(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 8)

True Faith, the Line of Separation
Lord's Day 7
Psalter No. 426 st. 6, 8
Read Rom. 9:14-33
Psalter No. 73 st. 1, 5, 6
Psalter No. 381 st. 2
Psalter No. 428 st. S

    Before the foundation of the world, God in His sovereignty has
determined who among Adam's posterity shall be saved, and who shall
not be saved. Election and reprobation are both parts of
predestination, of which Paul wrote in the Chapter that was read to
you. "Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated." That election was
not because of foreseen faith and good works, nor was reprobation
because of foreseen unbelief and evil works. Predestination is hence
not a decree of God based upon mercy and righteousness, but upon
absolute sovereignty. That sovereignty in eternity drew a line
between Jacob and Esau, between those that are saved and those that
are lost. God has appointed, as Paul says in I Thess. 5:9, some to
wrath and some to salvation. While before the foundation of the
world God has thus drawn a line between those that will be lost and
those that will be saved, in time that line is drawn by true faith.
God grants His elect that faith by which they are in grafted into
Christ and receive all His benefits. Thus they actually accept that
salvation in Him which they already have in Him objectively, as the
Form for the Administration of Baptism so simply and truthfully
states: "The Holy Ghost assures us that He will apply unto us that
which we have in Christ, namely, the washing away of our sins, and
the daily renewing of our lives, till we shall finally be presented
without spot or wrinkle among the assembly of the elect in life
    Beyond a doubt, they are those who were chosen in Christ, who
have remission of sins in Him; they, and they only who are included
in Him, as their Head, and definitely not all people that are
presented for baptism. As all men have fallen in Adam, so the elect
in Christ are reconciled with God and are made to sit in heavenly
places with Him in favour and communion with God. But that which
they have in Christ they must be made to be partakers of in time,
because they too, by nature are children of wrath, as were the
others. They also are included in the fall of Adam, and are without
Christ in the world. Although they are born and brought up under the
light of the gospel, as far as their state is concerned, they are
"strangers and sojourners," and the ingrafting in Christ is
indispensable, if they are to obtain salvation in Him. That
ingrafting in Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit and takes place
by faith, that is planted by the Holy Spirit Himself in
regeneration, in the hearts of those chosen in Christ and purchased
by His blood.
    He that lacks that ingrafting in Christ by faith to life, is
subject to condemnation in Adam, and dead in trespasses and sins.
Faith therefore draws the line of separation between those that are
in Adam and those that are in Christ. I now ask your attention to
this matter as I am to discuss with you the seventh Lord's Day of
our Heidelberg Catechism.
    Lord's Day 7
Q. 20: Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?
A. No; only those who are ingrafted into Him, and receive all His
    benefits, by a true faith.
Q. 21: What is true faith?
A. True faith is not only a certain knowledge, whereby I hold for
    truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word, but also an

    assured confidence, which the Holy Ghost works by the gospel,
    in my heart; that not only to others, but to me also, remission
    of sin, everlasting righteousness and salvation, are freely
    given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's
Q. 22: What is then necessary for a Christian to believe?
A. All things promised us in the gospel, which the articles of our
    catholic undoubted Christian faith briefly teach us.
Q. 23: What are these articles?

I   I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and
II  And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord;
III Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary;
IV  Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried;
    He descended into hell;
V   The third day He rose again from the dead;
VI  He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God
    the Father Almighty;
VII From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead;

VIIII believe in the Holy Ghost;
IX  I believe an holy catholic church; the communion of saints;
X   The forgiveness of sins;
XI  The resurrection of the body;
III And the life everlasting. Amen.
    In this Lord's Day faith is shown to be the line of demarcation
      I salvation is ascribed to them who partake of Christ by
     II the essence of faith is described, and
    III the contents of faith is given briefly.
    The sixth Lord's Day of the Heidelberg Catechism presented the
Mediator of the Covenant, the Emmanuel, God with us, in His
all-sufficiency and ability. He was revealed by the Father as the
seed of the woman in Paradise and later came as the all-fulfilling
One, purchasing His people with His blood, as the prophets and the
ceremonies testified. Now understand me well, all men are reckoned
in Adam, and hence are fallen in perdition; only the elect are
reckoned in Christ to their salvation, and they, and only they are
ingrafted in Christ by faith and partake of His benefits. Thus the
line of separation is drawn between those that will be saved and
those that will be lost. The Catechism therefore places before us
the question:
    "Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?"
And then the scriptural and decisive answer is "No."
    Every single person from Adam to the very last one that shall be
born, every one of them is reckoned in Adam, but Christ is not the
Covenant head of all these people. Grace is not universal, and all
men shall not be saved in Christ.
    Are then the merits of Christ not sufficient to save all people?
Oh yes, viewing those merits in themselves, you must admit that
their atoning power is boundless.
    God's wrath, that perfect, endless loathing of everything that
is sin, that demands complete satisfaction for sin, burns in full
force upon all the children of Adam. Christ has borne that full
wrath in both body and soul; and has pacified that wrath. That is
the point; the fruit of that pacification of God's wrath and of the
satisfaction of God's justice is, according to sovereign love,
limited by election and the eternal Covenant of Grace to those given
to Christ by the Father. It is certainly not for everyone. Because
of the virtue and value of His mediatorial work, we have in the
ministry perfect liberty to publish salvation to all; to declare
that none is too bad, no one's debt is too great; and to show
everyone who hears the Word the dreadful responsibility that rests
upon him, and the judgment that shall fall upon him if he hardens
himself; for all excuses for sin are taken away, and the woe of
Chorazin and Capernaum hang over his head; nevertheless, Christ
became the Surety for His elect, and to them, to them only He will
apply what He has merited.
    But is it not written, "For God so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life?" There was then no separation in
His love. He loved the entire world and gave His son for it. Now it
depends upon ourselves whether we accept that love or reject it. If
we believe, that salvation is ours. Is not this the correct
    There really are people who thus pervert the truth to their own
destruction. They thereby deny sovereign election and the
substitutionary work of Christ, as though the Mediator had died for
all people, and salvation depends on man's free will. They take hold
of more texts. Does not Paul say in I Tim. 2:4 that God wills that
all men be saved? And do you not read in II Peter 3:9, "The Lord is
long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but
that all should come to repentance." Stronger still, boasts the old
Pelagian and his successor, the Remonstrant, and all those sickly
dreamers about God's love, Paul speaks almost irrefutably in Romans
5: The gift of grace is greater than sin, says Paul. Through the
offense of one many are dead, but much more the grace of God
abounded unto many. "Therefore as by the offense of one judgment
came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of
one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
Thus they conclude that salvation is for all men and it depends on
us whether we shall enter that salvation.
    But that conclusion is against Scripture. When John testifies
that God loved the world, he does not state that Christ was given
for all the people on that world, but he only shows that it was not
for fallen angels, but mankind is the object of God's eternal mercy.
That God wills salvation for all men does not mean that it is God's
will that each and every person shall be saved, for if that were
God's will, who would prevent Him from doing what He pleases? But
with God there is no respect of persons. Therefore supplications
shall be made for all men, for kings and for all those that are in
authority. For God wills that all, means all classes of men, whether
great or small, rich or poor, whoever they may be, shall be saved,
as He has shown throughout the ages in bringing sinners to
conversion. Always read Scripture in context. Then we shall also
understand Peter in his second epistle in which he refers to those
called and chosen, whose are the promises, of which He wills that
none should perish. How can anyone think Peter's words refer to all
men, without inferring that God is unable to execute His will, since
many go to eternal perdition. To direct our attention to Romans 5,
you shall never understand Paul's strong argument if you do not see
that Paul is contrasting the two covenant heads, and that the "many"
and "all" refer every time to those who are represented in these
covenant heads. All and many in relation to Adam means each and
every man, but those words in relation to Christ are the elect who
are all in Him before the foundation of the world. Only they will be
saved who are in Christ Jesus, and therefore they are ingrafted in
Christ by a true faith and receive all His benefits, as our
Catechism says, and that statement we must heed closely. Here are
many snares of Satan, and the enmity of our nature against free
grace is great.
    Ingrafted in Christ by true faith! That true faith is a gift of
God, as Paul says in Eph. 2. "By grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." There is so much
imitation of that true faith, so much faith that does not bear the
stamp of the Holy Spirit, and hence does not graft the soul into
Christ. There is only one faith that leads to salvation, that faith
which grafts us into Christ, and by which we receive His benefits.
Whatever you may think of yourself, very conscientious, well meaning
or whatever you call it, without being ingrafted in Christ,
everything, everything shall fall away at death like the sandy
ground in the parable. That ingrafting in Christ is wrought by the
Holy Spirit which works faith in our heart.
    True faith is of an entirely different nature than historical,
temporary and miraculous faith. In all of them there is not even the
least particle of true faith, however much they may seem outwardly
to be like it.
    An historical faith is nothing but a mere assent to a known
truth. If you would ask such an historical believer whether he
believes what the Bible says, he would surely answer affirmatively,
for he holds God's Word to be the truth.
    Agrippa had such an historical faith, therefore Paul asked him,
"King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou
believest." But still he was not concerned about the salvation of
his soul. It is much to be feared that many get no farther than King
Agrippa, although they live with the church. Historical faith is
necessary, but not enough. James would say, "Thou believest that
there is one God; thou does well; the devils also believe and
    Temporary faith goes deeper. A temporary believer differs from
an historical believer in that he receives the truth with some
outward joy, the word has taste for him. In Matth. 13 the Lord
compares the temporary believer to the seed sown in stony ground.
But he lacks the inward sincere delight in the truth of God that is
the portion of all God's children. He knows nothing of the opening
of the Scriptures for the poor, lost sinner, because the seed of the
Word had no root in him to show him his misery and he had no true
sorrow for sin, as an affront against the holy Majesty of God.
Temporary faith does not yield fruit. Temporary faith lacks all the
real characteristics of true faith. It does not unite the soul to
Christ, and therefore it lacks the principle of life and it withers
away. It is temporary.
    Both historical and temporary faith are founded on God's Word.
Miraculous faith is not. Miraculous faith is the strong conviction
that a miracle shall be wrought on us or by us. It can be exercised
by God's people, as, for example, the apostles, who wrought
miracles, or the leper who returned to Christ. But it is very
different from saving faith. Consider those ten lepers. They all had
faith; they showed it, else they would not at the Lord's command
have departed to show themselves to the priest. What could they,
lepers, do by the priest? They had to go to the priest only after
they had been cleansed. Still they went without contradiction upon
the command of Christ; for they all believed; they all had that
strong feeling that He would work a miracle of healing in them. That
was all the nine had. The Lord Jesus was to them a miracle-doctor.
One, only one, sought in Him the salvation of his soul. That one was
a Samaritan. Many shall say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in
Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done
many wonderful works?" But the dreadful words shall sound in their
ears, "Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity."
    Let not the miracle be everything for us. One miracle is
necessary for us, that we, being spiritually dead, should awaken.
"Though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have
not charity, I am nothing."
    If we lack true faith, that of the elect, we have no part with
Christ, and if we lack Christ the condemnation rests upon us. True
faith separates those that shall be saved from those that shall be
lost. Only by true faith are we ingrafted in Christ, and the result
is that we accept his gifts. But he who is not ingrafted in Christ,
cannot accept his benefits. How closely, how very closely we must
examine ourselves, and inquire after the essence of true faith, as
does the Catechism:
    "What is true faith?" To this question the instructor gives a
clear and simple answer:
    "True faith is not only a certain knowledge whereby I hold for
truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word, but also an
assured confidence, which the Holy Ghost works by the gospel, in my
heart; that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin,
everlasting righteousness and salvation are freely given by God,
merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits." This answer
leads us to consider our second point:
the essence of faith described.
    Let us in the first place notice that the Catechism does not
speak of the quintessence of faith, but of faith itself in its
character, nature and essence.
    The description is written so that whoever lacks what is here
described, lacks true faith, and therefore has no part with Christ
and salvation.
    This faith draws a line of separation between those that shall
be saved and those that are lost. There is no other way. Certainly
there are steps in faith and there are steps in the life of grace,
but that is beside the point now. To the view that the Seventh
Lord's Day speaks of the quintessence, not of the essence of faith,
(or else that particular application, and an inward assurance of the
forgiveness of our sins in Christ are not essential to the essence
of faith) many of our godly fathers including Vander Groe had very
weighty and insoluble objections. We may not drop that clear and
Biblical description our fathers gave us both here and elsewhere.
    But do not forget that the exercise of this true faith is not
always just as energetic and clear in all God's people. With Comrie
we differentiate between the grace and the act of faith.
    The acts of faith flow from the grace of faith. What the
Catechism and the Form for the Lord's Supper says so beautifully
always refers to the grace of faith, while the act of faith may be
so defective that very few of its characteristics are evident. If
this were more correctly considered, we would understand and agree
with the description given of the essence of faith, indeed that
description would not depress or exclude any of the upright, but on
the contrary, it would be a means of delivering us out of much
darkness and strengthening our faith.
    By saving grace "I hold for truth all that God has revealed to
us in His Word." This is the fruit that faith yields in the soul and
it increases as it grows.
    By faith a blessed light falls upon God's truth that makes one
experience its liberating power. Then we not only stop that sinful
despising of God's Word and attempting to escape it, but it also
puts an end to our formal, dry and dead life, with which so many
religious people are content, albeit to their eternal perdition. The
eyes of our understanding are enlightened to know the truth that is
in Jesus. "Thy Word is a lamp for my feet, a light upon my path",
says such a believer. His soul hungers after the eternal truth of
God more than his body for bread. This truth causes him to delve
into the revealed mind of God to find the life of his soul. He often
experiences either in his private reading, for which he often
sacrifices some of his sleep, or when he goes to God's house, the
comforting fruit. He knows the voice of God; it seems to him that
the Lord Himself speaks to him.
    It is a certain knowledge; in that knowledge of faith there is
no doubt; it is firm. However much the world may shrug its shoulders
mockingly about the Word of God; whatever the "wise" may say about
the impossibility of the Word's being true, faith does not waver,
but exalts itself far above those unstable and weak, hellish attacks
upon God's revelation. Faith can stand a few knocks, and the
believer shall not perish in doubt. Faith is a certain, that is, a
firm knowledge of the promises of God. These with their rich
contents are unlocked, applied, and embraced, so that the soul can
plead upon them, for pleading upon God's promises is a work of
    Thus the firmness of faith does not consist in the believer's
ability to state the doctrines clearly for himself and for others.
Here again it is the work of Christ that is decisive, "Simon, Simon,
behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as
wheat; but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not." That
intercession is enough, and gives a firmness to faith, making that
knowledge so sure, that all doubt must flee. In the believer there
are both faith and unbelief, but in faith itself there is not the
least doubt. Faith and unbelief are mutually exclusive; this
knowledge is immovably firm. But it can very well be that unbelief
causes the believer to doubt. See Thomas who firmly rejected all the
messages of Christ's resurrection, and boldly declared that he would
not believe until he had seen and touched. Oh, that God dishonoring
doubt that disbelieves what the soul shortly before had embraced in
    And yet, however often the believer doubts, that faith is still
a certain knowledge, that does not waver, but embraces all that God
has revealed in His Word.
    Yea, faith is also a certain trust; faith causes the soul to
lean upon Christ. Whenever that faith is exercised, a light arises
that clears up the darkness, but also that sinking, that resting and
trusting comes to shame us for our doubting; and causes us to
embrace the truth of God's work and the salvation in Christ. Read in
that light what the instructor says of that confidence, namely that
the Holy Ghost works it in our heart by the gospel. This is affirmed
in the life of God's children. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing
by the Word of God. Now let us continue, that confidence concerns
this: "that not only to others, but to me also remission of sin,
everlasting righteousness and salvation are freely given by God,
merely of grace only for the sake of Christ's merits." How hard this
is for many people.
    Just that causes the struggle for those who see salvation in
Christ for those who are lost, but lack the appropriation and
assurance of faith. On the one hand they cannot deny what God has
done to them, but on the other hand, oh, how they are attacked by
Satan, who tells them that the remission of sins, everlasting
righteousness and salvation are for others, for God's people, but
not for them. If only they could believe that they were partakers of
Christ, but they are often so distressed at the thought that they
yet lack Christ. Oh, they fear death. Solomon's chariot had a
covering of purple, the red of atoning blood, but their soul has no
covering. God's justice demands, and their righteousness is too
short. There is salvation only in Christ, and Him they want. Thus
many of God's children spend long years, although they do not let go
of God's promise. The point is now, if faith is a certain knowledge
and an assured confidence that to me also salvation is given in
Christ, have those souls then no faith?
    We must distinguish between the grace and the exercise of faith,
as we said above. Then you have the answer. In the exercise of faith
there can be such a defect; the exercise may be beset with much
darkness in knowledge, and uncertainty in the confidence; but faith
itself, as a gift of grace, does not waver. That is shown in the
exercise of it. Tell us, doubting souls, when you are in a lively
frame, when faith breaks through, is there doubt then? Do you then
say, "It is for others, but not for me?" Certainly not. Then you
embrace that salvation and redemption which is in Christ. "Not only
to others, but also to me", that is the voice of faith, that glories
only in grace. It is "merely of grace", not mixed with anything of
ourselves, pure grace which excludes all works. Where is boasting
then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay; but by the law of
faith. Of grace, yea of grace alone God's people shall sing to their
last breath. By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves; it is God's gift. By grace remission of sins,
everlasting righteousness and salvation are given, only for the sake
of Christ's merits.
    By the grace of faith, all those who are called out of death
unto life are in grafted in Christ and they partake of His benefits.
But let us not misuse this comforting doctrine of faith by supposing
that it is now less necessary to experience this union with Christ
by the exercise of faith. This would be contrary to the essence of
faith. Does not God's Word teach the assurance of faith? Do you not
know what Paul said, "For I know whom I have believed, and am
persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto
Him against that day?" Do you really think that the benefits of the
New Testament were less than those given to Job? This severely tried
servant of God gloried in the face of death, not during sweet
communion, or under the sweet influences of God's love, but under
the sad hiding of God's face, and under the fierce assaults of
Satan; and while his friends think him a hypocrite, in a word, under
indescribable darkness, Job gloried; "For I know that my Redeemer
liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth."
Even then faith had power, and a hope for perfect salvation with
Christ lived in Job's soul. Is that not written so that we too shall
seek to attain that assurance, that we shall seek to experience in
the exercise of faith, what we have received in the grace of faith.
Salvation does not depend on the assurance, but we should strive
earnestly to attain to perfection. Being constantly assured of God's
grace to us is a second grace. All this does not change the fact
that the grace of faith makes all God's children partakers of these
benefits, so that they embrace by faith:
    "All things promised us in the Gospel, which the articles of our
catholic undoubted Christian faith briefly teach us."
    This brings us to our third point,
the contents of faith.
    We cannot live with less than the instructor here explains, but
we do not need more. To be saved it is necessary, but also
sufficient to believe in God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy
Ghost. What faith in the Triune God means is comprehended very
briefly in the 12 articles of faith which Luther condensed into
three articles, expressing faith in the three Divine Persons. The
twelve articles are a development of the formula for baptism in
Matth. 28:19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
    The story that each of the Apostles wrote one article of this
creed is fictitious. The Twelve Articles date from the end of the
second century. The name Apostles' Creed was given to this
confession because of its apostolic contents, not because the
apostles composed it. That which is expressed in this creed agrees
perfectly with the apostles' doctrine. They are the articles of our
catholic, undoubted Christian faith, of our catholic, or universal
faith. The Romish church has wrongly appropriated the term catholic
to itself. It is the false church. The contents of the only, true
catholic faith is summarized briefly in the twelve articles. Let
others think what they please, this is the contents of our undoubted
Christian faith.
    What God has promised in the Gospel is so wonderful. It includes
all His people need for soul and body, for time and eternity. All
the blessings of the covenant of grace are bequeathed in the
promises of God to the church, and by faith it receives the benefits
of them. It is necessary to believe all of this, for nothing of the
promised salvation can be spared, and all the saints were saved by
that Gospel. How our soul should be exercised with the promises of
the gospel to understand them better, and to fathom the depth of
God's salvation and love therein, and to find in those promises a
foundation upon which we may plead with the Lord to grant us the
promised salvation.
    God's people are set upon the Word of the Lord; that is their
touchstone and their comfort in their afflictions. If only that Word
is opened to them, they lose themselves in adoration and cry out
with the poet of Psalm 138:
    "I cried to Thee and Thou didst save,
    Thy word of grace new courage gave."
                    Psalter No. 381 st. 2
    Was that saving faith planted in your soul? Alas, how many live
coldly on under the most effective ministry of the gospel. Heaven
does not comfort them, nor does hell terrify them. They have become
hardened to the warnings, as the smithy's dog to the sparks of fire.
The eternal love of God in Christ preached to poor sinners does not
enrapture them. The Gospel leaves them unmoved; God's promises have
no value; they believe, but their faith has only the characteristics
of historical faith. Oh, if only the invitation of the Gospel would
touch you! Would you remain lukewarm concerning the Gospel that
calls you to your eternal salvation? Would you say coolly, "I am
unconverted"? Would you not hasten for your life? Shall it not be
more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for
you? For they who knew the way and walked not in it, shall be beaten
with many stripes. Remember that distress which disappears as a
morning cloud and as an early dew is no part of the true life of
faith. They that build their hope upon the soul agonies they have
endured, may very well fear they have no more than temporary faith.
True faith unites our soul with Christ and causes us to live out of
Him. Outside of union with Christ there is only eternal perdition.
    That union by faith with Christ is so very different than a
superficial consideration of the Scriptures, and thus accepting
Jesus. Our days are full of such. Thousands come to Jesus with their
sins without ever learning to know their state of misery. They
believe Jesus and accept Him, while you look in vain for any true
characteristics of having been ingrafted by faith. They accept it on
authority of the Scriptures which they were taught. Is it surprising
that everyone who holds to the old doctrine hates such a
presentation of the union with Christ by faith, as it is taught in
the schools to our children and in the churches to all, whether
converted or unconverted? For in that presentation lies the
practical denial of man's state of death, and of our unwillingness
and inability to believe. Therefore it is misleading souls for
eternity and deadening the souls of the upright. Those who fear God,
learned it very differently. Oh friends, who have been truly humbled
before God, testify whether the ideas and understanding of the truth
of the Gospel which you have received by education do not fall away,
and frighten rather than comfort you, because you can make no use of
all your knowledge. I have known people who were very letter wise,
yet how well they knew the Gospel with their mind, out of legal fear
they almost spoke the language of the devils, "Art Thou come to
torment us before the time?" Remember Spira, of whom Comrie speaks,
and others. That superficial knowledge leaves us outside of Christ,
and if God does not prevent it, will some day increase our judgment.
"I believe," says Comrie, "that literal knowledge of the Gospel,
which we have rejected, will be a hell in the hell." The Lord plant
in you that saving grace that grafts you into Christ.
    The great difference between true life and the almost
Christendom that is dead, lies in this: that God's people are cut
off from Adam and are ingrafted in Christ. Without being cut off
there is no ingrafting. The fruit of this grafting is that the true
believer is drawn to Christ. Oh, do test yourself by these marks.
    In the conviction of our sins and in the humiliation of our soul
before the Lord, in spite of our condemnation, that hope lived that
bound us to God and caused us to cleave unto Him. It was the grace
in Christ that drew us, and in all our fears and misery called to
us, as it were, that there is forgiveness with the Lord, that He
might be feared. Then we took courage out of the salvation of great
sinners, who could glory in naught but grace, as Manassah and Saul.
Oh, then it could be possible that our soul would be saved from
    Christ stood, as it were, behind a wall, but His love, His
loveliness, and His grace went out to His poor people, even though
they did not see them. Then there was hope, because sinners are
saved freely; then the Gospel opened for us and gave encouragement;
then they saw the salvation that God has prepared for His people,
and they learn to love the people and the service of God above all
else. Then they believed. And still that exercise of faith passed,
and sin and guilt weighed heavily upon them under the condemnation
of God's holy law, and unbelief became so strong that they could not
hold fast that God had ever done good things to them. Thus it went
up and down and they were tossed to and fro between faith and
doubts. They had to lose all their prayers, their tears and
everything to which they would hold, so that they would learn by
faith to know Christ alone as the way of life.
    Oh, hearken, ye souls who are weary because of your sins and
misery, hearken to the soul-winning invitation of the Lord, "Come
unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you
rest for your souls." Let nothing prevent you from seeking refuge in
Him. True faith seeks no other refuge. And truly the Lord will not
cast His seeking people away. In the midst of all worry and fear,
the confidence of faith is at times so strong that we are above all
doubts. What then must the assurance of faith for our state for
eternity be? Does our soul then never again doubt? Oh yes, a
thousand times, if not about our state, then in one way or another.
But the more clearly we may embrace the promises of the Gospel, the
more our soul shall cleave to Him, Who testified, "Without Me ye can
do nothing," so we can not believe either. May He grant that living
exercise of faith which causes to know and trust Christ in his
mediatorial gravings more and more. May He strengthen our faith in
us so that even in darkness when there is no light, we shall trust
in Him Who does not forsake the work of His own hands. Amen.

(continued in part 9...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc1-08.txt