1. The Holy Scriptures (cont.)
2. Under the title of Holy Scripture (or the written Word of God) are now contained all the following books of the Old and New Testament:-
OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans. 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, l & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
All these books are given by the 5inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.
3. The books commonly called ‘The Apocrypha’ not being of6 divine inspiration, are not part of the canon or rule of Scripture and are therefore of no authority to the church of God, nor are they to be approved of or made use of any differently from other human writings.
52 Timothy 3:16
6Luke 24:27, 44; Romans 3:2
“58 came forward to be saved last night at vbs! praise God!” – Facebook post by a Friend
This post has rattled around in my head this week and I just can’t shake it. It is not that I do not want to be excited with and for my friend over these children, I do. However, in light of the study I have done getting ready to preach this last Saturday, I am not sure that these invitation-walk-the-aisle experiences are helping anyone. It is not that I think that children cannot be converted at a VBS or during any portion of childhood (God is God and He does what He pleases). The grave concern I have is that children understand salvation properly and I fear that often at things like VBS we are building on a foundation of emotion and not conviction.
I fear that we in the evangelical world have become so accustomed to the Charles Finney revivalism view of salvation (it goes something like this: walk to the front during the moving music after threats of eternal fire, pray a little prayer and HOCUS POCUS! You are now a “christian”) that even adults do not understand the true nature of the gospel and the choice it presents. In reading Luke 9:23-25 it is clear that the decision to follow Jesus is a serious, deep, life-altering commitment from which there is no turning back. This is a decision to follow Jesus no matter what, for the rest of your life. This is a decision to leave everything and everyone else behind if necessary and follow Jesus. If this is the decision that Jesus is asking for, it is reasonable to believe that a child is capable of understanding this decision, much less make such a choice?
Is a young child able to understand what it means to repent of your sin, daily, constantly? Are they able to properly understand what it truly means to confess Jesus as Lord? (Rom 10:9-10)
I am not saying that children can’t make such a commitment (I started my journey following Jesus at 5) but I am concerned that we often make it sound too much like saying magic words and not enough about Lordship and obedience. We focus the “gospel” on us and our felt needs instead of the truth that God commands all men everywhere to repent and believe. Salvation in its essence has little to do with actually saving me from hell and has everything to do with my acknowledgment of God’s rightful place as eternal and almighty God to whom all allegiance and honor is due. The gospel has as its heart the glory of God through the suffering of Jesus the Christ to present former rebels as adopted sons, not for their own sake or to met a need of God but rather to showcase the greatness of his own character and love.
I know nothing about how the group of believers at the VBS mentioned above presented the gospel. They may have done so with the greatest fidelity to the text of the New Testament. For me it was a reminder of the delicacy and patience needed to faithfully share the truth with these little ones. A call to remember that they need to be trusting in Jesus alone for their salvation, not in magic words or an emotional experience but in the quiet assurance that submitting your life to the King of Kings brings. It was a reminder to approach baptism of children and presenting the gospel to my own children with the utmost care. For how terrible would it be to give such precious ones false hope and assurances based on a simple repeated prayer instead on a sure understanding of Jesus work on the cross and submission to his will through repentance of sin and ongoing obedience.
1. The Holy Scriptures
1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and ¹infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.
Although the ²light of nature and the works of creation and providence manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God so much that man is left without any excuse, they are not sufficient to provide that knowledge of God and His will which is necessary for salvation.³
Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal Himself, and to declare His will to His church;
– and afterward, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church, protecting it against the corruption of the flesh and the malice of Satan and the world,
– it pleased the Lord to commit His revealed Truth wholly to writing.4 Therefore the Holy Scriptures are most necessary, those former ways by which God revealed His will unto His people having now ceased.
12 Timothy 3:15-17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Ephesians 2:20;
2Romans 1:19-21; Romans 2:14,15; Psalms 19:1-3;
4Proverbs 22:19-21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19,20
Thoughts to ponder:
Could anyone looking at your life tell that the Bible is your final authority? How? or Why not?
Do you really believe that the Bible is completely sufficient for all of life? Could someone tell by watching you?
I have struggled for the last few years with my theology of salvation or soteriology. It is not that I don’t know what saves sinners, only the blood of Jesus who is the Christ can wash away sin. It is only through belief in Jesus evidenced by repentance of sins and walking in obedience to Jesus as Lord (boss) of my life that the precious blood is applied to my life. Further, even the power to believe is a gift of grace born of God’s sovereign choice and divine action in the life of the lifeless, dead, rotting corpse that was me before I was made alive in Christ. This is not the part of salvation I have struggled with, it is the “how does a sinner properly respond to the gospel” part.
I have long had a niggling question about how to proclaim the gospel since the modern answer is that the gospel is as easy as A,B,C (Admit you are a sinner, Believe in Jesus, Confess your sin and Jesus as Lord) and by praying THIS prayer you are now (“HOCUS POCUS”) a child of God! Nowhere in the scriptures is there an example of this magic “sinner’s prayer”. Instead the text says believe (John 1:12; John 3:14-18; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:40,47; John 11:25-27; John 12:46; John 20:31; Rom 10:9-11), repent (Matt 4:17; Luke 13:3,5; Luke 15:10; Acts 17:30;), and obey (Luke 6:46; John 8:31; John 14:21; )!
So how then does a father communicate the truth of the gospel to his children so that they too can find salvation? Therein is the rub and the dilemma that has left me feeling totally stupid, inarticulate and floundering. However, I keep pressing on teaching my child that “being a child of God” begins with believing that Jesus is who he claimed to be – God’s one and only begotten son who came to live on earth as a man to die for the sins of his elect and was raised from the dead on the 3rd day by his Father in Heaven. That the proper response to our sin in light of this great sacrifice is to repent of our sins, confessing them and forsaking them as evidenced in our obedience to the commands of God found in the scriptures. Knowing that the work of salvation is done by God and God alone then the only thing left to do to pray and wait to see if the signs of sanctification begin to manifest in the life of my child.
Several days ago we were afforded the opportunity to see into the mystery of God at work in The Little Pauper’s life. She had been having “one of THOSE days” where the sinfulness of her heart was being manifested in her attitude, which to put it mildly left something to be desired. This brought several opportunities to model biblical discipline in our home with rapid fire succession. At the end of one of these opportunities, Mrs. Pauper was discussing the issue at hand and asked The Little Pauper what Mom could do to help her in her struggle against a bad attitude. The Little Pauper thought for a moment and replied that she did not know at the moment and would need time to think about it. The wise Mommy said, “OK, you sit here and think about it and if you think of anything you come tell mommy.” About five minutes later The Little Pauper called out that she had thought of something. When Mommy returned to the room The Little Pauper told her, “I think you should ask me ‘who is watching?'” . (Oh that we of greater years could but keep this one truth in mind always. How many of our self-inflicted sorrows and pangs brought on by our sin might be avoided?) With the praise only found on the lips of a wise mommy, Mrs. Pauper told her that she thought that was a wonderful plan and asked if she had any other ideas of how Mommy could help her with her attitude. The Little Pauper said she needed more time to think and began to ponder again. After several minutes she called her mother back and told her she had another idea, “Mommy, I think we should take time to pray right then to ask Jesus to help me with my attitude.” With tears in her eyes The Wise Mommy said ” I think we can do that!”
Thank you Jesus, that we can know with certainty that any turning toward the truth comes as the result of your sovereign work regeneration and sanctification in the life of your creature who was once at enmity with you and walked in the depraved hatred of rebellion against you ! Praise to the only one able to raise the dead sinner, no matter their age, to life! Praise to Jesus the Christ who gives eternal wisdom to 4 year olds through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit! Praise to the Eternal God who has chosen to take the simple things to confound the wise, the base things to humble the exalted! Glory to the only wise God who has entrusted the secrets of the Kingdom to the simple faith of a child! Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Many of us claim that we believe the scriptures to be the Word of God. This should by both implication and explicit command in the scriptures mean that the commands therein would be binding for anyone naming the name of Jesus as Savior and Christ. However, it seems from our actions that we only really mean that we believe the bible when it is convenient. My question to you is what have you done lately as a result of your bible study that has cost you and where is the sanction for your actions in scripture?
For our family we are paying a price for our commitment to welcoming children as the blessing from the Lord the Scriptures declare them to be. (Ps. 139:1-24; Ps. 127:1-5 ; Gen 1:28; Gen 29:31; Gen 30:22).
More than half beaten, but fearless,
Facing the storm and the night;
Breathless and reeling but tearless,
Here in the lull of the fight,
I who bow not but before thee,
God of the fighting Clan,
Lifting my fists, I implore Thee,
Give me the heart of a Man!
What though I live with the winners
Or perish with those who fall?
Surely the cowards are sinners,
Fighting the fight is all.
Strong is my foe – he advances!
Snapt is my blade, O Lord!
See the proud banners and lances!
Oh, spare me this stub of a sword!
Give me no pity, nor spare me;
Calm not the wrath of my Foe.
See where he beckons to dare me!
Bleeding, half beaten – I go.
Not for the glory of winning,
Not for the fear of the night;
Shunning the battle is sinning –
Oh, spare me the heart to fight!
Red is the mist about me;
Deep is the wound in my side;
“Coward” thou criest to flout me?
O terrible Foe, thou hast lied!
Here with my battle before me,
God of the fighting Clan,
Grant that the woman who bore me
Suffered to suckle a Man!
– John G. Neihardt
as published in It Can Be Done: Poems for Hardship, Sacrifice and Dominion