devotional

07APR
2013

Why I Love Confessions of Faith

 

     When I read a solid church’s confession of faith I find in it a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of labor of love. This is true even with ones that I would call Christian, but not necessarily statements that reflect my own understanding of the Christian religion. Confessions of faith are never “easy” to produce. This is because we’re all very different as Christians and we invariably approach God’s truth in our own ways from our own lives. Great confessions come from a common picture of truth that’s informed by the Bible. They also, more often than not, surround issues addressed in their day. There are great agreements being made in the church today by men who love Christ and yet come from various theological schools of thought. Together for the Gospel is one such example. True God-given confessional unity can occur when we recognize doctrinal statements as things which emanate out of unity rather than seeing them as things able to unify us. What I mean here is that God must unify us; we can’t do it ourselves. Jesus spoke of the unity of the elect as a spiritual reality, John 17:11. Without this unity in The Holy Spirit a statement of faith would be powerless to affect the lives of its confessors. Scripture teaches that there is one faith, one Lord and one God in all Christians, Ephesians 4:4-6. Doctrinal unity comes from this unity! God moves us to common confession. A common confession cannot of itself produce true spiritual unity in our hearts. 

     There is real joy in me when I read the writings of contemporary Christians. I love to know that my friend in Minnesota is struggling against his sin as I am against mine here in Georgia. It’s wonderful to know that the struggles and joys of my life in Christ are not unique only to me, and I get excited about living. I also love seeing this in men who lived one-hundred years ago. This encourages me. It’s a completely different level of encouragement when I find the same identification with men who lived twelve centuries ago. And it is yet even more amazing when I sit with David on the hills of Israel roughly 3,000 years ago in our common confession of God in Psalm 23. God is timeless. His truth is timeless. The best of us beggars may have one-hundred measly years to seek after His wisdom. Life is too short not to study the Bible! 

     I love the confessions of Christians of old because I’m drawn to heaven by common confession. I want to sit with men who’ve never seen a light bulb burning (because they were born before its time) and speak of the light of life we share nonetheless. 

     As I said, men surely still find accord today in grace when they strive to maintain unity by our common bond (Ephesians 4:3) but I truly believe that men were far nobler in approaching the Scriptures hundreds of years ago. I’m not saying they were any better, just nobler, more serious, and more studious. Perhaps I’m being naïve, but I’m really not sure we could produce the kinds of faith statements today that were produced hundreds of years ago. 

     My personal favorite faith statement is the London Baptist Confession of 1689. There are many I could refer you to, but this would be my most enjoyable one. If you’ve not spent some time reading a confession written outside your lifetime, I’d like to invite you to. I’d love you to see that the faith you hold has not been held by you alone. I love the way most confessions begin with, “We believe.” When I hear that I find myself falling into the ranks of untold multitudes of the righteous who can speak of all that “We believe” in holy accord. I want to help believers see that we do not stand alone. Outside of the Bible, this is the best way I know to really prove that.

 

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