Faith Comes By The Means Of Grace
||Rev. Ronald Van Overloop
Lord's Day 25
||283, 61, 53, 65
- The idea of the means of grace.
- God normally uses means to convey things to us in our daily lives.
- God created all things in this world, adapting them for the purpose of man’s existence.
- God is pleased to use certain instruments to convey grace to His children.
- Which are the means of grace?
- The peaching of God’s Word is indispensable for coming to and maintaining a conscious faith in Christ ( cf. Rom. 10:14; John 5:24,25; 10:3,4,27; Eph. 4:21; I Th. 2:13).
- The sacraments depend on the preaching for their meaning and content, signifying the promise preached.
- What is the preaching of the pure gospel which is so necessary for our salvation?
- Preaching is the authoritative proclamation of the gospel by the Church in the service of the Word of God through Christ.
- The content of the message is from the King in the Bible, so Christ Himself speaks and is heard.
- It is authoritative: one of the Greek words for “preach” is “to herald” on behalf of the King.
- The preacher must be “sent” (Rom. 10:15), which sending is done by the elders (Acts 13:1-3).
- Not the preaching by itself, but the Spirit normally uses right preaching to bring faith to consciousness (Rom. 8:14-16).
- The Holy Spirit confirms faith by the sacraments.
- The sacraments are signs, i.e., visible representations of invisible realities.
- And they are seals, i.e., marks of ownership and authority, guaranteeing what is revealed in the sign.
- A seal solemnly pledges and assures the promise of the gospel, viz., righteousness is out of faith.
- God seals that He reckons the power of faith to be unto salvation.
- How are they signs and seals?
- They are fingers which point our faith to the content of the preaching, viz., Christ crucified.
- They are our uniforms which say that we were dead in sin, but are now saved and redeemed in Christ.
- The implied command is that we must use correctly the means God uses to give grace.
- We are bound to use them if we want grace and increasingly stronger conscious faith (Canons I,16).
- Demand the right kind of preaching, i.e., that which gives exposition of God’s Word.
- Receive the Word with all “readiness of mind” (Acts 17:11).