The Strength of Youth: Asset or Liability?

A word of explanation concerning the title of this article is first in order. All the articles in this section of the Standard Bearer are under the theme "The Strength of Youth," referring to the spiritual strength of the young people in the church of Christ. However, we can also speak of physical strength, referring not only to the body of the young man as he flexes his muscles, but also to the beauty of the young woman, and to one’s keen mind and particular talents and abilities. It is this physical strength of youth that is referred to in the title of this article with the express purpose of addressing the young people with the question, “Does your physical strength stand in the way of your spiritual strength? Is it a stepping stone or a stumbling block? Asset or liability?” Paradoxical as it may sound, it is nevertheless true that often our strength is our weakness. 

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TODAY! Second Radio Interview on 'Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt' with Rev. Martyn McGeown

TODAY from 4-6pm EST, Rev. McGeown will be interviewed by Chris Arnzen on his radio program Iron Sharpens Iron.

The subject will be Rev. McGeown's recent book, Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt

Visit www.ironsharpensironradio.com and click on the livestream box to tune in and listen from any device. The program can also be listened to by phone at (563)999-9206; press #3 for Christian Radio when prompted.

Be sure to tune in later today!

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Book Review: Walking in the Way of Love, volume 2

Walking in the Way of Love: A Practical Commentary on 1 Corinthians for the Believer, volume 2, by Nathan J. Langerak. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2019. 544 pages, hardcover. [Reviewed by Rev. Clayton Spronk]

Rare are the biblical commentaries that provide sound theological instruction. Rarer still are the commentaries that provide sound theological instruction and helpful application to the faith and life of the church today. Even a little of both of these oft-missing ingredients would be enough to recommend a commentary to serious students of scripture. That this volume offers a feast of accurate explanations of the truth of scripture and appropriate applications means that I must highly recommend it to the reader.

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The Final Judgment of the Elect

After that great and notable day of the Lord when Jesus shall appear to gather his elect people from the four winds there will take place one final wonder of grace—the final judgment of this world. Paul speaks of that Judgment in 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” This final wonder stands intimately related to that great resurrection from the dead. With the coming of Christ all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and come forth. They then shall stand before Christ and be judged; they that have done good will be given life and they that have done evil damnation. Just as all shall be raised from the dead, so also all shall stand before the great white throne of Christ and be judged. No one will escape judgment, including the very elect people of God. 

Many today, in opposition to this, are quite surprised and even irritated when this truth is declared. The children of God standing before God and the world and having their sins exposed for all to look upon? God would not put his people through such shame! God’s children standing before a vengeful God who is filled with anger toward the sinner? How frightening! Indeed, that crushes all comfort and hope in the heart of a child of God! That simply is not true, they would contend; the elect will not be judged in the judgment day. Jesus has died upon the cross and shed his blood as a covering for our sin. That sin is, as it were, hidden from God’s eyes and we are no longer held accountable for it. Why then would God require of us to give an account of our sin in the judgment day? In that day we will be presented before all as having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing. To stand before God in judgment would be senseless. 

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Coming in 1 month!

IN ONE MONTH volume two of The Belgic Confession commentary will be printed, completing the two-volume set written by Professor David J. Engelsma.

We provide you with an excerpt from Chapter 17: Justification as Experience.

Justification by faith alone, without works, not only excludes works from God’s justifying act, but also from the believer’s knowledge and certainty of righteousness with God. If this were not the case, “we should always be in doubt, tossed to and fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be continually vexed.”

Therefore, to teach that in the end the experience and assurance of righteousness with God are realized by the sinner’s good works, or are somehow dependent upon the good works of the sinner, is the denial of justification by faith alone. In that case, faith would need the help of the sinner’s works to give the blessing of justification. Union with Christ and his work would not be enough.

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April 1 Standard Bearer preview article

Who Am I?

…God, whose I am, and whom I serve.” Acts 27:23b.

“Who am I?” This is the second most important question to ask and answer. Now and throughout all of life, every morning when you awake, every night before you go to sleep, and before every decision you make between waking and sleeping, you should be answering this question of self-identity.1 But before asking ourselves this, we must be aware of the first most important question, which is “Who is God?” Catechism students studying the “Essentials of Reformed Doctrine” will recognize this if they remember the six loci of Reformed doctrine, the first being Theology, which answers this question. Let us be sure to start here. Begin with this question every day, for if you do not first know who God is, you will “mess up” the knowledge of who you are. Only in keeping that crucial knowledge of God’s identity in mind will one rightly answer the second most important question—number two of the six loci (Anthropology)—“Who am I?”

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The Marks of the False Church (concluded)

The identifying mark of the false church is that she lacks the marks of the true church, i.e., the pure doctrine of holy scripture, a pure administration of the sacraments; and the exercise of church discipline in the correcting of sin. Rich in the incidentals of size, ecclesiastical reputation, earthly influence, religious ritual and busyness, and pomp (which, alas, fascinate many professing Christians in every age); she is destitute of the essentials of the body of Jesus Christ in the world. 

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The Royal Sufferer

T H E   R O Y A L  S U F F E R E R

Christ is and was the king…

…whose kingdom is not of this world, and who rejected all the glory that this world offers.
…who refused to allow the Jews to crown him king, though he was the King of the Jews.
…who fought alone, without an army.
…who was arrested by his own people, and mocked by the representatives of the Roman Empire, the great earthly kingdom of that day.
…who was crucified because he was King, and remained King when he died.
…who, being risen and ascended, is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

To this divinely anointed King, this book is witness. Behold your King, and worship him!

 

$14.50 retail ($9.42 book club)  |  96 pages  |  hardcover

(This will NOT automatically be sent to book club members, only to our Gold Star members.)

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The Marks of the False Church

". . .As for the false Church, she ascribes more power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does she administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in His Word, but adds to and takes from them, as she thinks proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those, who live holily according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry. These two Churches are easily known and distinguished from each other."—Belgic Confession, Article 29

The "problem" of the article of our Confession of Faith quoted above is its absolute distinction between the true church and the false church. It does not speak of purer and less pure churches, of manifestations of Jesus' body that vary in degree of faithfulness and doctrinal purity; but of "two Churches," the true and the false.

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Moses' Forsaking of Egypt

"By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible." Hebrews 11:27

Choose we must. We must always choose between Christ and Satan, between the service of the Lord and that of the devil, between Egypt and the people of God, between the things above and the things below. And this choice is inevitable. No compromise is possible. It is either God or mammon, Christ or Belial, the church or the world. And to choose for God and Christ is possible only by faith. 

Moreover, once we make the choice we must act. Our conscious choosing and definite action are always inseparable. Faith in Christ and a spiritual walk are inseparably connected. Indeed, to express a preference for God and his cause and then to seek the things below is surely dishonest. How true this is of Moses! That faith and action are inseparably connected will also become plain as we dwell a few moments upon the incident in this particular word of God. Fact is, this is the thrust of this passage. 

The Incident

To which incident does this text refer? Moses left Egypt twice: he left Egypt when he fled to Midian, and he again left Egypt at the exodus. Which incident is meant here? The commentators are not in agreement; there is much to be said in favor of both explanations. 

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