The Planks of the Faith: Remembering for Re-Membering, Part 3
For the past two gatherings, we’ve been chowing down on a multi-course meal at the Training Table that has included three “planks of the faith” so far, a) The Means by Which We Know God; b) That There Is One Only God; and c) The Written Word of God.
It is indeed a spiritual feast of the heart of the Christian to chew on and ingest the basic tenets of the faith on a regular basis.
Planks are True Truths: The Foundations of the Faith and a Feast of the Happy Heart!
I was recently reminded of something most fundamental about human beings that’s worth ruminating on, “The deepest need of our heart is for a God who is not the product of our deepest needs” (Rev. Tim Keller).
Human beings need something OUTSIDE of themselves to define, inspire, provide worth for… themselves.
Devoid of regularly reminding ourselves (in various ways) of the True Truths of the Faith that come from outside our self, our fallen nature and ego-based tendency (even as Christians) will trend towards a declination, a spiritual atrophy… towards fashioning gods that satisfy our own personal, selfish, fear-, man-, and world-based desires and needs.
Culturally speaking (as one example) this explains the existence of so many forms of Jesus Christ within the culture and within the church: The proclivity towards “a made-up Jesus” is based upon each of own deepest needs having trumped the Bible-Historical GodMan. In many cases, not the Jesus Christ of the Bible whatsoever.
Check it out, “Jesus, rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35). It is estimated that Jesus, the perfect Son of God, spent at least two hours every morning communing with His Father.
Perhaps those running the good race should consider how much quiet time we’re spending with God as our day begins as well.
I heartfully hope that these “planks of the faith” serve to remind, refresh, renew, and replenish your heart with what ALL of our hearts thrive on for time and eternity:
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for, ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever’” (1 Peter 1:22-25—emphasis added)!
Article 7: The Sufficiency of Scripture
“We believe that this Holy Scripture contains the will of God completely and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it. For since the entire manner of service which God requires of us is described in it at great length, no one– even an apostle or an angel from heaven, as Paul says (Galatians 1:8) ought to teach other than what the Holy Scriptures have already taught us. For since it is forbidden to add to or subtract from the Word of God, (Deuteronomy 12:32; Revelation 22:18-19) this plainly demonstrates that the teaching is perfect and complete in all respects.
Therefore we must not consider human writings—no matter how holy their authors may have been—equal to the divine writings; nor may we put custom, nor the majority, nor age, nor the passage of time or persons, nor councils, decrees, or official decisions above the truth of God, for truth is above everything else.
For all human beings are liars by nature and more vain than vanity itself.
Therefore we reject with all our hearts everything that does not agree with this infallible rule, as we are taught to do by the apostles when they say, “Test the spirits to see if they are of God,” (1 John 4:1) and also, ‘If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house’ (2 John 10).
Article 8: The Trinity
In keeping with this truth and Word of God we believe in one God, who is one single essence, in whom there are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties– namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is the cause, origin, and source of all things, visible as well as invisible.
The Son is the Word, the Wisdom, and the image of the Father.
The Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son.
Nevertheless, this distinction does not divide God into three, since Scripture teaches us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each has his own subsistence distinguished by characteristics– yet in such a way that these three persons are only one God.
It is evident then that the Father is not the Son and that the Son is not the Father, and that likewise the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son.
Nevertheless, these persons, thus distinct, are neither divided nor fused or mixed together.
For the Father did not take on flesh, nor did the Spirit, but only the Son.
The Father was never without his Son, nor without his Holy Spirit, since all these are equal from eternity, in one and the same essence.
There is neither a first nor a last, for all three are one in truth and power, in goodness and mercy.” (Article 7, 8, The Belgic Confession of Faith, 1561—emphasis added)
May God richly bless you and yours as you give thanks to God… every single day… for all the many, many blessings that His manifold mercies have showered upon you!