Summary of Speech given by Rev Gerrit Vos at the P.R.Y.P. Convention, Holland, Michigan by Grace Theule
After a very delicious lunch, prepared by the committee, beneath the shady trees at Tunnel Park, the young people were requested to leave the tables and sit on the white sand at the foot of a sloping hill, which made a very impressive scene, as the Rev. G. Vos delivered his address, speaking on the theme of the convention, namely, “Faith of our Fathers — It’s Vindication”.
The speaker said that the young people had chosen a very popular theme. Entire Christendom, the Catholics included, do sing this song “Faith of our Fathers”. Every sect and denomination profess this but it makes a vast difference what content you give both to “faith” and “fathers”. What faith do you mean? What content do you give to faith? Whom have you in mind when you speak and sing of the fathers?
We speak of faith both in the objective and the subjective sense. Objectively, we have in mind the body of truth such as we confess it as churches. And, subjectively, as we have that truth by God’s grace in our inmost heart and live it in the midst of the world. In the broadest sense of the word, our faith is the entire content of Holy Writ, revealed by God, given by inspiration of the Spirit, dwelling in the midst of the church of God, filling the hearts and minds of God’s people.
But, even when we sing the song “Faith of our Fathers”, we are and must be very particular and specific. You can sing even of absolute predestination and still be beside the point. The same holds true of the Covenant of Grace. Every church speaks of that Covenant, but they deny the true interpretation of that doctrine, and therefore, I would like to say something about these two very specific doctrines which we have in mind when we speak of the ‘’Faith of our Fathers”.
First, then, of election.
Let us make this very practical. God had you, His elect, in mind from all eternity. Before the very foundation of the earth was laid, your name was written in heaven. And this doctrine is a very living and ever present doctrine. From the cradle to the grave, you are the elect of God. The dynamo of His love is ever upon you. He moves all the creatures of the earth and of the heavens, and all the host of hell to serve His purpose, to preserve His people, as you will see in the day of His judgment. All things in the heavens and on the earth move toward their eternal predestination. It is a very living thing. The elective love of God and His eternal grace and loving-kindness are over you and under you in the most ideal sense of the word. Please apply it to yourselves and you will see the beauty of such a wonderful doctrine. His everlasting arms are under you: He went to hell to find you in order to make you partaker of His wondrous grace.
And thus it is with that other very specific doctrine: His eternal Covenant of Grace. The very essence of that Covenant is friendship. Well, a friend tells all his heart to his friend. And that is exactly what our Divine Friend in that Covenant has done and does now. He has told you and is telling you all His mind and heart. All the beauty of the Godhead is shown to you in His beloved Son, and you have that heart of God in the Bible. And we also give Him our heart. Eternally we empty our heart to Him in reverence, devotion, prayer and supplication, adoration and worship and praise of God.
This is the fundamental theme of the phrase “Faith of our Fathers”. It is more than my poor voice can tell you. It lifts up our hearts to the everlasting heights. Such is the Gospel of which we are not ashamed.
And our fathers professed it. What do we mean with “Fathers”?
There are many of them mentioned in Hebrews 11. But I will take just one of them: the boy Abel. He believed the “Faith” of his “father”, Adam. You can tell it by his specific sacrifice: the bleeding Lamb. Yes, he confessed it to his brother, Cain, and was killed for it. And thus it happened to all the fathers. They were killed for the faith that was in them and which they lived in the evil world.
Another is Jesus Christ, the Lord. Certainly the “Faith” of His Father was in Him, and He confessed it. All the angels and the celestial beings in heaven proclaim this and shall proclaim it in the beautiful music of heaven. In the midst of this world, inspired by the devil, think of the confessing Jesus who went to the cross. And if you are filled with the “Faith of our-Fathers”, the precious truth of the crucified Christ lives in you, and then you are hated. All through history those people are hated and persecuted. Their faith is ever assailed. Your own flesh is against you. The holy Apostle Paul said: “For Thy sake are we killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Rom. 8:36.
Today we laugh and joke, and I also enjoy that, but let us remember, life is serious. We are hated in the world: that is our portion. But, I am happy to say: You are vindicated!
Of all the saints who were vindicated I will mention again the boy Abel. Yes, he was clubbed to death, but the very moment he died, God took him up to heaven. All the saints were hated for the faith they professed so that they were stoned, sawn asunder, were tempted, and slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, (of whom the World was not worthy:), they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and dens and caves of the earth. But they had the love of God in their heart, and were vindicated in that love. They were vindicated in their heart. Second, they were vindicated in the heart of the world and the devils. They know that they are better than themselves. And, third, they shall be publicly vindicated in the day of judgment. Then we shall see a wondrous spectacle: a glorious bride, without spot or wrinkle, adorned with all the virtues of the Godhead. And then the Lord will taunt the wicked, and they will have to admit and say that the Bride of Christ is without spot. And God’s people will then be free from the bondage of corruption forever, in that day of days!