LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 98

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.




Section 9, paragraph 1: “God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither forced, nor by any necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.”



Few subjects have occupied my time over the past ten years like the subject of the will. I have read countless books, listened to countless sermons, watched tons of debates and countless videos on the doctrine. I’ve learned from people who believe that man writes his own destiny completely, and from others who say men have no part whatsoever in their eternal destiny. I’ve written and preached on the subject a great deal.


The answers develop around two ideas: 1) that all of us deserve hell, and 2) that those who are saved have nothing to boast of. While I’m certain that God decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, if a person’s theology on the matter ever led them to indifference before God regarding the gospel, they’d be straying into error. God wants to save. Men don’t want to be saved. The gospel comes to the dead. Only the living can obey it. God’s sovereignty in election is unquestionable. Our un-deservedness alone is made equally clear in the Bible. The biblical citations given at the LBCF link above are extremely helpful.


Man has a will. As the confession affirms, it acts upon its own nature. Edwards wrote that a man’s will is led by his nature. We are bound to sin, but that bondage is not external. It’s not from God. It’s from our own nature. God does not force anyone to sin against their nature, and he doesn’t force anyone to love him against their nature. No one goes to heaven that doesn’t truly want to, and no one goes to hell that ever truly wanted to go to heaven. The evil we do we wanted to do. The good men do in Christ they want to do.

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