'The Solid Foundation of God'

Leslie M. Grant

This expression is found in 2 Timothy 2:19, a book in which Paul considers the sadly ruined condition of Christian testimony which would be evident in the 'last days' which have now certainly come upon us. Is it not wonderful to be assured that no matter how dreadfully serious has been the departure from the truth on the part of the professing church (of which every believer is part), the solid foundation of God remains in its absolute truth and purity?

Because of widespread failure, are believers therefore left to build in whatever way they consider might be the most convenient? The apostle does not allow this in the least. We rather need to get back to the one solid foundation and build only on this, for this is the only foundation, the only basis of Christianity and true fellowship in the church of God.

What is this foundation? Paul clearly answers this in 1 Corinthians 3:11, 'For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.' But he also tells us, 'According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it' (1 Cor. 3:10). What does Paul mean by his laying the foundation? Is it not clear that he refers to his teaching concerning Christ in all the glory and beauty of His person, in all the great value of His work, in all His relationships? In other words, everything that is revealed in the Word of God concerning Christ?

These things concerning Himself are basic to all Christianity and certainly fundamental to all true fellowship in the Church of God. Are we not therefore deeply saddened at a recent strong claim by some believers that Christ alone, apart from all doctrine (or teaching) is the basis of fellowship among the saints of God? Can we dare to separate Christ from the doctrine of Christ? How can we even know Him apart from the teaching by which Paul has laid the foundation?

Many aspects of that foundation are being denied today by those who claim to have faith in Christ. A most vital truth concerning Christ is that He is the Son of God from eternity (Prov. 8:22-31; Heb. 1:1-3, 1 John 4:14).1 Not only unbelievers deny this, but some who are evidently Christians do so. This is an insult to the foundation. The sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus is another vital aspect of the foundation, yet this is denied by many, some saying that though the Lord did not sin, He had a human nature that might have sinned.2 This is false, for 'in Him there is no sin' (1 John 3:5). As to the Christ, He is also the Creator, our Great High Priest, our Advocate, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, Head of the body, the church, and much more than this as declared in the Word of God. All these things concerning Him are involved in the foundation and to be held in highest honour.

His work too is involved in the foundation. His works of grace on earth, the perfection of His sacrifice for sin and for the glory of God, His resurrection from among the dead, His ascension to glory, His present high priestly intercession for saints, the fact of His coming both to rapture His saints to glory3 and to judge the world, His future reign over all creation, His great White Throne judgment, His eternal exaltation bringing future blessing to the universe. Thus God's solid foundation involves the entire truth of the Word of God concerning His beloved Son.

While as we have seen, there may be grievous denials of the revealed doctrine of Christ, and we must not have fellowship with any of these, also there have been many attempts which add to God's foundation which are considered as being normal to Christianity. Among these are the doctrine that the concept of denominationalism is right; the doctrine of the clergy as being distinct from the common people; and the teaching that each assembly is autonomous that is, self-governing and not interdependent with other local assemblies.4 Many other humanly devised doctrines have invaded the realm of Christian profession but such additions are not of the foundation of God. Some of them actually form a basis for fellowship, but they are not God's basis.

May we have grace from God to build simply on His foundation, not denying any of its truth nor admitting additions that have no basis of truth.

L. M. Grant

1 See 'I Hold it vital' by J N Darby

2 The author is referring to the evil idea that the Lord Jesus was morally capable of sinning.

3 The other part of this truth (the resurrection in 1 Thess. 4:13-17) was denied by false teachers as early as the first century (cf. 2 Tim. 2:18).

4 It is clear that the New Testament churches formed a responsible fellowship interacting with one another on the basis of mutual attachment to the Head in the glory of heaven. Neither self-rule nor central control by an earthly head is mentioned in Scripture. (See the tract 'Centralism, Independence, and Unity. a Comparison').