“I believe an holy catholic church, the communion of saints.” These words we hear read every Sunday, and yet, do we really believe what they mean? Or do we just believe them to be true? Everyone believes something. But, do we really believe in the communion of saints? Who are the true saints? Can we be sure? Are we all saints as we unite to worship? The apostle Paul says, “Not all have the faith.” Or, do we believe in a group, that we pick out and wish to join as a communion of saints? Is that true?

We know that a saint is and must be an holy one, for God says, “Be ye holy: for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16. And again, “For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.” Heb. 2:11. Now Paul says, “That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” Gal. 4:1, 2. For when it pleases the living God to regenerate and convert His elect, they are under the command of God to obey Him according to His precepts, and to serve Him with all their heart and mind. And when the Holy Spirit breathes His life in us, we want to do His will, and love Him with all our heart. And He will write His law in our heart and conscience, so that we want to walk in love and faith, and glorify the name of God only.

Oh, how good it is that we cannot have anything to say or do to make one saint, or bring one into that communion of saints. How bad would it be if we could. For the communion of saints is not of the flesh, but of the Holy Spirit. And we do not have each a little piece of that Spirit, but it is one whole, one breath, one life, one mind, and one faith in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ. One Body, one Head, one Spirit. They speak one language, which is the language of the Scriptures and of all saints, through the Holy Spirit. Whether we are young or old. We cannot join the com­munion of saints, but the living God must through His Spirit unite us in that com­munion with all His people. John 14:26; I Cor. 12:12.

But, oh, the beauty, and glory and love and mercy of God, it is not ye that choose. It is only and alone the living God and Father that elects and regenerates, calls and justifies us and sanctifies us to become saints in Christ, “because God hath from the be­ginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” II Thess. 2:13.

It is impossible to believe in the com­munion of saints than only by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we believe first of all in God the Father, and in Him through the sacrifice of the Son of God, or God in the flesh, and through the workings of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. And those saints are in all parts of the world, as one invisible yet becoming manifest in time in the church visible, or in the individual saint, young or old as they will be revealed in time, or are hid in Christ wherever they are. For it is a spiritual communion of saints as members of one Body in Christ.

Holiness cannot be just learned or put on at will, for than you have a voluntary will worship, thinking that godliness is gain. Col. 2:18. But it is a faith that can never be broken, for we belong to Christ only, and to His saints forever more. No one can bring one into the communion of saints, nor take one out. Christ alone has the keys, not the church visible which is impossible, but the church invisible has the keys in that com­munion of saints, through the Holy Spirit of Christ. For it is a spiritual bond that cannot be broken. The visible church can only judge what is seen.

If those saints sin against each other and pervert their way, the Lord will surely re­buke and chastise them, until they are again restored into the fellowship of the saints. Otherwise they would be lost and that is impossible. So long as they continue in sin, they grieve the Holy Spirit and God’s name is blasphemed, and not glorified, Heb. 10:25, Gal. 6:1.

For, you see, if you and I have really been born again by God, and have known each other as true children of God, because of that tie of the Holy Spirit, and then walk in sin against each other, than it would be impossible for you to be saved without me and I not without you, without returning and repenting before the face of the living God. Therefore, we may not grieve the Holy Spirit, for John says, “If any man see his brother sin, a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them who sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” 1 John 5:16, James 5:19,20.

The Lord leads His own in whatever way He chooses, we cannot choose our own way. He gives us His Holy Spirit according to the measure He chooses not we. And ac­cording to that way He will glorify us. Not according in the way we want to go, or whatever we choose. For the Lord instructs His people by His word and Spirit to walk in His way and to teach them His precepts. But His Word also judges those that are not of Him. God is righteous.

Oh, what power and glory and honor comes through the communion of saints unto God forever and ever. For they are all one as their cryings and supplications and prayers come before the throne of God. Rev. 8:1-5. But if they sin against each other, they dishonor God and all that is holy. For sin is shame. 1 Cor. 3:13-17; Dan. 9:3-19; Isa. 63:7-9.

The living God knows His own. And we should make known His glory and power and greatness, and testify of Him for His name sake. That His name may be glorified. Otherwise the stones will have to speak. Luke 19:40.

0 you that are the Lord’s, let there be no silence among you, but testify and be wit­nesses of the living God, for there is no other God beside Him. Isa. 44:8, 62:6.

I believe an holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

Some years ago, just before Easter, we were in a dime store in town. There we saw a box full of day old ducklings. We bought three, for we thought that we would have a male and female out of three anyway. Then we put them in a pen on our yard and dug a hole in the ground, and put a tub in it. We often would fill the tub with water and let the ducks out of their pen. Then you should have seen them run: one after the other, head first into the tub! I at once called them The Three Musketeers.

Well, they grew up into beautiful good sized white ducks in about three or four months time. Then we saw that there were two males, so one had to go!

Then one night, we had a severe thunderstorm. I could see in the light of the lightning flashes that the two ducks stood in the open part of their runway. There they stood together with the rain beating hard down upon them. I could not understand why they did not go under the sheltered part of their runway. The female had her head under the breast of the male. And the male stood with his head and beak straight upward, letting the rain pour down their backs. But when the thunder and lightning came near, then they would stand about two or three inches apart. And both stood with head and neck stretched out, sometimes even standing on tiptoes. Why did they stand there like that?

I had never seen such a thing before. But it reminded me of a sermon of the Rev. H. Hoeksema when he preached in the Holland language on the text of Rom. 8:19: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope.”

Rev. Hoeksema said, that the meaning of earnest expectation (als met opgestoken hoofde) was, “rijkhalzend,” that is, with outstretched neck. When I saw those ducks stand there in that hard thunderstorm, I at once thought about those words. How true they were. How beautiful is the Word of God to us. We also must call out: “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! who has set Thy glory above the heavens.” Ps. 8:1.

When I see the pain and suffering of the creatures all around us, then I think that they must suffer for our sake, because of our sins. “Therefore the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God, For we know’ that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Rom. 8:21, 22.

What a beautiful picture of the true children of God. As the apostle also says in the next verse: “And not only they, but we ourselves also which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

For the Living God came Himself in the flesh and He bore our sins in His body, to deliver us from bondage, called and justified us, and made us joint-heirs with Him through the Holy Spirit.

To understand that work of God in the heart of a person that is born in sin, and then is regenerated, or born again from above, we must think of the incarnation of Christ. As the Netherlands Confession explains about the two natures of the Son of God (Art. 19). That is also the meaning of being born again through the Holy Spirt, because it is a living Spirit. You see now why the Living God had to come in our flesh, and He Himself had to be the Lamb slain for us, so that we could really become His brethren and true children of God? That beautiful work of regeneration can take place anytime in our life, young or old, but without sanctification, which is the fruit of regeneration, no one shall see God. Heb. 12:14. John 3:3, 5.

We can see also that the whole human race, with all the creatures represent one spirit, as it was reflected in paradise. One needs the other, because they all together make one whole. So too, when the Lord regenerates us through the Holy Spirit, we become one whole with Christ, as our elder brother. Heb. 2:11. That is the highest and most glorious manifestation of the love of God. That Spirit of God is not divided or broken up in little pieces, but is one living Spirit, which is the Spirit of the Triune God. Which is as the breath of God to His Son Christ, and from Christ through His people back to the Living God. They become one whole and cannot be separated, no more than Christ can become separated from God. Even though such a person sins, thereby grieving the Holy Spirit, yet they cannot be separated from God, nor from the whole.

Therefore we also, as with outstretched neck, long for that time when Christ shall come again, and “change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His most glorious body.” Phil. 3:21. According as that new life of God which He forms within us that cries Abba, Father, I love Thee. That Spirit prays within us with great longings and groanings which cannot be uttered.

We cannot seek the shelter of this world, but we stand in all the vicissitudes of life, of sorrow and cryings and pain, looking up to the face of our loving Saviour Jesus Christ. For He holds us under His hand or wings, for “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust.” Ps. 91:4.

We therefore, wait patiently in hope, knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of the Living God. For He shall bring us to Him, to be in His glorious presence for evermore. “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake with Thy likeness.” Ps. 17:15.

Let us stand strong together in truth and love, knowing that we must give account of all we do. “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

Even so, come, Lord Jesus, yea, come quickly. Rev. 22:12, 20.

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