devotional

02DEC
2018

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 129

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 14.3b: “…and therefore, though it may be many times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory, growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.”

Christians don’t stop being Christians! Period. They may weep at a tomb in the jungles of the world over their loved ones. They may slide the corpse of a spouse into a cold black ocean while their young children wail at their side. They may wain in sin and hate their weakness as they cling to Christ. They may cough up blood in the snow while they seek to give the Gospel to the lost. They may be hated, hugged by the bear of wealth and ease, or torn to pieces by the lion. They may be all these things. But one thing’s for sure. Through it all, they’ll be! They’ll remain. They’ll return. They will not throw in the towel. Anyone who does so, and who persists in such a thing, has never been apprehended by Christ.

If you believe that life in Christ can become death in Christ, then you believe, at best, that Jesus gives probationary life, not eternal life. I call this a betrayal of grace. Eternal life is not what only begins after death; it’s what begins at the second birth. Justification is not a state to come for the Christian. It is a present reality. It is true and whole peace with God through the Cross. It is a state demanded by the blood of Jesus! That kind of faith will grow until the Day of Christ. It will persevere. Jesus is that kind of faith’s author. Jesus is that kind of faith’s finisher.

There is a teaching of Jesus that I like to apply to Jesus himself and the idea contained here in the confession of our continuance even if perhaps appearing weak at times. In the idea that if God saves us, he’ll keep us. Paul wrote many things like: “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. Peter said that Christians are, “to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:4-5. Christians are called to this. They will remain in this by the grace that first called them into it. Peter then immediately goes on to say, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7. There is a work unto sure future glory that believers are about. The teaching of Jesus I’d like to apply to Jesus is found in Luke just after Jesus talks about the necessity of anyone carrying their cross if they ever wish to be his disciple. He says, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” Luke 14:28-30. God will not be mocked. If he sows salvation, he’ll reap it. I apply this teaching confidently as follows: If God “sits down” to save someone from a world of sin, does he “consider whether he’s got enough to finish the work?” Will he be ridiculed for failing what he began? μὴ γένοιτο! If so, then believers can in fact be lost. God would have been mocked by the nations if he didn’t finish the work he began with Israel in the wilderness. Moses asked this in Exodus 32. I ask it today reference any he desires to save.

Christians will grow up to attain a full assurance.  Romans 8:29-30.

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