What crowd was John the Baptist preaching repentance to?

John 1: 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ 31 I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with[w] water so He might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I watched the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He rested on Him. 33 I didn’t know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One you see the Spirit descending and resting on—He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God!”

Luke 3: 3 John went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins….7 He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 9 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. 11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” 14 Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages.”

15 Now the people were waiting expectantly, and all of them were debating in their minds whether John might be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but One is coming who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

We could ask what John the Baptist was preaching. What was his doctrine, the content of his preaching?

Was John the Baptist preaching that there is eternal life in hell because the fire there in unquenchable and therefore does not consume and therefore the dying never die but are tortured instead?

Was John the Baptist preaching the Marrow, that Jesus was going to be “dead for you” and wanted the non-elect to be saved, and therefore was going to die to make salvation “available” for the non-elect, and so it would be their fault if they had to live in hell forever because Jesus wanted to be their Savior also?

Was John the baptist preaching repentance without faith? or what he repenting repentance before faith? Was he preaching that you needed to know the law before the gospel, so that you would first see your need and repent, and if you get to that point, then everything is easy because everybody already knows who Jesus is and knows that Jesus loves them and died for them and wants to save them?

Was John the Baptist saying to repent of certain wrong ideas about doctrine and the gospel, or was John the Baptist preaching that to repent of being so selfish and so sinful, so that you will be enabled by the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit which will be the evidence that you have believed the gospel (which everybody knows already, but the proof is in if you believe it, and if you can prove by your life that you believe it)

Was John the Baptist preaching that walking in the light is not sinning so much that you need to hide it, and instead to be changed enough so that you become the light to prove that you believe the gospel and others should believe also?

But before I ask what John the Baptist was preaching, I want to know if he was preaching to the church, or to those outside the church. Did John the Baptist have a para-church ministry or did John the Baptist “administer the sacraments”.

Yes, I know John the Baptist was not preaching in the temple or in the synagogue. But was John the Baptist preaching to those “in the covenant”? Weren’t all the people John the Baptist was preaching to already circumcised? So doesn’t that mean that John the Baptist was still preaching to “the church”?

We are told by (some) paedobaptists that parents can’t properly raise their children unless those children are “in the covenant”, because they say that the commands of God are only for those “in the covenant”– God will be their God, only for them and only to them can the law and gospel be preached and the sacraments adminstered (water because they are in the covenant, but not bread and cup yet even though they are in the covenant).

So why did John the Baptist address the tax-collectors and the Roman occupation soldiers? Were some of these taxpayers and foreign military folks “in the covenant”, born Jewish or circumcised? Is it really true that John the Baptist was preaching to the church and only to those in the covenant.

I know things have changed today, because now collecting taxes can be a Christian vocation if you have read enough to have a Reformed worldview. And also now, Christians can and should defend their countries and occupy other countries, even if it means killing other Christians. No problems there! But let’s talk about John the Baptist. Wasn’t he a minister of “the church” who was preaching to those in the covenant? if you don’t think so, then maybe you are a dispensationalist who thinks that God changes and that the gospel changes and that the covenants change. Surely if there is only one church in history, and John the Baptist was preaching the truth, then surely John the Baptist was a ruling and preaching elder in that one church, and his water baptism was the replacement and fulfillment of physical circumcision.

But here’s the question. Were all the people John the Baptist watered already circumcised? We know Jesus Christ was circumcised. But were those tax collectors and Roman soldiers watered? And were they all circumcised before they were watered?

Since we know that water is not a repeat or a substitute instead of circumcision, and since we know that water is the fulfillment of circumcision, is the water of John the Baptist valid for those who have not been circumcised? But if there are two water baptisms, and the water of John the Baptist is not the same as the water of the one church, it begins to look like John the Baptist was not talking to the “one unchanging church”.

Acts 19— While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? “No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 “Then what baptism were you baptized with?” he asked them.“With John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Physical circumcision in part does signify “heart circumcision” in Romans 2 (along with other things signified, the seed and the seed for Abraham, the land). But physical circumcision also refers to “the righteousness” in Genesis, Romans 4, and in Galatians 2. And this righteousness signified is NOT “heart circumcision” but rather “the obedience of Christ even to death, which is the “righteousness revealed in the gospel” (Romans 1) Physical circumcision is about the bloody death of Abraham’s seed, Christ.

Question—is your “heart circumcision” the “righteousness of another”, because it’s God’s righteousness in you, infused and imparted to you? If so, you repeat the error of Osiander, and confuse the new birth with divine righteousness in you, instead of the righteousness obtained once for all time by Christ’s death. If the righteousness is in you, I don’t care if you call it divine, it’s not the righteousness of another.

Physical circumcision does not signify a “surgical separation” from your old immoral nature, because the “body of death” and “the old man” are not your old nature. Being placed into Christ’s death (non-water baptism by God into Christ’s death) is “surgical separation” from Adam’s body of guilt, a passing from death to life, with the result that one is no longer part of the “old man” but legally part of the “new man”.

Physical circumcision does not only signify regeneration, because regeneration is not justification, and physical circumcision also points to righteousness imputed, and this to justification. Justification means no longer being under the law (first, to be circumcised, and then all the rest of the law) but in Christ under grace.

Acts 21: 19 After greeting them, he related in detail what God did among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 When they heard it, they glorified God and said, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law. 21 But they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, by telling them NOT TO CIRCUMCISE THEIR CHILDREN or to walk in our customs.

It was a false report. Paul’s letter to the Galatians did not say, Stop circumcision because it has been replaced by water baptism.

Acts 21: 26 Then the next day, Paul took the men, having purified himself along with them, and entered the temple, announcing the completion of the purification days when the offering for each of them would be made. 27 As the seven days were about to end, the Jews from Asia saw him in the temple complex, stirred up the whole crowd, and seized him, 28 shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place. What’s more, he also brought Greeks into the temple

In Acts 23, Paul does not say, “By mistake I made a compromise by doing that circumcision thing back in Acts 21, but rather “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience until this day.”

Sarcasm—But maybe Paul wasn’t talking ONLY (sola, merely,alone) about having his conscience cleansed by the blood, and not being under the law because of Christ’s death, not to deny that, surely Paul was against “cheap grace assurance” and every day proved to himself (and others) by his living that he was a real believer.

Mark Jones—The Marrow Men ended up fighting a battle in order to defend the Auchterarder Creed.—-“It is not sound and orthodox to teach that we must forsake sin in order to our coming to Christ.” … Witsius, the so-called “middle-man” in the Antinomian-Neonomian debates that emerged in the latter part of the seventeenth century, asks whether repentance precedes the remission of sins. Does sorrow for sin precede justification as a disposing condition, prerequisite in the subject? An awakened sinner will, in his experience, have a previous (or, concomitant/accompanying) hatred for sin and purpose of a new life before receiving Christ.

Godly repentance can come only in light of the Gospel wherein Christ and His righteousness is revealed as the only difference between saved and lost This godly repentance includes new knowledge concerning the character of God (Who He is) and concerning the one and only reason God is just in justifying the ungodly elect. This godly contrition is a change of mind concerning our best religious efforts to remove the guilt and defilement of sin, our old efforts to recommend ourselves to God, our deeds motivated in the interests of attaining, maintaining, and entitling us to salvation.

The Apostle Paul illustrates this clearly in Philippians 3:3-10. In true Gospel repentance a sinner comes to see and trust that Christ’s righteousness alone entitles him to all of salvation, including the subjective work of the Spirit, BEFORE he makes any efforts to obey God and persevere. The godly contrite come to see that before faith in the true gospel, their best efforts at obedience, all that they highly esteemed and thought was profitable in recommending him unto God, is no more than “dung” (Philippians 3:7-8) in contrast with Christ’s obedience to death.

What they before thought was pleasing unto God and works of the Spirit, the repentant person now sees as “flesh” (Philippians 3:3-4). What they once highly esteemed, they are now ashamed of(Romans 6:21) and now, in light of the Gospel, counts it as fruit unto death, DEAD WORKS, and evil deeds.
The contrite person now sees that before believing that Christ’s righteousness alone entitled them to all of salvation, their thoughts of God were all wrong. In repentance, the contrite person turns from that old “give up enough of your sins to prove that you believed” idol to serve the true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

This kind of true godly contrition can only come in light of the Gospel as it takes this light to expose the sin that deceives us all by nature (John 3:19-20). Before we hear and believe the Gospel we are all deceived by sin (Romans 7:11). The sin that deceives us all by nature is not our immorality, but trusting in our trusting and contrition. We must repent of our old evil repentance.

“Without the knowledge of our sinfulness and misery, we cannot hear the gospel with profit; for unless, by the preaching of the law as touching sin and the wrath of God, a preparation be made for the proclamation of grace, a carnal security follows, and our consolation becomes unstable. Sure consolation cannot stand accompanying carnal security. Hence, it is manifest that we must, after the example of the Prophets and Apostles, start with the preaching of the law that men may thus be cast down from the conceit of their own righteousness and may obtain a knowledge of themselves and be led to true repentance. Unless this be done, men will become, through the preaching of grace, more careless and obstinate and pearls will be cast before swine to be trodden under foot.” Zacharias Ursinus, Body of Orthodox Doctrine…, on Heidelberg Catechism 2.

Explore posts in the same categories: repentance

Tags: , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

22 Comments on “What crowd was John the Baptist preaching repentance to?”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    John’s worldview made it seem like people had to leave temple and synagogue to get a repeat on their circumcision.


  2. markmcculley Says:

    the short version of Galatians—-if you have been circumcised, you don’t need John’s water baptism or any other water baptism. If you have not been circumcised, then you need water. Infant water baptism has come in the place of circumcision, and if you missed it, too bad, because infant baptism is best at showing that grace is sovereign, but some pagans slip through the cracks in the second generation, and if that has happened to you, we can baptize you with water after you are effectually called but that’s second best and makes it looks like you believe in free will. No more physical circumcision. End of Galatians. None of that other nasty castration stuff about “let the knife slip”… God is still your God and your children’s God and promises them all salvation.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Who water baptized John the Baptist?

    A. John the Baptist did not need to be water baptized because he jumped in the womb which proves that he was born without original sin.

    B. Somebody must have water baptized John the Baptist because he taught a baptism of repentance for those who had already been circumcised, and John the Baptist was circumcised.

    C. Even though we can talk about a distinction between the visible and the invisible, or between the external and internal, why should we have to choose between water and the Spirit (Fesko, p 241, baptism as covenant judgment), therefore the water baptism of John was about the Holy Spirit, and therefore baptism by Jesus and by the church is about both the water and about the Spirit, but not about legal identity with Christ’s death or about justification.

    D. Since there is one gospel only, there is only one church, and therefore the baptism by John is not water only and the baptism by Jesus is not with the Spirit only.

    E. Since the church baptize with water but the water has a “sacramental union” so that there is union between the sign and the thing signified, then we know that it’s not Jesus who baptized with the Holy Spirit, but rather that the Holy Spirit “baptizes us into Christ” and so we know that water baptism is not about Christ’s death or righteousness but about the Spirit uniting us to Christ’s righteousness.

    (Fesko, 322, it is unnecessary to choose between water baptism and Spirit baptism, but it is necessary to say that Spirit baptism is not God’s imputation, and not Christ’s giving the Spirit, because the Confession teaches us that Spirit baptism is the Spirit giving us Christ by uniting us to Christ by faith).

    F. Any or all of the above, since we are not arguing from silence in any of this but basing it on the fact that John the Baptist jumped in his mom’s womb.

    • markmcculley Says:

      John Fesko—Even though we can talk about a distinction between the visible and the invisible, or between the external and internal, why should we have to choose between water and the Spirit (Word, Water and Spirit, p 241, baptism as covenant judgment)
      mark—They don’t say “water baptism”, because the Bible does not say “water baptism”, but then they add that “baptism” in the Bible is always water and that there is a “sacramental union” between water as the sign and the “efficacy” as the thing signified.
      And then almost all of them say that the water baptism of John was about the Holy Spirit, and therefore baptism by Jesus and by the church is about both the water and about the Spirit, but NOT about legal identity with Christ’s death or about justification.
      And then they explain there is one gospel only, there is only one church, and therefore the baptism by John is not water only and the baptism by Jesus is not with the Spirit only
      And in this way they know that it’s not Jesus who baptized with the Holy Spirit, but rather that the Holy Spirit “baptizes us into Christ” and so we know that water baptism is not about Christ’s death or righteousness but about the Spirit uniting us to Christ’s righteousness .
      John Fesko, 322— “It is unnecessary to choose between water baptism and Spirit baptism”
      And then Fesko on the same page ( 322) finds it necessary to say that Spirit baptism is not God’s imputation, and also Fesko explains that baptism (both water nd by the Spirit) is NOT Christ’s giving the Spirit, because the Confession teaches us that Spirit baptism is the Spirit giving us Christ by uniting us to Christ by faith.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Is circumcision law or grace? If circumcision is both law and grace, is the “covenant grace” of circumcision necessary for the demands of law? ( Were the nations outside the Abrahamic covenant not under law?) If the “covenant grace” of circumcision results in increased sanctions for Ishmael, is God’s grace ineffectual, and ultimately conditioned on the sinner? My concerns are not ultimately about the subjects of water.

    We are all born condemned in Adam, and that it’s not rejection of the gospel which condemns us. According to John 3:17-21, those who do not believe the gospel remain in the condemnation in which they were born, for there is no other “offering” for sins but that one and only sacrificial death of Christ for sinners.

    Simply put, Christ did not die in order to make it just for God to condemn sinners. Many sinners never hear the gospel, and all of these sinners are under the wrath of God. We must not turn the gospel into the law. We need to say straight out that the Abrahamic covenant has “law parts”. I certainly acknowledge that circumcision is not only a matter of law, but is also (even mainly) about the “cutting off of the flesh”. (the death of Christ– I think, not regeneration)

    Does the gospel “bring condemnation”? Or is condemnation already here, so that we need to be saved from condemnation? Is it the gospel which kills and makes alive? Or is the law which kills? Or is the “killing which results in making alive” something different than the killing condemnation of the law?

    I agree with Machen that the death which saves (Galatians 2) is not our experience of condemnation by the law but Christ’s satisfaction of law by death and God’s legal placing of us into that. To know and believe the gospel is to finally fear God and to know what God’s law demands.

    The man who does the law, shall live by the law.
    That is not the gospel.





  5. markmcculley Says:

    David Kingdon’s essay


    Marcel—In reality the silence of the New Testament regarding the baptism of infants militates in favor of, rather than against, this practice. To overthrow completely notions so vital, pressed for more than two thousand years on the soul of the people, to withdraw from children the sacrament of admission into the covenant, the Apostolic Church ought to have received from the Lord an explicit prohibition, so revolutionary in itself, that a record of it would have been preserved in the New Testament.

    John calls out a remnant people for the Lord.

    According to John, descent from Abraham and status as members of the community, were of no avail unless there was genuine repentance issuing in real moral fruit in one’s life (vv. 8-9). Not only may God narrow Israel down to a remnant–as He did more than once in the course of Israel’s history–but He may also raise up true children of Israel from “these stones.”

    John’s water baptism, then, was for a remnant–the water baptism of a people from within the nation of Israel, who were preparing the way for the Lord (Mark 1:2-3). And the water baptism that Jesus permitted his disciples to administer (John 4:2) seems to have had much the same significance (John 3:22-26).

    Spurgeon– Whether eight days old in grace, or more or less, everyone of Abraham’s seed has a right to water Baptism, but I deny that the unregenerate whether children or adults are the spiritual seed of Abraham

    Kingdom—Spurgeon’s reply is a response to an agenda set by Reformed paedobaptists and it allows them to skip over the ministry of the Baptist as if it had no significance for the on-going debate about the subjects of water baptism.

    John’s baptism is an innovation When, in the temple courts the chief priests and elders question Jesus’ right to cleanse the temple (Matthew 21:12-13), asking him “By what authority are you doing these things?” and “Who gave you this authority?” His counter question puts them on the spot. Jesus replied, “I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism–where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?” (vv. 23-25).

    John’s water baptism is NOT an ancient rite with its roots in Jewish lustrations. It is not proselyte water baptism, assuming that it was being practiced at the time. John’s water baptism is administered to Jews, not to Gentile converts to Judaism, as proselyte baptism was. John’s water baptism of repentance is a radical innovation instituted on his own (derived) authority as a prophet sent by God. It marks a new development in the unfolding history of redemption, for John water baptizes Jews who are willing to enter God’s remnant people through a water baptism of repentance.

    In the dispute in the temple courts Jesus links his work with that of John the Baptist—they both act upon the same authority.

    John water baptizes already circumcised people. In water baptizing people who had already been circumcised, John does not see water baptism as replacing circumcision, but as being a new ritual that comes in alongside it.

    A water baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:5), not circumcision, is the appropriate sign of the remnant called out through the preaching of the Baptist.

    It is NOT surprising that in the early church Jewish believers practiced circumcision and administered water baptism. There is not a hint in the New Testament that Jewish believers ceased to have their male children circumcised. Indeed, the evidence is that even Paul, who so strongly resisted any attempt to impose circumcision upon Gentile believers, agreed that it should continue among his fellow Jewish believers. Acts 21:21 mentions a false report about Paul.

    The false report said that Paul was teaching “all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to run away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs.” At the suggestion of James and the elders of the Jerusalem church, Paul publicly demonstrated the falsity of the report by joining in the purification rites of four men.

    John did not water baptize infants.. His water baptism is administered to those who confess their sins. By its very nature as the identifying sign of a people turned again to God–a remnant people–it requires repentance. It is a water “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4).

    William Hendriksen, a paedobaptist, comments on John’s water baptism, “Without confession of sins no water baptism! For those who truthfully repented of their evil state and wicked conduct water aptism…was a visible sign.”

    William Hendriksen, Matthew, in New Testament Commentary, (Banner of Truth, Edinburgh, 1974), 200.

    Francis Turretin —: “John admitted none to water baptism but those who confessed their sins; because his business was to water baptize adults.

    Francis Turretin, Institutes of Thelogy, Section IV, question 22, quoted T. E. Watson, Baptism not for Infants,

    To go on maintaining that it is possible to make a simple move from the circumcision of infant males to the water baptism of infants is to ignore the significance of the ministry of the Baptist.

    it is not helpful for paedobaptists to argue for infant water baptism as if John the Baptist never existed.

    In water baptizing only those capable of confessing their sins, John clearly abandons the principle of you and your seed (Genesis 17:10). Furthermore our Lord, in endorsing John’s water baptism, clearly did the same.

    Paedobaptists could argue that in the case of his repentance water baptism the principle (of “thee and thy seed”) does not apply. They would then need to show why the principle should not apply to Christian water baptism which is also, among other things, a repentance water baptism (e.g. Acts 2:38).

    The silence of the record of John’s ministry as to the water baptizing of infants is a far better explanation of the silence of the New Testament about infant water baptism (than explaining the silence in Galatains about “infant water has replaced circumcision” by the absence of a clear command in the New Testament rescinding the giving of the sign of the —Abrahamic and Mosaic— old covenant to infants )

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Since there is one gospel only, there is only one church. And since there is one gospel only, there is only one covenant of grace, with different administrations, and therefore there is only one baptism, therefore baptism is circumcision, and therefore water is only another “form” of the same “essential” thing as circumcision, and therefore baptism by John is not water only and the baptism by Jesus is not with the Spirit only, and therefore the one baptism is water baptism and therefore water baptism is Spirit baptism. But Spirit baptism is not Christ giving the Spirit without water, because there is only one baptism, and it’s the one where the Spirit unites us to Christ and gives us Christ. yes, such an argument could be made, and such a conclusion is often assumed, even without argument. But it’s a bad argument and a false conclusion. https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/sacramental-union-and-communion-with-christ

  7. markmcculley Says:

    John 10 :40 So Jesus departed again across the Jordan to the place where John had been water baptizing earlier, and Jesus remained there. 41 Many came to Jesus and said, “John never did a sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in Jesus there.
    let the miracles begin!
    Luke 3: 21 When all the people were water baptized, Jesus also was water baptized. As He was praying, heaven opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven:
    You are My beloved Son.
    I take delight in You!
    Luke 7: 20 When the men reached Him, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask You, ‘Are You the One who is to come, or should we look for someone else?’” 21 At that time Jesus healed many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits,and He granted sight to many blind people. 22 He replied to them, “Go and report to John the things you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news. 23 And anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed.” 24 After John’s messengers left, He began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft robes? Look, those who are splendidly dressed and live in luxury are in royal palaces. 26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and far more than a prophet. 27 This is the one it is written about:
    Look, I am sending My messenger
    ahead of You;
    he will prepare Your way before You.
    28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John, BUT the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” 29 (And when all the people, including the tax collectors, heard this, they acknowledged God’s way of righteousness, because they had been water baptized with John’s baptism. 30 But since the Pharisees and experts in the law had not been water baptized by him, they rejected the plan of God for themselves.)

  8. Matthew 1: 1 The historical record of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
    From Abraham to David
    2 Abraham fathered Isaac,
    Isaac fathered Jacob,
    Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,
    3 Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by TAMAR
    Perez fathered Hezron,
    Hezron fathered Aram,
    4 Aram fathered Amminadab,
    Amminadab fathered Nahshon,
    Nahshon fathered Salmon,
    5 Salmon fathered Boaz by RAHAB,
    Boaz fathered Obed by RUTH,
    Obed fathered Jesse,
    6 and Jesse fathered King David.
    Then David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife


    in the Joseph genealogy is a man named Jeconiah. God cursed Jeconiah (also called Coniah) stating that no descendant of his would ever sit on the throne of David, “For no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah,” (Jer. 22:30). But Jesus, of course, will sit on the throne in the heavenly kingdom. The point is that Jesus is not a biological descendant of Jeconiah but through the other lineage–that of Mary. Hence, the prophetic curse upon Jeconiah stands inviolate. But, the legal adoption of Jesus by Joseph reckoned the legal rights of Joseph to Jesus as a son–not the biological curse.

  9. markmcculley Says:

    no grace for the non-elect, is better than grace promised but not enouggh—Mike Horton—To be claimed by water baptism as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. … God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet the instrumental condition is that they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they fall under the covenant curse without Christ as their mediator


  10. markmcculley Says:

    How Paul is justified in saying that the Old Testament word “offspring,” because it is singular (not plural), can be seen as fulfilled in Christ. This seems strange to us because we know that offspring is a collective word and does refer to more than one individual. How can Paul base anything on its singularity? Isn’t it like saying that because you refer to the Twins’ baseball team instead of teams, there can only be one person on the team (since it’s singular)?

    1. Paul knew “offspring” (or seed) in its singular form referred to many people. He uses the singular to refer to many in Romans 4:18 and 9:7.

    2) In Genesis 21:12 the word “offspring” (seed) is used to refer not to all the children of Abraham but to the one who is promised, Isaac (not Ishmael): “In Isaac shall your seed be called.” Paul quotes this in Romans 9:7 and then says, “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of promise are reckoned as seed (or offspring).” When Genesis 21:12 calls Isaac the “offspring” (seed), not Ishmael, simply because he is a child of promise, Paul detects a divine purpose of election which would culminate in the Messiah.


  11. markmcculley Says:

    In Acts there is no second generation “born of Christian parents”. From this silence, some even infer that the second generation must have been watered in their infancy. I am not against inferring but I would like to be rational in doing so. In Acts there is a second generation “born of circumcised and in the covenant” parents!
    I get from the silence in Acts that Acts knows nothing about two kinds of water. We could infer just as well that very few were watered in Acts since most had already been circumcised. We could infer that none who had been circumcised were watered in Acts. But such a “clear and necessary inference” would be wrong.
    Acts is not silent about one important matter: we read the record there of many Jews, who having already received the circumcision symbol of the old covenant, do not rest content with that infant symbol, but are watered after they believe. I infer, not from silence but from this clear pattern, that water and
    circumcision are not only different, but also that water is not a substitute or fufillment for circumcision. Physical circumcision as theologically significant has ended, but not because water has replaced it.

  12. markmcculley Says:

    J ohn 1: 51 Then Jesus said to Nathaniel: You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
    Genesis 28: 12 Jacob dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching heaven, and God’s angels were going up and down on it
    John 3: 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man

  13. markmcculley Says:

    Chaplains of the status quo teach us that it was all a big misunderstanding, that some people think that the kingdom is political but it is not. Chaplains of the status quo wear soft clothes and live in king’s palaces. But John, in preaching the law, was negative about the chaplains and the status quo. John was positive about a coming day of wrath and recompense. Even though John the Baptist was wrong about the timing, John was not wrong about God’s law being satisfied in the future. God’s wrath is satisfied not only in Christ’s death which was ordained by God but which was organized by the Jewish political status quo. God’s wrath was shown in that age by the Roman destruction of the temple and will be shown in the destruction of all the non-elect in the Day to come.

  14. markmcculley Says:

    the other shoe is about to drop
    something has got to change
    i sure hope it’s not me

    but at least it all comes down to our own choices

    God chooses His children,

    Luke 3: 8 Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham

    Luke 3: 10 And the crowds asked him, “What then should WE DO?”
    teacher, what shall i do

    just fill in the answers you know

    prepare yourself

    be satisfied with your pay

    Luke 3: 10 “What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him. 11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He told them, “Don’t collect any more than what you have been authorized.” 14 Some soldiers also questioned him: “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation; be satisfied with your wages.”


  15. markmcculley Says:


    Hank Hanegraaff – “The requirements for life are not based on what you do. Jesus is ready and waiting to exchange His perfection for your imperfection “Some churches teach that “God wants us to exchange our self-righteousness for Christ’s righteousness.” One old slogan says–all you contribute is your sins. But it is not so. God has ALREADY (or NOT) made the exchange. For some sinners, that is for all elect sinners, God has already imputed their sins to Christ. In time, it will be God (not these sinners) who will impute Christ’s death (His righteousness) to the sinners.

    By “double imputation” I do not mean that Christ’s death is not enough and that added to the death,, we need to be imputed with his “vicarious law-keeping” .

    Sproul—Because now Jesus is not acting in His baptism for Himself, but for His people.

    mark—Sproul is assuming the water of John the Baptist. Sproul is not thinking about Christ’s death itself being called a “baptism”.

    Sproul—If His people are now required to submit to this baptismal ritual, He submits to it in their behalf.

    mark: The Mosaic law did not command the water baptism done by John the Baptist, and not all of the elect were ever required to be water baptized by John the Baptist. There is a difference between commanding somebody to baptize with water, and commanding people to be water baptized. It’s important that Jesus became incarnate, that he was physically circumcised, that He had faith, and that He rose again. But that does not mean that all these acts that Jesus did vicariously are imputed to the elect.

    Sproul–Because the redemption that is brought by Christ is not restricted to His death on the cross. We’ve seen that in the work of redemption God didn’t send Jesus to earth on Good Friday and say, “Die for the sins of your people and that will take care of it.”

    mark: Sproul can’t be bothered to think that the gospel is about Jesus dying only for the sins of the elect imputed to Jesus. Because, whatever the people who buy his books and pay to attend his conferences think about election, Sproul does not think that the death of Jesus will take care of saving them. Sproul does not think the cross is enough without other things added to that.

    Sproul No. Jesus not only had to die for our sins, but He had to live for our righteousness. If all Jesus did was die for your sins, that would remove all of your guilt, and that would leave you sinless in the sight of God, but not righteous.

    mark–Sproul is not dealing with Romans 6 or any other text which teaches about being placed into Christ’s death and and thus no longer being under the law. Sproul is saying instead that Christ’s death is not Christ’s righteousness. When Sproul teaches that Christ’s death is not what God uses to declare the elect righteous, then Sproul is also teaching that legal identification with Christ’s death and resurrection would still leave us “under the law”. Since the law identifies acts of omission as also sin, Sproul is teaching that Christ’s death is not even enough to leave anybody sinless.

    Sproul—You would be innocent but not righteous because you haven’t done anything to obey the Law of God which is what righteousness requires.

    Mark– The Mosaic law did not require the water baptism of John the Baptist. But Sproul counts the water baptism of John as one among many thing Christ did which will count as our righteousness. And Sproul does NOT count Christ’s death as our righteousness.

  16. markmcculley Says:

    I Corinthians 7 Was anyone called while uncircumcised? He should not get circumcised.
    Galatians 3: 28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus
    Romans 4: 10 When was righteousness credited to Abraham—while Abraham was circumcised, or while Abraham was uncircumcised? Not while he was circumcised, but uncircumcised. 11 And Abraham received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that HE HAD BY FAITH while still uncircumcised.
    mark: not as a seal of the righteousness others would have by faith, and not as a seal of the righteousness others without faith would have, and not as a seal of the faith they had or did not have
    Romans 4: 11 The timing was to make Abraham the father of all who believe but are not circumcised, because righteousness is credited to them also. 12 And Abraham became the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was still uncircumcised.

    is there still a difference between Jew and gentile, in this way?

    Gentiles are not allowed to be circumcised, because if they did the circumcision would force them to be justified by law?

    Galatians 5: 2 Take note! I, Paul, tell you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all. 3 Again I testify to EVERY MAN who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to keep the entire law

    if you are already circumcised, is it too late to be justified by grace?

    John the Baptist—if you are already circumcised, it’s too late to not be circumcised but it’s not too late to be water baptized

    18 Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? HE SHOULD NOT UNDO HIS CIRCUMCISION

    is it necessary for all Jews to not become Gentiles
    is it necessary for all Jew to stay in “the covenant of grace” in which they were born?

    Abraham was justified by grace through faith WHEN Abraham was not circumcised

    did Abraham become obligated to all the law when Abraham became circumcised?


    did Abraham fall from (justification by) grace and become forced to be justified by law?


    Galatians 3: 2 Take note! I, Paul, tell you that if you get yourselves circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all. 3 Again I testify to every man who gets himself circumcised that he is obligated to keep the entire law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law are ALIENATED FROM CHRIST. You have FALLEN FROM GRACE

    Galatians 3:2 I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith?[c] 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?

    f a person with a wife lives as if they did not have a wife, and does not come to dinner when the wife calls, that person may lose a wife

    If you have a wife, do not worry about it. if you do not have a wife, do not worry about it.

    because of the present situation

    I Corinthians 7: I have no command from the Lord, but I do give an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 Therefore I consider this to be good because of the present distress: It is fine for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

    I Corinthians 7: 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife. PEOPLE WHO MARRY WILL HAVE TROUBLE IN THIS LIFE and I am trying to spare you. 29 And I say this, brothers: The time is limited, so from now on those who have wives should be AS IF they had none

    the subjunctive

    I Corinthians 7: 17 However, each one must live his life in the situation the Lord assigned when God called him. This is what I command in all the churches. 18 Was anyone already circumcised when he was called? HE SHOULD NOT UNDO HIS CIRCUMCISION

  17. markmcculley Says:

    Luke 3: 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but One is coming who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing shovel is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with a fire that never goes out.” 18 Then, along with many other exhortations, John proclaimed good news to the people

    The “good news” John the Baptist proclaimed to those he watered —were they law or gospel exhortations?


    Meredith Kline on Acts 2:39 — “When we are establishing the ground for baptizing our children into the church our appeal should not be to the ‘promise,’ for the promised seed is the election and the covenant constituency is not delimited by election….It is not a matter of the promise, but of the parental authority principle.” Kingdom Prologue, 364. https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/a-presbyterian-finally-gets-acts-239-right/

  18. markmcculley Says:

    1. Were infant children baptized with water on the Day of Pentecost?

    2. How did they decide which infants had at least one believing parent?

    3. Did they have time to set up “confessional boxes” to obtain the profession of parents?

    4. Was one of your parents a believer when you were baptized with water as an infant?

    5. Does it matter if that parent is still believing the gospel? (or still believed it at death?)

    6. Does it matter if that parent was believing the gospel of Roman Catholics?

    7. Was the water baptism of already circumcised persons on the Day of Pentecost a form of “ana” baptism. a “re-circumcision”?

  19. markmcculley Says:

    Hays insists that the Gospel writers engage in the practice of “reading backwards.” That is to say, the NT writers read the OT retrospectively. Convinced that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah, the Son of God, crucified and raised for the sinners, the NT writers scour the OT to discern instances in which the OT writers prefigure Christ. Hays terms this practice “revelatory retrospective reading” (259). Hays alternately characterizes the resultant interpretations of the OT in terms of transformation, transfiguration, and continuation (in distinction from the “negation or rejection” of the OT, 363). Hays insists that the patterns that emerge on the pages of the Gospels evidence “a divinely crafted pattern of coherence within the events and characters of the biblical narratives” (359, emphasis removed). Thus, not “human intentionality” but “the mysterious providence of God” accounts for the correspondences, whether on the micro- or macro- level.

    In advancing these claims, Hays is concerned not to insist that the process works in reverse. “Figural reading of the Bible need not presume that the Old Testament authors – or the characters that they narrate – were conscious of predicting or anticipating Christ” (2). More polemically, Hays distances himself from the claim that “the authors of the Old Testament’s narratives and poems actually did intentionally forecast the details of Jesus’ life” (359).
    Hays accurately claims and demonstrates that the NT writers testify to their own insensibility prior to the resurrection to the ways in which the OT comes to fulfillment in Christ (see John 2:22, Luke 24:22-27). He is correct to say that the cross and resurrection of Christ were redemptive and revelatory events, and that, in light of this new revelation in Christ, the disciples in community read earlier revelation with new eyes, as it were.

    But the NT writers suggest that there is a connection deeper still between earlier and later revelation. To take an example from the companion volume to Luke’s Gospel, Peter in his Pentecost sermon, after citing David’s words in Psalm 16 (Acts 2:25-28), says of David, “Brothers I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses” (Act 2:29-32). Peter is saying that David, in his capacity as a prophet, spoke in advance of the resurrection of Christ. Peter would later say something similar of all OT prophets – “concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories” (1 Pet 1:10-11).

    It is for this reason that, when Paul entered the synagogues of Judea and the broader Mediterranean world, he made a point of proving or demonstrating from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 9:22, 17:2-3, cf. 18:28). That is to say, Christians could and did publicly advance the claim to unbelievers from the OT that Jesus was the Messiah, and that by way of rational demonstration. Surely this project was only feasible if these Christian believers were convinced that their convictions resided in the OT text itself and were capable of demonstration or proof independently of one’s commitment to Jesus of Nazareth.
    The NT writers, to be sure, are largely silent concerning the degree to which the OT authors were aware and conscious of the One to whom they were pointing. They are generally content to affirm that the OT authors pointed to Christ. The NT writers are more concerned to insist that the project of “reading backwards” is a possible undertaking only because of the organic and progressive character of biblical revelation. This character of revelation offers a ready explanation why the NT writers are not doing violence to the text of the OT, much less the intention of the human authors of the OT

    “reading backwards” at best only partly accounts for the manner in which the Evangelists read and explained the OT.
    Guy Waters


  20. markmcculley Says:

    daily, hourly—-pentimento, Italian for “repent” — to regret, to change your mind. Matisse, a master, left his stumbles for us to see—thank God for God’s non-imputation to us of our sins

    Peter Lillback — “For Calvin, ‘covenant and election are not identical. One can identify covenant and election for Calvin only if “common election” is identified with the covenant.’

    Calvin—“the conflict between Isaac and Ishmael as ‘the perpetual condition of the church’.

    The Abrahamic covenant included many of the non-elect but excluded the uncircumcised. The new covenant includes all the elect, even those not circumcised.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: