A Wise and Discriminating Touchstone

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:23).

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:1-7; underlining mine).

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, [be] with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:14).

The Christian Confession of Faith (CCF) is not a snare to catch heretics but a test for the church’s worship of the Triune God of Scripture in spirit and in truth (John 4:23); a test for unfeigned communion and fellowship among those loving Him that regenerates and loving those who have been regenerated by Him (1 John 5:1).

“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him” (1 John 5:1, KJV).

“Every one who is believing that Jesus is the Christ, of God he hath been begotten, and every one who is loving Him who did beget, doth love also him who is begotten of Him” (Young’s Literal Version or YLT).

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again [or regenerated–CD], not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:22-23; underlining mine).

Though a Biblical confession is not meant as a snare to catch heretics, it is, however, a wise and discriminating touchstone to discover those of like precious faith. And to exclude weaslers.

“The church of the Arians did not refuse the word of the Lord, but rather laboured both to beautify and defend their own blasphemous errors by the testimonies of holy scripture” (Heinrich Bullinger, Decades).

Though a blind unbeliever, Heinrich Bullinger’s eye was sufficiently aquiline to detect those who tried to beautify their blasphemies with Holy Writ.

In addition to the exclusion of weaslers who attempt to weasel or creep in unawares (cf. Jude 4), careful confessions serve to drive away profane dogs and wolves with the rod and staff of accurately expounded Scripture.

“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1; KJV).

Every one who is believing that Jesus is the Christ, of God he hath been begotten” (1 John 5:1; YLT)

Those believing that “Jesus is the Christ” have been regenerated by God (1 John 5:1). Words mean things. Precise definitions matter. Otherwise, well…Mormons, Arminians, and tolerant Calvinists ALSO believe that Jesus is the Christ.

Believing that Jesus is the Christ is an immediate and inevitable fruit (or result) of regeneration; to believe that Jesus is the Christ is to see the redemptive glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). Does every single regenerate person without exception believe that Jesus is the Christ (including infants)?

A carefully-worded confession is also an attempt to “declare [our] sentiments in terms most scrupulously exact in order that no indirect subterfuges might remain to ungodly men, to whom ambiguity of expression was a kind of hiding-place” (John CalvinInstitutes,  1.13.4).

Though an unbeliever, Calvin rightly places his finger upon those less than forthright persons who attempt to hide themselves inside superficially orthodox shells without getting at the kernel of meaning inside.

“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1).

What does the title — “Christ” — involve? Is it just a title devoid of meaning? Are those regenerate who merely profess to believe “Jesus is the Christ”? If that’s all it means then virtually every cultic group in history would be among the saved.

“The Cerinthian antichrist denies the identity of Jesus and Christ (1Jo_2:22).” [from Robertson’s Word Pictures on 1 John 5:1 –CD]

So, Cerinthus was not even a muddled brother or a better Christian than a logician, according to men like Douglas Wilson or James R. White?

Obviously then, “Christ” is not an empty title or sound vocalized out of one’s mouth, but a term loaded with meaning — such as the attributes of Jesus Christ. And thus, we’re back to the truth that believing Jesus is the Christ is inseparable from believing in His true identity — who He is and what He accomplished for those He represented.