devotional

09JUL
2016

LBCF 1689 Reflections (part 65)

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.

 

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Chapter 5, Of Divine Providence, paragraph 5: “The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good.”

 

God, it has well been said, cares for his own better than any gardener with a garden of various types of flowers. John 15:1-8 literally shows the triune God as a gardener. He knows what a tulip needs vs. a rose, a jade vine vs. a sunflower, etc.

 

Peter I think is a great example of what they’re saying here. Does God leave people to their sins? Yes. I often think of it like breaking. Not breaking as in a dropped glass, but broken as in a wild horse made useful to his rider. We should all agree pretty easily that betraying Jesus is a bad thing.

 

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” Luke 22:31-34.

Peter was left to his sin for a short time. After he was later restored it led to him actually strengthening the faith of his brothers. Nothing delights a Christian more than that. Peter was sincere and sincerely wrong about his resolve to follow Jesus. The trial Jesus scripted for him did indeed help him discover his own weakness as the confession confirms. This kind of weakness is strength. It made Peter lean on Jesus, and not Peter. By this trial Peter was made fully aware of Satan’s wiles…and that the devil is not God. In God’s loving providence Peter was cared for uniquely. Consider then his joy in later writing: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” For Peter, part of this was revealed on that day on the beach in Galilee.

God is profoundly gentle to those who fear him.

 

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