LBCF 1689 Reflections (part 16).


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.





Paragraph 1: “…whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself…”


No one can comprehend God! I really like that they added this line in this confession. It is not in the Westminster Confession. In all our writings it’s great to remind ourselves that God remains far beyond us all still. God has condescended in His incarnation to reveal Himself. We know exactly what God is like because we’ve seen Him. He has also been kind enough to give us His word through witnesses since the beginning. Indeed Christians can declare that they truly know Him (John 14:7; 17:3), but God is still far beyond us. Things like His nature, His being, and even His dwelling place are all far beyond us. The hope of the believer is to one day have a heaven-enabled vision of Him. In the Bible we have all we can know of Him. In the Bible we have all He saw fit that we should know of Him. Yet still, anyone who knows the Bible will declare that God’s, “Essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself.”

     Ever heard anyone say, “You can’t put God in a box!” Funny how they never assume that they do this, and how this expression usually only rears itself when there’s disagreement. Nonetheless they say it. Friends, we’d better put God in a box. That box is usually rectangular. It has pages, a binding and front and back covers. It’s called the Bible. We do not speculate on God. We don’t guess. If someone says God was a created being we, “Put Him in the box.” We answer from Scripture that He’s eternal. If someone says that Paul is not an Apostle we put truth, “In a box.” We answer from the Bible. Yes he too was an Apostle. My point here is that whatever we can say about God is because He Himself has chosen to put our thinking about Him in a box.

     Who can grasp His glory? The seraphim are given six wings, and they use two of them to shield their eyes from the glory they live in since being made. Who can grasp the idea that dividing the infinite nature of God into a billion diminishes Him in no way? God can hear the prayers of millions of people on a one to one basis simultaneously. The very nature of God is far beyond His creation. He is massive. All of the universe is a mere pallet that can be discarded if He chooses. This is how big the Bible reveals Him to be. Who can comprehend things like the eternality of God? No one. This is just one aspect of His nature. God has always existed, and has always existed exactly as He is tonight. There is nothing at all in creation like Him. AW Pink, in his inimitable book The Attributes of God deals with this right away in chapter one saying:

In the beginning, God" (Gen. 1:1). There was a time, if "time" is could be called, when God, in the unity of His nature (though subsisting equally in three Divine Persons), dwelt all alone. "In the beginning, God." There was no heaven, where His glory is now particularly manifested. There was no earth to engage His attention. There were no angels to hymn His praises; no universe to be upheld by the word of His power. There was nothing, no one, but God; and that, not for a day, a year, or an age, but "from everlasting." During a past eternity, God was alone: self-contained, self-sufficient, self-satisfied; in need of nothing.

     God is beyond us mere mortals. Study the Bible and you’ll learn of Him well, but just remember that no one can truly comprehend Him. There’s a joy in understanding this because understanding our lack of understanding is part of the wisdom He gives us. We say that we cannot comprehend Him not because we have never seen Him, but because we have seen Him.  


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