We live in a world where nurture and changing culture shape and sometimes dictate to us, our understanding of ourselves and our responsibilities. This frame is often sufficient to those who reject the existence of a sovereign God and the teachings and Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In this world, Christians must, therefore, keep guard to ensure that the Scripture (the perfect unchangeable revelation of God) remains the only ultimate compass for their lives. Sometimes Christians are misled in subtle and yet very profound ways to read and understand the Scripture through the window of limited human understanding and experience. There is a sense in which our knowledge of God is so limited, but still there is adequate information we can learn about God. The consequence of not striving to achieve adequacy in the knowledge of God through the body of revelation given to us has and will have significant consequences on our understanding of human beings and God, the Supreme being. Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus whom you have sent” (John 17:3). We understand from Scripture that there are benefits of redemption in this life leading to eternal life in the life hereafter. One of the immediate benefits of salvation is freedom from the bondage of sin. Yet, we know from several passages of Scripture that the people of God were in bondage because of the lack of knowledge (Isa. 5:13; Hos. 4:6). The challenges that require sound knowledge of God are not getting easier/fewer in our day and age. Therefore, we cannot underestimate or overstate the need for adequate knowledge of God as revealed to us and how we fit into His grand scheme of things. A Christian is bound to not experience the fullness of the immediate benefits of redemption if they are in want of the knowledge of God; they would, among other things, not be
- effective, in their companionship with the Holy Spirit, to experience the true extent of freedom from the power of sin;
- able to do good ministry, be effective light to their world and, hence, will fail to be good ambassadors for Christ;
- able to have well-placed expectations, which is seriously frustrating;
- able to adequately honor God with their lives.
God has revealed a lot about himself to us through the Scripture and in Nature so that we can know that He exists and is involved with us and have faith in Him for those things that we do not understand. We know from Scripture that God is sovereign over creation, we can never fully understand Him (Ps. 139:6; Ps. 145:3; Ps. 147:5; Rom. 11:33) yet we can truly know Him (Heb. 8:11; 1 John 2:13). We are fallen (Rom. 3:23) and, therefore, in spite of our ability to freely chose, we always chose against a loving God and are unable to come to Him without His sovereign invitation and grace (John 6:44; Phil. 2:13). There is a sense in which God is sovereign and there is human volition. God is supreme and unchangeable but we are not. God is always loving, just, and good but we are not. Its is therefore one of our greatest delights and satisfaction in God that he is sovereign and immutable because in that way we can trust and believe in Him, in His good purposes and eternal promises. We can believe that He will always do good. We can face all kinds of challenges with great peace, joy, and comfort trusting a just and an immutable God who will always will all things for our good. We can withstand societal dictates that are against our beliefs and ideals with great confidence because our God is sovereign and immutable. We will not despair because our God is just and sovereign.
Shall we, therefore, be boastful? Never. We have earned nothing, but have been freely given. Shall we, therefore, always strive for humility in reverence of our God and seeking His will and observing all that He has instructed? Absolutely.
The issues raised here are as serious as controversial. Come join us on Sunday May 6, 2018 at IBCZ as we reflect on these issues drawing from the wealth of God’s revelation to us.
Tohnyui Ndinyanka Fabrice