devotional

27MAY
2018

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 115

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 11, paragraph 5: “God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified, and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure; and in that condition they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.”

I’m surprised how often I’m asked about what believers do when they sin. I’m surprised how often people pick up on the problem of the mistaken idea that if Jesus’ grace toward someone only supposedly righted them with God “up until that moment” then what about sins committed after that moment? They don’t understand how far reaching grace really is, and only see it as a sort of “clean slate” idea that merely “resets one’s chances with God.” This is not the case. The doctrine of the security of the believer is of such importance to me that I’m sure that to miss it is just about a miss of the whole Gospel. There is something attained for the believer, Philippians 3:12, and something reserved for the believer, 1 Peter 1:3-5; Romans 8:29-30, et al. Christians stand categorically justified *in* Christ in their present lives. Justification is not to come. Romans 5:1-2 (NJKV) reads, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This is the confession of man whose adopted relationship with God is secure. Sin, unforgiven, causes the absence of peace. Hence to have peace there must be complete forgiveness. This is to be the confession of every believer. Saints (Christians) stand pardoned, with access to God, and awaiting many sure promises. Their merit for such is not ever their own. This is how they learn to trust it! God had mercy on them. They are forgiven qualitatively. Sins committed after their salvation cannot negate such grace. If it could, it’d obviously never have been “eternal life” they ever had. The God who saves is the God who keeps. Their confessions of lessening sin in their lives is constantly repented of/forgiven in light of that same freely granted grace. Their subsequent repentance doesn’t work like new marriage vows each time. It works like a loving husband apologizing to his loving wife for sins done against her. They don’t remarry every time.

You cannot lose salvation. If you could have, you would have twice today. If you’re saved, the God who saves you does not do so with anything other than a perfect love set upon you, or a perfect knowledge of all of your future sin. God doesn’t forgive someone in Christ only until they commit some sin he sees them doing later on. Such an idea is surely birthed in the most immature of men. No one can ever be born again…again. There are no new birth(s) in our lives. The Christian is entirely free from the penalty of sin. If a professed understanding of such a liberating grace is ever traced to the core of someone’s flippancy toward sin then it’s almost surely a mark of a degenerate liar masquerading as a Christian. Christians cannot sin against so great a grace if they truly esteem it. If they value the Cross, they’ll practice righteousness. Anyone who doesn’t do so is not a Christian. The key to understanding passages like 1 John 3:6-8 is the heart of 1 John 3:6-8. Anyone who has the hope of Christ within doesn’t want to blemish it. Their heart is to obey. Their hearts have been turned from rebellion to God’s amazing grace.

Though a Christian cannot forfeit a grace they didn’t earn, when they sin, they are afflicted. Maturity brings this in all more as the years draw one closer to heaven. They are troubled by sin. Perplexed by it even. God’s displeasure against their sin causes them sadness. Disconnectedness. Nothing is right in the life of the Christian when sin lies unconfessed. They are brought by this to repentance continually. Repentance is a joy to the believer. Their confession isn’t as in the first when they were first saved, but as children being trained in mature holiness. The knowledge of God’s sure grace toward them being “in Christ” doesn’t cause them to court their sin. It causes them to hate sin.

 

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