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Beauty – what do you immediately think of when you see this word? Certainly this word is familiar; don’t we hear it every day, does not the world try its utmost to convince the people they can beautify themselves with various means? The branch of philosophy, namely aesthetics, which deals with beauty, tries to explain what beauty is and how it may be recognized. The term comes from a Greek word which refers to impressions received through the five senses. However, we do not consult the world for our meaning of beauty, as Scripture is our only source.

Throughout Scripture much emphasis is put on real beauty. For example, the beauty of Zion’s mountains, the beautiful house of our God, “The woman was beautiful to look upon, the maid was fair and beautiful.” What does all this refer to? Physical beauty is a becoming form, the meek and modest form of a woman and the strong and brave form of a man. Someone who is well-formed is beautiful. Gen. 29:1-7, “Rachael was beautiful and well-formed.”

True beauty is glory. In the Old Testament, the beauty of crowns and jewels was considered glorious. The beauty of God’s house, where is the perfection of beauty, is His Holy Place! There was also the beauty of God’s flock, beauty of worship, prayer, and thankfulness, and the beauty of the lamb. The Bible very often speaks of the beauty of nature as well as of his creatures which we also might make mention of in this article. God reveals himself through the beauty of nature. God is praised and glorified in nature. The heavens sing His praises, the floods clap their hands, and the hills are joyful for His name’s sake. Much emphasis was placed on the beauty of the temple, especially that of Solomon. God often caused His people to praise Him through beauty of music and musical instruments.

The beauty of the bride adorned for her husband is repeatedly stressed as an example of the Church and the New Jerusalem.

From what source does beauty come, and how is it bestowed, and upon whom is it bestowed? In the Psalms we read that God will beautify the meek with salvation, joy, and glory. The source therefore, is God; and He bestows beauty to His people, the meek, the elect. The world is not beautiful because it is defiled, and to the defiled are all things impure; but to the pure all things are undefiled. Beauty is pureness, holiness. The Holy Spirit purifies our hearts and makes us holy before God. Beauty is obedience; and a most perfect example is the beautiful obedience of Christ in so much that he entered the depths of hell and God’s wrath for His people. Obedience to parent, teacher, husband, and all those in authority is the beauty that the child of God must put on. Such is the beauty we must desire.

However, the Bible also speaks of the beauty that we must not desire, as described in Proverbs 6:35, “Lust not after her beauty, neither let her take thee with her eyelids.” The undesirable beauty is the attire of a harlot who deceives her prey and causes him to walk in lasciviousness. To trust in one’s beauty can prove very fateful: Christian women must not follow the example of Delilah, Jezebel, Zeresh and Herodias, but of Miriam, Ruth, Hannah, and Elizabeth. “Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain.” Covenant people are called to flee from deceit and hatred and to put on the beauty of the new man. That beauty is honorable and a woman that feareth the Lord shall be praised. That is the beauty we must desire.

Beauty is virtue, wisdom, meekness, and humility. To walk in the midst of the world, whether that be in the office, factory, or even in school, being a living testimony of true beauty is the calling of the Christian.  A child of God who is patient amidst strife, and who loveth those who love God, is beautiful.

For that reason, true beauty cannot be known by the world because it walks a life that praises the devil instead of God. Its very mind and conscience is defiled. They are and will forever seek the undesirable beauty which is that of hatred, idolatry, deceit, and falsehood.

The Bible speaks in different passages of the way a woman should dress. I Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety, not with braided hair, gold or pearls or costly array.” A becoming woman is one who professes godliness. This means that in all ways, whether that be in thought, word, deed, or apparel, she shows that she belongs to the great throng. That is true beauty. Beauty is sobriety. Does this mean that we as young people in order to be beautiful must be sober in such a way that laughter and gaiety be prohibited? Not at all; but let not our gaiety and laughter be that of the world, but that in our joy we may profess godliness. Beauty is devotion. A woman who is truly devoted to her husband in all spheres is thought beautiful in the eyes of her husband. Beauty is silence – “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection.” Beauty is faith, and charity. Proverbs 31:28, “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” Beauty is graciousness which retaineth honor as strong men retain riches. A God-fearing person who obeys God’s law is beautiful before God. A self-sacrificing and hospitable child of God is to be desired.

However, on earth we have but a very small beginning of the real beauty that shall be expressed in the new heavens. All the beauty before mentioned is that which falls away and returns to the dust of the earth. We have only the first fruits of the spirit and prayerfully we wait for the full and eternal beauty of heavenly glory. The beauty on earth is imperfect, polluted, and very often unattained: however, our comfort is that in the notable day, we shall all be changed and made beautiful. Then only shall we taste the perfect and full beauty. As for now, we taste but a small beginning of true beauty.

“The Realization of the Gospel of the Promise”

The Rev. Vanden Berg first pointed out to us that the realization of the gospel of the promise has a threefold view; the past, the present and the future. It has already been fulfilled in the past and has its deepest roots in the eternal counsel of God. The gospel of the promise has been realized in the perfect and complete work of the cross and the resurrection. Viewing the present, the promise is being fulfilled as of now. In the midst of the world, God causes through His Spirit the realization of the Gospel of the Promise. Viewing the future, the gospel of the promise shall be completed, perfectly manifested in the last day. Then the promise in the most absolute sense shall be fulfilled.

The Rev. Vanden Berg further brought out the Gospel of the Promise in the viewpoint of the future. The three phases of it were the absolute certainty, the revealed pattern and the final reminder to our covenant young people. God has determined the salvation of His own people and not one is lost. He surely fulfills this promise because He alone is God. God realizes the promise and glorifies Himself through us. The promise cannot be added to by His people but unconditionally formulated by God, Who always does as He decrees and promises. God’s promise is absolutely certain as Scripture throughout has proved. For example, the promise to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and to the tribes of Israel were all fulfilled as before decreed.

The revealed pattern refers to the manner in which the promise is revealed in the past, present and future is essentially the same. God gathers His people out of the midst of the world. He preserves and keeps them from evil and the clutches of the carnal world who despise the promise. Also many things must come to pass before the full revelation can be realized. The luxurious days of Noah must return, days of unrest, wickedness and filth shall again come upon the earth; in fact, there appear signs of them already today.

However, we must not be alarmed or surprised but remember that it all belongs to the pattern of the realization of the promise.

In conclusion, the Rev. Vanden Berg gave his final exhortation to us as young people, heirs of the promise and on the other hand the future Protestant Reformed Church. We must not assume an attitude of indifference and a reckless, no-care attitude, for this is characteristic of those who do not understand the calling. In fact, this is utterly impossible for the children of the covenant to do so. According to Peter, “Seeing that ye look for these things through all things live day by day with your life centered upon the blessed hope.” Whether at home, work, pleasure or school, be diligent. We must be diligent in our society study of the Word so as to give us a more wonderful realization. Therefore stand fast until the last day shall be fulfilled.

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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