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The Shield of Faith

After a delicious banquet dinner and a brief recess, we went into the auditorium of Fourth Church for our post-banquet activities. Rev. H. C. Hoeksema, the speaker for the evening, highlighted the evening by delivering a very well-prepared, forceful and inspiring speech.

We were reminded by Rev. Hoeksema that in the figure of the Shield of Faith we have a further description of the full armed soldier of Christ. We were especially impressed with the fact and the infallible truth that the Lord enables and calls the soldier to fight by His almighty Word and Spirit. We were further told that only the sword of the spirit is used in offensive warfare while all the rest of the armour of the full-armed Christian is used in defensive warfare. The shield of faith also falls into the category of a defensive weapon.

Rev. Hoeksema chose to treat his topic under the following points:

“The Shield of Faith”

1.     What is it

2.     Why necessary

3.     How used

Speaking from Holy Writ, we were told by Rev. Hoeksema that the Shield is really God according to the saints of all ages. Behind God we may safely hide. We cannot possibly be harmed. This too according to divine providence.

We were reminded also that the shield is called faith. Faith which is a means for our preservation. We were told that we must not understand faith in the Antinomian sense wherein the contention is that if we have faith we are freed from the obligations of the moral law. This idea is that we must sin exceedingly so that grace may abound! God forbid! In the true child of God there is no such passivity. This doctrine does not make the child of God profane because the law is written by faith in the heart of God’s covenant people.

When the question of what faith is was confronted, I believe Rev. Hoeksema gave a very wonderful definition. Here it is.

1.     Faith is a gift and is the gift of God alone.

2.     Faith is the spiritual tie by which God unites us to Christ and we live no more out of the old man but we live through faith out of Christ.

            This shield of faith is further characterized by the fact that it looks away from self and looks to God. The shield also is a quenching shield which quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one. The devil’s attacks can be characterized further in a three-fold manner.

1.     Deceptive attacks

2.     Attacks aimed at a weak spot in the spiritual life of the Christian.

3.     Attacks which are destructive and dangerous.

The devil also uses many means to destroy God’s people. He, the wicked one, hides behind them but nonetheless works through them. They are, to state a few:

1.     The World

2.     Lie – False Doctrine, if possible clothed in garb of supposed truth.

3.     Lust of the Flesh

4.     Violent means – suffering, death, and imprisonment for Christ’s sake.

So using all these means, we were told, that the devil attacks Young People according to their several characters and weaknesses. How true this all is and how wonderful and necessary it is that the true child of God be admonished of this and be admonished further unto perfect faith and obedience through Christ Jesus who has saved us to the uttermost.

Therefore, we were told that we need a shield not because we want one by nature, for we would rather have the shield of the world which really is no shield. But we do need one and we take the shield consciously when God comes through His Word admonishing us. He comes to a believing heart who will do so.

And so we were told that we must exercise this faith. How?

1.     Study the Word, the Holy Scriptures.

2.     Through constant prayer.

We don’t have to be afraid of the shield. It is our only hope. We must hide behind it and we do. We use it. How? We turn that shield into the path of the enemy to ward off all the fiery darts of the wicked one. What a heritage we have! What a glorious victory through Christ who has redeemed us by His blood using His means which He gives unto His elect children: Faith.

And how could a speech be more fittingly closed than by the reading and reciting of that glorious 4th stanza of our Convention Theme Song, Psalter No. 242. What a glorious, wonderful, saving truth it expresses for us, the People of the Lord.

“All glory unto God we yield,

Jehovah is our help and shield;

All praise and honor we will bring

To Israel’s Holy One, our King.”