devotional

21JAN
2018

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 107

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 10, paragraph 4b: “much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.”

Jesus claimed that he and the Gospel he came to bring is the only way that men can be reconciled to the only God. There is not a shred of ambiguity in this claim. But why does he say it? Yes he claimed it, but how can we verify it? Is there any way we can know that we all even approach him from the same start point? We are all so very different, right? We are. As I write this, I’m sitting in a room in the middle of the frozen woods of Germany. I have Italian Army officers around here with me. The people in the room I’m in come from everywhere across the United States. I’m from Ohio. On my way in, a Polish Soldier asked me where he could attend a Roman Catholic Mass. There are other religions around the world wildly different than my own. We are so very different around the world, aren’t we? One common objection to the Faith people often raise is how a Palestinian carpenter born 2,000 years ago could possibly affect anyone alive today? He never left Israel while he preached. I understand their question. They don’t understand that this one preacher is the omnipresent one. He was only there in bodily form for a short while. What does Jesus have to do with us all? With you reading this? Well, if we look to Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, it’s a proof that we all come from Adam. None of us were there when they fell, but we’re all now fallen. There is literally no one untouched by sin. Some of us have sins far more evident than others, but a simple inquiry will reveal the sin in us all, especially when a person is asked about their faith. There is a universal condemnation over all alive. Hence the salvation we all need is necessitated by the sin within us all. Jesus Christ is the only way to God because the Cross is the only remedy for the sin problem. John 14:6; Acts 4:12, etc. The Cross alone shows God’s justice, righteousness and his gracious forgiveness. Romans 3:26.

This next part of the confession here is very interesting. Where it speaks of men who, “frame their lives according to the light…” etc. it just speaks of people living as they see fit, or according to their own consciences. This would include them living their lives even zealously according to other religions as well. The doctrine of justification by God’s grace alone means that there are complete non-believers who are “better” people than any Christian. That statement troubled me when I first heard it in Tim Keller’s book “Center Church,” but as I thought about it I began to see it as a wonderfully humbling and truthful thought that a) could remove a lot of arrogance from the church, and b) is absolutely consistent with how God saves people. If we truly believe that God justifies people by grace alone then it means God saves people in wildly varying lifestyles. God does not save people because they’re any better than anyone else.

In the end, this is a simple affirmation of an essential truth of the Christion Religion— that Jesus the Christ is the only way to any salvation.

 

 

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