devotional

03NOV
2014

LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part Ten.

 

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 according to a Baptist flavor.

 

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CHAPTER 1
OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

Paragraph 7: “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.”

 

Some things are difficult to understand, 2 Peter 3:15-16. It took over ten years of study to be able to answer people on the Christian faith as I can now. In thirty more, Lord willing, I’ll answer even better. Some of the things I know now were not plain to me before, but they were always written. I also know that I’ll always have disagreements with people who’ve known it longer than I have, but the basics (essentials) are crystal clear to us all who know and love Jesus.
     This isn’t the first time these writers speak in terms of things “necessary” to be known. Simply put, “essential,” in this sense, means knowledge that would keep one out of heaven. This is why they add the, “For salvation” part when they speak of it. There are in my estimation eight essentials to Christian theology today. I list them first here. There are more, with one backdrop behind them all, but these are the most common, and those that most clearly delineate true religion from the false in what Satan has created today in my culture under the label, “Christian.” 
     So, what is “essential” to salvation? How can we ever dare to call any of God’s word anything other? Well, the Bible gives us some examples. I often think of that which a thief dying on a cross must know to enter paradise. If we turn to Acts 16:25-34 we see where a prison guard in Philippi is converted. The narrative shows, “…he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” Undoubtedly there was more information conveyed that night, but this is what the Holy Spirit wanted us to know here. They didn’t answer, “Well sir, there are eight essentials. So, number one…” They just said, “Believe on the Lord.” This is fascinating to me. I stand on the backside of 2,000 years of satanic onslaught against the simplicity of that statement and sinfully feel that it’s insufficient, but I shouldn’t feel I must declare anything other. It is just that simple for us laborers in the Lord’s vineyard.
     In Romans 10:9-11 we read: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Now none of this is detached from the whole of the Bible’s 1189 chapters. It seems to me simply sure that “sinners” must know about Jesus’ work on the cross for them. Nothing is more essential.
     When the Holy Spirit is spiritually bringing someone to life, it is certain that they need only know that they’ve sinned and that Christ was crucified and raised to new life for such people. If they will believe in Him they will be saved. Everything else is added onto that in sanctification…unless you’re a thief on a cross.
     You don’t have to be a genius to understand this. When they speak of the, “Due use of ordinary means” they simply mean reading and thinking.

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