Today I will take under consideration the seventh Article of Faith of the Amarillo Primitive Baptist Church which expresses a common belief among the Primitive Baptist faith in general.  This week’s article of faith again deals with eternal salvation and the knowledge of eternal salvation here in this lifetime.

“We believe that all the spiritual blessings that are essential for consummation of the eternal salvation of the elect were given them in Christ before the world began, and in time bestowed upon them by virtue of his atonement for them.”

Admittedly the word choice and syntax of this particular article of faith is difficult to understand.  Should the Amarillo Church decide to revisit the articles of faith and potentially revise them, the language of this article would be at the top of the list.  The truth being expressed would be retained, but the wording could be much improved.  So what is this article saying in all reality?

He Hath Saved Us by His Works

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” (2 Timothy 1:9)

The first truth expressed in this article of faith is the method of salvation.  Here Paul words that method as being — the purpose and grace of God was given unto us before the foundation of the world.  That may seem counter intuitive, for how could something be given to an individual that had not yet been created nor had any of that individual’s ancestors come to exist yet.  The only possible method for this gift was through the omniscience of God knowing those that are his and giving them a gift through the promise of the coming of Jesus Christ.

In other words, all of the spiritual blessings that were necessary in order for eternal salvation to take place were possessed within the Godhead but were bestowed upon a chosen people in the promise of eternal salvation.  Along these lines we read in Romans 3 that God had faith in his Son that he would perform the work.  Thus, we can also say that the gifts were given through faith unto us in times past.

Christ Revealed the Gifts

“But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”

The gifts of eternal salvation were always present as long as the world has existed.  But when Christ Jesus came and set foot upon this earth, preaching “repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” then those gifts began to be visible and understood.  Through his preaching and establishment of the New Testament and through his death upon the cross those gifts were made apparent unto the believers.

Thus, the writers of our articles of faith say that in time they were bestowed upon us through his atonement.  Does this mean that the gifts did not apply to the elect of the Old Testament?  Absolutely not, they just did not have the privilege of receiving the gifts that were theirs until they crossed over into the promised land of heaven.

Thus, the simple truth of this article of faith comes down to this — Before the world began Christ gave us the gift of his love, grace, and mercy that we might be saved from ourselves.  In the fulness of time he revealed unto us the work that had been done before the foundation of the world, and allowed us to rejoice in our salvation here in time.  What a beautiful truth.

May The Lord Bless you this week,

J.W. Cunningham

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