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Lord’s Day Reflections: WCF 1.1

In so far as time permits, every Lord’s Day, I intend to post a portion of the Westminster Confession and a small commentary on the same. I may skip around a bit or go straight through. I also might take a break and use parts of other confessions (like my favorite, the Belgic Confession). We’ll see how it goes.

Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will unto His Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which makes the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.

– Westminster Confession of Faith 1.1

The first part of this statement explains general and special revelation. General revelation is what God reveals in creation (see Psalm 19:1–6 and Romans 1:19–20); it is sufficient to show a man that there is a God who is powerful, eternal, and who has standards. This revelation in itself is not sufficient to save a man; he needs knowledge of a savior and faith in the same.

Special revelation is when God speaks to us directly, through things like prophecy, dreams, and Scripture. This is the revelation through which God communicates about our Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s called special because not all men receive it; it’s not general.

Scripture, then is “most necessary.” God has used it to communicate His will for His people, and He’s not in the habit of giving us other hints. A Christian who looks for ways other than Scripture to know God’s will for his life is like a man needing to assemble a bicycle who refuses to look at the included instructions.

Of course the argument may come that Scripture doesn’t address our modern issues, but too often this is like the man in our metaphor insisting, “This bicycle is red and the instructions are printed in black and white! They’re not relevant here.” Other times there may be extra parts to the bike, but reading and studying the instructions would certainly give the man a good understanding of how his bicycle is to work so that he can use wisdom to sort the rest out for himself.

Man was never designed to be an independent thinker and the first time he tried, the whole human race was condemned under a curse. If the Bible doesn’t address contemporary issues, then we are in a tough spot because we lack the capacity to sort these things out on our own. Career? Marriage? Children? Voting? If the Bible is silent on these issues, only a prideful fool would dare to attempt taking on such responsibilities.

Praise God that Scripture is not silent on any issue. It gives us principals that we can always apply and speaks grace to us in Christ for when we fail to apply them aright. Deuteronomy 6 tells us that we’re to tie the Word of God to our head, hands, and doorposts. It has relevance to our intellectual, practical, and family issues. It is sufficient for the Christian to know God’s will in his everyday life. It is most necessary and it is a gift eagerly and graciously given to us by our loving Father.

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This article was posted on 07/19/2014 . It relates to these topics:

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