PAPER NO. 28
PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD
By Faith We Understand
PART I: FAITH
By faith we understand that:
- Philosophical Foundation is based on the clarity of general revelation and the inexcusability of unbelief.
- Theological Foundation is based on the biblical worldview of creation, fall and redemption (Genesis 1–3) in light of which all of Scripture is to be understood.
- Historical Foundation is based on the work of the Holy Spirit leading the Church into all truth, summed up cumulatively in its Creeds and Confessions.
- Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever, by filling the earth with the knowledge of God through the work of dominion.
- God calls man back from sin and death through the curse and the promise. (The curse consists of toil, strife and old age, sickness and death, increasing to war, famine and plague; the promise is that Christ, in the place of Adam, will undo what Adam did and do what Adam failed to do.)
PART II: THE CHURCH
The Church is to be salt and light.
- The Church is divided; it is not one, as the Father and Son are one, that the world may believe that God sent his Son, Jesus Christ.
- The Church has not attained the unity of the faith; it has neglected the historically cumulated insight of its Creeds and Confessions by emptying them of their meaning.
- The Church has lost ground in the spiritual war; it has not taken thoughts captive that are raised up against the knowledge of God, but is instead taken captive by these thoughts.
- The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth; repentance must therefore begin with the house of God.
- If the Church will not be salt and light to the world, it will be cast out and trampled underfoot.
PART III: THE WORLD
The world and its desires pass away.
- Moral decay has penetrated deeply every aspect of human life and every sphere of human culture; the cup is now full.
- The world has become global and unstable; it is both highly interdependent economically, and yet highly divided culturally.
- Civil governments have become totalitarian in disregarding the boundaries of each sphere of life: family, church, state, business, and education.
- The economy, driven by greed of the many and the few, has become exposed to collapse under the weight of accumulating debt.
- Ideologies of civilizations, each seeking world dominance through power, deny human dignity and rights.
PART IV: WISDOM
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
- We must prepare the way of the Lord by calling the Church to repentance; we must prepare for the day of the Lord if the Church does not repent.
- To prepare the way of the Lord requires spiritual discipline in order to gain understanding and to engage in works of service. We live by our faith; the rule for life is faith: to each and from each according to the measure of one’s faith.
- God’s judgment comes on man’s lack of repentance by the increase of the curse; preparation is needed for restoration after his judgment.
- Abraham sought for a city with foundations. This city is of God and is the promised kingdom of God, sought by the faithful in every age. Those who have gone before cannot receive the completion of the promise without us.
- The work of dominion, moving from the Garden of Eden to the City of God, will be completed when the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
August 3, 2015