Anko Scholtens: Lay Leader of Reformational Movement (7)

Translation of Anko Scholten’s Verbond and Kenmerken-Prediking (Cont’d):

“Don’t people too infrequently proceed from the covenant in their view of the congregation and in their preaching — and because of that, isn’t the demand of covenant-obedience for all of life often sidelined? Is the doubt, the disobedience, the sinful doubt not too often lamented and too infrequently judged? Is there indeed enough proceeding from God’s covenant right, His covenant blessing and His covenant demand?

Doesn’t the continual insistence on self-examination among God’s children ultimately cause real damage? Many have said: “No, the reason for the paucity of a joyful celebration of faith lies in the paucity of acquaintance with sin. That’s where our insistence ought to be. There is far too little genuine sorrow, too little profound knowledge of sin. Whenever people see their own sin better, they will glory in Christ more.”

This can only be the case where people already enjoy the certainty of faith and already embrace God’s promises. That’s, after all, where you find the celebration of forgiveness, and this is accompanied, in the way of faith, by deeper insight into one’s sin.

But here also one must be careful not to over-exaggerate, which so easily becomes morbid; here too one must warn of the continual prying into the life of one’s own soul, and let one not forget that also precisely the knowledge of sin is deepened by faith in the Christ of God, who bore our sins on Golgotha.

Our prayer is for forgiveness. That’s a daily prayer, for the forgiveness of daily guilt and it must, as such, be real and concrete. Our prayer doesn’t emerge from the depth every day. Psalm 51 was not a daily phenomenon for David, but sung only once.

We must glory in forgiveness. We must do that as children of promise: we are justified. But because we, like children, are repeatedly disobedient, we must confess our guilt to our Father and pray for forgiveness. And then we shall certainly see our sin more as guilt, and live as God’s children through faith and we shall walk, in daily repentance, always more concerned about our sin.

But we shall not pray each day for the forgiveness of all our sins from the moment of our conception and birth. That would actually be a denial of our status as children. We must see things concretely, from the perspective of covenant.

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