- The Text
- The Chapter
- The Confession
- The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture
- or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture
- unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men
- Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word
- and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed
John 6:30–46 (CSB)
30 “What sign, then, are you going to do so that we may see and believe you?” they asked. “What are you going to perform?
31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
32 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.
36 But as I told you, you’ve seen me, and yet you do not believe.
37 Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out.
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
39 This is the will of him who sent me: that I should lose none of those he has given me but should raise them up on the last day.
40 For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
41 Therefore the Jews started grumbling about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
42 They were saying, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43 Jesus answered them, “Stop grumbling among yourselves.
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.
45 It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to me—
46 not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father.
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word; and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture
There is, in fact, some mysteries and some hard to understand things in the Bible. For:
Proverbs 25:2 (CSB) It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to investigate a matter.
2 Peter 3:15-16 (CSB) Also, regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters. There are some things hard to understand in them. The untaught and unstable will twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
But when it comes to the matters of His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, it is expressly set down in Scripture according to the whole counsel of God.
John 6:44–46 (CSB) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God. Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to me—46 not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father.
Debates on how God saves us is as old as Genesis itself and we can argue until Christ returns. But where Christ is clear on who and how he saves, we should take that as the gospel. Because He is clear and and what He says is the good news.
The Puritans called this clear and understanding of Scripture in as it pertains to matters of salvation: the perspicuity of Scripture. Let us reason and debate on matters of secondary importance. Let us unified as sons of God on matters of primary importance.
God's glory is according to Scripture alone.
Our blessed salvation, faith and life? According to Scripture alone.
This is call reason and logic. Plain and simple. It might be a frightful thing because some Christians read this as to read the Bible with nothing but reason and logic. That is modern thought--where we can approach a supernatural text with modern reasoning and make sense out of it. That is not going to work out well for you at all.
The Scriptures are clear: to understand God and things from God is going to take God dwelling in you and revealing these things to you.
That said, we don't have flush reason and logic down the toilet when approaching scripture. In R.C. Sproul's Truths We Confess, he uses the example of the 5th commandment: "Honor your father and mother." If that is a command from God, we can deduct that if we were to dishonor our parents, there would be consequences to that action. Going opposite of God's commands is called a sin and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
I have even a better example that I heard from Sproul many years ago and involves the most famous verse in all of Scripture:
John 3:16 (CSB) For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Read that once more.
Apply reason and logic to it. We can deduct that the John 3:16 certainly does not mean this:
"For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes and does not believe in him will not perish but have eternal life."
You might think, "That is so silly--we know it doesn't say that." But then, if it is so silly and obvious, why do we say that Christ died for the whole world to be saved? Because of 1 John 2:2?
1 John 2:2 (CSB) He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.
But 1 John 2:2 does not stand alone. Continue on to verse 3:
1 John 2:3 (CSB) This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands.
John 3:36 (CSB) The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.
God did not save the whole world. That might be a harsh truth. The good news is that the invitation to come be in Christ is open to all. And as we read in John 6, those whom the Father brings to the Christ is saved.
And if God saves you, it is a done deal forever:
John 10:28–29 (CSB) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
The whole counsel of God, expressed plainly in Scriptures or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture is sufficient and basic and complete for our salvation, faith, and life.
unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men
I wanted to add some clarification to Sproul's example of using Charismatics. Some Charismatics believe that they can receive a new revelation by the Holy Spirit and it does not have to be tested or tried by the Bible. Most Charismatics could pass the orthodoxy pop quiz by asking them this question, "Do you believe you could receive revelation by the Holy Spirit that would add to the Scriptures?" and they would say, "Of course not." I would add on, "Because are not Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses."
Yet, we are called by God not to despise prophecies but to test them against Scripture. For:
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (CSB) Don’t stifle the Spirit. Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good.
Acts 17:10-11 (CSB) As soon as it was night, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. Upon arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Now, herein lies the rub: we know we are to test everything that we hear from ministers against the word of God. But, and I say this as a Charismatic, we just don't want to. Mainly because that type of work is hard--and I am not just talking mentally but emotionally. What if you received good preaching that lit your heart and soul and you felt good but then the Holy Spirit led you into the reading of the word and it says the complete opposite. What do you do? Feel happy and go against Scripture? Or feel disappointed and abide in the word of God?
Don't be afraid of disappointment of learning the truth. All truth is ours because truth comes from the Source of Truth which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3). Rejoice that Christ is yours, the Father is yours and the Spirit is yours. Rejoice that you have not been led astray and that the Father never loses his children. Rejoice that you are enough in Christ alone. Rejoice that you have not missed one blessing from God because you are in Christ alone. Rejoice that you cannot do it right or good or perfect because God sent his Son to live and and die for you so you can be his co-heir to his inheritance of all things (Hebrews 1:1-2 cf. Romans 8:14-17)
Don't despise preaching but test all things with other Christians and rejoice that all truth belongs to us.
Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word
1 Corinthians 2:9–12 (CSB)
9 But as it is written, What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived— God has prepared these things for those who love him.
10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except his spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God.
I am going to post 1 Corinthians 2 as much as I need to so that we are thoroughly convinced that we cannot know anything from God unless God dwells in us. Full stop.
John 1:1–5 (CSB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
Christ came into the world to save sinners. He is the light that illuminates his gospel and his word and his life and his death and his resurrection. All of it.
Luke 11:5–13 (CSB) He also said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s shameless boldness, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish?Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
Does this passage says that God is our magical genie in heaven? No. That is so little and small. Why think so small?
Do you know what Christ is saying to us?
If you turn from your sin, turn towards God, run to God, approach God, ask God for God, you are going to get...
100% of the time. Perfectly. Instantaneously. Satisfactorily.
I don't know why this doesn't blow our minds more. If I go to God, ask for God, and I always going to get God.
"But I need God to do this for me!" Sure. But do you know you ask for the Almighty Triune God, maker of heaven, earth, and hell, who is Sovereign and rules and reigns for all of time? The Alpha and the Omega? The Beginning and the End? The Worthy Lamb who was Slain? The Lion of Judah? The Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace? The God who is far above our worthless idols?
That God? I get to behold the face of God that gives me complete satisfaction and endless joy?
If I go to God, ask for God, then I will always get God.
I am not saying circumstances and my own sin will not impact nor crush me. Regrets, I have a million. But I count it all as crap compared to the absolute fact that I belong to my Beloved and he is mine forever and ever. (Songs 2:16)
Oh, when I see the face of my Savior, I will kiss his face with a million kisses because he loved me and saved me to himself.
and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed
From the Scriptures, we know how to worship of God--not just in church but with all of our lives. For:
1 Corinthians 10:31 (CSB) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.
And even overseeing the church. How do we even start there?
How do we do these things? By what God has revealed in Scriptures, by His revealed order (think nature) and with Christian wisdom.
He has not left us alone to figure out how we should worship to him. We are not like the prophet Aaron that was bullied and peer-pressured into making idols that we can form with our hands. God has shown us the way because he knows we are from dust and he knows the inclination of hearts. He knows that we will go play in our own vomit like dogs if left alone. God has shown us how to live and how to worship. He is a good Father like that.