Whenever we begin any new venture, it matters not what the field may be, it is well to ask the meaning and see the value of that which we are about to do. This is true especially in the field of religious endeavour. No less true is this of that particular religious endeavour which occupies our attention at this stage of life unto which we have attained. At the present time, although we are perhaps more or less actively engaged in various church activities, our interest is first of all, after the regular services, occupied with our Young Peoples societies and in connection with them also in our Federation publication, Beacon Lights.
In this connection we must be careful, lest we make of these things, Societies, Beacon Lights, Federation, good as they are in themselves, an end, a goal. Rather we must learn to realize that all these things are but means, good means, I am convinced, yet simply means to the end, that we as covenant young people may be trained in and attain unto an ever increasing measure of the truth, Never may they become ends in themselves and in the measure that they do they destroy themselves as means to the one end, the acquisition and propogation of the truth.
As I was writing the paragraph above I thought seriously of underscoring the last two words. Maybe I’ll go back and do it yet, you’ll have to wait until this article is printed to determine which way I made up my mind. But whatever my decision may be we must be careful that we underscore in our own minds both words. Our search and our goal and aim is not simply truth considered abstractly. Rather we begin in all our life, in all our setting of goals and purposes, with the underlying, fundamental position and confession that there is but one truth—The Truth! And that truth even though it may be expressed in an infinitely varied form is yet essentially always the truth—the truth of God as He reveals Himself to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. And because that truth is always the truth concerning God who is the truth, it is always a matter of the revelation of God to us. Therefore also for us the only source of that truth is the Word of God to us—the Bible.
As soon as we have taken the above stand, however, we face the difficulty of determining the truth in all its application to life. And here also we find a host of conflicting opinions as to the particular teaching of the Word of God in every phase of life. Opinions are varied, doctrines are diverse from each other, creeds are at variance and nowhere do we find unanimity of opinion as to the exact teaching of the Word of God—the Truth. It is our hope in this series of articles to show the truth of the Word of God and to develop it along Reformed line. For after all to be Reformed is to be Scriptural—this we shall endeavor to demonstrate. And in connection with this we must not forget that Reformed to us means Protestant Reformed. Not Protestant Reformed in distinction from that which is historically Reformed but Reformed in the historical sense, which incidentally is seldom found anymore even in those groups still using the name Reformed, and therefore Protestant Reformed over against all that is not Reformed and Protestant Reformed as standing for and striving toward an ever clearer development of the Truth of Scripture—the Reformed faith.
That the search for and the development in the Truth of the Word of God is essential and to our well-being really does not require proof for us who are children of God. Scripture over and over emphasizes the necessity of the growth in truth and our calling to so grow. Let me cite just a few examples of this admonition from the Bible.
It is set before us as the goal and end of all revelation and unto this end all the helps and offices in the church are given unto us: Eph. 4:11-16, “And he gave some, apostles: and some, prophets; and some, evangelists and some, pastor; and teachers: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man. unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive: but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” From this we see that the perfect man of God, grown up, mature in the faith, able to detect and withstand heresy, growing ever to the head, worthy members of the body, this perfect man of God must be the ideal of every child of God. It is not simply a matter of, “Are you saved”? nor is it simply a question of going to heaven, but as individuals and therefore also as churches it must be a question of the truth, the perfect revelation of the truth of God, and that only may be our goal. And incidentally we may remark that either we grow and develop and strive in the direction of that truth and then of the true church or as soon as we deviate even in the slightest from that search for the truth and from the truth of God’s Word we work in the direction of the lie and in the service of the false church. This same complete spiritual knowledge of the truth and faith in it is also the idea of the whole armour of God which we are exhorted to put on in the sixth chapter of this same epistle.
In beginning therefore our present study it may be well once more to call to mind the fact that God is essentially the truth, and sin is always essentially the lie. And the lie, sin, is always present to contradict the truth. We must grow and develop in the truth but in doing so we cannot escape also exposing and contradicting the lie whatever form it may assume. So only shall we become strong children of God, faithful to our calling.