1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 3.7 The Mercies of God

Table of Contents

The Text

John 21:17 (CSB) He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” “Feed my sheep,” Jesus said.

The Chapter

The doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men attending the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election; so shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.

The Confession

The doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 (CSB) For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance. You know how we lived among you for your benefit,

So, what now?

Historical, orthodox Christianity has this wonderful, blessed doctrine of assurance for the Church since the Law was penned by Moses. The hubris of the modern age has a host of Christians assume that the predestination of God does not actually mean what God said it means. We have had to soften the edges a bit because predestination does not fit within our humanistic, secular, rationalist, experiential worldview, culture and defacto mindset. Somehow, someway we have to make it more palatable to the modern mind because our minds cannot fathom a God that has the absolute freedom of choice and we do not. It is inconceivable and a bit offensive if we are honest with ourselves.

But as clear and perspicuous that the Bible's teaching on predestination is, herein the task of the preacher, teacher, minister, pastor, and saint in handling such a doctrine.

The Bible calls us to handle such teaching with special wisdom and care. For:

1 Timothy 4:16 (CSB) Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

2 Timothy 2:15 (CSB) Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.

Matthew 18:6 (CSB) “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea.


James 3:1 (CSB) Not many should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we will receive a stricter judgment.

It is unhelpful, unwise, and foolish to proclaim to someone that they are elect on the basis on election alone. To teach election without the facets of the gospel and atonement is foolishness. We cannot, in good conscience, proclaim someone is elect when there is no human who is privy to such information. There is one man who had such knowledge and his name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is God, who has saved his people from their sins. Of course, Christ knew the people whom he was saving--that is why he came to live and die--to fulfill the law for us.

"Frozen Chosen" is not a thing. Nothing to celebrate. If you ever been told that you are elect on the basis outside the gospel of Christ, then just ignore. You, however, believe and trust in Christ. Call upon his name and you shall be saved. Because you had the wherewithal and the gumption and the will to ask for God, you have God. You couldn't call upon his name without having a new heart with new desires.

that men attending the will of God revealed in his Word

Psalm 19:7–10 (CSB)
7 The instruction of the LORD is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.

8 The precepts of the LORD are right, making the heart glad; the command of the LORD is radiant, making the eyes light up.

9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are reliable and altogether righteous.

10 They are more desirable than gold— than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey dripping from a honeycomb.


2 Timothy 3:16–17 (CSB) All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Let Christ simplify this all the way:

Matthew 4:4 (CSB) He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Christ has said: "The Scriptures are the mouth of God."

Want to know the will of God for your life? Picks up the Bible There you go. You have the mouth of God speaking to you through his pages. Praise be to God that he would speak to us.

In one particular Bible Study years ago, one elder who was leading the study confessed, "I don't have a inner monologue. Some people say they hear from God but I don't hear anything."

Then a few discussions later, seemingly unrelated to hearing God, he responds to a question with, "The Bible says..." I told him, "Stop right there, Pastor. You do hear the voice of God. You have it right there in the palm of your hand."

I know a lot of Christians, especially who grew up Charismatic, will come under great despair because they feel like they don't hear from God or they have to pretend that they hear from him.

My child, listen to me. You do hear from God. It is contained in his precious Scriptures. If you read or hear his word, you have heard from God.

Charismatic brother and sisters, what I am proposing may not seem supernatural enough for you. But this book, compromising of books, collected from over eons between the Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, penned by over 40 authors of God, inspired by the Spirit of God, which not only does not contradict itself but rather collectively and perfectly bears witness about the one, Jesus Christ. Give me something more supernatural than that. You cannot.

and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election

2 Peter 1:10 (CSB) Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble.

1 John 5:13 (CSB) I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Now that God has saved us, we get to do good works. We get to please God because we are in the Son, with whom the Father is well-pleased.

We cannot obey enough. We keep failing to do the good thigns that we should have done. We keep doing the bad things that we should not have done. We keep falling short of the glory of God. We are not sincere enough in our repentance. We keep falling into sin even through we have been cleansed. We struggle. We are weak. We are frail. We are sinful. We are dust. We are nothing. We are worms.

But God knows. God already knew that about you. God already knew that about me. He knew we couldn't do it. We would have failed and be apart from him forever.

He knew that. He knew that already. That's why he sent his Son, who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Now, as his child, go and sin no more. You are in Christ. Go and rest in Christ.

so shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God

Ephesians 1:6 (CSB) to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.

Romans 11:33–36 (CSB) Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and untraceable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? And who has ever given to God, that he should be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.

Some with certain personalities and dispositions and proclivities will be more prone to try hard. God knows that. Still, praise his name for what all he has done.

Some, because of the brokenness of the cosmos will fall into addiction. Certain sins will come to haunt you for what will seem like the rest of your life. God knows that and he has you. Still, praise his name for what all he has done.

Some will base the realness of God on their experience and feelings at the moment. But when they are in the valley of the shadow of death, they will question God's existence. God knows that and it is in those valleys where God will sit and dwell with you.

Some, still, will believe and doubt at the same time. They are the little boys's father who cries out, "I do believe; help me with my unbelief." Did you know, my child, that God is real and good and holy and loving and kind whether you doubt it or not. He is still for you. Still, praise his name for what all he has done.

And my beloved, if you have never sat in a church where the gospel was preached faithfully, where you were exhorted to rest in Christ because he has done it all and you have been taught and live as though sanctification is on you somehow. That is okay. God knows. And you are still his child. And you still get to rest in his Son. Praise his wonderful name.

and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation

Romans 11:2-5 (CSB) God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Or don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah — how he pleads with God against Israel? Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and they are trying to take my life! But what was God’s answer to him? I have left seven thousand for myself who have not bowed down to Baal. In the same way, then, there is also at the present time a remnant chosen by grace.

1 Chronicles 29:14-15 (CSB) But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? For everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your own hand. For we are aliens and temporary residents in your presence as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.

Psalms 22:6 (CSB) But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by people.

Or in the words of the Apostle Paul be our ever declaration:

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (CSB) I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry — even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” — and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

to all that sincerely obey the gospel

Luke 10:20 (CSB) However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

This is why we will praise his name forever. Amen.