Special Revelation – Part 2 – The Necessity of Scripture
This post, and the one to follow on this topic, was adapted from a study I did several years ago; the study was partially based upon notes I had taken during a Dr. Greg Bahnson lecture on this topic.
The necessity of Scripture is demonstrated by the following:
- Scripture expounds upon general revelation
- Scripture provides the way of salvation
- Scripture is the way the king communications to his people
- Scripture is more than revelation
Scripture Expounds Upon General Revelation
The term “general revelation” refers to God making Himself known (i.e., revealing Himself) to all people everywhere. God reveals Himself to us, both internally and externally, through the created order. This revelation is sufficient to establish basic knowledge of God, our sin, and our impending judgment.
On these topics—and a host of others—Scripture provides us the details that were previously unrevealed.
Scripture obviously provides further information pertaining to the nature of God. The Trinity and the duel-nature of Christ jump to mind. But Scripture also reveals to us things about God’s nature that might or might not have been deduced, such as . . .
- God is self-existent and -sufficient:
In the beginning God…
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”
- God is eternal:
…from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
…Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
Whether or not we would have drawn these conclusions on our won is unclear. But there are some things that are perfectly clear: Man in his unregenerate state knows the one, true God, suppresses this knowledge in unrighteousness, and is under God’s just judgment. Scripture crystallizes this:
...although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and fourfooted animals and creeping things.
Scripture provides the way of salvation
General revelation leaves us in judgment, for only law is revealed. The Mediator is not revealed to us in the trees, animals, or human kind. The answer to the Heidelberg Catechism’s question number 19 tells us that special revelation was used to reveal Christ to us throughout redemptive history:
From the Holy Gospel, which God Himself first revealed in Paradise, afterwards proclaimed by the holy patriarchs and prophets, and foreshadowed by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law, and finally fulfilled by His well-beloved Son.
The catechism proceeds to tell us about true faith and the necessity of believing the gospel. But why does the catechism make such pronouncements? How do we know it’s correct? The answer is in small print at the bottom of its pages—God has provided the way of salvation through scripture.
Scripture is the way the king communicates to His people
Can you imagine a king that has never entered his kingdom? Never spoke to his people? Never gave any laws or commands? Never set kingdom policy? Any such man would be a king in name only.
God is an ever-present king. Indeed, He is THE King. He has chosen a people for Himself—a covenant people. The covenant was not ratified, however, like covenants are between men and kingdoms. There was no bargaining; there was no dialog; there were no debates; there were only pronouncements—only declarations. The King has spoken.
- He has chosen His people:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
- He has given His law to His people – Exodus 20
- He has chosen to dwell among His people:
…I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
2 Corinthians 6:16
Through His Word and by His Spirit, our great King continues to speak to us.
Stay tuned for Part 3.