devotional

12JUL
2017

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 93

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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Section 8, paragraph 8a: “To all those for whom Christ hath obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same, making intercession for them; uniting them to himself by his Spirit, revealing unto them, in and by his Word, the mystery of salvation, persuading them to believe and obey, governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit”.

 

As I’ve grown in my love of the meta-message of God, I’ve become increasingly convinced that what Jesus did on his Cross he did specifically on behalf of those for whom he would surely by it mediate. I consider it a great pastoral failure to divide Jesus’ death from his Ascended mediation. To make Jesus’ death a death for all, but his mediation randomly active (though few would ever even call it such) only for those who would come to him in a supposed free-willed faith. The first line of this paragraph phrases its point to “those for whom Christ” did his work. The message of the Book of Hebrews shines powerfully in its message of the union of Jesus and his redeemed church. “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6. “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:11. Jesus obtained something for his elect. A mere offer is not enough. Jesus is no hypothetical Savior, or “co-Savior”.

Jesus is the perfect mediator. The Father sent the Son to obtain the redemption that the Holy Spirit makes evident and effectual in his time in the lives of his hired laborers. I like how the confession phrases the words here as “His Spirit”. It is not often that the Holy Spirit is spoken of as Jesus’ in our writings. Jesus is the Holy Spirit’s and the Holy Spirit is Jesus’.

The word “mystery” has taken on a new definition among us. The way it’s used in Scripture, and the way the confession uses it here, is I believe a more biblical definition. The “mystery” of salvation is that which has now been made plain in us by the Holy Spirit. He has revealed Jesus. He has revealed how Jesus disarmed our enemies through the Cross. How Jesus has brought the covenant to both Jew and Gentile children of Abraham now in all four corners of the earth and universe he loves, etc.

Faith without willing obedience is not faith. Period. If given time, true faith always brings about both a conformity and a non-conformity. Conformity to Christ, and non-conformity to the world in which you live. Salvation is of the Lord. He gives his grace to whomever he wishes. Pastor Eric Meyer, in a sermon delivered on 21 Jul 17 here: http://tampacovenantchurch.org/media.php?pageID=21, showed how Jesus turned a question on its head. In Luke 30:22-30, some asked him (focus on vs. 23) if only a few people will be saved? Jesus essentially changed the question from “will a few be saved?” to “will you be saved”? A constant question often brought against a Reformed articulation of God’s grace is if there can be any assurance of salvation in a system based wholly upon God’s election? It’s a good question. The answer must always come back to what the confession here reminds us of- that the Holy Spirit is active in the believer, “…persuading them to believe and obey, governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit”. To believe…and to obey…being personally governed by God. That’s a believer.

 

Grace to you!

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