Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Foundations, Walls, and Durability

“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that thy may lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Tim. 6:19)

Oswald Chambers observed that doubt is not always a sign of unbelief; sometimes, it is only a sign that one is truly thinking. That may be true in a great many cases. I understand that Christian young people can waver in their faith temporarily as they work their way through “halls of ivy” that are more like jungles of poison ivy! At times like these, it would seem to me that the condition of their spiritual foundations would be the most crucial aspect in the structure of their lives. I wonder if some of us parents who were so busy putting up walls of separation around our children would not have served them better by laying better foundations under them. According to our verse, it’s good foundations that we should be laying up “against the time to come,” when our faith may be put to the test.

Perhaps we are inclined to spend more time on walls than foundations because the latter requires digging. Making sure our children have a workable grasp of Biblical doctrine requires that we are knowledgeable ourselves. Simply saying something is true because I, as your parent, say it is so; or this is right because our church teaches it, will suffice for a child and some adolescents, but the skeptical mind of a teen-ager or young adult needs to be able to start all questioning from the vantage point of “Thus saith the Lord.” The reality of God and the veracity of His Word should already have been pointed out by careful instruction and study under the power of the Holy Spirit. And only those principles laid down in the clear teaching of the Word of God should be attributed to Him. It has been my observation that unquestioning dogmatism in uncertain matters often leads to questioning of unquestionable truths. Think about it.

Familial walls of restriction may be dismantled temporarily (or permanently); but with the benefit of a good foundation, they can easily be rebuilt, or refashioned. On the other hand, thick walls of separation are only as good as the foundation beneath them; for as the Psalmist says, foundational destruction is a disaster that is irrevocable. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psl. 11:3). Therefore, when it comes to building a sturdy Christian life, excavation and pouring concrete are far more important than framing and dry walling.

“The man whose doctrine is shaky will be shaky in his whole life.” - Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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