Continuation of translation of Anko Scholtens' Verbond and Kenmerken Prediking.
" . . . . Certainly, when we live through faith, we will constantly see better and with great gratitude persistently admit how we are redeemed from such great need and death. This is possible, however, only through the believing embrace of God’s promises and of the cross of Christ, as the salvation of sinners.
Covenantal preaching is preaching of God’s fatherly right and of our right and duty as children, but can it, may it revolve persistently around the question whether we are in fact children? Must preaching arouse doubt? People will probably say, "That’s a silly question, who wants to do that?" And I grant that this is no one’s intention. But I also readily understand how routinely and repeatedly people pose the question, "do you also partake in this?"
When people intend with this question to determine whether one is living in the obedience of faith, then I don’t object, though I wish they would word it differently. But when people intend with this question to incite the children of the kingdom to pursue the so-called marks of whether they really belong, then I object greatly, and believe this question does great damage to the souls of God’s children which then live in sinful darkness and doubt.
"But," some say, "the Scriptures do in fact say, "Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria. Isn’t false security a real danger?" Well, this prophecy from Amos addresses those who are explicitly unbelieving, who toss God’s covenant-demands to the wind, don’t respect his covenant-threats and thus are unmistakably covenant-breakers. And if such a situation were to arise in the congregation of Christ then such extremely sharp preaching would be necessary.
"But, won't 'the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these' be repeatedly heard as the proper address of those who without reflection trust that everything is in order because they are baptized and thus are God’s children?
Let me note, first of all, that it’s not a mistake of course when people say that the congregation of Christ is "temple of the Lord." This she is indeed and this is her honor and furthermore her responsibility. The problem with those who used these words improperly is that they themselves refused to walk in obedience to God’s covenant demands and neglected their duty as children and yet wanted to maintain their right as children."
And the summons to covenant-obedience, the demand to personal covenant-acceptance, to live as children of the covenant, with, as background, the covenant-threat for those who are disobedient to the covenant God, is sufficient warning also for those who would be of the mind that blessing comes only on account of their birth into the covenant. . . . ."