1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (CSB) 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. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, and yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For
who has known the Lord’s mind,
that he may instruct him?
But we have the mind of Christ.
1.I Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation; therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.
I am coming into the study with a few expectations. One of which is that I am 99.999999% sure I am not going to disagree with any article. And right out the gate, none of these points really grinds my gears.
Lets walk through the points:
Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable;
Romans 2:14–15 (CSB) So, when Gentiles, who do not by nature have the law, do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts either accuse or even excuse them
Romans 1:18-20 (CSB) For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.
Psalm 19:1–3 (CSB) The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. 3 There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard.
Romans 1:32 (CSB) Although they know God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.
Romans 2:1 (CSB) Therefore, every one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.
In an CNN Red Chair Interview, Richard Dawkins was asked what would he say if he met God after his death:
What’s going to happen when I die, if I met god in the unlikely event after I died, I think the first thing I would say is well, which one are you? Are you Zeus? Are you Thor? Are you Baal? Are you Mithras? Are you Yahweh? Which god are you?
Which is a bit peculiar, to say the least. But that bit of banter with the Holy Almighty God is leading up to what Dawkins really wants to ask:
And why did you take such great pains to conceal yourself and to hide away from us?
Richard Dawkins. CNN Red Chair Interview. September 5, 2012. CNN
But God didn’t. Not even close. I would even give Mr. Dawkins a fair shake if Christ came in as a nobody and left as a nobody and then all of sudden myth after myths started coming up about some son of a carpenter in Palestinian Middle East some 2000 years aog.
Christ came in as a nobody yet, the entire basis of the Jewish faith prophesied that this was to be start. Starting with Genesis and ending with Malachi. Over 200 prophecies about the upcoming Messiah.
Christ, born of a virgin, into a know-nothing family, in a know-nothing back-country town of Bethlehem.
Isaiah 53:1-2 (CSB) Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He didn’t have an impressive form or majesty that we should look at him, no appearance that we should desire him.
Before he began his ministry, no one knew who he was. And you say, “What about his family? Mary, Joseph, and his siblings?” And in the midst of Christ’s preaching ministry, his own flesh and blood try to shush him away for saying “crazy things” because He was the Son of God.
Don’t believe God. Sure. Don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God? Okay. But no one, semi-educated, semi-read, could deny the historical Jesus.
Since Jesus is real, then what he said, documented by his followers and the Greco-Roman Empire, is what you have to deal with.
How we deal with what Christ said is sin indwelling in each of us–all of the children of Adam. God has made it plainly known but in each of our unrighteousness, we suppress the plain and general knowledge of God.
John 1:18 (CSB) No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side—he has revealed him.
We are without excuse
yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation;
1 Corinthians 1:21 (CSB) For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached.
1 Corinthians 2:12–14 (CSB) 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. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.
Think of all the things that God has freely given us: life, provision, his word, his Son, his Spirit.
But think on this:
Ephesians 2:8-9 (CSB) For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.
What is the free gift? Grace? Faith? Salvation? Yes. Then answer is yes.
For you to know and embrace the salvation of God, God must first give you a new heart and His Spirit and not a moment before:
Ezekiel 36:26-27 (CSB) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.
therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His church;
Hebrews 1:1 (CSB) Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways.
Don’t be put off by the old-school word, ‘sundry’. The CSB translates it as ‘different’.
It is hard to imagine this for some but when God spoke to the prophets, he didn’t do so continuously nor did he do it all in one setting.
Take the prophet, Jeremiah, and look at the verse ones of every chapter:
- “The word of the LORD came to me”
- “The Lord says”
- “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah…”
Jeremiah went about his business. Living his life. Waited on the Lord to speak. Not all at one time but when God chose to speak so that Jeremiah could preach to Judah and the nations surrounding Israel.
It was never on our time. When things are quiet, chill, when we are not that busy, when it is convenient for us, when we are in dire straights, in a full out panic, when we are in a pickle and we need God to say something.
God speaks when he wants to speak. Maybe it will be day after day. Or it might be hundreds of years. That is his prerogative.
And you might think that stinks. But hold on. Keep your britches on. I got some good news.
and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing;
Proverbs 22:19–21 (CSB) I have instructed you today—even you— so that your confidence may be in the LORD. 20 Haven’t I written for you thirty sayings about counsel and knowledge, 21 in order to teach you true and reliable words, so that you may give a dependable report to those who sent you?
Luke 1:3–4 (CSB) So it also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.
Romans 15:4 (CSB) For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.
Matthew 4:4–10 (CSB) He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will give his angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” 7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”
Isaiah 8:19–20 (CSB) When they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,” shouldn’t a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Go to God’s instruction and testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them.
You want to know something that should blow your mind?
Romans 1:16 (CSB) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.
Look at the verse carefully. Does it say “the information about the gospel is the power of God for salvation” or does it say, “the gospel is the power of God for salvation?”
God was going to save his people from their sins. The people were too weak to save themselves. But God himself will come to save him. That is when the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, to live and die as we ought but failed to do so. If you believe what Christ says, repent your sins to him, and trust in Him, you shall be saved. End of the story. Nothing more. Nothing less. That is the gospel.
And yet the gospel was not an object that was to be held and pass down for generations. It was not like the royal family that Christ had to marry a woman and his wife birth a child and that child begat a child where the gospel must continue on like a king and would die if the king had no heir. Surely, Christ is the son of David but when Christ was born, that was it. End of the line. The Perfect King has come. The throne of the kingdom of God is now perfectly filled by the Son of Man who perfectly lived.
The gospel was given to one another by preaching it. The gospel was given to one another by writing it down and passing it on. The gospel, however imperfectly we share it with our words, is the power of God in salvation for those who believe, to the Jew first and also the Greek. For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith!”
And the word of God lives forever. Burn all the Bible and destroy all of the Internet and it will live forever. But the Bible is not of this world. It is the breathed out words of the Almighty Creator God of the Universe.
which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary;
2 Timothy 3:15 (CSB) and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2 Peter 1:19 (CSB) We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
People keep thinking that the Bible is not necessary. Christians, especially today in the age of information, take it for granted. But the Bible is most necessary for faith. You can scour the internet and find people who came to faith by a dream by God. And I am not here to argue against that. But why is true and why people come to Christ is the power of God in the gospel that is written down and kept in our hearts throughout the history of mankind.
To have and preserve faith in Christ makes the holy Scriptures most necessary.
Christian, want to debate on this. Try living your life for a week, completely stripped of the Holy Scriptures, and tell me where your mind and heart is at.
Some of yall can tell me that because most of us don’t engage in the word of God outside a pretty instagram post for months. I am not here to condemn you nor shame you. But without the Bread of Life, how do you expect to live?
those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.
Hebrews 1:1–2 (CSB) Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him.
I am what people call, “Charismatic”. All that means is that the gifts of the Spirit, infinite in their numbers, are given to the people of God for the work of the ministry and they continue on to this day.
One of the most controversial gifts of the Spirit is prophecy. We are called to exhort and encourage one another and sometimes, Charismatics will call that “prophecy”.
Those who oppose prophetic words will say, “You cannot add to the word of God.”
Let me state this for the record: You and I cannot add to the word of God, the Bible, the Scriptures, the 66 books of canon. Full stop.
Yes, I am Charismatic. Full-on. But I know that I know that I cannot add to the word of God. I don’t care if you are Joseph Smith. The word of God is the word of God. And here are some fun facts: every time humans, in our own wickedness and depravity, tries to add on to the word of God, you never ever get more grace as too try to override a bit of God’s law. What you always get more and more legalistic.
The word of God is beyond “without error”. It is perfect. Is it easy to understand? Is it easy to believe? No, it is not. Well, not on your own. You will need the Holy Spirit to open your mind and your heart so you can receive and believe the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
1. "by their unrighteousness suppress the truth" - How can mankind be saved if in our nature we keep suppressing the truth of God?
2. What advantages and disadvantages we have being placed by God in the age of information--nearly 600 years after the invention of the printing press?
3. "those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased" - how does that sit with you? Does it make sense or does it grinds your gears?
4. Do you believe the Bible? Why or why not?
“One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed. We have adopted the convenient theory that the Bible is a Book to be explained, whereas first and foremost it is a Book to be believed (and after that to be obeyed).”
I believe. Help me in my disbelief! Amen.
Today’s episode at The Study
Truths We Confess: A Systematic Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Sproul, R. C.
Orlando: Reformation Trust, 2019.
The Westminster Confession: The Confession of Faith, The Larger and Shorter Catechism.
The Directory for the Public Worship of God, with Associated Historical Documents. 2018.
The Creedal Imperative.
Carl R. Trueman