All of the book of Revelation is symbolic of the age of the gentiles of the time of the church. In the first 3 books, the ages are set before us, from Ephesus to Laodicea. What is quite evident is that the age or dispensation which pleases the Lord the most was the church at Philadelphia. Within church history, the age of Philadelphia is clearly the Protestant Reformation. beginning in the 1500’s and ending prior to the age of Laodicea, which started around 1901.
About a century after the Reformation and the Establishment of the Protestant Church, a historic document was prepared in 1689 called the Second London Baptist Confession. It was written by Particular Baptists, who held to a Calvinistic Soteriology in England to give a formal expression of their Christian faith from a Baptist perspective. This confession, like the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) and the Savoy Declaration (1658), was written by Puritans who were concerned that their particular church organization reflect what they perceived to be Biblical teaching. Because it was adopted by the Philadelphia Association of Baptist Churches in the 18th century, it is also known as the Philadelphia Confession of Faith.
The confession was first published in London in 1677 under the title “A confession of Faith put forth by the Elders and Brethren of many Congregations of Christians, Baptized upon Profession of their Faith in London and the Country. With an Appendies concerning Baptism.” It was based on the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) and the Savoy Declaration (1658), with modifications to reflect Baptist views on church organization and baptism. The confession was published again, under the same title, in 1688 and 1689.
Here is an excerpt from it:
God has indued the will of man, by nature, with liberty and the power to choose and to act upon his choice. This free will is neither forced, nor destined by any necessity of nature to do good or evil.
Man, in his state of innocence, had freedom and power to will and to do that which was good and well-pleasing to God, but he was unstable, so that he might fall from this condition. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has completely lost all ability of will to perform any of the spiritual good which accompanies salvation. As a natural man, he is altogether averse to spiritual good, and dead in sin. He is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself for conversion.
When God converts a sinner, and translates him into a state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage to sin, and by grace alone He enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good. But because of his remaining corruptions he does not only (or perfectly) will that which is good, but also wills that which is evil.
The will of man will only be made perfectly and immutably free to will good alone in the state of glory.
Others are not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may experience some common operations of the Spirit, yet because they are not effectually drawn by the Father, they will not and cannot truly come to Christ and therefore cannot be saved. Much less can men who do not embrace the Christian religion be saved, however diligent they may be to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the requirements of the religion they profess.
Those whom God effectually calls He also freely justifies, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting them as righteous, not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone. They are not justified because God reckons as their righteousness either their faith, their believing, or any other act of evangelical obedience. They are justified wholly and solely because God imputes to them Christ’s righteousness. He imputes to them Christ’s active obedience to the whole law and His passive obedience in death. They receive Christ’s righteousness by faith, and rest on Him. They do not possess or produce this faith themselves, it is the gift of God.
Faith which receives Christ’s righteousness and depends on Him is the sole instrument of justification, yet this faith is not alone in the person justified, but is always accompanied by all the other saving graces. And it is not a dead faith, but works by love.
Christ, by His obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified, and by the sacrifice of himself through the blood of His cross, underwent instead of them the penalty due to them, so making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on their behalf. Yet because He was given by the Father for them, and because His obedience and satisfaction was accepted instead of theirs (and both freely, not because of anything in them), therefore they are justified entirely and solely by free grace, so that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.
From all eternity God decreed to justify all the elect, and Christ, in the fullness of time, died for their sins, and rose again for their justification. Nevertheless, they are not personally justified until the Holy Spirit, in due time, actually applies Christ to them.
God continues to forgive the sins of those who are justified, and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may because of their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure. In that condition they will not usually have the light of God’s countenance restored to them until they humble themselves, confess their sins, ask for pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.
Having never read this before, I immediately identified with it because it is what I preach and teach today. In short, the evil of man is not reliable enough to choose God because his free will is too corrupt. So clearly, the Holy Spirit was in the church, prior to Charles Finney and the sinner’s prayer.
The truth never disappears completely.
If you are God’s elect, still attending the institutional church where false doctrine prevails, YOU NEED TO LEAVE.
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