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TIMOTHY MISSION FUND
We acknowledge with thanks your gifts received during the month of June totaling $30.00, which brought our balance to $80.90 at the end of the month. It is our hope that we may continue to receive your gifts from time to time in support of these worthy causes. Gifts to the Timothy Mission Fund should be sent in care of Mr. Tom Stryd, P.O. Box 2182, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49003.
FROM MBUMA MISSION HOSPITAL, RHODESIA
“My soul thirsteth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” Sometimes I felt that I knew what the Psalmist was speaking about when he described his spiritual experience, but I realize now that whatever I know of barrenness of soul, I did not know what a dry and thirsty land with no water was till I came to Rhodesia. When I arrived at the beginning of September, 1971, there was certainly no water to be seen except what came out of the taps from deep in the earth. The rivers, even the great Shangani, were all dried up, the trees were mostly dried sticks poking up in the dust. One longs for the rains, so one realizes afresh how needy the Psalmist found himself to be. How we should covet this hungering and thirsting after righteousness, because the promise is, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” Recently we had abundant rains. It is wonderful to hear the streams of rain falling from the rooftops, etc., and the cool change is so refreshing. One seems to be more aware of the providence of God when the rains come, because the need is so great. But oh! how Africa needs the “showers of blessing” promised in His Word (Ezekiel 34:26). I do hope that the Lord will cause those at home to be interceding for this. How obvious it is that conversion is “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.” Humanly speaking, one would think that the poor and destitute would hear the Gospel gladly — but it is not so. No matter how poor a person might be in this world’s goods, he can still say, “I am rich, and increased with goods”, unless the Lord should teach him his poverty and wretchedness by nature. How we need the blessed ministration of the Holy Spirit here in Rhodesia. I have been encouraged in hearing from some of you to know that you are praying for us. Indeed I felt it in my soul from time to time. There are times when one feels very much in need of the Lord’s help.
— Sister Cox
GIFTS RECEIVED FOR MISSIONS IN JUNE 1973
CLASSIS EAST SOURCE AMOUNT
Friend in Clifton Gift 100.00
G.R. Ch. Col. Collection 1827.70
In G.R. Ch. Col. Gift 400.00
Friend in S. Hol. Gift 5.00
Friend in Michigan Gift 115.00
Norwich Pentecost Col. Collection 671.67
Waupun (Mary Martha) Gift 100.00
Corsica Pentecost Col. Collection 219.12
Sheboygan Pentecost Col. Collection 544.45
Sioux Center Pentecost Col. Collection 683.65
Rock Valley Pentecost Col. Collection 816.32
Fort Macleod Pentecost Col. Collection 114.00
Again we would like to acknowledge all of you for your gifts to the mission work, and that the Lord may bless you and your gifts. That the Lord may pour out His spirit again at home and abroad, as the Lord has done it so richly on the day of Pentecost. The church of old had to sigh in Psalm 80, “Turn us again oh God and cause thy face to shine and we shall be saved.” The time flies by, and man with a precious soul flies to eternity. Oh boys and girls, young people and old people, seek the Lord while He may be found. Again we have heard that a little boy of 7 years old son of John Bouma in Montana, has drowned. May the Lord strengthen the parents and sanctify the callings unto all of us. We only at best have a short time in this world. The great question is, are we seeking the Lord? Are we doing all we can to promote the cause of God? As Rev. Elshout wrote in the June Banner that the mission committee has agreed to take over the work at the Baldwin Mission. We are hoping and praying that the Lord will give preferably a married couple to work full time at Baldwin, Michigan, which is really called the Bethlehem Mission. The need is great at this place for a man who can instruct these people in the truth of God’s word, with a wife who can assist him in the many labors that are required for one who does mission work. When there would be such a couple whose hearts would be inclined by the Lord to do the serious work among that people then you will have to meet with the Mission Committee that will meet the Lord willing on the first Wednesday evening in October at Rock Valley, Iowa. Your trip to Rock Valley will be paid by the Mission Committee. May the Lord give many prayers amongst our people for a couple to labor on that mission field. That it may all redown to the glory of God in the building up of His church in this dark dark world. We have a letter from Mr. Louwerse and Miss Ann Herfst. In the name of the Mission Committee.
American General Mission Fund
Netherlands Reformed Congregations of America and Canada
John Spaans, Treasurer
Plankinton, Box 106, RR1
South Dakota 57368
A LETTER FROM ABENAH0
Abenaho, Irian Jaya
June 6, 1973
Again a couple of months has passed since we wrote our last letter. During this time we were able to work with joy among the Yali people in Abenaho.
Every day Janny gave assistance to the medical work and literacy programs and Jan was teaching in Bible school and Elementary School. Apart from being head of the Bible school it was also his responsibility to make study material ready for the Bible school in the Yali language, like some parts of the N.T. and commentaries of these books.
There is a lot of work at a mission station of about 1500 people. Especially during the last one and a half years we were pretty busy while the Chris Tahner family was on furlough and Henk Looijen left for Holland for some months in order to get married.
But the Lord has given us the strength and we have seen His rich blessings upon the work.
Next weekend the first elders and deacons of Abenaho will be ordained by Rev. Gerrit Kuyt. Also this same weekend about 140 people will be baptized in Abenaho, where they attended twice a day for three months a baptism class.
When we see the way the Gospel is going on in this area, then we can praise the Lord like the author of Psalm 118 by saying: “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” People who only seven years ago constantly tried to kill each other are now through the redeeming Love of Christ and the Witness of the Spirit called: Children of God. (Romans 8:16)
During our recent Field Conference, which also was attended by Rev. A. Vergunst and Rev. H. Rijksen from our Homeboard in the Netherlands, we discussed the expansion of our mission area in Irian Jaya.
For some time both of us felt that the Lord was calling us to an area at a distance of half an hour by plane from our present missionfield. During several survey flights we found a densely populated area and an air strip possibility.
During the above mentioned Field Conference we received the final O.K. to open this new area with 34 helpers.
Sunday May 27 we were sent out to this area. All preparations for this mission, like food and shelter for 36 persons for about half a year, and tools for building the strip, are finished, so we are ready to go.
To reach this area we plan to charter a helicopter, because it is very hard, due to very rugged terrain, to reach this area over the trail. Very likely we will be flown in the next week.
Because we are the first white people seen by these cannibals, is this mission not without danger.
During the construction of the airstrip all food, mail and other supplies will be dropped by M.A.F. plane and our only contact with the outside world is by radio-transmitter. So it is not possible to send any mail to you for some time. But we will be happy to hear from you if you have a word of encouragement for us.
At first we plan to live in a large army tent with our helpers, till we have built a hut of grass.
We trust that the above will be a further incentive to remain faithful in prayer.
Jan and Janny Louwerse.
A LETTER FROM BETHESDA CLINIC
Bethesda Clinic 6-20-73
First of all I would like to thank everyone who sent me a “Birthday greeting.”
Since Sister Van Bossum’s return from furlough, we’ve been concentrating on the work in the outside clinics and try to establish new stations as well, in Ggede.
Some stations are visited once a week, others once every 2 weeks.
Two trained Nigerian staff members have been transferred to their own station since the beginning of this month.
Isaac Ogah, one of them is working in what we could call a more “civilized” area. The people are used to regular medical attention from our clinic, and are “quite ready” to accept a different method of looking after their sick ones than they were accustomed to. (Quite a number of them that is.)
The other staff member - John Odeh - is working in a place where none of us has been able to come for the past year because of road conditions.
When we visited his station last week, John told us that he finds the work quite hard in this particular area because people like to carry on in their own native customs according to their way of worshipping idols. But still parents do come to him for help with their sick children.
He told us of one of his experiences. Parents from a compound approximately 8 miles away from his station brought a seriously ill child to him. The child had been sick for days already, had high fever and because of this was having convulsions.
John, our dispenser had given the child several injections already and yet it continued to have convulsions.
He told us: “I was very worried about the child, especially since the parents were planning to take the child back to the “medicine man” in their own village and to sacrifice to their idols.”
I started to pray very earnestly if the Lord would bless the medicine given to the child. Not long after that the child began to show signs of improvement.
John experienced the recovery of this very sick child as a great encouragement in his work, and he said: “The Mother and I are great friends now, the child is home again and is doing well.”
John has the great advantage to be familiar with the customs of his own people and to be able to have “direct contact” with them in their own language.
Yet, he finds it very hard to “reach” them during the Bible Lessons.
He asked if we would remember him in prayer.
With Christian Regards,
BETHESDA CLINIC —
The picture, taken at the Bethesda Clinic, shows a cassava grinder, made of pipes, plywood, old hacksaw blades, and bicycle parts. Since modern machines are not available, they must often improvise labor-saving devices.
NOTES OUT OF THE CATECHISM CLASSES
OF REV.J. FRAANJE
Using The Catechism Book Specimens Of Divine Truths by Rev. A. Hellenbroek
Of Original Sin
Lesson 14 — Part 2
Original sin is said to have two parts; 1st, guilt of sin, 2nd, pollution of sin.
For which of these are we held directly accountable?
The guilt of sin. That is to say: just as soon as Adam received and ate of the fruit and was disobedient, in that very moment, that disobedience (the guilt of that sin) was imputed to the whole human race.
Who knows where that can be proved from God’s Word?
Answer: Romans 5:19, “For as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
This text clearly demonstrates that the first sin was imputed directly to us because it says, “Many were made sinners”.
Were all of Adam’s sins imputed to us or just the first one?
Only the first one. Since Adam lived for nine hundred thirty years, he must have committed innumerable sins. God did not impute them to us because they were actual sins committed by Adam himself as fruits of his fall. This is because of the depravity within him; a condition brought about by his fall. Only Adam’s first sin was imputed to us, but not his subsequent sins.
Why is it that he only is responsible for his actual sins?
Well, as soon as Adam fell, he forfeited his office as head of the covenant and he no longer represents his descendants.
What is the guilt of sin?
Answer: A subjection to punishment for Adam’s sin.
Romans 5:18 clearly testifies of this: “Therefore by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation etc.”
The fact that babies die is proof that original sin exists.
They have not committed actual sins, for which deeds they would be guilty before God.
Death was threatened only as a punishment for sin.
Why should these little babies die except that the guilt of sin was imputed to them?
Paul explained this to the Romans, also, in Romans 5:14, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.”
The apostle means to include newly born babies here. Babies who had not committed any actual sins against God, as Adam had done in his day. They had to die, nevertheless, which is positive proof that they have original sin.
They receive the punishment of death for this sin.
We have considered the various aspects of original sin, but, now, what about pollution of sin?
Answer: We inherit the pollution of sin from our parents. Everyone, Christ excepted, has the pollution of sin just as everyone has original sin. Christ had neither original or actual sin.
Job said, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.” Job 14:4.
The pollution of sin is a corruption which cleaves to us and has extended itself throughout the whole human race.
A person is not only guilty because of the guilt of sin but he is also loathsome in God’s sight from birth until death because of the pollution of sin.
That is why this sin is called original sin. We inherit it from our sinful parents and ultimately from Adam. No one, save the Lord Jesus, is excepted. Isn’t it plainly evident that we carry the original sin of Adam and do not sin only by imitation as the Remonstrants teach?
Do you think a child who was set aside from birth, allowed to grow up apart from all people so that he would see no evil example, would grow up a perfect person?
Don’t you believe it! That child would show evidences of corruption as all others do. Since the fall, sin no longer comes from outside of the man but is situated within and throughout his whole existence. Man and sin have united. Sin has become a part of man.
Sin works from the inside and is manifest on the outside.
Adam and Eve were the only ones into whom sin came from the outside. They were sinless, having been created without the germ of sin. It could be no other way, because “God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 16) to show clearly how loathsome a person is to Him because of original sin. In verse 5 we read, “Thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.”
It doesn’t say, “You were laid on the door step of a home.” No, because a child would not be there long; it would soon be taken in.
But, “Cast out in the open field,” where no one passes by.
What is our prospect, then, with original sin?
The Lord had said, “Dying, you shall die”, and that is our due reward.
We are loathsome in God’s holy sight. By original sin we, in the first place, become spiritually dead at our natural birth. This is a state of separation from God’s favor and we lie impotent in sin.
Secondly, by original sin we experience physical death, which separates soul and body.
Thirdly, by original sin we are subject to eternal death, that is, an eternal suffering of punishment in hell, a punishment of pain and also a punishment of want. This will be everlasting.
What are your thoughts about this now? Isn’t it a momentous happening when a person is born into this world?
Just as surely as a person is born with a real body, so certainly does he come into the world with guilt and pollution of sin. This makes him condemnable in God’s sight.
The Lord had placed us originally upon this earth without sin and according to His holy likeness, but we have taken sin upon ourselves. The devil did not force sin upon us; he merely proposed it to us. Besides, we had the inherent ability to maintain our favorable relationship with God. For this reason God is entirely free. Eternal life would have been the reward for obedience, consequently eternal death was the reward for disobedience.
May you learn to clearly see and accept these serious matters through the convincing and saving work of the Spirit of God. By nature a person will not accept or admit his guilt and pollution. No, never.
Be truthful about it now, don’t you feel, too, that sin is a delight which you would rather not take leave of?
Have you ever noticed how corrupt and filthy your own nature is?
I hope that which is now your delight may become a heavy burden to you. Only free grace can accomplish this. A work of conscience can cause distress, but it will never cause a true grief for sin. Only the presence of the Holy Spirit in the elect soul will convict it of sin. This includes original sin with its guilt and pollution.
May this same Spirit bless these imperfect instructions to your young lives.
To be Continued
THE SAME OBSERVATION
To commence with the last remark; That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. By nature we are all proud and conceited creatures, but the Lord humbles His people. He brings them into the valley of humiliation, as a fruit of the humiliation of Christ, and the operation of the Holy Spirit.
Absalom, while he was fleeing remained hanging by his hair in the branches of a tree, but Zacchaeus was brought down to the ground. An unregenerate person will never come to true humility, even though Ahab did humble himself for a moment, but it was only his conscience, and not his heart. With the sinner in Luke 7, God’s children are brought in the dust, at the feet of the Lord Jesus. There is a prayer, in the heart of God’s people who have been discovered and have come to some knowledge of themselves: “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominion over me.” Ps. 19:13. There are moments, that those people may lay open and pour out their hearts before God, and that they may tell Him all their ways. Elijah also once thought, that he alone was left, but that was in the depth of a great despondency, in days of persecution and strife, so that the visible church had nearly become invisible. But the answer of God was; “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” I Kings 19:18. There will always be a remnant left according to the election of grace. Christ has never been without subjects and never will be, even unto the end of time. We read of that in Ps. 72:17, “His name shall endure forever, His name shall be continued as long as the sun; and men shall be blessed in Him; all nations shall call Him blessed.” Also in Ps. 89:36, “His seed shall endure forever and His throne as the sun before Me.” And the poet of old sang in Ps. 22,
“Both rich and poor both bond and free,
Shall worship Him on bended knee,
And children’s children shall proclaim
The glorious honor of His name.
The Lord’s unfailing righteousness
All generations shall confess,
From age to age shall men be taught
What wondrous works the Lord has wrought.”
Here and there, there still are some of God’s faithful servants who proclaim blessing and curse, law and gospel, life and death, death in Adam, and life in Christ. To the glory of God’s grace there are still some found, who upon the ruins of God’s church are still speaking to the heart of Jerusalem. For God shall place watchmen upon the walls of Jerusalem unto the end of time, which shall never hold their peace day and night, Isa. 62:6. Christ taught His disciples to pray: “Thy Kingdom come”; but also, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His vineyard.” That the prayers may be multiplied for the increasing and establishing of God’s church here upon earth. I believe an Holy Catholic Christian Church, but because of our sins, personal, domestic, church and national, all is forfeited. And God’s church is rent and broken as the bones scattered at the grave’s mouth. There is new wine still found in the cluster therefore the Lord says, “Destroy it not.” We should take it to heart, and weep because of the affliction of Joseph, and implore the Lord that it might please Him to bring together what belongs together, no matter how hard or how deep the way may be but to bring them together. There are still children of God here and there, there still is some of God’s sanctified seed, but oh, often it is covered and despised. Oh yes, there are still some who have not defiled their garments, but Jacob has become small. God will never completely depart with His Spirit, and will personally care for His people, not permitting the righteous to be moved. There lies so little luster upon Zion, and so little strength proceeds from it. How the staves Beauty and Bands are broken. A few days ago a friend wrote, “Zion is becoming small, and there is so much suspecting one another, because charity is wanting, and they do not, or do not want to understand each other. It would be more glorifying to God and more profitable for our soul, if we could write differently, but alas we must assent to this all.”
In our days it is as we read in the Lamentations of Jeremiah: “The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst; the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them; They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets; they that were brought up in scarlet embrace the dung-hills,” Ch. 4:4, 5. Literally, that is the condition of the church of God. Alas, in general the eyes are closed for the actual condition. Many church people, and many who claim that they are Christians, thinking that they possess spiritual life, take it amiss, when you thus judge about the present state of the church. So much building, working, organizing and zeal, but what do you see of the real work of God, that shall endure to all eternity? Those, who still have an open eye for the condition, will agree with what we read in Jeremiah. Oh, that it would become a personal matter; “Woe unto us, that we have sinned.”
Faith, like gold, must be tried in the fire before it can be depended upon.
Anyone interested in distributing religious tracts at hospitals, airports, laundromats, barber shops, colleges, etc., is invited to write Bible Truth Books, P.O. Box 2373, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49003. Presently available tracts are:
Hell or Heaven Rev. C. Harinck
What Does the Bible Mean to Us? Rev. J. VanHaaren
A Timely Warning C. F. Boerkoel
The Message of Christianity James Adams
Lovest Thou Me? C. F. Boerkoel
A Sign of the Times Rev. J. VanZweden
“It is the Last Time” C. F. Boerkoel
What is Life All About? J. G. Reisinger
If used for distribution purposes the following booklets (retail — 35c) are also free of charge in limited quantities:
Sickness J. C. Ryle
The Love of Christ R. Murray M’Cheyne
Alive or Dead J. C. Ryle
Inform us of the approximate number of tracts you could use and we will send them to you free of charge. All tracts are approved by the Banner of Truth Book Committee. May the Lord bless this means that many might come to a right knowledge of self and the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Your prayers and donations for this cause will be appreciated. Thank you.
Extract from a Letter Concerning the Justification of a Sinner by the Direct Imputation of the Surety Righteousness of Christ.
Three questions arise regarding my views on this subject:
I. Do I place justification in eternity, and accordingly imply that there is no justification, actually considered, in time?
Our Fathers distinguished between two kinds of immanent acts of God; some immanent acts always remain within the Divine Being; other acts (also immanent) God’s sovereign counsel determines to come forth from Him with respect to their execution. (See also Dr. John Dick, the 2nd paragraph of Lecture XXXIV, On the Decrees of God).
The Word of God teaches us very clearly that every thing we receive in time must be considered as the execution of what God intrinsically, in eternity, has assigned to us, or laid aside for us, by virtue of the definite, eternal determination of His will according to His divine counsel. All spiritual blessings, that is, every thing we ever receive out of sovereign, unmerited love, dates back to the same eternal antiquity. How then can anyone place justification, one of the most prominent of all these blessings, as originating at a later date, in fact, a date in time rather than in eternity?
However, I have never taught that justification, as it is an immanent act of God, is justification in its full scope. On the contrary, I have taught that to place justification (in its full extent) in eternity, would be Antimomian.
The above explains in what respect I hold to a justification from eternity, and in what respect I deny it.
II. Do I assert that justification in its full scope took place at the death of Christ?
I have never taught this. My opinion has always been, and still is, that we must place justification at the time of the resurrection of Christ. God raising Him who was the Substitute, the Representative and Covenant Head, from the dead, justified Him in that capacity, so that in and with Him the entire Church, or all those whom He represented, were justified.
Although, then, I place justification as an immanent act of God, in eternity, and also assert that we are justified in and with Christ through His resurrection, I nevertheless maintain that we notwithstanding, are not fully justified, or in other words, that justification is not complete until this benefit is actually and personally applied to us.
III. Do I assert that justification takes place by the direct imputation of Christ’s righteousness, before life is implanted, and before the actual exercise of faith? — This more nearly approaches my views than the two previous queries do.
On the basis of the Word of God I teach (and this has been the doctrine of the Reformation from the very beginning) that the imputation, both of guilt to condemnation as well as of righteousness to justification is founded, notupon any personal act or quality of ours, but only upon the fact that we belong to one of the two covenants of which either the first or the second Adam is the head. In other words, those who are chosen in Christ as the second Adam are made partakers of the righteousness and life in the same manneras all of Adam’s descendants by ordinary generation are made partakers of his first sin, and consequently die. — I teach then:
1. that God imputes the righteousness and satisfaction of Christ to the elect sinner in the time of love by an immediate, direct imputation, an imputation preceding all acts of faith.
2. that this imputation in the time of love has two immediate effects:
a. At this imputation the sins of the elect sinner are forgiven and a right to eternal life is granted to him. In other words, in the time of love the elect sinner, by the direct imputation of the righteousness and satisfaction of Christ, is transferred from the state of death (and by nature he lies in that state under the wrath and curse of God, even as all the others) to the state of grace, in which he shall partake of all the benefits which Christ has merited.
This is really the point of difference about which the Protestants and the Roman Catholics disputed at the commencement of the Reformation. The doctrine as presented in the preceding paragraph puts us in a position to attack the Romans. However, this becomes impossible in the system of those who teach that the righteousness of Christ is imputed uponthe act of faith, for in so doing they insist, with Rome, that there must be an internal change in the subject (that is, in the elect sinner) before God justifies; like so many at present, who teach that repentance and faith must precede justification, before God imputes the righteousness and satisfaction of Christ to the elect. However, all Protestants have taught at the first, that the direct imputation and granting of the righteousness and satisfaction of Christ precedes, and that in this imputing act of God noact of man, and consequently neither repentance nor faith, come or cancome into consideration, because:
(1) God’s imputing act would then depend upon the repentance and faith of the sinner; —
(2) this imputation would then not be made to the sinner who lies completely dead in trespasses and sin, Rom 4:5; —
(3) then sanctification would precede justification, since saving faith and repentance are parts of sanctification.
From this direct imputation of the righteousness and satisfaction of Christ to the elect in the time of love proceeds that saving grace which increases in so many ways and in such varying degrees until it reaches perfection.
All exercises or acts which others teach as preceding this direct imputation proceed purely and solely from nature and from a conscience awakened by the Law. These exercises they would (with the Semi-Pelagians) use to prepare themselves for grace.
I teach this in all my writings in order to dash to the ground the unwise manner in which some treat poor souls, in that they recognize nothing as true grace until a person has surrendered himself to Christ with full realization and assurance, and until his heart is so enlarged that he has not the least doubt as to his new birth in that moment.
b. The second effect of the direct imputation in the time of love, is that a new life is imparted, that is, the dead sinner is made alive.
When Christ, as the Head of the body, apprehends the sinner by the Holy Spirit in the time of love, and unites Himself to him, He then grants, gives, and imparts this selfsame Spirit to the elect sinner in order to regenerate him by the almighty, irresistible, and quickening application of His divine power, to work faith in his heart, thereby uniting him to Christ in his effectual calling, so that the sinner will now, from his side, by the believing acceptance of all, apprehend that for which also he was apprehended, Phil. 3:12.
3. I teach in the third place that the benefit of justification comes to its full completion in the soul of the elect sinner in this life, in the following manner:
(a) The quickened soul, in which the Holy Spirit works saving faith, is not only deeply affected by the Word of God, impelling him to think and meditate upon what God declares to him, but, notwithstanding all the fears and terrors that oppress him, he is graciously enabled to cleave to the Lord Jesus more and more, to cling to Him more tenderly, and never to find peace until he has found Christ.
(b) God sets up a tribunal, notin heaven, but in the heart of the chosen, quickened sinner.
God’s first act in this tribunal is conviction of sin by the Holy Ghost, by means of God’s holy Law. As a rule, the sinner is convinced first of all of actual sins, and then of the sins of his heart, his original sin, his sins of omission, the impurity and insufficiency of his own righteousness; he is convinced of God’s unimpeachable justice, and of the impotence of all creatures, including himself.
God’s second act in the court of conscience is the enlightenment of the understanding in the knowledge of Christ, wrought by the Holy Spirit by means of the gospel. From the very beginning it has pleased God to use the gospel as a means to reveal objectively to those elect who have come to the years of discretion the full counsel of God, and the covenant which was established in eternity for their restoration, with Christ as the second Adam and with all the elect in Him as His seed. By means of this same gospel it has pleased God to work in them, as rational creatures, His supernatural, effectual, and immediate operations, bringing them by successive steps to receive this Word on its own merits and acknowledge it to be good, and true and divine; — bringing them also to embrace Christ Jesus Himself from faith to faith, and to put their trust and confidence in that Savior who is discovered and revealed to them in this Word.
Thus I have always affirmed that the gospel is the mediateobject of true saving faith, and that Christ Himself in His own person is the immediateobject, to whom this saving faith unites, upon whom this faith terminates, and in whom alone this faith relies for salvation.
The third act in the court of conscience is the assurance in our own mind of our actual and personal participation in this benefit of the covenant. The answer to the 21st question of the Heidelberg Catechism terms this, “an assured confidence, which the Holy Ghost works by the gospel in my heart, that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.” Note particularly, the Catechism states, are freely given;not shall be givenif 1 accept this with confidence, as if my acceptance were the basis of the giving. The terminology in the Catechism, are freely given,denotes that the giving precedes any act of ours, and it does not denote that something will be given because ofour act, uponour act, or subsequent toour act.
To be Continued
“And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch!” Mark 13:37.
Watch! How necessary this is, because we are living in a time like the day before the flood. Jesus, Who gave this warning, also spoke about this similarity, saying in Matthew 24: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son be.” “There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Readers, what do we see and hear this day? But … only a beginning! Watch! Watch, praying and crying to the Lord for help.
Watch! because our greatest enemy is within. The Word of God says so, and God’s people learn to know this by instruction and experience. How often do they fear this enemy and cry to God for help. The Lord tells us by Jeremiah that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). This deceitful and desperately wicked heart will come with a thousand or more evil temptations and snares. How necessary this prayer by day and night: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
O poor and wretched creatures that we are! By nature we do not even have a desire to watch against dangerous snares and evils. O may Christ teach us to watch with great zeal against all the dangers within and without. In that watching it is necessary to have the light of the Word and Spirit; also the strength of Christ in our weaknesses. Jesus says in Luke 22:40: “Pray that ye enter not into temptation.” And Paul has written: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching with all perseverance and supplication.”
Watch! against the great danger of television. How are untold multitudes of worldly people, nonmembers of any church, but also millions of religious people tempted to bring television into their homes! How many have condemned the worldly moving picture shows and warned their children not to visit such places, have now made a moving picture show of their own home. How many precious hours are being wasted in watching the moving pictures. O, to fill our home and heart more with the evil world of our days! No place for Christ Jesus and His salvation! This evil has even entered our congregations in this land, and a minister from Holland wrote us some time ago, “We have been obliged to censure a member for bringing this dangerous evil into his home.” Members have left the church, denied their confession made before God and the congregation, despised all admonitions and warnings, in their great desire and zeal for this dangerous idol. Oh, what shall the end be if they do not come to repentance, and they shall one day have to stand before the great Divine Judge with their children!
The radio (alas, how misused in many homes!), is however not making a moving-picture show of the home.
O, that the all-knowing and righteous God could say of us and our children, “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world (yes, upon all the world), to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Rev. 3:10. And reader, “Judge not according to the appearing, but judge a righteous judgment.” John 7:24.
Oh, may the consistories of our churches in the United States, Canada, and Holland, stand with the prophet Habakkuk upon their watchtower and take heed to the Word of God and the decision of our Synod, realizing also that they, as office bearers in the Church of Christ, have received the authority to use the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven against those who deny their confession, and especially when they make a moving picture show of their home for themselves and their poor children.
If members having television are stubborn and go their own way, that censure may be applied with a praying heart, looking up to the mighty and merciful Jesus Who can deliver and heal. Does not the Synod decision say, “Proceed with censure?’”
Let us also consider what our fathers declared about image service in the 35th Lord’s Day of our Heidelberg Catechism: “We must not pretend to be wiser than God, Who will have His people taught, not by dumb images, but by the lively preaching of His Word.”
“Today, if ye hear His voice, harden not your heart!” Psalm 95:7, 8,
THROUGH BACA’S VALE
“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure; which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.” — 2 Thessalonians 1:4, 5,
The Lord has chosen that his people should pass through deep and cutting afflictions, for it is through much, or many tribulations, as the word really signifies, “through many tribulations” they are to enter the kingdom of God above, and into the sweetness and power of the kingdom of God below (Acts 14:22). But every man will resent this doctrine, except God has led him experimentally into it. It is such a rough and rugged path; it is so contrary to flesh and blood; it is so inexplicable to nature and reason, that man, proud, rebellious man, whether he be in a profession or whether he be out of a profession, will never believe that he must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom. And this is the reason why so many find, or seek to find, a smoother way to glory than the Lord has appointed his saints to walk in. But shall the Head travel in one path, and the members in another? Shall the Bridegroom walk and wade through seas of sorrow, and the bride never so much as wet her feet with the water? Shall the Bridegroom be crucified in weakness and suffering, and there be no inward crucifixion for the dearly-beloved of his heart? Shall the Head suffer, grieve, agonise, groan, and die, and the members dance down a flowery road, without inward sorrow or outward suffering?
“Bastards may escape the rod,
Sunk in earthly, vain delight;
But the true-born child of God
Must not, would not, if he might.”
But, perhaps, there are some who say in their heart, “I am well convinced of this; but my coward flesh shrinks from it. I know if I am to reach the Canaan above, I must pass through the appointed portion of tribulation. But my coward flesh shrinks back.” It does! Who would willingly bring trials upon himself? Therefore the Lord does not leave these trials in our hands; but he himself appoints a certain measure of tribulation for each of his people to pass through. They will come soon enough; you need not anticipate them; you need not wish for them. God will bring them, in his own time and in his own way;and what is more, God will not merely bring you into them but God will bring you through them, and God will bring you out of them; for the third part was not merely brought into the fire, but through the fire, to cause them to call upon his name. What, then, will be our mercy? It will be our mercy if enabled to ask the Lord to bless us with faith and patience under tribulation; to ask the Lord to give us strength to bear the storm; to lie as clay in his hands, and ask the Lord to conform us to the image of his Son, to guide us through this vale of tears below, and eventually to take us to be with him above.
CALLING ON GOD
On a communion Sabbath in the North, the felt presence of the Lord was so overpowering that the presiding minister found it difficult to speak. Many were melted down, for a bright cloud had overshadowed them. Some time afterwards, a good man who was present remarked in his prayer that, at the dedication of Solomon’s temple, the priest could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. That remarkable prayer ended with the words: “As we now descend from the Mount give us grace that the tables of the law may be found broken in our hands.”
Pride and Self were two heart-evils against which those men employed all their spiritual weapons, and especially the weapon of “All Prayer.” One much-tried man was once heard pleading with the Lord that He might “hold him up.” But before he had gone very far with his plea, it came into his mind that he should also ask the Lord to hold him down as well!
This fear of sin reminds us of a man who once set off to pray, that the Lord, in time of drought, might send rain on the earth. It was a warm summer day, and his secret place of prayer was on the top of a little hill clothed with trees. Arriving at his trysting place, and feeling weary, he lay down to rest. Immediately he fell asleep. He awoke with the sound of rain among the thick, leafy boughs which overshadowed him. There and then he blessed the Lord for sending refreshing rain, and for sending it before he had prayed. Had it come after his prayer he might have ascribed the given favor to the efficacy of his own prayer, and not to God’s mercy alone.
Indwelling sin in all its manifestations those men always spoke of as “the old man.” It was the hated and hurtful burden which clung to them to the end. Their growth in grace and holiness advanced in the measure in which sin became more oppressive and more exceedingly sinful. The well-known John MacKenzie of Gairloch was once asked by Principal John MacLeod as to how he was. “I am,” said John, “an old man carrying an old man.”
Gleanings of Highland Harvest, M. Campbell
My soul! here is a delightful morsel for thee to feed upon this morning. Thou art come out to gather thy daily food as Israel did in the wilderness. Faith had no hoards. Thou wantest Jesus now as much as thou didst yesterday. Well then, look at what is here said of Israel. They went out to gather — what? Why, the morning bread: God’s gift. Such is Jesus, the bread of God, the bread of life. And as Israel would have been satisfied with nothing short of this, so neither be thou. And as Israel was never disappointed, so neither wilt thou, if thou seek it in faith as Israel did. And observe, they that gathered most had nothing over; so he that gathered least had no lack. Yes, my soul! no follower of Jesus can have too much of Jesus; nothing more than he wants — nothing to spare. So the poorest child of God, that hath the least of Jesus, can never want. The very touch of his garment, the very crumb from his table, is his, and is precious. Dearest Lord! give me a large portion, even a Benjamin’s portion. But even a look of thy love is heaven to my soul.
GLEANINGS FROM GEORGE SWINNOCK
Be confident of this: the more you know of the excellencies of God, the more you will prize His Son, submit to His Spirit, crucify the flesh, condemn the world, tear to offend Him, study to please Him, the more holy you will be in all manner of conversation.
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Bekijk de hele uitgave van woensdag 1 augustus 1973
The Banner of Truth | 20 Pagina's
Bekijk de hele uitgave van woensdag 1 augustus 1973
The Banner of Truth | 20 Pagina's