devotional

05DEC
2015

LBCF 1689 Reflections (Part 47)

 

 

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.

 

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Chapter 3, paragraph 6: “…wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.”

The elect are called out of the tomb of spiritual death to spiritual life. This is done by God in a reality defined by a doctrine I love found here as “effectually called”. This doctrine helps us not to boast in the church. In my church this weekend my pastor happened to call everyone in the room to faith in Jesus. This was outward. It’s his job. This affected mainly only the ears of the unsaved. Someone in our group may not have been born again, and yet numbered among the elect. That person may have heard the call inwardly this week. That is with their heart. God brings men to spiritual life through the message preached. When people are saved it’s through the message preached. This is called an “effectual call”. Not everyone who hears “hears”. This is done by God through the spoken words of men. We preach our outward calls with the knowledge of the certainties of God’s inward calls, Acts 13:48.

     “Due season” respectfully recognizes God’s sovereign timing for his works. The elect are not born saved. Even the elect must be born again.

     “Justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept…” If you think about it our regeneration (being born again) is actually the first grace of sanctification. When Paul tells us: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works…” etc., in Ephesians 2:8-9a the “it” is everything of salvation in my study of it. What’s the antecedent to the “…and that not of yourselves…”? What is the “and that” that Paul’s referring to which is by grace alone and not the least of us? The “and that” and the “it” is everything Christ has done in and for us. It is the whole of the salvation pearl, man. Our regeneration (or adoption), justification (which follows our confession), sanctification (though this includes and flows out in our confession), all of it, though it does not bypass our brains, is of grace alone. “It” is not of ourselves. “It” is the gift of God so that no one can boast. This gift isn’t externally presented to us in its effectual nature; it’s life itself.

     Only the elect will have these works done in them. False converts may endure even for long seasons, but they will not endure to the end. Matthew 24:13; 1 John 2:19.

     We may consider God’s works in salvation in line with his own parable about wise tower builders in Luke 14:28-30: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” Just as Moses knew God would not be mocked then for half works with Israel (Numbers 14:15-16) so God will not be mocked for half works over any individual now. The elect are surely, “kept by his power through faith unto salvation.”

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