therefore though it may be many times assailed, and weakned; yet it gets (m) the victory; growing up in many, to the attainment of a full (n) assurance through Christ, who is both the Author (o) and finisher of our Faith.
k Heb. 5.13.14. Mat. 6.30 Rom. 4.19 20. l 2 Pet. 1.1.
m Eph. 6.16. 1 Joh. 5.4,5.
n Heb. 6.11,12. Col. 2.2.
o Heb. 12.2.
Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation.
1. Such of the Elect as are converted at riper years, having (a) sometimes lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their Effectual Calling giveth them Repentance unto Life.
a Tit. 3.2,3,4,5.
2. Whereas there is none that doth good, and sinneth (b) 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 Beleivers so sinning, and falling, (c) be renewed through Repentance unto Salvation.
b Eccl. 7.20.
c Luk. 22.31,32.
3. This saving Repentance is an (d) 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; (e) praying for pardon, and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour by supplies of the Spirit, to (f) walk before God unto all well pleasing in all things.
d Zech. 12.10. Act. 11.18. e Ezek. 36.31. 2 Cor. 7.11. f Ps. 119 6. Ps. 119.128.
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 mans duty, to repent of his (g) particular known sins, particularly.
g Luk. 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 (h) damnation; yet there is no sin so great, that it shall bring damnation on them that (i) repent; which makes the constant preaching of Repentance necessary.
h Rom. 6.23.
i Is. 1.16.18. Is. 55.7.
CHAP. XVI. Of Good Works.
1. Good Works are only such as God hath (a) commanded in his Holy word; and not such as without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, (b) or upon any pretence of good intentions.
a Mic. 6.8. Heb. 13 21. b Mat. 15.9. Isa. 29.13.
2. These good works, done in obedience to Gods commandments, are the fruits, and evidences (c) of a true, and lively faith; and by them Believers manifest their (d) thankfullness, strengthen their (e) assurance, edifie their (f) brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries and glorifie (g) God whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus (h) thereunto, that having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end (i) eternal life.
c Jam. 2.18.22.
d Ps. 116.12,13.
e 1 Joh. 2 3.5. 2 Pet. 1.5-11.
f Mat. 5.16.
g 1 Tim. 6.1. 1 Pet. 2.15. Phil. 1.11 h Eph. 2.10.
i Rom. 6.22.
3. Their ability to do good works, is not at all of themselves; but wholly from the Spirit (k) of Christ; and that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is necessary an (l) actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of his good pleasure; yet are they 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 (m) stirring up the Grace of God that is in them.
k Joh. 15.4.6.
l 2 Cor. 3.5. Phil. 2.13.
m 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 superrogate, and to do more then God requires, as that (n) they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.
n Job 9.2 3. Gal. 5.17. Luk. 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 satisfie for the debt of our (o) 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 (p) Spirit, and as they
are wrought by us they are defiled (q) and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they cannot endure the severity of Gods judgement.
o Rom. 3.20. Eph. 2.8,9. Rom. 4.6. p Gal. 5.22,23.
q Isa. 64.6. Ps. 143 2.
6. Yet notwithstanding the persons of Believers being accepted through Christ their good works also are accepted in (r) him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in Gods sight; but that he looking upon them in his Son is pleased to accept and reward that which is (s) sincere although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
r Eph. 1.6. 1 Pet. 2.5.
s Mat. 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 (t) others; yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by (u) faith, nor are done in a right manner according to the (w) word, nor to a right end the (x) glory of God; they are therefore sinful and cannot please God; nor make a man meet to receive grace from (y) God; and yet their neglect of them is more sinful and (z) displeasing to God.
t 2 King. 10.30. 1 King. 21.27,29 u Gen. 4.5. Heb. 11 4.6.
w 1 Cor. 13.1.
x Mat. 6.2.5.
y Amos 5 21,22. Rom. 9.16 Tit. 3.5. z Job 21.14,15. Mat. 25.41,42,43.
Of 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; (a) 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 fastned 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 (b) them, yet he is still the same (c) 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.
a Joh. 10.28,29. Phi. 1.6. 2 Tim. 2.19. 1 Joh. 2.19.
b Psal. 89.31,32. 1 Cor. 11.32. c Mal. 3.6.
2. This perseverance of the Saints depends not upon their own free will; but upon the immutability of the decree of (d) Election flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ (e) and Union with him, the (f) oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit & the (g) seed of God within them, and the nature of the (h) Covenant of Grace from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
d Rom. 8.30. ch. 9.11.16. e Rom. 5.9,10. John 14.19. f Heb. 6.17,18.
g 1 Joh. 3.9.
h 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 (i) sins, and for a time continue therein; whereby they incur (k) Gods displeasure, and grieve his holy Spirit, come to have their graces and (l) comforts impaired have their hearts hardened, and their Consciences wounded, (m) hurt, and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgements (n) upon themselves: yet they shall renew their (o) repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.
i Mat. 26.70,72.74.
k Is. 64.5.9. Eph. 4.30
l Psal. 51.10.12.
m Psa. 32.3,4.
n 2 Sam. 12.14.
o Luk. 22.32. & v. 61 62.
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, (a) which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truely 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 (b) that they are in the state of Grace; and may rejoyce in the hope of the glory of God which hope shall never make them (c) ashamed.
a Job 8.13.14. Mat. 7.22 23.
b 1 Joh. 2.3. ch. 3.14 18,19.21.24. ch. 5.13. c Rom. 5.2.5.
2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural, and probable perswasion, grounded upon (d) a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith founded on the Blood and Righteousness of Christ (e) revealed in the Gospel; and also upon the inward (f) evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which promises are made, and on the testimony of the (g) Spirit of adoption, witnessing with our Spirits that we are the children of God; and as a fruit thereof keeping the heart both (h) humble and holy.
d Heb. 6.11.19.
e Heb. 6.17,18.
f 2 Pet. 1.4,5,10.11. g Rom. 8.15,16.
h 1 Joh. 3 1,2,3.
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 (i) 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 (k) attain thereunto: and therefore it is the duty of every one, to give all diligence to make their 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 chearfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper (l) fruits of this Assurance; so far is it (m) from inclining men to looseness.
i Isa. 50.10. Ps. 88. & Psa. 77.1-12. k 1 Joh. 4 13. Heb. 6.11 12.
l Rom. 5.1,2.5. ch. 14,17. Ps. 119.32. m 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 (n) by negligence in preserving of it, by (o) falling into som special Sin, which woundeth the Conscience, and grieveth the Spirit, by some sudden or (p) vehement temptation, by Gods withdrawing the (q) 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 (r) seed of God, and Life (s) 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 (t) revived: and by the which in the mean time they are (u) preserved from utter despair.
n Cant. 5.2,3.6.
o Ps. 220.127.116.11.
p Psa. 116.11. Ps. 77.7,8. Ps. 31 22. q Ps. 30.7
r 1 Joh. 3.9.
s Luk. 22.32.
t Ps. 42.5.11.
u Lam. 3.26.27-31.
Of the Law of God.
1. God gave to Adam a Law of universal obedience, (a) 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 (b) obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and (c) threatned death upon the breach of it; and indued him with power and ability to keep it.
a Gen. 1.27. Eccl. 7.29. b Rom. 10 5.
c Gal. 3.10.12,
2. The same Law that was first written in the heart of man, (d) continued to be a perfect rule of Righteousness after the fall; & was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in (e) Ten Commandments and written in two Tables; the four first containing our duty towards God, and the other six our duty to man.
d Rom. 2.14,15. e 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, (f) prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions (g) 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, (h) abrogated and taken away.
f Heb. 10.1. Col. 2.17.
g 1 Cor. 5 7.
h 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 vertue of that institution; their general (i) equity onely, being of moral use.
i 1 Cor. 9.8,9,10.
5. The moral Law doth for ever bind all, (k) 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 (l) authority of God the Creator; who gave it: Neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, (m) but much strengthen this obligation.
k Rom. 13 8,9,10. Jam. 2.8.10,11,12 l Jam. 2 10,11.
m Mat. 5.17,18,19. Rom. 3.31.
6. Although true Believers be not under the Law, as a Covenant of Works, (n) 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; (o) discovering also the sinfull 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 Threatnings of it serve to shew what even their Sins deserve; and what afflictions in this Life they may expect for them, although free’d from the Curse and unallayed Rigor thereof. The Promises of it likewise shew them Gods 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 mans doing Good and refraining from Evil, because the Law incourageth to the one and deterreth from the other, is no Evidence of his being (p) under the Law and not under Grace.
n Rom. 6.14. Gal. 2.16. Rom. 8.1. cha. 10.4. o Rom. 3.20. chap. 7.7. & c.
p Rom. 6.12,13,14. 1 Pet. 3.8.-13.
7. Neither are the forementioned uses of the Law (q) contrary to the Grace of the Gospel; but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing (r) and inabling the Will of man, to do that freely and chearfully, which the will of God revealed in the Law, requireth to be done.
q Gal. 3.21. r Eze. 36.27.
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, (a) the Seed of the Woman, as the means of calling the Elect, and begetting in them Faith and Repentance; in this Promise, the (b) Gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and therein Effectual, for the Conversion and Salvation of Sinners.
a Gen. 3.15. b Rev. 13.8.
2. This Promise of Christ, and Salvation by him, is revealed only by (c) the Word of God; neither do the Works of Creation, or Providence, with the light of Nature, (d) 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; (e) should be enabled thereby, to attain saving Faith, or Repentance.
c Rom. 1.17.
d Ro. 10.14,15,17.
e Pro. 29.18. Isa. 25.7. with ch. 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 meerly of the (f) Soveraign Will and good Pleasure of God; not being annexed by vertue of any Promise, to the due improvement of mens natural abilities, by vertue of Common light received, without it; which none ever did (g) make, or can so do: And therefore in all Ages the preaching of the Gospel hath been granted unto persons and Nations, as to the extent, or streightning of it, in great variety, according to the Councell of the Will of God.
f Ps. 147,20. Act. 16.7. g Rom. 1.18, &c.
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, Quickned or Regenerated; there is moreover necessary, an effectual, insuperable (h) 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 (i) their Conversion unto God.
h Ps. 110.3. 1 Cor. 2.14. Eph. 1.19 20. i Joh. 6.44. 2 Cor. 4.4.6.
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 (a) Curse of the Law; and in their being delivered from this present evil (b) World, Bondage to (c) Satan, and Dominion (d) of Sin; from the (e) Evil of Afflictions; the Fear, and Sting (f) of Death, the Victory of the Grave, and (g) Everlasting Damnation; as also in their (h) free access to God; and their yielding Obedience unto him not out of a slavish fear, (i) but a Child-like love, and willing mind.
All which were common also to Believers under the Law (k) for the substance of them; but under the new Testament, the Liberty of Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the 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 (l) Free Spirit of God, then Believers under the Law did ordinarily partake of.
a Gal. 3.13.
b Gal. 1.4.
c Act. 26.18.
d Rom. 8.3.
e Rom. 8.28.
f 1 Cor. 15.54,55,56.57. g 2 Thes. 1.10.
h Rom. 8.15.
i Luk. 1.74,75. 1 Joh. 4 18.
k Gal. 3,9:14.
l Joh. 7.38,39. Heb. 10, 19,20,21.
2. God alone is (m) Lord of the Conscience, and hath left it free from the Doctrines and Commandments of men, (n) 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, (o) is to betray true liberty of Conscience; and the requiring of an (p) implicit Faith, and absolute and blind Obedience, is to destroy Liberty of Conscience, and Reason also.
m Jam. 4.12, Rom. 14.4.
n Act. 4.19 & 5.29. 1 Cor. 7.23. Mat. 15.9: o Col: 2.20 22,23:
p 1 Cor. 3.5: 2 Cor. 1.24.
3. They who upon pretence of Christian Liberty do practice any sin, or cherish any sinfull lust; as they do thereby pervert the main design of the Grace of the Gospel, (q) to their own Destruction; so they wholy destroy (r) 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 Righteousness before him, all the days of our Life.
q Rom. 6.1,2.
r Gal. 5.13. 2 Pet. 2.18.-21.
Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.
1. The light of Nature shews that there is a God, who hath Lordship, and Soveraigntye 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, (a) and with all the Might. But the acceptable way of Worshipping the true God, is (b) instituted by himself; and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be Worshipped according to the imaginations, and devices of Men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or (c) any other way, not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.
a Jer. 10.7. Mar. 12.33. b Deut. 12 32.
c Exo 20.4,5,6.
2. Religious Worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him (d) alone; not to Angels, Saints, or any other (e) Creatures; and since the fall, not without a (f) Mediator, nor in the Mediation of any other but (g) Christ alone.
d Mat. 4.9,10. Joh 6.23. Mat. 28.19. e Rom. 1.25. Col. 2.18. Revel. 19.10.
f Joh. 14.6. g 1 Tim. 2.5.
3. Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special part of natural worship, is by God required of (h) all men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the (i) Name of the Son, by the help (k) of the Spirit, according to (l) his Will; with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others, in a (m) known tongue.
h Psal. 95 1-7. Psal. 65.2. i Joh. 14.13,14.
k Rom. 8.26.
l 1 Joh. 5.14.
m 1 Cor. 14.16,17.
4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, (n) or that shall live hereafter; but not (o) for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned (p) the sin unto death.
n 1 Tim. 2.1,2. 2 Sam. 7.29. o 2 Sam. 12.21,22.23.
p 1 Joh. 5.16.
5. The (q) reading of the Scriptures, Preaching, and (r) hearing the word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs, singing with grace in our Hearts to (s) the Lord; as also the Administration (t) of Baptism, and (u) the Lords 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 (x) with fastings; and thanksgiving upon (y) special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.
q 1 Tim. 4.13.
r 2 Tim. 4.2. Luk. 8.18.
s Col. 3.16. Eph. 5.19
t Mat. 28, 19,20.
u 1 Cor. 11 26.
x Esth. 4.16. Joel. 2.12
y Exo. 15.1. &c. 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 (z) performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped every where in Spirit, and in truth; as in (a) private families (b) daily, and (c) in secret each one by himself, so more solemnly in the publick Assemblies, which are not carelessely, nor wilfuly, to be (d) neglected, or forsaken, when God by his word, or providence calleth thereunto.
z Joh. 4.21. Mal. 1.11. 1 Tim 2.8. a Act. 10.2.
b Mat. 6.11. Ps. 55.17. c Mat. 6.6
d Heb. 10.25. Act. 2.42.
7. As it is of the Law of nature, that in general a proportion of time by Gods appointment, be set a part for the Worship of God; so by his Word in a positive-moral, and perpetual Commandement, binding all men, in all Ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a (e) 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 (f) which is called the Lords 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.
e Exo. 20.8.
f 1 Cor. 16.1,2. Act. 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 (g) rest all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly employment, and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the publick and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties (h) of necessity and mercy.
g Isa. 58.13. Neh 13.15-23. h Mat. 12.1-13.
Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.
1. A lawful Oath is a part of religious worship, (a) wherein the person swearing in Truth, Righteousness, and Judgement, solemnly calleth God to witness what he sweareth; (b) and to judge him according to the Truth or falseness thereof.
a Exo. 20 7. Deut. 10 20. Jer. 4.2. b 2 Cro. 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 (c) abhorred; yet as in matter of weight and moment for confirmation of truth, (d) and ending all strife, an Oath is warranted by the Word of God; so a lawful Oath being imposed, (e) by lawful Authority, in such matters, ought to be taken.
c Mat. 5.34.37. Jam. 5.12 d Heb. 6.16. 2 Cor. 1.23. e Neh. 13.25.
3. Whosoever taketh an Oath warranted by the Word of God, ought duely to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act; and therein to avouch nothing, but what he knoweth to be the truth; for that by rash, false, and vain Oaths the (f) Lord is provoked, and for them this Land mournes.
f Levit. 19.12. Jer. 23.10.
4. An Oath is to be taken in the plain, and (g) common sense of the words; without equivocation, or mental reservation.
g Ps. 24.4.
5. A Vow which is not to be made to any Creature, but to God alone, (h) is to be made and performed with all Religious care, and faithfulness: But Popish Monastical Vows, (i) of perpetual single life, professed (k) poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious, (l) and sinful snares, in which no Christian may intangle himself.
h Psal. 76.11. Gen. 28.20,21 22. i 1 Cor. 7.2.9.
k Eph. 4.28.
l Mat. 19.11.
Of the Civil Magistrate.
1. God the supream Lord, and King of all the World, hath ordained Civil (a) Magistrates to be under him, over the people for his own glory, and the publick good; and to this end hath armed them with the power of the Sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.
a Rom. 13 1,2,3,4.
2. It is lawful for Christians to Accept, and Execute the Office of a Magistrate when called thereunto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain (b) Justice, and Peace, according to the wholsome Laws of each Kingdome, and Commonwealth: so for that end they may lawfully now under the New Testament (c) wage war upon just and necessary occasions.
b 2 Sam. 23.3. Ps. 82.3,4. c Luk. 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 yeilded by us, in the Lord; not only for wrath (d) but for Conscience sake; and we ought to make supplications and prayers for Kings, and all that are in
Authority, (e) that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.
d Rom. 13.5,6,7. 1 Pet. 2.17. e 1 Tim. 2.1,2.
CHAP. XXV. Of Marriage.
1. Marriage is to be between one Man and one Woman; (a) neither is it lawful for any man to have more then one Wife, nor for any Woman to have more then one Husband at the same time.
a Gen. 2.24. Mal. 2 15. Mat. 19.5,6.
2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help (b) of Husband and Wife, (c) for the increase of Man-kind, with a legitimate issue, and for (d) preventing of uncleanness.
b Gen. 2.18.
c Gen 1.28.
d 1 Cor. 7 2,9.
3. It is lawful for (e) all sorts of people to Marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent; yet it is the duty of Christians (f) to marry in the Lord, and therefore such as profess the true Religion, should not Marry with Infidels, (g) or Idolaters; neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are wicked, in their life, or maintain damnable Heresie.
e Heb. 13,4. 1 Tim. 4,3. f 1 Cor. 7.39.
g Neh. 13 25,26,27.
4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity, (h) or Affinity forbidden in the word; nor can such incestuous Marriage ever be made lawful, by any law of Man or consent of parties, (i) so as those persons may live together as Man and Wife.
h Levit. 18.
i Mar. 6.18. 1 Cor. 5.1.
CHAP. XXVI. Of the Church.
1. The Catholick 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 (a) 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.
a Heb. 12.23. Col. 1.18. Eph. 1.10,22.23. & ch. 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 unholyness of conversation, (b) are and may be called visible Saints; (c) and of such ought all particular Congregations to be constituted.
b 1 Cor. 1 2. Act. 11.26.
c Rom. 1.7. Eph. 1.20,21,22.
3. The purest Churches under heaven are subject (d) to mixture, and error; and som have so degenerated as to become (e) no Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a (f) Kingdome in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his Name.
d 1 Cor. 15. Rev. 2. & ch. 3. [Note]
e Rev. 18.2. 2 Thes. 2.11,12.
f Mat. 16.18. Ps. 72.17. & Ps. 102.28. Rev. 12.17.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, in whom by the appointment of the Father, (g) all power for the calling, institution, order, or Government of the Church, is invested in a supream & soveraigne manner, neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is (h) 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.
g Col. 1.18. Mat. 28.18,19.20. Eph. 4.11,12. h 2 Thes. 2.3-9.
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, (i) those that are given unto him by his Father; that they may walk before him in all the (k) ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his Word. Those thus called he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or (l) Churches, for their mutual edification; and the due performance of that publick worship, which he requireth of them in the World.
i Joh 10.16. chap. 12,32.
k Mat. 28.20.
l Mat. 18.15-20.
6. The Members of these Churches are (m) 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 & one to another by the will of God, (n) in professed subjection to the Ordinances of the Gospel.
m Rom. 1.7. 1 Cor. 1.2.
n Act. 2.41,42. ch. 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 (o) power and authority, which is any way needfull, 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.
o Mat. 18.17,18. 1 Cor. 5.4,5. with v.13. 2 Cor. 2.6,7,8.
8. A particular Church gathered, and compleatly 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 (p) Bishops or Elders and Deacons.
p Act. 20:17, with v.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 (q) suffrage of the Church it self; and Solemnly set apart by Fasting and Prayer, with imposition of hands of the (r) Eldership of the Church, if there be any before Constituted therein; And of a Deacon (s) that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by Prayer, and the like Imposition of hands.
q Act. 14.23: See the original. r 1 Tim. 4.14.
s Act. 18.104.22.168.
10. The work of Pastors being constantly to attend the Service of Christ, in his Churches, in the Ministry of the Word, and Prayer, (t) 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, (u) 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 (x) entangled in Secular Affairs; and may also be capable of exercising (y) Hospitality toward others; and this is required by the (z) 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.
t Act. 6.4. Heb. 13.17:
u 1 Tim. 5.17,18. Gal. 6.6,7. x 2 Tim. 2.4.
y 1 Tim. 3.2.
z 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 (a) gifted, and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.
a Act. 11.19,20,21. 1 Pet. 4.10.11.
12. As all Believers are bound to joyn themselves to particular Churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; So all that are admitted unto the priviledges of a Church, are also (b) under the Censures and Government thereof, according to the Rule of Christ.
b 1 Thes. 5.14. 2 Thes 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, (c) in the further proceeding of the Church.
c Mat. 18.15.16,17. Eph. 4 2,3.
14. As each Church, and all the Members of it are bound to (d) pray continually, for the good and prosperity of all the Churches of Christ, in all places; and upon all occasions to further it (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 injoy opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold (e) communion amongst themselves for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.
d Eph. 6.18. Ps. 122.6.
e Rom. 16.1,2. 3 Joh. 8,9,10.
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, (f) 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 entrusted 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 (g) to impose their determination on the Churches, or Officers.
f Act. 15.2,4,6. & 22,23.25. g 2 Cor. 1.24. 1 Joh. 4.1
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 (a) fellowship in his Graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and being united to one another in love, they (b) have communion in each others gifts, and graces; and are obliged to the performance of such duties, publick and private, in an orderly way, (c) as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.
a 1 Joh. 1.3. Joh. 1.16. Phil. 3 10 Rom. 6.5 6.
b Eph. 4.15.16. 1 Cor. 12.7. 1 Cor. 3 21,22,23.
c 1 Thes. 5.11.14. Rom. 1.12. 1 Joh. 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, (d) as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in (e) 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 relations wherein they stand, whether in (f) families, or (g) Churches; yet as God offereth opportunity is to be extended to all the houshold 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 (h) infringe, the title or propriety, which each man hath in his goods and possessions.
d Heb. 10 24,25. with ch. 3.12,13. e Act. 12.29.30. [Note]
f Eph. 6.4.
g 1 Cor. 12.14.-27.
h Act. 5.4 Eph. 4.28
Of Baptism and the Lords Supper.
1. Baptism and the Lords Supper are ordinances of positive, and soveraign institution; appointed by the Lord Jesus the only Law-giver, to be continued in his Church (a) to the end of the world.
a Mat. 28 19,20. 1 Cor. 11.26.
2, These holy appointments are to be administred by those only, who are qualified and thereunto called according (b) to the commission of Christ.
b Mat. 28.19. 1 Cor. 4.1.
CHAP. XXIX. 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, (c) and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of (d) remission of sins; and of his (e) giving up unto God through Jesus Christ to live and walk in newness of Life.
c Rom. 6.3,4,5. Col. 2.12. Gal. 3.27. d Mar. 1.4. Act. 26.16. [Note]
e Rom, 6.2,4.
2. Those who do actually professe (f) repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience, to our Lord Jesus, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.
f Mar. 16.16. Act. 8.36,37.
3. The outward element to be used in this ordinance (g) is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
g Mat 28.19,20. with Act. 8.38.
4. Immersion, or dipping of the person (h) in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance.
h Mat. 3.16. Joh. 3 23.
Of the Lords 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 (a) confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further ingagement in, and to, all duties which they owe unto him; (b) and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.
a 1 Cor. 11.23,24.25,26. b 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 (c) one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the crosse, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all (d) possible praise unto God for the same; so that the Popish sacrifice of the Mass (as they call it) is most abominable, injurious to Christs own only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the Elect.
c Heb. 9.25,26.28.
d 1 Cor. 11.24. Mat. 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 an holy use, and to take and break the Bread; to take the Cup, (e) and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the Communicants.
e 1 Cor. 11.23,24,25,26, &c
4. The denyal of the Cup to the people, worshiping the Elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any pretended religious use, (f) are all contrary to the nature of this Ordinance, and to the institution of Christ.
f Mat 26.26,27,28. Mat. 15.9. Exod. 20.4,5.
5. The outward Elements in this Ordinance, duely set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truely, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to wit the (g) body and Blood of Christ; albeit in substance, and nature, they still remain truly, and only (h) Bread, and Wine, as they were before.
g 1 Cor. 11.27.
h 1 Cor. 11.26. & v.28.
6. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of Bread and Wine, into the substance of Christs body and blood (commonly called Transubstantiation) by consecration of a Priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture (i) alone, but even to common sense and reason; overthroweth the (k) nature of the ordinance, and hath been and is the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross Idolatries.
i Act. 3.21. Luk. 24.6. & v.39. k 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 (l) & 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.
l 1 Cor. 10.16. ch. 11.23-26.
8. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion (m) with Christ; so are they unworthy of the Lords Table; and cannot without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, (n) or be admitted thereunto: yea whosoever shall
receive unworthily are guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgement to themselves.
m 2 Cor: 6,14,15.
n 1 Cor. 11.29. Mat. 7.6.
Of the State of Man after Death and of the Resurrection of the Dead.
1. The Bodies of Men after Death return to dust, (a) and see corruption; but their Souls (which neither die nor sleep) having an immortal subsistence, immediately (b) return to God who gave them: the Souls of the Righteous being then made perfect in holyness, are received into paradise where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God, in light (c) 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 (d) the judgement of the great day; besides these two places for Souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
a Gen. 3.19. Act. 13.36.
b Eccles. 12.7.
c Luk. 23.43. 2 Cor. 5.1,6,8. Phil. 1.23 Heb. 12.23. d Jud. 6 7. 1 Pet. 3.19. Luk. 16.23,24.
2. At the last day such of the Saints as are found alive shall not sleep but be (e) changed; and all the dead shall be raised up with the self same bodies, and (f) none other; although with different (g) qualities, which shall be united again to their Souls for ever.
e 1 Cor. 15: 51,52. 1 Thes. 4.17. f Job 19.26,27.
g 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, (h) and be made conformable to his own glorious Body.
h Act. 24.15. Joh. 5.28,29. Phil. 3.21
Of the Last Judgement.
1. God hath appointed a Day wherein he will judge the world in Righteousness, by (a) Jesus Christ; to whom all power and judgement is given of the Father; in which Day not only the (b) Apostate Angels shall be judged; but likewise all persons that have lived upon the Earth, shall appear before the Tribunal of Christ; (c) 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.
a Act. 17.31. Joh. 5.22. 27. b 1 Cor. 6 3. Jud. 6.
c 2 Cor. 5.10. Eccles. 12 14. Mat. 12.36. Rom. 14.10.12. Mat. 25: 32. &c.
2. The end of Gods appointing this Day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his Mercy, in the Eternal Salvation of the Elect; (d) 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 reward, in the presence (e) of the Lord: but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into Eternal torments, and (f) punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
d Rom, 9.22,23.
e Mat. 25.21. 34. 2 Tim. 4.8.
f Mat. 25.46. Mar. 9 48. 2 Thes. 1.7,8,9,10.
3. As Christ would have us to be certainly perswaded that there shall be a Day of judgement, both (g) to deter all men from sin, and for the greater (h) consolation of the godly, in their adversity; so will he have that day unknown to Men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour, the (i) Lord will come; and may ever be prepared to say, (k) Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly, Amen.
g 2 Cor. 5.10,11.
h 2 Thes. 1.5,6,7.
i Mar. 13.35,36,37 Luk. 13.35,36. [Note] k Rev. 22 20.
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000
I. The Scriptures
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
A. God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.
B. God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
C. God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.
B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.
V. God’s Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.
VI. The Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.
VII. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.
VIII. The Lord’s Day
The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.
IX. The Kingdom
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.
Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.
X. Last Things
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
XI. Evangelism and Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.
Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ’s people.
In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.
Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.
Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.
Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.
XV. The Christian and the Social Order
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.
Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.
XVI. Peace and War
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.
The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.
XVII. Religious Liberty
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.
XVIII. The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.