It is a matter of faith with which we have to do. The faith that is of the living church, of the believer in Christ, of the Reformed Christian, who in the third article of his “Credo” testifies to that which he knows is the truth concerning the Holy Word of God!
Faith and the Word of God!
Oh, but how shameful that we, Covenant Youth, who confess such beautiful and glorious truths about the Word of God, so often manifest a secondary concern for that Word! Why is it that from one side of the mouth we boldly confess: “The Bible – precious Bible is the Holy, Inspired, Wonderful Word of God,” and then turn about and proceed to act with respect to that Word as though it were a matter of least significance?
We have no time in the fleeting days of our youth with all our business, labor, pleasure, and so much to offer on the altars of Mammon to remember our Creator in diligent meditation upon His Word even fifteen minutes to a half hour of each day. How many do?
Often we cannot even find time during a whole week to devote to a serious study of the small portion of the Word we will discuss in our weekly society meeting (or catechism lesson) and we come there without ever having looked at the lesson, or we show still more indifference by not even attending. There are other things which WE would rather do and for which the Word can be shelved.
We gather about our tables to eat with our families but the meal takes a bit too long for us high-strung youths and we beg father to excuse us before the Word is read since we have to get to the ballgame or meet so-and-so for that all-important roller-skating event. (?) And father, knowing the impetuousness of youth, meekly consents lest he “provoke them to wrath.” Anyway, it is easier to let them go than it is to painstakingly “bring them up in the fear and nurture of the Lord.” Not infrequently must the family meal-time devotions be reduced to a virtual absurdity because the “kids” can’t miss any part of that favorite video-show that comes with exact precision and timing each day in that living room. No time may be subtracted from that because the thing might be somewhat spoiled and so if a deduction must be made, it can be taken from the Word. They won’t miss that anyway and their foolish and carnal little natures will even be happy to have it excused or cut to a bare minimum.
On the Lord’s Day that long sermon that we must listen to often becomes too much “Word” (at least for one setting) and so we conveniently use the occasion to catch up on some of that sleep that we lost because of our ultra-busy life during the week before.
The Bible is the Word of God…but!
What a shameful admixture of truth and error!
In our confession we profess as a matter of faith – (and now turn with me a moment to Article 3 of our Confession of Faith) – “…this Word of God was not sent, nor delivered by the will of man.”
Oh, no, of course not! We know better than that! The Bible is holy! It’s a book of Divine origin! That’s our confession.
Yes – but now take a book of human origin, one that was sent and delivered by the will of man – let’s say an exciting adventure story, a romance, a mystery – a book that is full of human folly and carnal thrill, and we cannot leave it alone until we have read the very last word. It’s so interesting, so mysterious, that we just cannot wait to find out what is going to happen next. We are called to dinner but that can wait. It’s time to retire in the evening but who cares to go to bed. We’d rather not eat or sleep till we have finished our story! And the radio and television present the same temptation. Don’t forget it. What is of human origin attracts us – so carnal are we – but …”this Word that was not sent or delivered by the will of man…” – that Word can be neglected, forsaken and put off by us until a more convenient time…to us!
God is not first but what is of man is put first.
That is a most horrible error! That is our terrible sin!
God is not mocked. Never! We deceive only ourselves!
“the holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost…and that afterwards God, from a special care which He has for us and our salvation, commanded his servants, the prophets, and apostles, to commit His revealed Word to writing; and He Himself wrote with His own finger, the two tables of the law. Therefore, we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.” (Confession, Art. 3)
It is not our intention to discuss here the truth of the Divine Inspiration of Holy Writ. That it is the Truth we do not deny. It is a matter of our Confession. God has made known His will and counsel to men. That is Revelation! God, further, by a special act upon the heart and mind of holy men, illumined them and guided them in speech and writing so that the things these men penned are Truth – infallible, indisputable, incontrovertible truth. These men were prepared and gifted by God for their wonderful task. That all belongs to the inspiration of the Holy Word.
The result is that we have that priceless product – the Word of God. It is the Word that makes known unto us the things that eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and which have never arisen in the heart of man but which God has prepared for them that love Him. It tells us of the Invisible God, revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. No other source book contains such wisdom. It reveals the truth concerning all things – man, sin, grace, salvation, life, death, the church, the world, judgment, history, heaven, hell, etc. etc.
We confess – “This Word is of God!”
Such a confession is true only when it springs from a heart that has been brought near to God through the grace of regeneration. And such a confession is followed by a perpetual longing and striving to imbibe the fulness of that Word. That heart cries out to God. That heart longs to know Him and shall not be satisfied until it knows Him in the perfection of heavenly communion. That is eternal life, the principle of which is in that heart that seeks a day by day increase in the knowledge of God from His Holy Word.
Without this, such confession is vain. It is not true but deceiving. To say with our mouth… “this Word is of God”…and to turn about to ignore, despise, neglect and trample under feet that Word, indicates that we do not mean what we say or that we hate the very God Whose Word we confess. It goes like this:
- Credo – this is the Word of God!
- But God is my foe! I do not like Him!
- Conclusion – I care not and am unconcerned about His Word. It means little to me for I listen to the word of my friend – the devil – whose will I delight to do.
Your deeds betray you, evil one! Your confession is deceiving.
With God’s child, however, it is different – oh, so different. He proclaims with his mouth and believes in the heart that… “this Word of God is not of men but of GOD!” And he stands before that Word with attentive ear and hungering heart to pray: “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” And he uses every opportunity available in personal study, in the home, in the church, in conversation, to grow in the knowledge of that Word that he may attain “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13)
Is that man YOU?