Monday, March 28, 2016

Precious Faith - Chapters 5 through 9

I'm reading Faith by Jeremiah Burroughs and decided to blog the hidden treasures within this book. It is one book that contains two of Burroughs' treatises: (1) Precious Faith and (2) The Saints' Walk by Faith on Earth and by Sight in Heaven.  Both treatises were first published in 1654. In 2011, they were edited by Dr. Don Kistler and reprinted into one book by Northampton Press.  In his first treatise on Precious Faith, Mr. Burroughs expounds 2 Peter 1:1.  You can see my summary for Chapters 1 to 4 here.

In Chapter 5, Mr. Burroughs applies his first doctrine: Faith is a most precious grace.  He notes that "some faith is higher than others, but that the weakest faith is equally precious," (p. 22).  He encourages the reader to examine himself and states that "[i]f your faith proves to be be this precious faith you are a blessed creature forever, whatever you lack in the world," (p. 23).

In Chapter 6, he sets forth the fact that "[f]aith is a precious grace because it is that grace that frees the soul from the guilt of sin," (p. 26).  It is true that repentance is necessary to be delivered from the guilt of sin, but a believer cannot repent until he is justified by faith through the gift of God's grace (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8).

In Chapter 7, Mr. Burroughs explains the fact that "[f]aith is precious because it gives an interest in God, in Christ, in the promises, and in heaven itself," (p. 29).  Faith makes the soul to be "one with Jesus Christ," (p. 30).  With Christ in the true believer, he can claim the promises written in the Word of God, including the promise of heaven.  "Holiness indeed may bring you to a possession of heaven, but faith is that which gives you interest and title to it," (p. 32).

In Chapter 8, he contends that the "glorious dignities that faith puts upon the soul prove the preciousness of faith," (p. 33).  "[S]aints are not only heirs, but heirs together with Jesus Christ, co-heirs; and that is a greater dignity that is put upon the saints, and all by faith," (pp. 35-36).

In Chapter 9, Mr. Burroughs outlines four additional reasons why faith is precious: (1) It is a cleansing and purging grace, a sanctifying grace; (2) It renews the image of God in the soul; (3) It is a grace that puts a quickness upon all graces; and (4) It puts a dignity upon all the works of the saints.  In regards to good works, he reminds that the reader that there "may be many things in your actions that you have mended; but yet if your state and condition are not changed by being brought into Jesus Christ, that which you do is not accepted...It is faith that brings acceptance not only to our persons, but to our actions," (pp.40-41).

I will look at chapters 10 through 14 in my next post. 

NB:  In Chapter 5, Mr. Burroughs makes this vague parenthetical statement: "(I mean the soul that thinks it has faith--it's true some may have it and not know it)," (p. 24).  He doesn't elaborate on what he means, but at face value, I do not agree with it.  Mr. Burroughs followed English Congregationalism, which is a denomination that historically practiced paedobaptism (baptizing the infant children of believers because the infants are members of the visible church).  Therefore, his statement could align with the belief that these "covenant children" are presumed to be regenerate unless they prove otherwise; thereby having faith, but not knowing it.  However, no one has faith and doesn't know it.  A believer is saved by grace through faith, (Eph. 2:8-10); he either believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, or he does not, (Rom. 10:9-10). The Bible is very clear that there is no middle ground (Matt. 25:31-34).  From the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 11, paragraphs 2 & 4:  " the alone instrument of justification...God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in time due actually apply Christ unto them."

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Cor. 13:5).