LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 178

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. These are my personal reflections on this beloved historic Particular Baptist confession of the Christian Faith.




Chapter 20. “Of the Gospel, and the Extent of the Grace Thereof.” Paragraph 3a: “The revelation of the gospel unto sinners, made in divers times and by sundry parts, with the addition of promises and precepts for the obedience required therein, as to the nations and persons to whom it is granted, is merely of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God…”


The Bible is a meta narrative. It explains it all. Origin, purpose, everything. It is also a progressive revelation. As its 1,189 chapters (numbered as such now for about 500 years) were penned in history, God’s ways and means were made abundantly clear in Christ and finally by those Christ sent in his own incarnate generation to the nations with the Gospel. Hebrews 1 opens with: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…” Hebrews 1:1-2a. We now, in the church, are sent out to bring Christ the reward of his suffering. We go. We preach. We make disciples. These are the last days.

The Law with Moses (God’s sworn covenant people) had various levels of blessings and cursings (an “…addition of promises and precepts for obedience” given to Israel) but such was always for God’s covenant people. The Law came after the Exodus. They were already in the covenant (unilaterally), in fact, since God swore it to Abraham hundreds of years prior. Genesis 12:2; 15:5. The performance of an Israelite within the covenant then was secondary or evidentiary, not deal breaking or deal making with God. Cf. Galatians 2:21. This was true nationally and individually if you think it out. Not all Israelites were elected to salvation as Paul says in Romans 9:6, but as a nation there was a promise kept by God of their national preservation that they simply could not forfeit (as Hosea) because it simply wasn’t based on their performance. It’s the same today that the Gospel’s rules are in this same sense only given to those already in covenant with God, it’s just among both Jews and Gentiles now.

God’s works are always in every age, however, undertaken in his free pleasure. He didn’t create the worlds because he was lonely, or in any way deficient. He didn’t need humans to show what love is. He wasn’t bored. The triune God is love. Completely self-satisfied. He waited literally “forever” to make us. He didn’t discover one day on a nice walk in a universeside a book detailing holiness or justice that he decided to implement. No other god taught him how to be God. God, mindbogglingly so, simply is and always was. Isaiah 40:12-18. God’s word extols: “Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2. Amen. He is free in it all. Want to talk about a “free will.” Let’s talk about God’s!

Even after his man fell into SIN, God initiated the shedding of the blood to cover Adam and Eve in their sin. Genesis 3:21. Everyone of us would do well to take just ten seconds here in this to remind ourselves of one thing I think we’re very prone to forget. It’s this: he didn’t have to! God didn’t have to save Adam or anyone else. He does all he does because he wants to. This was all planned from before the Fall. He came to Cain and spoke to him when he didn’t need to. He came to the righteous Enoch (the one in Abel’s line, seventh from Adam, not the one in Cain’s line) and took him to himself. He came first to Noah and preserved humanity in those eight. He then came to Abram, a pagan Gentile living in southern Iraq and established the man’s seed by a promise, codifying his covenant formally much later with that seed as Israel in Abraham’s great…great, grandson Moses. The triune God then, by his own free will, empowered the judges in Israel with himself, sent the prophets with his very own words, freely gave the blood for the priests to mediate, inspired the wisdom of many, sent John the Baptist, the Son came into a body through Mary, and God sent his Apostles out with the fullness of revelation penned now for all generations. He did all this and more because it was his good pleasure to do so. Cf. Ephesians 1:11. The books of earth couldn’t contain all he did one eyewitness said. John 21:25; Hebrews 11. And all of it, all that I’ve mentioned here, or that is ever anywhere mentioned cannot finally be said that he did except for this one overarching reason: He felt like doing it! Here is God’s job description: “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.” Psalm 135:6. It is all, “…merely of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God” as the confession rightly affirms. This is the testimony of Scripture.

Why did he make the worlds? Because he felt like it.

Why did he redeem people on the Cross? Because he felt like it.

Why did he do anything? As even Shai Linne says in light of one truth: because he felt like it.

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