Volume. XXXVI, No. 17
Sunday, 24 October 2021

What is the Reformed Faith? (Part 2 - Final)

Someone rightly commented, “Trying to define the Reformed faith simply and briefly is like taking a snapshot of the Grand Canyon at 50 yards: inevitably, something is going to get left out.”  Last week we covered five pertinent topics on the reformed faith. Below are some of the other tenants of the reformed faith, though not exhaustive. 

  1. The Infallible Scriptures: The Reformed Faith holds to the inerrancy of Holy Scripture, to its infallibility and inspiration. Sola Scriptura. The Holy Scripture is the sole source of written Divine Revelation and the final authority of faith and conduct. It alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin, and it alone is the standard by which all Christian beliefs and behaviour must be measured. It is the believers' guide for faith and is the final authority in living a life pleasing to God (2 Tim 3:16-17). God has the last word, not human tradition, reason, or experience. The way for a deeper experience of the presence and power of God is through greater obedience to His Word. The Reformers believed that Scripture is to rule in Christ's Church as absolute divine authority, being the very words of God our Creator. The Scriptures are singularly supreme in the life of the Church and all its members. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Thus, Sola Scriptura was one of the slogans of the Reformation.

  2. Word & Worship: The Reformed Faith maintains the necessity of regular worship each Sabbath to worship God's Name in truth and in Spirit. They do not gather to be entertained but to glorify that name which is above every name. God does not leave it up to us to determine the manner of our worship of God. Worship services are to be just what God commands them to be - nothing more, nothing less. God's Word regulates us in how we must worship Him. Reformed worship services have these elements: Singing of psalms and hymns (Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19, 20;) offering of prayer (1 Tim. 2:1-8); reading of Scripture (1 Thess. 5:27, 1 Tim. 4:13); the preaching and hearing of God's Word (Rom.10:13-17, 2 Tim. 4:1,2); the administration of the two sacraments (Matt. 28:19, 20, 1 Cor. 11:23-29); and the giving of our offerings in support of the ministry and the relief of the poor (1 Cor. 16:1,2; 1 Cor. 9:11-14). The Reformed faith also maintains that preaching is the central element of worship and must be carried out by men called by God. Preaching is the God-ordained way of saving sinners and strengthening saints (Rom. 10:14, 15). The Reformation restored the primacy of  And being of the reformed faith, we keep pure preaching of the Word the centre of worship. 

  3. The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, truly and completely active both in the Old Testament and New Testament. In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God is first introduced as the Creator of all things (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4). Throughout the Old Testament, the Spirit worked upon and in men for the glory of God.  The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Jesus Christ and to apply His saving work to our lives. He convicts us of sin, convinces us of truth, comforts us with the hope of the gospel and empowers us to live the Christian life. He indwells our heart, sanctifies us and empowers us for ministry in the Church and mission to the world.   The Spirit’s power and presence must be sought and wilfully depended upon, not only for daily living but also in ministry and preaching. The Holy Spirit is the author of the spiritual gifts.  With the completion of the canon, we take a cessation position regarding the miraculous sign gifts.

  4. Sanctified Living: The Reformed Faith does not lead men to careless living and does not give license to sin, so that one may say, “let grace abound.” (Rom. 6:1) God has chosen His people unto good works and that we should be holy and without blame before Him (Eph. 1:4). We must live sanctified lives for His glory, which is also the evidence of eternal election. There is no union between light and darkness, and so also between the Christian and the world (2 Cor. 6:14).

  5. Moral Law: The civil and ceremonial law is abolished, but the moral law is still binding and needful. Believers must strive to keep God's moral law (Exodus 20:1-17), which is summarized in the Ten Commandments; not to earn salvation but because they love their Saviour and want to obey Him. 

  6. Missions: Although reformed theology focuses on God saving the sinner, evangelism and missions are part of our duty. Unlike "hyper-Calvinism," the Reformed Faith firmly believes in the calling of the Church to go out into the entire world to preach the gospel.   Jesus Himself mandated the disciples, and then the Church, to go into the entire world to preach the gospel ( 28:19).  So the question is, why evangelize if God has already elected those who are going to be saved? We need to evangelize because God has commanded us and chosen to use us to fulfill His purpose. This is a privilege, an honour and joy, which the Lord has given, not to the angels but to us as His ambassadors.  It is the Lord’s work to turn people’s heart to Him but ours to share the gospel by which the Lord will bring His sheep to Him. 

The Reformed Faith is not technical dry stuff: rather, many have studied the Reformed Faith and, in return, appreciated the beauty of the Scriptures. The Reformed Faith is about God, His glory, His love and salvation for us.  We owe our lives to the grace of God and God must always be glorified, not man.  The Reformed Faith is the most consistently Biblical and the most wholesome expression of Christianity. May we continue in the spirit of the Reformers and follow their rich heritage. 

One of the mottos of the reformers was Semper Reformanda - always Reformed, always being Reformed. The crucial thing behind reformation and reformed faith is the love for God’s Word.

Our Church is built on the sure foundation of the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God.  But how do we regard the Word of God? Do we come to His Word with the right attitude? If we have the right attitude towards God’s Word, then it will impact and move us all to live for Christ. Therefore, we should examine our hearts to ensure that we have the right attitude towards God and His Word.

The heritage, privileges and blessings we have in Christ are great for, “He is the head of the body, the church.” (Colossians 1:18a) In response, we have a holy duty to know the distinguishing marks of a growing, vibrant Church and to “…preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28) May the Lord enable us to obey His Word and bear fruits of a growing, vibrant Church to the Praise and Glory of His Name.

Rev Mathews Abraham

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