devotional

22SEP
2019

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 161

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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Chapter 18. “Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation.” Paragraph 3c: “…in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; -so far is it from inclining men to looseness.”

 

This part of the section is still all about developing assurance. To assist Scripture, each highlighted truth is designed to work like a meter detecting the invisible grace at work in us like an amp meter detects electricity. As we touch them by self-examination, they light us up in our hearts to show us the invisible grace of God at work in us. Believers have much interest in this.

 

By outsiders, the Apostle Paul was falsely accused of preaching a Gospel that led to a cheap appreciation of God. The accusation went something like, “If all we need is Jesus, then what becomes of our commanded obediences? Are they just for show if we already have the full measure of grace by faith alone?” Paul wrote about this once, saying, “And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just.” Romans 3:8. He routinely condemned this  kind of false accusation. He did not preach a cheap grace. Some professing Christian “pastors” might, but no true pastor does. The Gospel of Jesus Christ literally enslaves men to God, and good works become like exhales to inhaled graces. We are no longer our own. We are owned by another. This is all over the Bible. We are not “loose” regarding our duties. The Spirit of God leads us in war against our flesh (Romans 8:12-17) and we cannot delight in sin anymore because we’re being conformed to a now/not yet imputed impeccability. Paul wrote in Romans 8:29 that, “those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” Those born again of God are made more and more like God in their lives. That’s the endgame of it all. Sin increasingly brings us misery and discomfort because it has actually become against our greater nature. It’s like a near frostbite in our members thawing out as we step out into the warm sun. We begin to hate its feeling as we warm up. When someone begins to get this (behind closed doors) it evidences an excitement of God’s grace in them that surpasses the passing pleasures of sin. No one can be loose in this if they know it’s happening.

 

Love is our foundation in faith. We know that God has demonstrated an uncommon love for his church on the Cross. God did something for those who could do nothing back for him. That’s uncommon, friend. He saved us. This demands obedience from us if we believe it. Thankfulness undergirds our service to God and to others. We serve others because we are thankful for his work for and in us. This is not about feeling. It’s about willing obedience. A Christian’s new heart forces him to obey. It may be called an unwilling willingness on any given Tuesday for sure. It may seem sometimes as if one leg drags the other into service when one is in Christ, but both legs should learn to love it.

 

Assurance in salvation is a fruit of salvation. It is the work we’re about. John 6:28-29. It’s no mystery how assurance comes, reader. And it’s not about what we don’t know. There are simple ordinary means ordained by God to bring you assurance. If the Spirit of God is in someone, assurance will come. It’s like a map laid out on how to get to a secret city. Those who’ve followed the directions always arrive. Those already there know how. Along the way, a hundred landmarks, which were placed on the map, assured them they were on the right path. See enough landmarks and you become more sure of the road you’re on. I pray assurance for you, but it’s no mystery how it comes. Repent and believe the Gospel. Seek after Christ as he’s shown you, and you’ll know him. Matthew 7:7-8.

 

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