1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 11.5 How Does God Justify Sinners? God Gives Eternity

Table of Contents

The Text

The Chapter

God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified, and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure; and in that condition they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.

The Confession

God continues to forgive the sins of those that are justified

Matthew 6:12 (CSB) And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

1 John 1:7–9 (CSB) If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

All of the sins of the New Testament saints--that is, believers as you and I--are forgiven once and for all because Christ has died once and for all.

Romans 5:8 (CSB) But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Hebrews 10:10 (CSB) By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.

Hebrews 9:27-28 (CSB) And just as it is appointed for people to die once — and after this, judgment — so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

That death that Christ died over 2000 years ago? That happened in the past. But think about your sins in relation to time and to the cross. Did you sin before, during, or after the cross? God did not foresaw your heart repenting and turning to him so in that, he would save you. But what God foreknew is our wicked, evil, cold, stone hearts who rejected God and wanted nothing to do with God. And them the tender mercies of God before you were born and before the creation of the world, he saved you.

He saved you, on the hill called Golgotha, once and for all time.

and although they can never fall from the state of justification

What more can be said? Christ definitely, perfectly, completely, totally, and finally saves his people from their sins.

Here's the proof.

John 10:28 (CSB) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

John 6:37–40 (CSB) Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. This is the will of him who sent me: that I should lose none of those he has given me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:44 (CSB) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:65 (CSB) He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father.”

John 17:2 (CSB) since you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him.

John 17:6 (CSB) “I have revealed your name to the people you gave me from the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

John 17:9 (CSB) “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are yours.

John 17:11–12 (CSB) I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name that you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I was protecting them by your name that you have given me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.

John 17:24 (CSB) “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they will see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation.

Romans 8:28–39 (CSB) We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. How will he not also with him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of you we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What more do you need?

yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure;

Psalm 89:31–33 (CSB) if they dishonor my statutes and do not keep my commands, then I will call their rebellion to account with the rod, their iniquity with blows. But I will not withdraw my faithful love from him or betray my faithfulness.

Hebrews 12:6–8 (CSB) for the Lord disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son he receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

1 Corinthians 11:32 (CSB) but when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined, so that we may not be condemned with the world.

What? The sons of God who are in Christ Jesus still sin? How can this be?

I cannot tell you how many people whose hearts would break because they sinned against God and they begin to shake their heads and ask, "How can I be saved if I still struggle with sin?"

Believe it or not, the Apostle Paul, who wrote more books of the Bible than any other author, who was so radically transformed by God that he changed his name and was the greatest church planter the world has every known, asked the very same question.

Romans 7:24 (CSB) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

There is no doubt that the old man you used to be is dead in the death on Christ. For:

Romans 6:6 (CSB) For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin,

And yet, all the sons of God, formerly known as the sons of Adam and formerly known as the sons of disobedience and children of wrath, all have sin and will sin.

How can this be?

Romans 7:22 (CSB) For in my inner self I delight in God’s law,

That is it, my beloved. Know the difference between the hearts of the unbeliever and the believer. The unbeliever does not delight in the law of God. The believer does delight in the law of God.

See what David sings in Psalm 119.

Psalm 119:97 (CSB) How I love your instruction! It is my meditation all day long.

But listen, your heart might be broken and you might repent. But will it be broken all the way for all time? No! Will you repent sincerely enough? Of course not--you were once a slave to sin. That slave is no more because of Christ. But remember, as Martin Luther once said, "the dead man float." But because you are in Christ, and you are a child of the Father, you are going to love what he loves and hate what he hates because you have his heart.

and in that condition they usually do not have the light of his countenance restored to them, until they humble themselves, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.

Psalm 32:5 (CSB) Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

Psalm 51 (CSB) For the choir director. A psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him after he had gone to Bathsheba. Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against you—you alone—I have sinned and done this evil in your sight. So you are right when you pass sentence; you are blameless when you judge. Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. Surely you desire integrity in the inner self, and you teach me wisdom deep within. Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Turn your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you. Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God— God of my salvation— and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; you are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God. In your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper; build the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Matthew 26:75 (CSB) and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

There has been a call in America for revival. We pray for it and we want it for our country because this is a good thing that only God can do.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (CSB)
14 and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

We are counting on God who alone can do this in a people: bear his name, humble themselves, pray and seek his face, and turn from their evil ways. God must do this in us. If he does not, then we are as good as doomed.

But because Christ dwells in you, despite the sins you struggle with and will commit until Christ comes and brings you home, you have the heart of the Father, the indwelling of the Spirit and the life and death of Christ within you. Before that, there is no way you could have humbled yourself, repent, pray and turn to God. You might shed a lot of tears, worked really hard to do the right thing but none of that matters in the sight of God other than the righteousness of Christ.

You believe? You are in Christ. Rest in Christ. You are his forever.

And know that God promises that you will look like his Son.

Romans 8:28–29 (CSB) We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Christ was before all things and all of his people. He is the standard bearer of perfection, holiness, joy, love, and righteousness. God will do whatever it takes to make you look like him--once and for all time.

Take joy and rest in what he is doing.