Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Precious Faith - Chapters 10 through 14

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 and Chapters 5 to 9 here.

In Chapter 10, Mr. Burroughs contends that faith enables the soul to do glorious things.  First, it's "the prayer of faith that can prevail; if any prayer prevails with God, it is through faith," (p. 43).  Next, faith is the "grace that has the power to resist temptations...and that dispels fears," (pp. 43-44).  Faith "rises above all discouragements...and carries the soul through all kinds of difficulties," (p. 44).  Faith "rejoice[s] in tribulations, and it knows how to make up all our wants in God himself," (p. 47).  In addition, faith "overcomes the world, not only because it keeps the world from doing it mischief, but it can make use of the world for its own good," (p. 47).  Finally, faith "can look upon the face of the holy and just God with joy, and upon the face of death, and of judgment with joy," (p. 47).

In Chapter 11, he states that "faith is the special grace that glorifies God...To believe is the greatest work of all, that which brings glory unto God more than anything else," (p. 48).  God is honored when Christians can rest their souls upon His faithfulness so that in temptations, trials, and oppositions, they can say, "Though He kills me, yet will I trust Him," (p. 49).  "[I]f faith is the great grace that glorifies God, then unbelief is the great sin that dishonors God in the world," (p. 50).

In Chapter 12, Mr. Burroughs reminds the Christian that faith puts his soul into a state of happiness that he can never lose.  "It is that by faith the state of a Christian comes to be better than the state of Adam was in innocence, before he even sinned against God...[a Christian comes] not only to be united to the Fountain and Root of life, but whereby [he comes] to fetch a continual supply of life.  Therefore certainly a Christian cannot perish because he lives by a principle of life that is without himself, in Christ," (p. 52).

In Chapter 13, he sets froth the idea that faith is only a condition of the second covenant.  I struggled with this chapter because it is by faith that all men are saved in the Old and New Testament.  From the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 11, paragraph 6: "The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament. (Gal. 3:9, Rom. 4:22-24)"  Mr. Burroughs states that "it is faith only that is the condition of the second covenant that God has made with the soul in Jesus Christ," (p. 53).  I think this statement can be clarified by Sam Renihan's teaching on Redemptive History: "In the Old Testament Christ had not come and the New Covenant had not yet been established; there was no New Covenant.  However, the New Covenant was as good as done because it is part of God's eternal decree.  God revealed the New Covenant in His progressive promises throughout the Old Testament; therefore, the Covenant of Grace [the promised Seed found in Gen. 3:15] is the progressive revelation of the New Covenant."  If interested, you can read my post on Mr. Renihan's discussion of the different covenants found in the Word of God here.

In Chapter 14, Mr. Burroughs looks at three uses of faith: to comfort, to encourage, and to exhort.  He reiterates that the "precious jewel of faith is given instead of all riches...you need not fear any evil, for you have that within your own soul that may help against any kind of evil that possibly can befall you here in this life," (p. 58).  "You are unfit to live in these times if you do not have this precious grace of faith.  Therefore be restless in your spirits till you have it," (p. 60).

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it," (Matt. 13:45-46).