devotional

25JUL
2018

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 118

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 12b: “…yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.”

Peter writes to his fellow believers: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice…” 2 Peter 1:3-6a. Notice: “In this you greatly rejoice…” In what do we rejoice? See again section 12b from the confession cited just above. That is a wonderful cause for rejoicing, dear friends!

Theology overlaps. What one believes about “security” in salvation—the question of whether or not we can lose salvation, is affected by a lot of other ideas. To use a separate example, the depth to which someone understands the effects of sin and the Fall drastically affects how much credit they give God in the new birth. If you believe that sin truly makes us all dead before God (Ephesians 2:1-6; 1 Peter 1:3, etc.) then monergism is the only consistent option for one’s view of regeneration. If you believe that sin merely obstructs or wounds us all then you can make synergism work for that. Not that that’s all that matters in that discussion, but it’s an example of how truths build into other truths. What someone believes about the security of salvation is affected by a lot likewise. I believe it’s affected by one’s views of God’s eternal election and predestination.

My framework view of security is quite simple in its outworking. It’s that when it comes to an individual’s salvation God never saves without the end game in mind because he works with it all in mind. In other words, God in omniscient, so he never saves someone he’d later lose. This is a level in my scaffolding to examine this truth. Election, one’s final destiny, is a result of God’s eternal thoughts toward people, Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4, John 15:16, etc. After all of the texts, after all of the musing in Scripture, the answer that satisfies me in the matter comes down to, at least in large part, to my grasp of the eternal thinking of God. If God knows the end from the beginning, indeed from before the beginning, and this is revealed to me, then even if I know no specifics regarding anyone, it colors in large measure how I view the security of anyone’s faith in Jesus. God is not short-sighted. He doesn’t save anyone who’ll be lost by him in the end. God will not lose to sin, Satan or sinners. Does God give “eternal life” when someone can truly be called a “believer,” or is it probationary life? If it can be lost, then the word “eternal” has to take on a different and entirely temporary idea that I don’t think the Apostles at all convey in their use of it. Peter speaks of a reservation of life in heaven as an “incorruptible inheritance that does not fade away.” Can that reservation be cancelled like with a restaurant? Some say yes. I say, God never saves unless he saves eternally. To have a forfeitable view of salvation negates God’s eternal ways of doing things regarding personal election. He who knows all things would/could never assure the heart of someone in a grace that was to be damned next Thursday. All of Scripture’s invites to persevere are written to those who certainly will because the God who saved them keeps them!

Few things irritate me more spiritually than when my views of election slither to produce any lethargy in me toward my duties as a believer, however. I must be in fellowship with my God, in prayer, in sharing Jesus with my world, in study, in passionate pursuit of all of my duties in preaching, writing, etc., or else I “feel” slothful. I don’t want to loiter on my heavenly journey. But, because I believe what I do about the security of my Faith, I work hard to honor so great a salvation. I don’t work to earn it, I never could anyway, but I work to honor it. I want to show that God’s thoughts toward me from before he made Adam were brought to pass. That he saved me to burn as a light on the hill. I want to have beautiful feet.

Heirs of eternal salvation love to live like it. By degrees of God’s given grace to them in their lives, they grow into a proper stewardship of this grace of God in their lives. They don’t take it for granted. They take it seriously. They learn that they’re saved by grace and as such unto good works. That God commands action, not as the price for their salvation, but as the joyful consummation or perfection of it. They learn seriously of the Grand Canyon-sized difference between the biblical doctrines of works and grace as they live out both in active service to their Savior. They work knowing their reservation will never be cancelled because the eternal God chose them from before the foundation of the world.

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