Pastoral Overview

This monthly blog series contains a brief pastoral overview of each chapter of the 2nd London Confession. Written by a pastor for his flock, this series is a lovely collection of articles aimed at introducing congregations to the confession.

Chapter 2 - Of God and of the Holy Trinity

The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, Ch2, P1.

‘And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life’. (1 John 5:20)

The Bible begins with these words: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. In this one statement with no debate, ideas of atheism, dualism, polytheism, pantheism, to name just a few ‘isms’ concerning God, are dispelled. We are informed from the first statement of the Bible that God is singular, self-existing, incomprehensible, one who is spiritual, uncreated, infinite, eternal, almighty and sovereign.

He is the one who exists in His own being. The essence of which cannot be comprehended by anyone but Himself (Exodus 3. 14). He revealed Himself to be the I AM. He is the one who exists and who is present, the one who was and who will be.

He is self-sufficient and independent from us. He doesn’t need us in any way, and we cannot add to God’s essential glory, for He is the God of Glory. People may acknowledge Him and glorify Him, but He doesn’t need anybody or anything. We need food, water, warmth, clothing, friends, and occasionally we need someone to pat us on the back. He doesn’t need any of these things. 

The Person of God

He is the One who is sovereign and has dominion over everything. The bible tells us that He is on the throne, seated, and reigning. He has absolute and intimate knowledge of everything. ‘He knew you in your mother’s womb’ (Psalm 139). He knows your thoughts from afar; He knows the steps you will take; he knows your words even before you speak them. His thoughts towards you are more than the sand of the seashore, there is a knowledge of God which is infinite in His being, and He is holy, holy, holy.  

God is simple, a most pure Spirit, invisible without bodily parts or passions who only has immortality dwelling in light that no man can approach unto. God is Spirit, so Jesus told the woman at the well. Moreover, the Gospel of John declares, “No one has seen God at any time but He who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” When a person comes to the Lord Jesus, they begin to realise the enormity of the greatness, the splendour, the beauty and the excellence of who God is. 

When a person comes to the Lord Jesus, they begin to realise the enormity of the greatness, the splendour, the beauty and the excellence of who God is.

We also learn something more about God, and it’s this: He is one in three persons, and He is a unity but diversity of persons. We know Him as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who are co-equal, co-eternal and co-essential. The Lord Jesus said that all authority has been given to Him that we are to go into all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was baptised, He came up immediately from the water. The heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven saying, ‘this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased’.

We cannot even begin to understand the mystery of God. From creation, God has revealed Himself to us as one and yet three from eternity; as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The God we confess is not like Allah, an impersonal and unitarian being living in solitude. The God of Scripture reveals himself to humanity as truly one and gloriously three.

Although self–sufficient, our triune God chooses to reveal himself to creation. He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father eternally loves the Son; the Son eternally loves the Father. Wonderfully, God’s people may know communion with the triune God by the Spirit who proceeds from both.

Chris Rees

Chris Rees

Minister, Bethesda Baptist Chapel, Narberth, Wales