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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith - Commentary

...alone-instrument-of-justification"chapter 11:2). Furthermore, this grace of faith...is the work of the Spirit of Christ (John 6:63; Ezek. 36:25-27). Faith is our response to the call of God, but it does not originate with us. It is granted to us by God and it is worked in us by the Holy Spirit through regeneration and the creation of the new man in Christ. It is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word (2 Thess. 2:13; 1Pet. 1:23), i.e., by the preaching of the Gospel coupled with the work of the Spirit of Christ. This faith is further strengthened by the Means Of Grace. These are the Gospel ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But also prayer, Bible reading and study, the communion of the saints and other things prescribed and commended in the Word of truth. By these means, faith is not created, but it is increased and strengthened.


Greek Words

We will start our study of faith by first noting which words are used in the New Testament especially to denote faith and belief. The word faith or belief in our daily lives may be used in a lot of senses. We may say that we believe that someone is speaking the truth and mean that we have confidence. We may say, "I believe that I've read that book" when we actually mean that we "think we read that book." We use it when we have confidence or trust in something without evidence. In secular eyes, faith is always connected with believing something without or contrary to evidence. But is this the nature of biblical faith? Before we answer that, we must take a survey of the Greek words and expressions used to denote faith, particularly in the New Testament.

Pistis

The primary word in the New Testament for faith is the Greek noun πίστις (pistis, G4102). According to Joseph Henry Thayer, pistis primarily means the "conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it"[3]. According to my Bible software (TheWord), it is used 227x in the NA28. William D. Mounce says that 'pistis means "belief, trust, confidence," though it can also mean "faithfulness."'[4] If we may at the outset observe, the basic meaning of the word has to do with conviction, trust, reliance, and confidence. It has nothing to do with "faith without evidence." Louis Berkhof observes:

In classical Greek. The word pistis has two meanings in classical Greek. It denotes: (a) a conviction based on confidence in a person and in his testimony, which as such is distinguished from knowledge resting on personal investigation; and (b) the confidence itself on which such a conviction rests. This is more than a mere intellectual conviction that a person is reliable; it presupposes a personal relation to the object of confidence, a going out of one's self, to rest in another. The Greeks did not ordinarily use the word in this sense, to express their relation to the gods, since they regarded these as hostile to men, and therefore as objects of fear rather than of trust.[5]

Now let us observe the different uses of the noun pistis in the New Testament. First of all, there are a few instances in which it is used in a passive sense of faithfulness. This is the case in Romans 3:3 when Paul says, "Does [the Jews'] faithlessness [ἀπιστία, apistia] nullify the faithfulness [πίστιν, pistin] of God?" Or in Galatians 5:22 of the fruit of "faithfulness [πίστις, ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary

...ore, He ministers grace to us as we intimately meet with Him. Therefore, this holy ordinance should not be neglected.

Some churches choose to partake of the Lord Supper every Lord’s Day, but the danger in this is that it becomes very usual and nothing special. Other congregations celebrate the Lord’s Table once a month (my current church non-Reformed church), or once in three months, or some even once a year. I believe that once a month is pretty good and I find myself often looking forward to the first Lord’s Day of the month to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Once in three months and once a year seems pretty long to me to withhold the people of God from this Means Of Grace. I think that there is directions in the Word of God to celebrate it every Lord's Day as in the words of Paul, "as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1Cor. 11:26). Don't we want to proclaim the Lord's sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection every Lord's Day? Don't we want to remember Him each Lord's Day through this ordinance (e.g. 1Cor. 11:24)? Why then not celebrate this token which the Lord Christ has given us each Lord's Day? Furthermore and especially for Reformed churches who believe the Lord's Supper to be a Means Of Grace, why withheld this amazing Means Of Grace from your people for so long? More on the Lord’s Supper in chapter 30, Lord willing.


§6 God Is To Be Worshipped Everywhere In Spirit And In Truth

  1. Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families 3 daily, and in secret each one by himself; so more solemnly in the public assemblies,which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calleth thereunto. 7
    1. John 4:21
    2. Mal. 1:11; 1 Tim. 2:8; John 4:23-24
    3. Deut. 6:6-7; Job 1:5; 1 Peter 3:7
    4. Matt. 6:11
    5. Matt. 6:6
    6. Ps. 84:1-2, 10; Matt. 18:20; 1 Cor. 3:16; 14:25; Eph. 2:21-22
    7. Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:25

There was a time when the Lord chose special places where His religious worship ought to have taken place. But now under the gospel and the time of the New Covenant, it is not tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed (John 4:23-24), as Daniel did (Dan. 6:10). Since God is spirit and is everywhere, we can worship Him anywhere we are. Furthermore, believers have God indwelling them! Therefore, He is always with us. Our worship should be in spirit and in truth and at various places and occasions as in private familiesin secret each one by himself and most solemnly in the public assemblies on the Lord's Day, which we should not neglect or forsake (Heb. 10:25).


In the Old Testament, the place for prayer and the proper worship of God was the Temple in Jerusalem. But that is no longer the case. God is to be worshipped everywhere in the universe. There is no special place which God has appointed God He will receive our worship and hear our prayers under the New Covenant. He is everywhere with us. We can worship Him loudly or in silence. Thank You, Lord! See our discussion above on John 5.

We are not to neglect the gathering together of God's people on the Lord’s Day. Rather, we should look forward to the Lor...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 30: Of the Lord's Supper - Commentary

...com/the-word-modules/file/286-works-of-john-gill/">Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc. ...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation - Commentary

...etimes fall into great sins whereby they come to the false conclusion that they were never saved in the first place, rather than realize that we all are sinners and we need to renew our repentance before God and go to Him and beg for cleansing in Christ’s blood and forgiveness (see chapter 15). We sometimes wonder how long God can tolerate us, we are amazed at how wicked we sometimes can be, yet the Lord does not smite us in His righteous wrath.

Some get their assurance “shaken, diminished and intermitted” because they neglect the Means Of Grace by which we come to know our assurance, for example, Bible reading and communion with God in prayer. They get a season in their life where they are not that interested (anymore) in the things of God, yet because they're true believers, they will not fall away from the faith and apostatize (see chapter 17), but rather will come again to repentance and seek God earnestly. They cannot go on sinning, because God's Seed is in them which makes it impossible for the born-again believer to live a life of continual sin (see comments on 1John 3:9 here). Even in our low times God will not forsake us, even if we forsake Him. He is always on our side even if we think or feel that He is not and therefore He will not leave us in our sin, but rather lead us back to Him as the Good Shepherd that He is for the straying sheep.

Lord, lead us to test ourselves in light of Your Word and in light of Your work in us and for us in Jesus Christ our precious Lord and Savior. Lord, we are grateful for this blessed assurance that is ours in Jesus Christ. Thank You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Glory to the Triune! SDG.

 

 

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life

(1 John 5:13)

Footnotes

  1. ^ Many Scriptural references have been supplied by Samuel Waldron's Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which was apparently supplied by the Westminster Confession of Faith 1646.
  2. ^ Sam E. Waldron. A Modern Exposition Of The 1689 Baptist Confession Of Faith. (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 2013). pp. 279-280.
  3. a, b John Calvin. Commentaries. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  4. ^ John Gill. Exposition of the Entire Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  5. ^ Matthew Poole. English Annotations on the Holy Bible. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc.
  6. ^ Joseph Henry Thayer's Greek Definitions. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. See reference for the Strong's number.
  7. ^ William D. Mounce. Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. (Zondervan, 2006). p. 1106, number 1010.
  8. ^ ibid., pp. 1106-1107, number 1011.
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