Thursday, October 16, 2008

The God who Speaks and Interprets His Own Works!


1) Heidelberg Catechism

19 Q. How do you come to know this?

A. The holy gospel tells me. God himself began to reveal the gospel already in Paradise; later, he proclaimed it by the holy patriarchs and prophets, and portrayed it by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; finally, he fulfilled it through his own dear Son.

2) Scripture

2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.


Notice what the catechism is teaching us about God’s communication to us. The catechism says that “he [God] proclaimed it [the gospel] by the holy patriarchs and prophets.” The gospel is the message which God communicated to us in words through people like Abraham and Jacob (patriarchs) and Isaiah, David, and Daniel (prophets).

God communicates to us in words. The gospel comes to us in words. The Scriptures consist of words. God believes in words! The Lord believes that truth can be communicated in words!

There are many people that deny that God reveals himself to us in words. Instead they say that God reveals himself in acts and deeds, but not in words. They say that God reveals himself in Christ’s death and resurrection, which are events, but not in words that tell us the meaning of those events. The church (they say) must interpret these events, because God has only revealed himself in these acts, but not in the words that tell us what the acts mean.

This is completely wrong! God speaks to us through the words that he “breathed out” through his patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. These men spoke and wrote God’s words to us, and these words are preserved for us in the Old and new Testaments of the Bible. We can know the meaning of God’s acts, like Christ’s death and resurrection, because the Lord has told us what his acts in history mean through the words he spoke through his prophets and apostles. These words have been preserved for us, and the Lord continues to speak to us through them, for his word is living, for he is the living God (Heb. 4:12).

Our God is not a silent God! He is the God who speaks to his image bearers in words, which we can understand and believe. The same God who acts in human history, also speaks to us so that we can know the meaning of his acts. He even speaks about the future before it comes to pass! Throughout the entire Old Testament, the Spirit is telling us through the words of the patriarchs and prophets about Jesus Christ, whom the Father is going to send for the salvation of the world!

Discussion: Does God reveal himself in both deeds and words? What would be the problem
for us if God did not reveal himself in words? Does 2 Timothy 3:16 teach that the Scriptures
are God’s words spoken or written through men?

Prayer Starter: Thank the Lord for revealing himself in actions and in words. Thank the Lord
for telling us what his actions mean. Thank him for keeping his promise to send the seed of the woman into the world, who won a great victory for us. Ask the Lord for a deeper appreciation of the gift of his written Word.

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