Having not been able to complete the scheduled Bible study for the mid-week service, I threw together some notes on the ninth chapter of Romans. It is not often I go ‘old school’ by scribbling on the nearest blank piece of paper. After teaching the study, I proceeded to broaden my notes for future reference. As the notes set forth a statement on High-Calvinism, I’ve chosen to include them with the online resources of the AHB. There are two sets of notes—the handwritten scribble is what I used in the pulpit (I haven’t bothered typing them out); the typed notes are what I jotted down after teaching the study.
I have selected the seventh chapter, Of God’s Covenant, to demonstrate why I do not subscribe to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. First, it fails to adequately explain the purpose of a covenant; Second, it makes the gracious covenant subservient to the fall of man; Third, it makes the gracious covenant a free offer to sinners; Fourth, it makes the gracious covenant conditional on the sinner’s faith; Fifth, it implies the gracious covenant is different from the gospel; Sixth, it implies the gracious covenant is different from the eternal covenant; Seventh, it fails to highlight the distinct roles assumed by the Triune Jehovah in the gracious covenant. Henceforth, I believe this statement falls short of giving a concise and accurate account of God’s covenant.
Now, lest I be charged with departing from the orthodox faith, it should be understood…
I. The Attributes of God.
The attributes of God are distinguished by Theologians under a variety of classifications.
Distinctions are sometimes made between the “negative” and “positive” attributes. The Negative Attributes are such as remove from God whatever is imperfect in creatures—since God is not finite, mutable and mortal, so He is infinite, immutable and immortal. The Positive, or Affirmative Attributes, are such as assert a perfection in God, which is in and of Himself—if these attributes are in any measure true of the creatures, such as wisdom, goodness, justice, holiness, &c., they are derived from God. Some discard this classification of attributes, for though it is easier to say what God is not, than what He is, yet in all negative attributes, some positive excellency is found.
Another arrangement is to distribute the attributes into a “twofold order”—the first and second. The essential properties of the “first order”, declare the essence of God as in Himself, such as His simplicity, perfection, infinity and immutability. These perfections are not found in the creatures. The essential properties of the “second order”, declare the essence of God as in Himself, but are also found in the creatures, such as life, immortality…
I. The Infinity of God.
The infinity of God is the next attribute to be considered. To say that God is infinite, means that He is unbounded and unlimited, unmeasurable or immense, unsearchable and incomprehensible. These are appropriate titles and epithets of the Godhead. (1) God is Immense. This means that Jehovah is unmeasurable—He measures all things, but is measured by none. Who can take His dimensions? They are “as high as heaven, what canst thou do? Deeper than hell, what canst thou know?” If the heavens above cannot be measured, and the foundations of the earth beneath cannot be searched out, how should He be measured or searched out to perfection that made all these? (Job 11:7-9; Jer 31:37) As there is an height, a depth, a length and breadth in the love of God, immeasurable (Eph 3:18), so there is in every attribute of God, and consequently in His nature. (2) God is Incomprehensible. As the immensity of Jehovah is His magnitude, and of His “greatness” it is said, that it is “unsearchable” (Ps 145:3), so upon the whole, He must be incomprehensible. The incomprehensibility of God is…
1. What is the work of providence?
2. Does God work all things together for good in the life of His people?
3. What is the work of grace?
4. In what way does Jehovah love a remnant of the human race?
5. Can the purpose and design of God be hindered or prevented?
1. How did God create man?
2. What gives man the capacity to have a relationship with God?
3. What gives man the authority to have a relationship with God?
4. What are the terms and promises of the covenant of works?
5. With whom did God enter this covenant of works?
1. What are God’s works of grace?
2. What is meant by a covenant of grace?
3. On whom did the conditions of the covenant of grace fall?
4. Are there any conditions the sinner must meet in order to become a partaker of salvation?
5. What is the nature of faith in connection with salvation?
1. Who is God the Father?
2. What role does God the Father assume in the covenant of grace?
3. When did God the Father set apart a remnant of the human race as special objects of His love?
4. Why did God the Father design the human race to be brought under the curse of the law?
5. How did God the Father secure salvation for the special objects of His love?
1. Who is God the Son?
2. What role does God the Son assume in the covenant of grace?
3. What is the incarnation of Christ?
4. How was Jesus not conceived in sin?
5. Did Jesus commit sin at any point in His life?
The Triune God.
The glorious, yet incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity is to be seen in every Book of Scripture. The earliest writers, after the Apostolic age, when they propose to give a summary of the faith, proceed no farther than the doctrine of the Trinity. Athanasius, for instance, says: “The whole sum and body of our faith is comprised in the words “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,”—not mere characters and offices or mere names and titles, but expressive of…