LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 135

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.


I’ve been going through this confession for about four and a half years now. Today we’re hitting the half way point of it. I hope it’s been a blessing to you, and also hope that you’ll continue to join me throughout the rest of the time! Looks like it’ll be about a decade before we’re done.  



Section 16, “Of Good Works.” 16.1: “Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his Holy Word, and not such as without the warrant thereof are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intentions.”


In many of the greatest passages teaching that God saves us without our works cooperating in any way, the writers remind us of the place of works. For example:

1) Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” >>>>>>>> This is immediately followed by vs. 10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

2) Titus 3:5-7: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. >>>>>>>> This is immediately followed by vs. 8: “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

3) In reverse order, in John 6:27-28 Jesus teaches a mixed group of people, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” >>>>>>>> This is immediately followed by vs. 29 which shows where after Jesus’ speaks of honorable works reminds them the following: “Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” The work is believing; all other works follow those who do.

Jesus (the Bible as a whole really) has left us commandments. The confession here speaks of them as what “God hath commanded in his Holy Word…” We are not left to develop our own standards. We’re to follow those given to us. It isn’t just about our “intentions” in what we do; it’s about obedience. The Bible has a lot to say about works men devise that are of no spiritual profit to those doing them. Romans 10:2; Matthew 23:15; Colossians 2:23. Even all of Jesus’ commandments given to us in the NC can be placed under the following: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” Ecclesiastes 12:13. The Bible tells us what to do. We who love the one who wrote it, do it. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21.

The biblical witness coalesces to teach us that obedience to, and not just a professed allegiance toward, his commandments actually separates the children of God from the children of Satan. 1 John 2:3 (et a): “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

The Bible is clear on the difference between justification and sanctification. To believe that works apply to our justification is to deny the justification of the Cross. To believe that works do not apply in our sanctification is to deny the power of the Cross. Sound theology leads us to do neither.

The Bible is clear to teach us that we’re saved by grace alone through faith alone, and also that those saved as such will be about the specified works given to them. The wonderful compliment of faith and works shows obedience to the one who saved us without arrogating salvation in any way to ourselves.

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