devotional

22MAR
2019

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 141

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 16, “Of Good Works.” 16.5b: “…but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because as they are good they proceed from his Spirit, and as they are wrought by us they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s punishment.”

The previous part of the paragraph is crucial to this second part. Luke 17:7-10 contains the passage at the heart of much of my work in ministry. In the NASB it reads, “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” In my ministry, I’m only doing what I ought to. It’s nothing special. Believe me. It’s nothing special.

There has never been any repentance from me, though it must come through me, that wasn’t given to me by my Holy Spirit. I know it’s odd to read, “My Holy Spirit,” but after I typed it I thought how it’s not odd when we say, “My Father,’” or even, “My Jesus.” It may sound a bit squishy when someone says, “My Jesus” but it isn’t. Why not say then, “My Holy Spirit?” God the Holy Spirit (a much more common phraseology) has granted me the spiritual life to obey. That included my first act of obedience to repent. My every obedience since, though mine, is at its core a responsive obedience.

I needed (and still need daily) a Savior and a Gospel far bigger than performance on even my best days. Far more amazing than a quid pro quo with a holy God. To say otherwise is to mock the blood of Jesus. I needed Jesus and this Gospel he gave of full pardon. It’s on that I stand and do the small works he’s given me to do. All of my works will not prevail against any of my sin, and play no saving part in the grace of my salvation. They will be present, they must be present, but they will not be causal. My best works are mixed with my sin. I will never in this life be free of that. I needed a bigger Gospel. I have found Jesus’ more than enough.

Off to Italy in the morning. Hope to write again afterward.

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