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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

...et. 1:3). We have our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30-31; 2 Cor. 5:21). When we come to God by His Son, we never go empty-handed. We have Christ for Whom we live and for Whom we die.

Saving faith is in deep love with Jesus and is deeply wounded when we sin against Him and grieve His Spirit (Eph. 4:30). It loves Christ for all that He is. It seeks to reflect Christ in its thoughts, words, and deeds.

So we understand that saving faith is about knowledge of God’s revelation, it is about assent and acceptance of God’s truth, and it is certainly a choice to commit one’s self and hope of salvation to Jesus Christ.

The Ground Of Faith

On what is our faith based or grounded? It is generally answered that Christ is the object of saving faith as He is presented to us in the gospel. This means that our faith rests or is based upon the promise of God in the gospel. This gospel comes to us not in general revelation, but in special revelation, i.e., the Bible. Therefore, our faith is grounded in the truthfulness and faithfulness of God. This God is revealed both by general and special revelation, but personally and closely only through special revelation. This means that our faith rests upon the God of the Word. Saving faith does not rest in the natural man. Scripture teaches that we should not trust in man in such away (Ps. 118:8-9; Jer. 17:5). The wisdom of man is foolishness to God, therefore, this also cannot be the ground of our faith. In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul says:

1 Cor. 2:1-5 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God

Paul intentionally does not want to come with “lofty speech or wisdom” because he does not want to entice them through his own wisdom. Rather, he preached only Jesus Christ crucified, even if that was foolishness to them (1 Cor. 1:22-24). He knows that God is glorified in our weakness and He is shown strong in and through it (2 Cor. 12:9). His preaching rather was “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power”. In other words, it was accompanied by the testimony of the Spirit Who confirmed the message through signs and wonders. Charles J. Ellicott explains on v. 4 that “The Apostle’s demonstration of the truth of the gospel was the result of no human art or skill, but came from the Spirit and power of God, and therefore the Corinthians could glory in no human teacher, but only in the power of God, which was the true source of the success of the gospel amongst them.”[37] Without the work of the Holy Spirit, the preaching of the gospel will only create temporary or historical believers, which is no true faith. Therefore, Paul says that he did this “so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” Charles Hodge, therefore says, “The Spirit demonstrates the truth to the mind, i.e., produces the conviction that it is truth, and leads the soul to embrace it with assurance and delight.”[38] Calvin observes that 

their faith was founded not on men but on God. If the Apostle’s preaching had rested exclusively on the power of eloquence, ...