The Fullness of Joy
In the pages of Scripture, we read of one of the grandest truths, that God reveals Himself to humanity. Perhaps this is one of the most profound blessings of grace we can all to quickly glance over. He is not obligated to allow us to know Him in any way, yet the heavens shine forth His praise and the Word of God testifies to who He is, allowing us to know Him by the power of His Spirit through Christ. We know that the greatest spectacles of creation testify to something greater than merely their own existence. They put within us a yearning after the Creator, a longing to behold the fullness of His glory. Especially as Christians, we see the natural beauty of the world and it delights our souls that He would make it this way.
Understanding all of these realities has a direct impact on how we live. Because I know God created the world and made it to reveal Himself I can enjoy His creation fully. More than that, once I see that He has specially made Himself known in the Scripture, it is this truth which brings a majestic glory to studying the Word! I am not merely studying an ancient textbook! No, I am studying the God-breathed Scripture of which every single word is completely inspired by Him and without fault. My mind is being filled with the truth of who He is that I might know Him. He is directing my path that I might see how to live for the glory of His name. All of this gives the fullness of delight in studying His Word because He is the God of complete joy!
General and Special Revelation Work Together
Seeing that God has revealed Himself in both creation and His Word means that there is a connection point between the two, namely Him. He is making Himself known throughout the theater of creation and in the pages of His written revelation. Scripture testifies to this plainly:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” -Psalm 19:1
The revelation of God throughout this world is magnificent in showing His glory. However, God does not communicate everything through the natural world. I can see His image in humanity, but I do not know the account of how we came into being just by seeing a family walk down the street. Their existence shows me that He is the Creator, but it does not give me the precise details of creation. Which is where special revelation comes into play:
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.” -Psalm 19:7-9
We need the special revelation of God to rightly interpret His general revelation. There are no inconsistencies between the two, only a majestic and perfect harmony. If one believes they have found a discrepancy between general and special revelation, the issue is not with God’s revelation but with their interpretation. Scripture tells me about how God created the world that I see right in front of my face. As I enjoy the soft light of a setting sun it is the Scripture which tells me God spoke light into being (Genesis 1:3). Whenever I examine the physical world the Word tells me of a flood which occurred amongst all the earth in the days of Noah. As I see humanity in its splendor, Scripture informs me of the doctrine of sin which explains the evil I see. The perfect harmony of God’s special and general revelation gives us wisdom to be able to understand the world that God has made!
Rightly Understanding His Revelation Gives Wisdom
Seeing the reality that the Bible is the very foundation for correctly understanding the world informs my thinking on every realm of life. No longer is scientific exploration merely an experiment for human ends alone, it is a way of glorifying God by knowing more about the world He has made being as I am taught by the Scripture. I am not looking at the sunrise to appreciate the beauty of the world only, I am looking at the sunrise as a reflection of the handiwork of the One who made it in His creative genius. As I come to know my fellow man, the Bible gives the complete picture from which I can understand even the most intricate complexities of the soul. Even further, I come to realize that if I were to study all of these points for all of my life I could never exhaust their knowledge for God is infinite and my mind is small and finite.
The Christian must delight in the revelation of God and submit to it. My goal is to seek to know Him through His revelation. This means I am not free to stand on my own opinions, ideas, or whims in any realm of life. No, I must see the truth of God and humbly bow myself before Him. Yet, it is precisely here where joy is to be found. Psalm 119 is replete with refrains testifying to the delight of God’s Word as is the rest of the Bible. In a world searching for answers, dear Christian, we have them in the Word of God:
“Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise; then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me, for I trust in your word.” -Psalm 119:41-42
Our answer is found in Christ showing us the truth through His Word. There is a confidence in this reality. The world around us does not need our ideas or opinions. I do not march into the culture trumpeting just another set of viewpoints. No, brothers and sisters, we point to what God has said as true and we can know that He has all of the answers. He is the glorious Lord who reveals truth to His people. This reality is such a gift of grace. God has condescended to reveal Himself to us as human beings. Let us live in light of this truth and rejoice in His revelation as we seek to apply it for His glory!