devotional

13OCT
2018

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 124

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 14.1b: “…by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord’s supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened.”

Faith grows by works. There are many means appointed by God for our sanctification. Obedience to all of God’s commandments produces growth and holiness. Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”, John 14:15. Obedience is the appointed means for growth in the Faith. The believer does so and in every way intended, he or she is grown through work. The means may be described as things like prayer, Bible study, theological reflection, fasting, evangelism, fellowship, persecution, trial, family, song, service, financial giving, etc. In any work of obedience done in faith, God’s people grow by their heartfelt actions.

Water baptism is not fitting for infants. It is an error in the Reformed doctrine of covenant theology to say otherwise. Calvin (and the larger Reformed world) does not teach “baptismal regeneration”, which is the egregious error of the Lutherans, but it is still an error in covenant theology. As a Reformed Baptist, I teach that baptism, like the only other ordinance of the church, the Lord ’s Supper, is a work only fit for one who professes faith in Jesus Christ. Babies cannot do so in any way known to us that should be acted on presumptuously.

It follows consistently therefore that those who have been, “enabled to believe to the saving of their souls…” (as mentioned in part one of this section of the confession) should then afterwards be baptized. This is the only New Covenant biblical model. Faith is professed…then the fitting works should accompany that in the individual. Thereby it can be consistently said that their pre-supposable faith is, “increased and strengthened” by God’s means. We shouldn’t give communion to infants for the same reason we shouldn’t baptize them in water. Both ordinances are only fitting for disciples of Jesus who we can humbly and joyously affirm have been circumcised by God the Spirit. Such works are not fitting for non-believers, or even the children of believers.

All works are given by God as a means of strengthening the faith of his people. They do so. Reader, outwork everyone around you! The ordinances of the Faith cleanse the conscience, identify a disciple with his master, draw us closer in faith to God and so much more.

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