Friday, May 03, 2013

The revelation of God

I love the word of God.  I have studied it, memorized it, and meditated on it. I have found direction and comfort in it many times.  Most importantly, I have found glimpses of His glory as He passed by.

I have been taught and repeated the teaching that God reveals Himself and His truth in 4 ways.
  1. Special revelation - dreams, visions, and from angelic messengers
  2. General revelation in His creation - "The heavens and the earth speak day after day of His glory"
  3. Incarnational revelation - He is revealed in lives of those whom He indwells
  4. Scriptural revelation - the Bible
The latter is the superior form because it's more explicit and clear than dreams and visions.  it's more broad in scope and situational in specifics than creation, and it's less distorted by the sin of the individual in whom God is revealed. 

But I think the fourth form of revelation - scripture - may be over-rated.   Don't get me wrong, I still love the Word, I agree with every word in Psalm 119, if I miss a day reading, studying, and meditating on it, I feel the loss as a shrinking of my own soul.  

The Word of God is "living and active," but it's not living and active in the same way that you are. Your life is more flexible, variable, and dynamic.  That makes you more facile, specific, and individualized as a source of revelation.  But seeing revelation of His truth and His person in His people is tricky because His people can reveal Him, or conceal Him, or distort Him.  

If others see a distorted view of Him in you, what misinformation do you suppose you communicate?  

If others don't see Him at all because you conceal Him, how do you suppose you accomplish the feat of concealing the most real part of you.  

Finally, and this is a trick question, how and what truths of Him do you reveal.  The suprising answer is, you don't.  You don't reveal the Christ that indwells you.  I don't reveal Chrsit who indwells me.  HE REVEALS HIMSELF.

That's not a simple technicality.  It means that the third source of revelation - incarnational revelation - is a much more reliable source of truth than I and most of my biblically learned friends thought.  It means that I can completely rely on the accuracy of the truth of His character as He is the one that revealed Himself in this way. 

Finding the truth of Christ in the scripture He breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) and in the people He indwells (2 Cor 3:18) requires discernment to clearly understand the truth without distortion.  But i think that the clarity and advantages of incarnational revelation has been highly and unfairly maligned.

Would you prefer to learn from Christ by reading the Gospels, or by being there, listening to him speak, watching him work?  I think that most honest people would plead for the chance to have been there and witnessed his life, even conversing with him.  Why would the same pattern not be true today.   Would you rather experience the compassion of Christ by reading about it, or by resting in the supportive embrace of his people?

My beloved, more importantly His beloved, let us not conceal Him, let us not distort Him.  May we be in communion and fellowship with Him in such a way that He reveals Himself easily and clearly through us.  May we seek to learn of His nature and His holy perfection as He reveals Himself in and through the people He indwells.  

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