devotional

26MAY
2019

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 149

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. These are my personal reflections on this beloved historic Particular Baptist confession of the Christian Faith.

 

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Section 17, “Of the Perseverance of the Saints.” 17.2b: “…upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him…”

Everyone has a “personal relationship with Jesus.” Whether as Judge or Savior, it doesn’t get any more personal. “Union with him” here, however, is union with Jesus as Savior or intercessor. Job once cried,

“For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him,
That we may go to court together.
“There is no umpire between us,
Who may lay his hand upon us both.
“Let Him remove His rod from me,
And let not dread of Him terrify me.” Job 9:32-34.

What we have now in Christ as our intermediate is what Job knew he needed then. Consider:

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, [Jesus] Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” Hebrews 2:14-15. Jesus, God the Son, is the go-between we need so that we needn’t enter into judgment with God for our sin. The wages of sin is death. Jesus literally and entirely delivers his own from payday. Which brings us to a talk on the efficacy of his merit.

In the previous section they were extolling the free and preserving grace of God in Christ. There’s a word I want to introduce to you if you’ve not heard it before. It’s the word “Imputation.” Click here for an in-depth examination of the subject if you like. It may be the second most important word in the English theological dictionary. The most important theology words might go something like: “Trinity, imputation and inspiration” with the first two coming from a study of the last. When the divines here speak of the “Efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ” they’re talking in a sense about the greatest miracle God ever performed- salvation. Salvation literally comes in receiving Jesus’ merit. They’re talking about how what Jesus did was actually die for specific people and accomplish their salvation. It may be applied in their lives at varying times, but it was bought and paid for on Calvary in full. Repeatedly, Jesus spoke of his offering himself as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28. He paid the Father for their ransom from a righteous judgment. Hebrews 9:14. He since imputes to believers his own righteousness. That righteousness is “efficacious.” That is, it effects things. That means it delivers a believer from death. This righteousness is given when someone is brought into union with Jesus through the gift of faith. Ephesians 2:8-9. All they need is Jesus’ merit to become entirely perfected before God. It is a merit not increased. It is not justified or secured by works. It’s all by grace and grace means grace alone. All you have is Jesus…and that’s all you need.

Is Jesus your Savior or not? If he’s your Savior… If you’ve not been taught that you’re really more your own savior than him (which will always dull one’s spiritual wit)… Then the impact of his finished work for you alone is what we all study, sing and pray to understand and appreciate more. Colossians 3:3 reads, “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” How wonderful! We are hidden with Christ in God. This evokes the imagery of John 10:27-29 for me where God says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”

If Jesus has saved you, you’re more aware of it than a man just hit at 70 mph on a highway by a semi. If you have Jesus, you have everything you need to receive the inheritance laid up for God’s children in the life to come. Now, if you believe in what Jesus did for you, study that you might believe what he’s called you to do in response. It’s free to you, but it is not free.

 

 

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