devotional

17NOV
2017

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 102

Reflections on the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. 23 Aug 14 began a perhaps unbroken, orderly, and personal journey through my favorite written confession of faith. This will be my personal reflections on this beloved written codification of the Christian Faith which is according to a Baptist flavor.

 

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Section 9, paragraph 5: “This will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only.”

 

This sentence could’ve been left as part of the last paragraph, but the writers saw fit to give it its own section. I think they did this to remind us of one very important truth yet to come for everyone reading it. No one, despite being set free from the devil, is perfected in this life. No one has been perfected in the ultimate sense. On this side of heaven, the presence of sin and temptation to it must remain. We will sin. No one can become “sinlessly perfect” in this life. Only Jesus.

Just prior to his death Paul said, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 15. He knew there was a perfection still pending. What was ahead of him was that holy perfection he’d been fixed to desire. His will was set toward that which God had called him to. It is the same for us all.

Twice this week I sat in two separate groups of believers and asked them if they were “saints.” Not one of them could confidently affirm that they were. Once we fleshed it out a bit in the text they took heart that a saint isn’t a perfect person. That a saint is anyone in Christ. Many apostolic letters address congregations as saints. None of them were perfect people. They were groups of regenerated believers. Any other definition is incorrect.

Saints are simply imperfect Christians. In the state of glory, which is heaven, all saints will be made “perfectly and immutably free to good alone”. Until then, we press on.

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