“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.