devotional

03SEP
2018

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 121

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 13.2: “This sanctification is throughout the whole man, yet imperfect in this life; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war; the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.”

 

I wrote to you about sanctification last time. The confession continues with “This sanctification…” If you didn’t see the previous section, or if you haven’t read that paragraph of the confession, I’d like to invite you to it now. They write that it (this sanctification) is “throughout the whole man.” We are indeed new creatures in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:9-10; Romans 6:4. All things have become new. While sin remains in our members, there is no part of our interactions with it that remain untouched by our new birth. By virtue of our participation in the nature of God through our new birth we are being sanctified. Each part of us is still affected by sin, but each part is also affected by grace if we’re born of the Spirit of God.

 

God’s sanctifying work (1 Peter 1:2) is “imperfect in this life.” Not salvation, sanctification. There are many things I could say about this. One quick thing is that this sanctification is about “direction,” not about “perfection.” Friend, God gives grace to people who seek after him, 1 John 1:9. Such grace. Amazing grace even. I hope you know it! Even for those of us being sanctified, we are never sinless in this life. Anyone teaching we should consider ourselves to be, by teaching it, is simply demonstrating that fact. But what we are most certainly is not marked or controlled by sin any longer. We are not under its condemnation, and, by the means of grace we love we are less apt to appear to even desire to be so with each test from God. Our minds are changed against sin and self now in Jesus. The Cross changes everything. Christians are being sanctified by faith. Made holy. They love that! What I’d really like to point out here is what we call a “not yet” aspect of our faith to illustrate how God’s sanctifying work simply cannot be done yet in our lives as the confession says. Sanctification cannot be done in this life because it ends in glorification. There is a glorification yet to come for the believer. Glorification is that physical resurrection of a saint’s body unto full conformity to Jesus Christ. It will be physical, and is either post, or at, a physical death. Most will be glorified after death. Some very long after. One generation yet to come, however, will see the actual Second Coming of Christ. The actual “Last Day” with their own natural eyes. Romans 8:30 puts glorification at the end for a reason—because it happens last here in that given list. It’s that coming glorification that Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1:5. It’s what’s in view, at least in part, when Jesus speaks of being “raised up” on a “last day” to come for each believer in John 6:39,40,44; 12:48, etc. While I must insert that I believe there’s a corporate “Last Day” in Scripture that’s a specific day, I also affirm that each person will have a “last day” individually with God, and that both, in their own usages, are valid, though are not both accompanied by an immediate physical resurrection. The final glorification, and the resurrection of all the dead, accompanies not each of our individual last days, but the whole of our all. For the whole of the church, the eschaton is not yet. Despite Jesus’ glorification and perhaps that of some OC saints depending our your theology there, there has not been “The Day of Judgment” yet where everyone’s glorification will lead to either eternal heaven or eternal hell. Hence, since no one reading this that’s in Jesus has been glorified, God’s work is not complete, is never complete, in this life. We know this: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6. Amen. Until that day…it continues.

 

There is now a war going on for the sanctifying believer who’s looking for that day. No war means no new nature. The believer knows they’re not their own any longer. They grow to respect that. The final part here from these writers is basically just a copy of Romans 8:5 which reads, “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Christians have a new agenda in life. It’s to glorify God and enjoy him. This brings them into conflict with their sin. It may also bring them into conflict with yours, but they war inside themselves for peace and joy in the Faith. They want you to have it too. One day there will be no more war. We are not there yet.

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