The Baptist Catechism – Exposition of Question #1

Question: Who is the first and chiefest being? Answer: God is the first and chiefest being.

This first question of the Baptist Catechism starts at the very beginning. Who is the first and chiefest being? Who was here first and who is chief among beings? The obvious answer is God Himself.

Isaiah 44:6 reads, “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “’I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.’” God Himself is the only one who has existed for all time. He is the first, and Isaiah reminds us, also the last. The phrase “first and last” implies eternity. God has existed for all time and will exist for all time.

Not only is He the first being but He is the first cause of all beings. 1 Corinthians 8:6 reads, “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” Through God came everything else. The universe, animals, and man did not come into existence from random fate, but from the sovereign, loving hand of God!

It is not only that He is first in existence but first in so many functions. Benjamin Bedomme (1717–1795), famous hymn writer, and the great Baptist pastor of the church at Burton-on-the-Water in England, who wrote an exposition of this catechism lists a number of ways that God is first. He is first in creation (Ps 33:9), providence (Acts 17:28), government (Ps 93:2), grace (2 Cor 5:18), and love (1 John 4:19).

As a result of God being first, he should be first in our minds, hearts, and spirits. If God is the first being, that naturally leads to the second point that He is the chiefest being. If He is the chiefest being, God desires our complete submission and allegiance to Him.

God is indeed the chiefest being as the Scriptures reveal.

Exodus 15:11 reads, ““Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” The Psalms in particular illustrate how God is above all other beings in life.

Psalm 89:6 reads, “For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord.”

Psalm 97:9 reads, “For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.”

Psalm 92:8 reads, “but you, O Lord, are on high forever.”

If God is the chiefest being, what does that mean for us? It means He should be chiefly loved (Luke 10:27) and chiefly feared (Matthew 10:28).

For those who understand and truly make God the chiefest being in life, they are the truly blessed ones! Psalm 144:15 reads, “Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!”

Do you recognize God as both first and chiefest being? Does your life evidence that reality? Do you love the Lord your God with all you are? Do you submit yourself fully to Him in everything? Do you obey Him completely in your life? We worship not just any god, but we worship the true and real and living God. The only God of the universe! The first and chiefest being!

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