Before embarking into my thesis on “faith,” I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself. For approximately thirty years I was employed in the computer field, most of which were in managerial positions, followed by six years as a Baptist preacher. During my pastorate I was caring for an elderly father who was much in need of more and more attention, which led me to discontinue my pastorate. Having additional time to study I began searching the Scriptures in some areas of teaching that had bothered me for years. Through my intense love for Jesus Christ, the study of the Word eventually led me into the truth of the Reformed faith, as taught by the Protestant Reformed Church, which my wife Jennie and I now embrace. Living about thirty miles east of Seattle we drive 210 miles round trip each Lord’s Day to worship at the Protestant Reformed Church in Lynden, Washington where we are members of that local Body of Believers.
My venture in writing a reference work to defend the King James Version of the Bible (which is presently on hold) put me in touch with several organizations that were also advocates of the KJV. While speaking with the men from these groups they each encouraged me to call the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Upon calling the seminary I spoke with Professor Engelsma who graciously sent me several books on the Reformed faith as taught by the PRC.
I couldn’t put these books down, especially the book by Prof. Hanko entitled “God’s Everlasting Covenant of Grace.” I had spent about four years prior to this studying the covenant because I believed that I had been taught wrongly in that it was a conditional covenant. I was thrilled, to say the least, to find there were others who believed the same on the covenantal teaching.
There were other doctrines that also needed to be addressed, i.e. paedo-baptism, eschatology, faith, grace, and why it was that I had been taught that we no longer live by the Law but by grace and grace alone. After reading the material Prof. Engelsma sent me, I knew that I was on the right track, that God was finally revealing the Truth of His Word to me and all I had to do was to have the faith to receive it.
During my pastorate I preached several messages on the “Sovereignty of God” and really didn’t understand what I was preaching. Then I came upon a book by A. W. Pink with the same title. This spun me around and I really began to question the teaching I had received in Bible College and from years from the pulpit. The doctrinal teaching I questioned the most, with the exception of the return of Christ, was faith.
My life started to crumble as more questions began to surface. One of them was, why did man have to make the first move so God could save him? If God was sovereign, as Pink wrote, then man had removed God and he was in control of his own salvation. Eph. 2: 5 states that “Even when we (God’s Elect) were dead in sins, God hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).” I began to see the teaching I had received was contradictory to this verse of Scripture and many others that I found that supported the Sovereignty of God. I saw this as a mockery of the Word of God. I already knew that man had corrupted the Word of God with the many modern translations of the Bible. Yet, this really troubled me.
With the aid of my computer, I searched out the word ‘faith’ to find that it is used 247 times throughout the Bible, 2 times in the OT and 245 times in the NT. The word ‘faith,’ as I soon found out, had various meanings. In its simplest form it means to have confidence or trust in a person. It is belief that is not based on proof. It means to be loyal or obligated to a person or religion. It means to give credence to allegiance. It is the vital link between our soul and the Sovereign God of our Salvation.
Why had I been led astray, as so many Christians have been today? And the answer is quite simple. I placed my faith in the teaching of man and not the Holy Scripture. I had looked to my professors and my former pastors. I had let man take center stage over the Sovereign God that saved me before the foundation of the world. Although I accepted their teaching over the teaching of the Bible, I questioned my professors without receiving satisfactory answers.
I was so broken that I found myself on my knees crying out to God to forgive me and to restore the joy of my salvation. Then the glory of the Lord began to fill me to the point where I thought I was going to burst and the praises of my heart began to surface and I knew without a shadow of doubt that God had restored my life that lay in pieces at the foot of the cross. The faith, the trust, the confidence that I possessed as a young Christian began to manifest itself again. I was ecstatic about what God did and now I knew the answer to a question that surfaced during this critical time, “Why did I have to go through all the turmoil?” I hope that through this article you can see the pitfalls that lay ahead if you are not grounded in the Word and are not willing to accept through the gift of faith that God has put in your heart to know without a shadow of doubt that you belong to HIM. I began to see and to understand that faith is yielding, submitting ourselves to the authority of God. It is absolute surrender of our lives and our wills to Him. It is casting ourselves on Him.
I saw the faith of Abraham who the Apostle Paul called the father of the faithful, and wrote of in Rom. 4:5,16, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” Over and over again I found throughout Scripture that faith is needed to be saved and that this faith is the way we lay hold of the Lord Jesus Christ.
My wife and I every day give thanks to our Sovereign God for giving us the faith to place our trust in Him that led us from the icy grip of Arminianism and their teaching of universal salvation that all men are lost in Adam and that also all men are saved in Christ.
God gives His Elect the means of faith to receive the benefits of Christ. Faith is the gift of the Holy Spirit and when man thinks that he can save himself then he is fooling himself. There is no way man can graft himself into Christ because the Holy Spirit grafts God’s Elect into Christ and we become true Israelites. Christ is the husbandman and we are grafted into the main plant.
Once again as I look back upon my life as one of God’s anointed, I had to open the Bible for proof of my salvation. I had been taught that this was wrong and unnecessary. However, I believe that it does a child of the King good to do so as it enhances his faith and reconfirms who he is.
Young people, you have been raised with a silver spoon in your mouths as God has blessed you with parents that love the Reformed faith and pastors that love and preach the unmitigated gospel of the true Christ of the Word of God. Do not become disgruntled and dissatisfied. Do not look elsewhere for the truth of God’s Word. The Protestant Reformed Churches is one of the last bastions that has not fallen into apostasy.
Let me leave you with a nugget of truth from the King James Version, the preserved Word of God in the English language. II Tim. 3:16, 17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Beloved, it is so important to do as this passage of Scripture instructs every Christian to do and by doing so he will not be confused by false prophets that wrongly divide the Word of Truth. Stand up for your faith in Jesus Christ and let no man discourage you. God will never leave you or forsake you. Call upon Him in time of need and more importantly call upon Him to give honor and praise to the God who saved you by grace and gave you the gift of faith to believe that you are saved. Eph. 2:8,9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Rom. 8:29,30 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”