LBCF 1689 Reflections (Part 41)


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 Christ faith which is according to a Baptist flavor.




Chapter 3, paragraph 5: “…God, before the foundation of the world was laid…” Last week’s focus was on the first part of this sentence which read: “Those of mankind that are predestinated to life…” I wanted to put this week’s segment together with it for you before we move on. The whole sentence therefore begins: “Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid…”


Ephesians 1:4a reads: “…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…” “Before the foundation of the world” is pro katabol? in the Greek text. The term is used 11 times in the KJV referring to God’s eternal works, and is used once to describe Sarah’s strength to conceive Isaac based on the promise made to her from our God. It is a fascinating term. Here in the first part of Ephesians, as in most instances, it reflects on the fact that God’s decision to adopt or accept “us” through Jesus’ sacrifice was made before he made the world as we know it. Here we are invited to think like God. We’re invited to see a part of eternity. Our salvation didn’t begin at an altar call. We weren’t and are not manipulatable into salvation. If we’re saved it’s because we were marked out for it from eternity past; our faith didn’t start with us, it started with God our Savior, 1 Peter 1:20. 

            This doctrine gives a lot of Christians trouble today. It is indeed a colossal truth to consider that our personal salvation is actually a small part of God’s eternal plan. The LBCF’s 37 composers changed not one letter here from the Westminster Confession of Faith written 43 years before it. Both confessions sought to remind their readers of the eternal wonders of salvation. Remembering this puts the reader under the plans of God, and does not arrogate them to the supreme position of it. The fact that salvation is here and in many other places in Scripture spoken of so cogently forces all Christian students to grasp for how exactly God has predestined and chosen his predestined and chosen.

            We must all define election. If you define it properly, as these confessional writers mention here, you have a predestination from before the world was made. 

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