Anko Scholtens: Lay Leader of Reformational Movement (6)

Translation cont'd:

"But then covenant preaching, which I mentioned at the outset, must preclude discriminatory preaching. The question here is not whether faith must bear fruit—of course it must—nor is it whether there’s a connection between faith and works—that escapes none of us. The question here is whether you can rest exclusively in God’s promises; in fact, whether you must do that or whether you first must examine yourself to see whether you are a true believer, whether you have the impulse of faith.

The latter option, in my opinion, impairs the assurance of salvation among God’s children at its root, can and shall do great injury to the message of faith in the congregation of Christ and is to be judged especially for this reason—it undervalues God’s paternal loyalty.

Isn’t it terribly ungrateful repeatedly to doubt and to question whether God will in fact give what He has promised? Isn’t it sad that an elder in a Reformed church says with approval from many others, "We must not tell our young people that they must believe; we don’t know whether they are regenerate"? And isn’t it just as sad when the wealth of God’s covenant dealings is repeatedly set forth before the congregation of Christ only to occasion from the children of the kingdom the question, "Is this really for me?"

Doesn’t this necessarily produce in one’s spiritual life a continuous churning, a constant oscillation, a recurring doubt? Won’t this result, for the most part, in people worrying about themselves, never attaining to the assurance of their salvation with clarity, putting their own need repeatedly to fore and forgetting that God calls his children to a life in His service and, through that, for the advantage of others?

It can’t be ignored that in our churches the message of faith and the certainty of faith are enjoyed by far too few and that we show ourselves to the outside to be God’s children far too infrequently. Where does that come from? What’s the source of all this worrying, materially and spiritually? Why is it that our attitude in times of trouble is little different the world’s? Why do we live so little by faith?

Can this problem lie with preaching which tends to overemphasize the personal appropriation of salvation and to neglect the vast wealth of God’s revelation in Christ for everyone who believes in him, the wealth in particular of God’s covenant people?"

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