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There’s a fearful question which rings through the ages . . . and that question is this: “Why do the Nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing?”

The Kings of the Earth set themselves against God and His anointed saying, “Let us break their bands asunder and cast their chords from us”. But He that is in the heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall hold them in His derision, and the answer to that question is that He has declared the decree for He has set His King over Zion, and it is only in this light that we can see this reformation, and go into this reformation, and have its fruits.

Holland, then, in the time of the Re­formation, was known as the Seventeen Belgic Provinces of which King Charles V of Spain was Emperor. This Monarch ruled Holland with an iron hand, and for thirty long years Holland was under the domination of this King. It was by his decree that the first martyrs, Ess and Vos, were hung at the stake. But this Monarch didn’t like Holland very well. He didn’t like the weather, neither did he like its people, and he compared the weather with the people. As gloomy as the weather, so gloomy were the Holland­ers. Therefore, he decided to go back to Spain; and it was on this occasion as he went back to Spain, that a storm arose in the Bay of Bisque.  He lost many of his ships and many of his men, he made a vow that if God would save him, he would persecute the heretics even unto death.

It was not long afterwards that he abdicated in favor of his son, Philip II, and he caused Philip, his son, to vow that he would finish the work his father had begun. It was by the decree of Philip II that Alva entered into Holland with 20,000 Spanish troops. The histor­ian writes that the highways, the by­ways, and the wheels and trees were literally hung with the bodies of the dead. The air that was made for the breath of the living was filled with the stench of death.

Oh, they too, the Nations, worked in this Reformation according to the eter­nal counsel of His will, but they do not go into this Reformation. But for them, this Reformation is the terrible judg­ment of God upon them. And the church in the time of the Reformation . . . that church that was once a branch of the glorious Pentecostal church wherein they had everything in common . . . wherein they believed in salvation as it was purely unconditional, by Grace alone, through Faith . . . wherein they pleaded upon the work . . . and that justification which is found solely through Faith in Christ Jesus.

That church took on powers that did not belong to itself, and started to lord it over the heritage of the Lord. It said this . . . if Rome, as a world power, could rule all the Nations round about her, why should not the church of Rome also have that power. And she estab­lished herself a Pope.

In those long, dreary ages wherein she persecuted the true children of God in the midst of the church, she establish­ed doctrine upon doctrine of man-made philosophy, till at last the Scriptures lay, as it were, under the debris of Roman Catholicism . . . till at last her cup of iniquity was filled, when she sold salvation at a price.

When her Cardinals and Bishops stood on the pulpits and told the people that for the price of money they could get their children out of purgatory . . . etc.

Oh, they too worked in this Reforma­tion according to the eternal counsel of His will . . . but also they do not go into this Reformation. But for them, this Reformation also is the judgment of God upon them. And it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than it will be for them. Oh, if you would look through the dark glasses of the common grace theology of our day, you might find a lot of good yet in this church and in the Nations. But don’t ever sing Psalm 2, for then, when the question is asked, “Why do the Nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing” . . . you must say this, that they do not say: Let us cast their chords from us, and He that is in the heavens, shall not laugh for He has not set His King over Zion . . . but He has made everything com­mon with His common grace.

In the midst of this miserable, damn­able church is a remnant and that, ac­cording to the election of Grace. For God had loved Jacob and He hated Esau, and because He had loved Jacob, there­fore were the Jacobs not consumed. Oh, it was not that they were any better than the Esaus, but because He main­tains His covenant and because He took reasons, out of Himself, to love them. He draws near unto them in the spirit of the Resurrected Lord, causing them to be weary and heavy laden, saying unto them, “Oh, ye that are weary and heavy laden, come and I will give you rest”.

Oh, ye Jacobs, though your sins be as scarlet . . . and they are . . . and though they be red as crimson, I will make them whiter than snow It is the all-powerful voice of God, in Christ Jesus. For Reformation is that fruit of re­generation, and they come.

Don’t you hear their voices in the midst of sin and death? If Thou would go into judgment, oh, God, who could stand . . . but we thank Thee that there has been forgiveness always with Thee. And He sets them unto liberty of the children of God, causing them to say Abba Father. The groaning of that spirit in them is heard far above all the turmoil of the world. It is heard far above all the common grace theologists, and those that hold to conditional salvation. It is as the trumpets sound before Him. For in it He sees His own glorious work.

He gives them an inheritance which is incorruptible and undefilable . . . giv­ing them to see something of that glor­ious inheritance wherein they shall see Him everlastingly, face to face.

Oh, if that happens, let persecution come . . . Let it be true what the his­torian writes . . . that the highways, the byways, the wheels and trees are literally hung with the bodies of the dead. Let it be true what the historian writes . . . that the air that was made for the breath of the living is filled with the stench of death.

For the death of the martyrs is the seed of the Church and their blood, their suffering and their tears are pleasing in His eye.

And we, standing on the footsteps of the faith of the fathers, which faith reaches in Christ, in God, we take upon our lips the Psalm of Reformation.

It is somewhat with a feeling of fear and trembling that I write this article on Faith.  Not that I am afraid of what men are going to say about it, but the Whom whom we love and serve must be glorified.  I hope it may be seen through this article that Salvation is by Grace through Faith as the work of God through Faith that does not only become the Victory sometime in the future, but Faith that is the Victory even now, that overcometh the world.  There is a world of sin and iniquity that rises up as the mountains round about us, that reaches to the very throne of God.  You cannot just climb over this mountain of sin, for God stands ever before us.  Nor can we escape from Him, for He is everywhere present, we live and move in Him.  He is in heaven, but also in hell.

Faith is the victory that overcometh this world.  There is a world of sickness, sorrows and tears that no one can understand.  Who could measure all the suffering from Adam to the last child of God to be born.  Volumes could be written and yet, Faith is the Victory.  There is a world of death, the power of which is so great that it holds every man in its awful clutches.  It works in us from the cradle to the grave.  Oh, if you want to see Salvation as it is by Grace, then you should stand at the bedside of a dying child of God.  When the Doctor shakes his head and when you yourself can see that it will soon be over, then it is: “Dat God volkomen uitkomst geeft” and that Faith is the Victory that overcometh the world!

There is the world of Satan and all his host who is the god of this world, who by nature is our father, who by nature we love.  He is the lie over against the truth.  No wonder we fit perfectly for we are by nature nothing but a lump of sin.  And, yet, Faith is the Victory that overcometh the world.

Tremendous Faith!  It does not take away this world of sin, sickness, death, sorrow, tears, Satan and the flesh.  But it is the Victory in and through them all.  I would like to bring out a few thoughts concerning this Faith.

According to the best commentators and theologians the word Faith has different meanings.  In the New Testament it is usually used to mean to believe.  “Believe in the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved.”  Sometimes the word is used to mean trust, also truth, to be carried, to be lifted up, to sit in the shadows of the Almighty.  Faith is the sphere of the life of the Child of God as in natural life he must have air to breathe, so in the spiritual life he breathes in the sphere of faith.

Essentially, then, Faith is an attribute of God, wherein He sees Himself through the Son and in the Spirit and wherein He proclaims of Himself through His Word that He alone is the ever faithful, Covenant Jehovah.  With Him there is no shadow of turning and He remains the same yesterday, today and forever.  He trusts in Himself with a tremendous trust and says, “Trust in the Lord all the ends of the earth”.  He is truth.  Truth and righteousness are the habitations of His throne.  Knowing Himself in all His perfections, He is lifted up to the glorification of His Name and God sings of His everlasting mercy: “Ik zal eeuwig zingen van God’s goedertierenheen.”

Faith is the sphere of the Covenant life of Jehovah, eternally working through love wherein is shown His Grace and Beauty.  That Faith has been revealed through an infinite wisdom, the Eternal Logos and through an infinite power, the Holy Spirit.  All the Faith of the Triune God comes in the Son of God.  All the fullness of God dwells in Him bodily.  Faith never leaves the sphere of God, but we are taken up into it.  It comes down to us through One Head and from out of that Head into the Body which are the Elect, the Church and into them only.  In Him Faith comes down into the midst of our unbelief and has the Victory over the whole world.  Christ becomes the sinner in our stead and calls out in the Psalm, “my iniquity is more than the hairs of mine head” although He had no sin.

Christ alone thirsts after God and having the Victory over death and hell, He arises Victorious.  And, because of the fruit of His labors and His alone, He sends us His spirit who takes out of this fountain of faith and giveth unto His Church according to the measure of His Grace.  And this becomes in us a Confession of Faith, wherein I say that I believe in God, the Father, Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth and I believe in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son.

And so with a simple trusting faith, I am lifted up to sit in the shadow of the Almighty and sitting there I also have a song, a song that God eternally sings, “Ik zal eeuwig zingen van God’s goedertierenheen.”

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 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 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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