devotional

30JUN
2019

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 152

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.” 17.2e: “…and the seed of God within them…”

 

Perseverance is an affectionate doctrine for me. A glorious truth. Sure, like anything, I think it can be perverted, but I think it’s beautiful if understood properly. For more on it in light of some other doctrines I humbly hold to, please click here: Article.

John writes one of the most poignant points that comes to mind for me about this “seed” being within us. He says, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:9. We have the Holy Spirit literally implanted within us if we’re Christians. 2 Corinthians 4:7. He has taken up residence. And we cannot have him without having sanctification. Romans 8:29. Christians don’t “practice sin” they practice holiness. This is how a mature Christian speaks. I’m tired of men holding this fact shyly as if it’s unattainable, or as if we shouldn’t speak of it lest we make the carnal man in our midst “feel bad” forgetting that this is perhaps to his great gain. No, the mature Christian (for which we should all aim) is rooted. He is not weak! He is not wavering in the Holy Spirit! He does not falter in the sunlight of tribulations, trials, temptations and persecutions. Mark 4:8-9.

He is not like so many pretending perishing souls parading themselves pious who don’t understand that they’re stealing pleasures in this life when the God of all pleasures (Psalm 16:11) demands an abstinence in many for now in light of something so much greater to come. Hebrews 11:25-26; 1 Timothy 6:6.

Christians sin, but if we can make no distinctions in that life of repentance between turning from sin and that abiding sin from which we’re never promised to be one-hundred percent delivered from in this life, then our Christianity is a joke. Jesus not only changes what people do; he changes what they want to do. No, reader, the saved live like it, and Christ expects their everything. Luke 14:26. “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” 1 John 3:10. Is it obvious, John? Yes!

Sin remains a reluctant part of this life, cf. Romans 7, but listen to Jesus: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2. Sin pops up on the branches, God allows it to, but our husbandman also trims it through the normal means of personal fidelity to him, spousal fidelity, church fidelity, etc. That fruit does not and cannot ripen. It cannot live for long and so by the pleasures of pruning the heart of the believer is made more able to say and show their desires in every facet of life to, “…adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.” Titus 2:10b.

Perseverance first stated: “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” Matthew 7:18.

Perseverance codified by some Christians here is what we read in this wonderful Baptist Confession.

The seed has been planted. The branches grow and cannot but bear good fruit. The vine sustains them. The vinedresser prunes them.

This is a bit of what perseverance looks like. And why.

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