Friday, December 26, 2008

revelation and scripture

First, I must say that Packer writes in a very readable style. He's easy to follow and, though he probably knows more than a few, he doesn't use a huge vocabulary. In fact, in the intro he makes a point to say that he is trying to make these words as knowable as possible without getting technical.

In dealing with revelation he glosses over several aspects including: past, present and future revelation from God and general and specific revelation. I think his basic message is that God has been, is and will continue to reveal himself in a general way to all mankind and in a more specific way to those who hear the Gospel (through the teaching and preaching of Scripture.)

The most interesting point was his summary of what "God was revealing in the biblical period."
1. He was revealing Himself (general revelation, Romans 1 idea)
2. He was revealing His kingdom (through general and specific revelation that he is and was and forever will be the only king and ruler of this world)
3. He was revealing His covenant (I will be your God and you will be my people...and the blessing which flow form that. God is faithful)
4. He was revealing His law (so that we could look and like him)
5. He was revealing His salvation (rescuing his people from Egyptians, Babylonians, foes and troubles and finally from his own wrath through Christ.)

Notice what is not explicitly stated, but is implicit throughout, is that he was never revealing "his love." Does it seem odd that we maintain God's love first and foremost and Packer ascribes only these 5 things and not love to his revelation package?

Perhaps a better way to understand the Gospel would be to view it through these lenses so that God maintains his proper seat on the throne in the midst of salvation.

And then revelation leads, quite easily, into Scripture. He points out that the Scriptures are "the written record of the drama of redemption. The historical books relate it; the sermons of the prophets and apostles explain and apply it, and point to the climax of Christ's coming again; the Psalms meditate on it; the wisdom writings look at life in light of it."

He goes on to discuss, briefly, the reliability of their testimony by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In it he also talks of the holiness of Scripture and that regarding it as holy does not mean we are committing idolatry (I think Piper had a small paper out on this subject, but I can't locate it. If you know what it might be, let me know.)

He ends with a quote from J.C. Ryle and I will do the same.

You live in a world where your soul is in constant danger. Enemies are round you on every side. Your own heart is deceitful. Bad examples are numerous. Satan is always laboring to lead you astray. Above all false doctrine and false teachers of every kind abound. This is your great danger.

To be safe you must be well armed. You must provide yourself with the weapons which God has given you for your help. You must store your mind with Holy Scripture. This is to be well armed.

Arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of the written Word of God. Read your Bible regularly. Become familiar with your Bible...Neglect your Bible and nothing that I know of can prevent you from error if a plausible advocate of false teaching shall happen to meet you. Make it a rule to believe nothing except it can be proved from Scripture. The Bible alone is infallible..Do you really use your Bible as much as you ought?

There are many today, who believe the Bible, yet read it very little. does your conscience tell you that you are one of these person?

If so, you are the man that is likely to get little help from the Bible in time of need. trial is a sifting experience...Your store of Bible consolations may one day run very low.

If so, you are the man that is unlikely to become established in the truth. I shall not be surprised to hear that you are troubled with doubts and questioned about assurance, grace, faith, perseverance, etc. The devil is an old and cunning enemy. He can quote Scripture readily enough when he pleases. Now you are not sufficiently ready with your weapons to fight a good fight with him...Your sword is held loosely in your hand.

If so, you are the man that is likely to make mistakes in life. I shall not wonder if I am told that you have problems in your marriage, problems with your children, problems about the conduct of your family and about he company you keep. The world you steer through is full of rocks, shoals an sandbanks. You are not sufficiently familiar either with lighthouses or charts.

If so, you are the man who is likely to be carried away by some false teacher for a time. It will not surprise me if I hear that one of these clever eloquent men who can make a convincing presentation is leading you into error. You are in need of ballast (truth); no wonder if you are tossed to and fro like a cork on the waves.

All these are uncomfortable situations. I want you to escape them all. Take the advice I offer you today. Do not merely read your Bible a little--but read it a great deal... Remember your many enemies. Be armed!


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