Friday, May 14, 2010

What we must hold fast

We must hold fast the full deposit of truth and sound words as it has been once delivered in the Scriptures. This is emphasised throughout the Pastoral Epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth.

We must not seek to hold merely the bare minimum; we have not been called to reduce the burden for our own ease. The Church must hold to all that it has received. If we do not maintain our heritage what deposit of truth will there be for future generations? We must seek to hold fast in order to pass the deposit of truth on to the succeeding generation, that is truly guarding or preserving it. That is truly holding fast.

The Church must be agreed on the confession that it is collectively holding fast (Hebrew 10:23 & Philippians 3:16) hence the value of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms which are accurate summaries of the truth. Hence also the value of subscribing all of these truths and professing them to be our own personal confession, ‘holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience’. There is a sacred deposit of truth, the form of sound words. This must be maintained and asserted at all costs. Many believe that the old truths are outworn and must give place to new ideas. They believe that we can improve on what we have received. They believe that we must lower the biblical standard so that we can arrive at something more acceptable to a greater number of people. Needless to say, this is not holding fast the truth.

One vital way of holding fast in this connection is the instruction of the young within the Church. They must receive the knowledge of the truth. A great encouragement in this work is Isaiah 59:21: “My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever”. This promise guarantees the continuance of a profession of the truth but it does not thereby take away our responsibility to instruct our seed. That responsibility is enjoined in Deuteronomy 29:29 “those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law”. This is a solemn duty and privilege. Fathers, elders, ministers must catechise the children of the visible Church so that they are immersed in the truth. (Deut 6:1)