The Marks of God’s Children

I confess: usually when I think about a book on Christian piety I cringe and think “pietism.”  And usually books on Christian living fall into a moralistic guide book dotted with Scripture.  However, Jean Taffin’s (b. 1529) book, The Marks of God’s Children is not a moralistic code book akin to a book of virtue.  This book is about following Christ in suffering, and it is gospel centered, word centered, and means of grace centered.

He starts with a chapter on the blessed future that awaits Christians, the body-and-soul blessedness of heaven.  He then talks about assurance – how the follower of Christ can be assured that heaven is his/hers.  How does a person know that he/she is a child of God?  Taffin first talks about “external” marks (p36-7).  These marks are: first, that a person is a member of a church that preaches the gospel and administers the sacraments.  Second, the person partakes in the means of grace, specifically the sacraments.  Third, when a person calls on the name of God in Christ, this is an external mark that he/she is a child of God.  In summary, Taffin first says: if you want to know if you’re a Christian destined for blessed eternity, you can have assurance if you go to a gospel centered church that preaches the word and administers the visible word.

The “internal” marks of how a person knows he is a child of God are these: the works and fruits of the Holy Spirit in a person is proof that he/she is a child of God.  This includes faith in Christ and love for God and neighbor.  In Taffin’s own words, “These witnesses of the Holy Spirit include the internal marks of a peaceful and quiet conscience before God, the experience of our justification by faith, our love for God and for our neighbor, our changed life, and our desire to talk in the fear and obedience of God” (p. 40). 

I’ll post more on this excellent booklet in the future.  Again, this book is far above other books on being a disciple of Christ – Taffin is extremely Christ centered as well as church centered in this book.  It will be a help in your daily walk of carrying the cross.  Note: click on the above link to take advantage of Reformation Heratige Books’ sale price on Taffin’s book.

shane lems

sunnyside wa

1 thought on “The Marks of God’s Children”

  1. Thanks for the tip. I’ve been looking for this sort of “Christian living” resource. I’ve been reading William Law’s A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life and am amazed out how moralistic and semi-Pelagian it is (and those are terms I don’t lightly throw around), locating our potential for holiness within our wills and intentions.

    I’d be interested to see you read and review some P. T. Forsyth. I think you would be well impressed.

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