A Summary of London Baptist Confession
Even as we proclaim the gospel of Christ in the local church, we are committed to supporting the gospel work abroad.
CHAPTER 1. Of the Holy Scriptures.
Key point: In the Scriptures God has revealed Himself and the way of salvation.
Paragraph 1. The Holy Scriptures alone are sufficient, certain and infallible (that is, they cannot make a mistake) to communicate the truth that must be believed, trusted and obeyed in order to be saved.
Paragraphs 2-5. Given by the inspiration of God and contained in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, the Scriptures ought to be received and believed as the only rule of faith and practice.
Paragraph 6. They are complete, not to be added to by new revelation of the Spirit or the traditions of man.
Paragraphs 7-10. Some of the truths revealed are more challenging to understand than others, but the things necessary to believe for salvation are very clear; and by reading and searching the Scriptures on his own, the believer is helped to worship God and to find comfort and hope.
CHAPTER 2. Of God and The Holy Trinity.
Key point: God is the most majestically excellent being of all, and each of us is accountable to Him.
Paragraphs 1-2. There is one true and living God, infinite, eternal and perfect. His supreme greatness is beyond our ability to completely comprehend. He rules over all things for His glory and according to His wisdom, love, grace, mercy, patience, goodness, and holiness. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, He judges entirely justly, and He will by no means clear the guilty. His knowledge is so complete, that for Him there are no uncertainties or contingencies. He is the source of all life, glory goodness and blessedness that any of His creatures might have; and accordingly, every creature owes to Him worship, service and obedience.
Paragraph 3. In the one true God are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons represent one substance, each having the whole divine essence, yet that essence is undivided.
CHAPTER 3. Of Godís Decree.
Key point: Whatever happens, happens because God has planned and governed events.
Paragraphs 1-7. The decrees of God refer to His planning beforehand and His governing according to His plan whatever comes to pass. This does not merely refer to His knowing in advance what will happen, but it means that His planning and His governing represent the primary cause of those events. Godís decree includes all things, even the salvation of individuals.
CHAPTER 4. Of Creation.
Key point: God planned and brought about all things, and they were good.
Paragraph 1. In the beginning God for His glory created the world and all things therein in 6 days and all very good.
Paragraphs 2-3. God created man, male and female, after the image of God with reason, an immortal soul, and the law of God written in the heart (also known as the conscience); and He gave them a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. With the power to obey and the possibility to transgress they were happy in communion with God.
CHAPTER 5. Of Divine Providence.
Key point: God governs what He has created.
Paragraphs 1-2. In the free exercise of His will and according to His great wisdom God governs all creatures and all events to the praise of His glory.
Paragraphs 3-4. God ordinarily governs by use of means and secondary causes, but He is free to work without and against them as He pleases.
Paragraphs 5-7. God governs in the lives of His elect for their good and for His glory.
CHAPTER 6. Of the Fall of Man, of Sin and the Punishment Thereof.
Key point: The sin of Adam was a downward turning point in human history.
Paragraphs 1-2. Our first parents, Adam and Eve transgressed the command of God, and by their sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God.
Paragraph 3. As Godís appointed representatives for all humanity, the guilt of their sin was imputed to all, and their corrupt nature was conveyed to all their descendants.
Paragraphs 4-5. Because of this transmission to their descendants of original corruption (this bent of rebelliousness against God) , all humans are morally unable to do good and are inclined to do evil; and as a consequence they actually do transgress Godís will. This corruption of their nature remains during all this life, but through Christ it is pardoned and mortified for the Christian.
CHAPTER 7. Of Godís Covenant.
Key point: God planned a way to remedy the problem of sin caused by the Fall.
Paragraphs 1-3. The Father formulated a plan to save by redeeming a people. The Son achieved that planned redemption by His living, dying and rising again in order that it may be received by faith. The Holy Spirit applies the benefits of the achievement of the Son to individual sinners in order to make them able and willing to believe.
CHAPTER 8. Of Christ the Mediator.
Key point: Jesus Christ is the key figure who carried out Godís salvation.
Paragraph 1. As the achiever of redemption, the Lord Jesus carries out several significant roles: prophet (the revealer of truth), priest (the reconciler and intercessor), and king (ruler), the Head and Savior of the Church, the Heir of all things, and the Judge of the world. And in these roles He has and does redeem, call justify, sanctify, and glorify a people for God.
Paragraph 2. The Lord Jesus has 2 distinct natures, humanity and deity, in one person; and accordingly He is the only and the most suitable mediator between God and man.
Paragraphs 3-7. In order to mediate our salvation the Lord Jesus did the following: He was born under the law and perfectly fulfilled it; He underwent and suffered the punishment deserved by us, being made sin and curse for us; He was crucified and died; He arose on the third day with the same body in which He suffered; and He ascended into heaven where He sits at the Fatherís right hand making intercession until He shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.By His perfect obedience and sacrifice Jesus satisfied the justice of God, achieved reconciliation and purchased an everlasting inheritance in heaven for those who the Father had given Him.
Paragraphs 8-10. To all those for whom Jesus has obtained redemption, He certainly and effectively applies that redemption. He is their prophet to cure their ignorance, their priest to reconcile them to God, and their king to subdue, draw, deliver and preserve them.
CHAPTER 9. Of Free Will.
Key point: God has planned a salvation that must be freely chosen and that enables a sinful man to be a free chooser.
Paragraph 1. God has created man with a will that gives him the capacity to make unforced choices.
Paragraphs 2-3. As a result of the Fall, all men are born in a state of sin, the corruption of which extends to their will and thus influences their choosing. As a consequence, while in the state of sin, men are unable to will or to choose any spiritual good.
Paragraphs 4-5. When God converts a sinner and translates him into a state of grace, He frees him from the bondage to sin, so that he is able to will and to choose that which is spiritually good.
CHAPTER 10. Of Effectual Calling.
Key point: God saves by means of the gospel proclaimed while the Holy Spirit enlivens to make a sinner able to choose to trust Christ.
Paragraphs 1-2. Those whom God has predestined to eternal life through Jesus Christ, He also, at His chosen time, effectually calls; that is, He effects a change in them to make them freely willing to answer the gospel call to come to Christ by faith. This effectual call is accomplished by the combination of the gospel declaration in the Word of God plus the quickening (that is, enlivening) and renewing influence of the Holy Spirit. It is a call that enlightens the understanding to the things of God; that takes away the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh; that renews the will; and that draws the sinner to Christ.
CHAPTER 11. Of Justification.
Key point: God saves a sinner by declaring him righteous for Jesusí sake.
Paragraphs 1-2. God justifies a sinner by declaring him righteous for Christís sake. Christ alone has achieved sufficient righteousness to save by His active obedience to the whole law and by His passive obedience in submitting Himself to the just punishment required by the law. The merit of Christís righteousness thus achieved is imputed to (that is, it is credited to the account of) whosoever receives and rests upon Him by faith. It is not for anything that the sinner achieves. Faith is only an instrument, and faith alone is the instrument by which a sinner may rest upon Christ and His righteousness for justification.By His obedience and death Christ fully paid the debt of all those who are justified. As a result both the grace and the justice of God gloriously shine in the justification of sinners.
CHAPTER 12. Of Adoption.
Key point: God saves a sinner by adopting him as his child.Godís salvation includes adoption, and Godís adopted children gain His name, receive the spirit of adoption by which they cry, ďAbba, FatherĒ, and gain bold access to Him. Further, they are shown compassion, protected, and disciplined by the Father in love. Never cast off by Him, they are sealed for the day of redemption when they will receive their full inheritance.
CHAPTER 13. Of Sanctification.
Key point: God saves a sinner by setting him apart to be made really and personally righteous.
Paragraph 1. Sanctification refers both to a work of God completed definitively at the very start of a sinnerís salvation and to a working of God that unfolds as a continuing process throughout the believerís life. In both cases the virtue of Christís death and resurrection are the foundation.At the very start God sanctifies a sinner by granting him union with Christ, and as a consequence the sinner is regenerated (granted a new heart and a new nature) and is freed from his bondage to sinful corruption. From there on out sanctification unfolds as a continuing process by which a believer is made really and personally righteous in his behavior and character as the influence of sin is weakened and the influence of grace is strengthened; and in this the Word of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit are vital to the process.
Paragraphs 2-3. Sanctification can be likened to a lifelong warfare, pitting the Christian against his own remaining corruption within.
CHAPTER 14. Of Saving Faith.
Key point: The faith to believe, receive and trust Christ is granted to a sinner by Godís grace.
Paragraph 1. The faith required for salvation is granted as a grace by a work within by the Holy and by the ministry of Godís word.
Paragraphs 2-3. By faith the Christian believes the Word of God as the authoritative revelation by God of Himself and of the way of salvation in Christ. By faith the Christian trusts Godís promise, obeys Godís commands, and heeds Godís warnings. But it is Christ especially who is the object of saving faith, and it is Christ who the believer accepts, receives, and rests upon for justification, sanctification and eternal life.
CHAPTER 15. Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation.
Key point: The ability to turn from sin is granted to a sinner by Godís grace.
Paragraphs 1-3. The gospel commands sinners to repent. The capacity to repent is granted by a work of the Holy Spirit. A person repents when he comes to his senses to see the true evil of his sin, when he sees his need for pardon and strengthening help from Christ, and when he resolves to walk in a manner pleasing to God.
Paragraphs 4-5. Continuing repentance from recurring sins is a part of every Christianís life.
CHAPTER 16. Of Good Works.
Key point: Godís salvation bears the fruit of good works in a believerís life.
Paragraphs 1-2. Good works done in obedience to Godís word are the evidence of true faith; and they demonstrate a believerís thankfulness to God, strengthen his assurance, edify other Christians, adorn the gospel, and stop the mouths of scoffers. Such good works glorify God.
Paragraphs 3-7. Since the ability to do good works comes from the Holy Spirit, the believer must depend upon Him. And since doing good works is a duty, the believer ought to do them. Thus, good works are a matter of the believer depending and doing.
CHAPTER 17. Of the Perseverance of the Saints.
Key point: God grants a salvation that lasts.
Paragraphs 1-3. All Christians will persevere to the end and will be eternally saved. The certainty of their enduring salvation does not depend on the strength of their own will; but upon the choice and unchangeable love of the Father, the merit and intercession of Christ with whom the believer has union, and the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit.
CHAPTER 18. Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation.
Key point: It is possible for a believer to enjoy the certainty of salvation.
Paragraph 1. It is possible and profitable for a true believer in Christ to enjoy in this life a sure persuasion that he is saved.
Paragraph 2. This assurance is based upon faith in the blood and righteousness of Christ, the evidences (such as good works and love of other believers) that grace has been granted by the Holy Spirit, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit with our spirits that we are the children of God.
CHAPTER 19. Of the Law of God.
Key point: The Law of God remains useful to the Christian to help him to diagnose sin and to point him to Christ for a cure.
Paragraphs 1-6. God has made known that which pleases Him--what is right and wrong, what is good and badóand He has summarized it in the commandments. Even though the believer is not under the law as that which justifies or condemns him, it is still of great value to inform him of his duty, to reveal the sinfulness of his own heart, to show Godís approval of obedience, and to show the need for Christ.
Paragraph 7. These proper uses of the law do not contradict the grace of the gospel; and only by the gospel does the Spirit of Christ subdue and enable the will of man to freely and cheerfully do that which is pleasing to God.
CHAPTER 20. Of the Gospel and the Extent of the Grace Thereof.
Key point: Faith comes by hearing the word of God.
Paragraph 1. God uses the proclamation of the gospel in order to call His elect and to grant them the faith and repentance needed in order to respond.
Paragraphs 2-4. The gospel is revealed only the Word of God, and it is Godís will for it to be proclaimed widely.
CHAPTER 21. Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience.
Key point: Salvation grants the freedom needed in order to serve God.
Paragraph 1. Salvation grants the liberty to serve God in holiness and righteousness without fear of judgment all our days. This freedom frees us from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the harsh strictness and curse of the moral law, the yoke of the ceremonial law, bondage to Satan, the dominion of our own sin nature, the evil of afflictions, and everlasting damnation.
Paragraph 2. God has freed our conscience from the arbitrary rules of men which are contrary to the Word of God. So, we should not spoil our liberty by allowing our conscience to be bound to such rules of men.
Paragraph 3. Christian freedom should never be used as an excuse to freely sin; for that defeats the very purpose of freedom, which is to serve God, not rebel against Him.
CHAPTER 22. Of Religious Worship.
Key point: All ought to worship God in the way He prescribes.
Paragraphs 1-2. God alone deserves our worship, and He has revealed in His Word the only acceptable way; and that way requires Christ to be the mediator.
Paragraphs 3-6. The reading of Scripture, preaching, hearing the Word, spiritual songs, singing to the Lord, and observing the ordinances of baptism and the Lordís Table are all parts of religious worship. The believer should be careful to do these with understanding, faith, reverence, and humility. Acceptable worship is an activity of the believerís spirit, and it must be according to truth; so, true worship is not limited to any specific place.
Paragraphs 7-8. God has appointed one day in seven for the believer to withdraw from his ordinary labor, in order to engage in the special employment of the worship of God. Since the resurrection of Christ, this day has been the first day of the week, called the Lordís Day.
CHAPTER 23. Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.
Key point: Christians ought always to speak the truth plainly.
Paragraphs 1-5. There are times when a Christian may use a formal oath to confirm a statement of truth or purpose. Care must always be taken, and especially when the name of God is used, to state the truth plainly.
CHAPTER 24. Of the Civil Magistrate.
Key point: God has ordered societies by means of civil magistrates.
Paragraph 1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates to be under Him and over the people for His glory and for the good of the public good.
Paragraphs 2-3. Christians ought to pray for them that rule over them, and they themselves may lawfully hold such offices.
CHAPTER 25. Of Marriage.
Key point: God has ordered families by means of marriage.
Paragraphs 1-4. Marriage has been ordained by God to be between one man and one woman, for their mutual benefit and for the wholesome increase of mankind. It is the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord.
CHAPTER 26. Of the Church.
Key point: God has ordered the fellowship and union of His people.
Paragraph 1. All believers throughout history share oneness and union under Chirst, who is their Head; various names have been used for it, including the church, the universal church and the church invisible. The Bible uses descriptions such as the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ.
Paragraphs 2-6. All those who profess faith in the gospel and who live in obedience to God in keeping with that profession may be called visible saints. Those who profess faith in Christ ought to identify themselves with a local church for mutual edification and public worship. Even the best local churches are subject to error and mixture with nonbelievers, who Jesus likened to weeds in a garden.
Paragraphs 7-15. Christ organizes each local church as officers (elders and deacons) and the membership, investing elders with authority over the membership in the exercise of oversight and the ordering of worship.
CHAPTER 27. Of the Communion of the Saints.
Key point: Christians ought to live out their connectedness in Christ.
Paragraphs 1-2. All Christians are united to Christ, and so they share together a fellowship and a common experience of Christís graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory. Christians also are united to one another in the Body of Christ, and so they share a loving fellowship and connectedness in their gifts and graces and in their mutual duty to do good and to serve one another. Accordingly, all Christians ought to live out their connectedness with other Christians in public worship, mutual edification, and service.
CHAPTERS 28-29. Of Baptism.
Key point: Christ has given baptism to be practiced by His church.
Paragraph 1. Baptism, which was prescribed by the Lord to be practiced in the church until the end of the world, is for believers only performed by immersion; and it is to be a sign of union with Christ in His death and resurrection, of cleansing from sin, and of commitment to follow Christ in newness of life.
CHAPTER 30. Of the Lordís Table.
Key point: Christ has given the Lordís Table to be practiced by His church.
Paragraphs 1-8. The Lordís Table, which was prescribed by the Lord to be practiced in the church until the end of the world, is for believers only; and it is a memorial, by means of the elements of bread and the cup, to the sacrifice of Christ in His death.
CHAPTER 31. Of the State of Man After Death and the Resurrection of the Dead.
Key point: Each person has a personal timeline which will come to an end.
Paragraph 1. The bodies of men return to dust at death, but their immortal souls return to God. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect, are received into paradise to be with Christ, waiting the full redemption of their bodies. But the souls of the wicked are cast into hell where they remain in torment and utter darkness reserved for the judgment of the last day.
Paragraphs 2-3. At the last day, saints still alive shall not die, but shall be changed. All the dead shall be raised with the same bodies to be united to their souls forever. The bodies of the unjust shall be raised to dishonor, but the bodies of the just shall be raised to honor, made conformable to His own glorious body.
CHAPTER 32. Of the Last Judgment.
Key point: Human historyís timeline will come to an end on the Day of Judgment.
Paragraph 1. God has appointed a day when He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, and when all will give an account of their thoughts, words and deeds; and they will receive according to what they have done.
Paragraph 2. This day will glorify Godís mercy in the salvation of the elect, and it will glorify His justice in the damnation of the lost.
Paragraph 3. The certainty of this dayís arrival ought to warn the wicked and comfort the godly; but no man knows when it will be.