LBCF 1689 Reflections (part 17).


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 according to a Baptist flavor.





Paragraph 1: “…a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute…”


These are attributes worthy of reflection.

-That He is “most pure Spirit” speaks of His holiness. God is Spirit, John 4:24. The term “holy” is in my opinion the single most important word we can use to describe God. Love is not as sufficient, and neither is any other trait in Him. He is holy. Revelation 4:8 gives us the threefold declaration of His holiness. This attribute is given the emphatic thrice repetition to underscore something the angels see here in Him. This attribute alone, which is really a summation of what could be said of all His attributes, is the only one given in this threefold way from Genesis to Revelation. His purity is found in this. He is wholly/holy pure.

-He is “invisible” to us in our current state of existence, but He Himself is very visible. One day believers will actually get to see Him as He is, Matthew 5:8; Psalm 73:1.

“…without body, parts, or passions.” God took on flesh in the incarnation. As far as we can tell from Scripture this will never change. God the Son is today a glorified human man. A God-man sits on the throne. Prior to His incarnation He eternally existed, but without His now glorified body. As a Spirit being the triune God from eternity past has existed without a fleshly body. This is what they’re referring to here. God the Father and God the Holy Ghost still have no fleshly bodies. God the Son has since about 5 B.C., 1 Corinthians 15:42-45. The lack of “passions” mentioned here is denouncing anything capricious in God. God’s wrath, for example, is not a fly-off-the-handle fit kind of a thing. God’s love is not promiscuous either. God has a holy/wholly different way of doing things. He has passions of love, hate, etc., but He is not governed by them like we are.

“…who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto.” God has shared immortality with man. In fact, St. Paul tells us how Jesus’ work completely brought the knowledge of immortality to us. He writes, “Jesus Christ…has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” 2 Timothy 1:10. God alone is the source of this life. It cannot be found anywhere else. The light in which God dwells cannot be entered into by anyone unless the Lord brings that man in. We do not approach Him; He approaches us.  

“Who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute…” For exceptional further reflection on many of God’s attributes click here.

-“Immutability” is in His never changing-ness. Man is mutable, but God is immutable. God is unchanging. Only imperfect things change so God never has or will.

-His “immensity” is a word that falls flat on its face in light of God’s omnipresence. He is everywhere in full. Think on that!

-He is “eternal.” What could be more important than knowing the only eternal being?! Nothing. If you go left on the timeline He’s there forever. If you go right He’s there too, Revelation 1:8; Hebrews 1:10-12.

-We spoke a bit about the “incomprehensible-ness” of God back on 8 January. You will never find your knowledge of God complete. You will never be able to grasp Him.

-He is “almighty.” If we really believed this we would have no worries at all that could truly weigh us down, 1 John 5:15. Even in our suffering we’d know He’d directed it for our good and His glory. There is no, “Rock He cannot lift.” There are no obstacles to Him. That’s what almighty means.

-“Every way infinite.” His love is infinite. His mercy is infinite. His wrath is infinite. His awesomeness is infinite. His holiness is infinite. If you divide infinity by infinity what do you get? Answer: a completely inexhaustible and infinite God.

-“Most holy.” God is holy, holy, holy. Nuff said.

-“Most wise.” God designed an existence where a 5,972,000,000,000,000,000,000 ton object is actually rendered entirely weightless. That’s the estimated weight of the earth we think, and it’s so tiny compared to some stars we’ve seen that it’d appear a literal speck next to them. They’re all weightless on God’s paint pallet we call the universe. Earth’s weight is around 5.972 sextillion (1,000 trillion) metric tons. It’s able to hold trillions and trillions of tons of water on it upside down and people can walk on the South Pole without their blood rushing to their heads. Genius is another word that falls flat on its red flush face for daring a description when you think of the wisdom of God.

-“Most free.” God is free in everything…even sending men to hell. He does whatever He pleases, Psalm 135:6. God is free. He is not pursuing life, liberty and happiness as something guaranteed to Him by a written document. No, He’s free by nature.

-“Most absolute.” We’re nothing. He Himself is everything. The whole universe could be dissolved in a moment by Him, but He is still absolutely absolute. He is the only constant. All that He does is perfect. As Ravi Zacharias has said: “God is the only being in existence whose reason for existence is within Himself.”


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