LBCF 1689 Reflections (Part 49)

This should hopefully be my last post to this website format. Biblecia will look brand new very soon, Lord willing…




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 which is according to a Baptist flavor.








Chapter 3, paragraph 7b: “…that men attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election; so shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel”.




The desired ends of biblical doctrine are things resembling humility, joy, peace, assurance, grace and love. When regenerate men reconcile themselves to the text this is always the case…sooner or later. The desired end of men understanding the nature of God’s saving grace is a reckless humility rooted in eternal joy in the exalted Son of God. We know more about grace today than ever before as a church because we have learned, hopefully, from those who’ve gone before us.


In the first sentence above we read: “that men…may…be assured of their eternal election…” This assurance is offered in theology, but how? The answer is given. By: “…yielding obedience thereunto…from the certainty of their effectual vocation…” They’re echoing Philippians 2:12-13 where we read: “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure”. In our sanctification we are “working out” the new nature that God placed inside us at our new birth. This is marvelously consistent throughout the Bible. Under all of our working is God’s working! Our working is “effectual” in its revealing and assuring results. Election isn’t an intellectual attainment. We only see or “experience” God’s secret election as Christians in our loving obedience(s) from start to finish, or faith to faith. We see the invisible hand of God, or feel the effects of the invisible wind, by the visible shaking of our fruit-laden branches, see John 3:8. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit”, Matthew 7:18. Good trees always bear this ripe fruit. Look to the fruit to see election. If you see real fruit there’s election. If you see sin fully ripened, meaning it hasn’t been pruned by the Father (cf. John 15:1-2) you’re looking at a bad tree. There will be buds of sin on the branches of the believer. We still have sin in our members, but God is our vinedresser. He takes care of the vine.


I love how they call this the “vocation” of the believer here in this section!


As we take cheerful notice of our joyous fellowship among the saints in the light. As we take notice of our growing awareness of our need for the love of God, and of the certainty of the Cross. As we take notice of our ever-increasing detestation of our own personal sins. As we grow “naturally” in our affections for God and for our neighbors. As we shrink in humility. As these fruits increase in us (cf. 2 Peter 1:5-9) we will handle the word better and better, and more and more graciously, 2 Timothy 2:24.


We will know humility in a boast utterly devoid of self-reliance, Galatians 6:14; Ephesians 2:9. Our theologies won’t be one-sided. We’ll literally be able, in the biblical sense, to think God’s thoughts after him. This is always humbling. This is our goal. Sound theology always produces this.

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