Anko Scholtens: Lay Leader of Reformational Movement (9)

Continuation of translation of Anko Scholtens' Verbond and Kenmerken Prediking.

. . . . This preaching comes also with the requirement of self-examination, to which everyone must be summoned. We must examine ourselves to determine whether we indeed believe God at His Word, whether we walk in covenant-obedience, whether we truly live as children of the covenant, whether we are progressing in sanctification. But this must occur only in the context of the rich promises of God which must be embraced. This self-examination, therefore, should never play a part in acquiring the certainty of faith.

Of course, the fruits of faith will gratefully be acknowledged as gifts of God’s grace. And they will lead to more cheerfulness, to richer joy. But they are not to be used as means to attain to the certainty of faith, which faith inherently has. I'd also rather not label them "marks."

What is nevertheless generally meant when the fruits of faith are labeled "marks"? It’s meant that these fruits are signs of new life and evidence that we possess the impulse of faith, that we are regenerate. These signs thus lead to the so-called "assurance of faith," the certainty that we have the character of faith, and on this ground we can conclude that we are thereby saved.

What therefore is the ground of assurance? The impulse of faith and not the faithfulness and truth of God. We have thus, unintentionally, shifted assurance from God’s faithfulness to our own inner, spiritual life. Is God’s Word, is His promise then insufficient? Is something else necessary?

I know full well that good works are gifts of God’s grace, worked through the Holy Spirit. And we may and must daily thank God for the fruits of the Spirit He gives us. But for the certainty of salvation, God’s Word in his covenant promise is sufficient. Resting in this, trusting only in His Word, we shall live a life of thankfulness. . . . .

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