Blogging the Institutes–1.6.1–The Bible is Our Glasses

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List

The Bible is Our Glasses

The glory of God revealed in creation leaves all people without excuse for not believing in Him. God judges all people because they have refused to believe in Him, even creation reveals Him. Therefore, another and better help must be given to us in order to know God as the Creator. So God has given us the light of His word to illuminate our minds to salvation. He has given His word to those who He desires to bring into a relationship with Himself.

Let’s look at how God has done this in history. God knows that people are fickle and that they believe all kinds of strange things. So God chose the Jews and protected them from these false beliefs. He also does the same thing for us—He protects us from falling away from Him. Glasses really help those who are old, or have poor eyesight, to read. If they didn’t have glasses, they wouldn’t even be able to make out any words on the page. The Bible is our “glasses”—it makes the truth about God clear to us.

God has given the church a priceless gift. God does not merely give the church fallible, human teachers. He gives the church the words from His very mouth. For example, He tells us not only that we must worship some God, but also reveals to us that He is the God we must worship. He not only tells us to respect God, but also reveals to us that He is God we should respect.

God has given the church not only proofs of His existence from creation, but also supplements these proofs with His word, which is a more reliable way to know God. Even Adam, Noah, and Abraham knew God through His word. It was the revelation of His word to them which distinguished them from unbelievers. The “word” which Adam, Noah, and Abraham knew wasn’t the full revelation we have in the Bible. But they did know God through His word as both Creator and Redeemer. The first thing they came to know, however, was the basic knowledge of God as Creator. Now, after they came to know God as Creator, more knowledge—saving knowledge—was given to them. They came to know God as the Redeemer, the Savior of their souls.  `

I want you to know that I am not talking about the covenant that God made with Abraham in order to adopt people as His own children. I am neither talking about the marks which distinguish believers from unbelievers. All I am trying to do is show that it is necessary to have the Bible to know the difference between the true God and false idols. We’ll look at the doctrine of salvation later on. In the meantime, what I am going to do is this: I am going to show you from passages in the New Testament and Old Testament that the Bible reveals to us the true God. And this revelation of God in the Bible will save us from following after false gods.

Blogging in the Institutes–1.5.15–We Are Glory Robbers

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List

We Are Glory Robbers

Although we lack the ability to know God on our own, we still have no excuse before Him. We can’t claim ignorance without being convicted by our own conscience of laziness and ingratitude. People try to defend themselves before God by claiming they did not have ears to hear the truth, even though the creation has a loud enough “voice” to declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). Furthermore, they try to plead ignorance by claiming that they don’t have eyes to see the truth, even though creatures without eyes demonstrate it (Romans 1:20). People try to excuse themselves on the basis of having a weak mind, even though creatures without reason are able to teach it.

Therefore, when we go astray from the path of truth, we have no excuse because all things point to the right path. All people must bear the guilt of corrupting the knowledge which God has deposited in their minds. Furthermore, they prevent it from bearing good and genuine fruit. It still true, however, that revelation from creation is not enough to bring us to God, even though all creatures bear witness to the glory of the Creator. As soon as we gain some slight knowledge of God from looking at the world, we ignore that knowledge of the true God. Instead, we dream up some other “god” so we don’t have to give the true and living God the praise He is due. Rather, we transfer our praise to this made up “god.” Moreover, because we form some other “god” in our mind, we totally block out the truth which God gives to us everyday through His creation. Consequently, we rob creation of its glory and God of the praise which He deserves.

Blogging in the Institutes–1.5.14–Truth is Shining, We’re Denying

“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List

Truth is Shining, We’re Denying

God displays so much evidence for His existence in creation. It shines out into the world like the sun. Because of our sinfulness, we’re blind to it. Although the evidence presses in upon us, clamoring for a response, it is insufficient in itself to lead us to the right path. Surely, God’s creation does sometime provide very clear evidence to us, yet we often don’t allow it to have its full force before we shut it down and don’t believe it. The author of Hebrews says that this physical world makes the invisible spiritual world, in a sense, visible. But, he adds that it is by faith we understand these things (Hebrews 11:3).

God is indeed revealed by His creation, yet we won’t have the spiritual “eyes” to see Him unless we are enlightened through faith by God’s work in our hearts. The apostle Paul says that we can know God through His creation (Romans 1:19). He doesn’t mean, however, that mere human wisdom can comprehend God from creation. Rather, the revelation of God in creation renders us inexcusable before God’s judgment (Acts 17:27). Although Paul says that God is near to all people, in another passage he says that God’s nearness does not save anyone. God, Paul says, “In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways;  and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:16-17).

God gives evidence for Himself often. With various acts of kindness He wins over people. Unfortunately, many people still follow their own ways which are filled with deadly errors.