devotional

12JUN
2022

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 232

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 27. Of the Communion of Saints. Paragraph 1b: “…and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each others gifts and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.”

Where are the men and women of excellence?! Saints who take their salvation how the saints should?!. Oh, I pray you know a handful of them as I do! People who are serious about worshipping God in the mortification of their sin…and yours. People who want to see you live in obedience to God and his word. The Christian Religion (it’s not just a relationship) is not an individual sport. It is a team sport! I wish we viewed our works as believers within the church as something we’re “obliged to” do. That if God grants us anything, we’re obligated to develop it and to share it as he allows. It’s duty. It’s privilege. It’s what it was given for. No tree bears fruit for itself.

During the past month, I had the privilege of teaching through Philippians 2:1-11 (http://biblecia.com/video/philippians-21-11/). Paul wrote to the suffering believers in Philippi (Philippians 1:29) about the part each of them play in one another’s sanctification. That they were to comfort one another, seek out one another’s best interests, and to esteem one another as more important than themselves. Philippians 2:1-4, etc. Paul even gives Jesus himself (he who is truly God) as the primary example of setting aside his own full equality with the Father and the Spirit in the service of us sinners as the model for us setting aside our creaturely Christian equality in life to serve each other. What a privilege! This is about the mutual good of a church. It’s for each church in every generation to live out what they are as, “Children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15. We need the haven of the fellowship to do this. The church is a place to recharge, refocus, reconnect. It’s through the administration of the word and the ordinances that we’re strengthened for living.

It’s both public and private. Our religion isn’t for show, it’s for holiness. Hebrews 12:14. Publicly, we’re to live out collectively our individual worship. It’s from our closets that our faith unfolds. God has granted to each instrument a beautiful sound, yes, but unite that sound with that of twenty other instruments and you get something altogether more glorious. There’s tuning to be done, arrangement, integration, maintenance, and corrections of all kinds to be done along the way, but the end result is wonderful. So will it be for the church in eternal glory! Satan has been crushed and will be crushed. Christ is reigning and will reign.

This being “united to one another in love” they speak of here is far more than just some company ethos. It’s not a mere slogan. Christians are made literally family in God. Adopted sons and daughters to the triune Creator and thus siblings in the complete solidarity of justification. Born into a new family you can never lose. To join it you must be born again. John 3:3. When Jesus prayed, “That they may all be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us…” in John 17:21 it was a prayer answered! Beleivers were and are still made one. In Acts 2, the church was granted God the Holy Spirit in the fulness of God’s New Covenant administration and the family was officially born!

The church, exactly as it is, was God’s idea, not man’s. Each local body, though perhaps quite independant of one another, are all one body with its various parts. As we say, “To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:21) “That the multifaceted wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 3:10.

Get on a team. Fight with a team. Win with a team. Lose with a team. If Christ is the head of the team, in it all, there is no losing.

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