devotional

06JAN
2019

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 132

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 15.3: “This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, whereby a person, being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by faith in Christ, humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour, by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well-pleasing in all things.”

 

With all that is good within me I detest the idea of what’s called, “Non-Lordship salvation.” This is the idea, the strange idea, that all it means to “have faith” in Jesus is to ask him to save you. That’s it. Just have one moment in life where you genuinely express some modicum of desire to be saved and then that’s basically it. You’re in. You may miss out on the best God has for you if you don’t actually seek Jesus, things may not maybe go as swimmingly for you I life like they might if you did, but your saved nonetheless because you “had faith.” This idea may seek to keep works out of grace, but it actually ends up keeping the Gospel out entirely in my opinion. True grace will cost you nothing and yet cost you everything.

 

God grants repentance. It’s part of the gift he gives in Christ. This is spoken of in many places in the Bible. This granting of repentance is the granting of that which leads us into trusting in Jesus.

 

If you but a new car it’s supposed to be able to be driven. If you have a new heart it’s supposed to be able to repent.

 

Repentance is something only a believer can ever do. Regeneration (making someone born again) comes before it all in my opinion. That’s exclusively God’s doing. Like any baby needs to be born to breathe, we need to be born again to repent. When he does it, however, as sin is afterward made plain, the believer repents “naturally supernaturally”. No one’s perfect, but that’s kind of the point. It’s by virtue of our new life (Romans 6:1-14) that repentance even appears on the radar screen of our desires. God, in his own ways in our lives, makes us aware of the hold sin has on us and thereby we are brought to express repentance as a natural result of moving closer to God.

 

The heart of the believer becomes intuitively aware of sin in ever-increasing ways. There’s a sensitivity aroused in life in Christ. That sensitivity heightens our need to draw closer to God to ask for strength and wisdom to stop sinning. We will all fail in this, but our failure will be met by the strength and grace that continually cleanses and continually draws us to more and more repentance.

 

Christians want to please their Lord. Period. “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:4. They learn as the years go on that sin doesn’t please their Lord. As they become more and more like him, by the grace he provides, the beauty of it all comes as they themselves begin to dislike what God likes. Even their “darling sins.”

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