Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Knowability of the Word of God

We know something when we make what it is enough of who we are, by giving enough of who we are to it, that we may bear responsible witness to it. This is how the Church may know the Word of God. But we do not know God’s Word in this way by nature. We know it only by God’s grace. We know it only when, with his Word, God grants us sinners the ability to hear his Word in spite of ourselves.

When God enables us to hear his Word, that Word alters our whole existence. We become people whose lives are shaped primarily by God’s Word rather than continuing to live as people determined primarily by sin. This experience of God’s Word calls forth our acknowledgment of it. We may understand this acknowledgment of the Word of God more clearly in terms of these nine characteristics:

1. Because God’s Word is spiritual, communicated as the Word of Truth from reason to reason, acknowledgment means our knowledge of God’s Word.

2. Because God’s Word is personal, acknowledgment means our recognition that who we are is now determined by the person of God.

3. Because God’s Word is the Word of our Lord, Creator, Reconciler, and Redeemer addressed to us for a purpose, acknowledgment means our approval, acceptance, and obedience of it.

4. Because God’s Word makes us contemporaries of Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ himself confronts us in proclamation based on Scripture, acknowledgment means our affirmation of God’s presence in our lives here and now.

5. Because God’s Word is the power of God’s truth to rule, acknowledgment means having our whole being bent increasingly into line with it.

6. Because God’s Word entails decision in its coming at all, in its coming for good or ill, and its choice for us of faith or unbelief, acknowledgment is our decision for obedience or disobedience.

7. Because God’s Word always comes to us twice-veiled in creatureliness as well as sinfulness, acknowledgment means acceptance of this indirectness, this ambiguity and concealment, this mystery of God’s Word.

8. Because God’s Word always comes to us as veiled form and unveiled content or unveiled form and veiled content but never both at once, acknowledgment means our movement through life from the joy of one to the agony of the other and back again.

9. Because God’s Word reaches its goal in us only in the miracle of the Holy Spirit, acknowledgment means actively recognizing that we have been given Jesus Christ as the source, center, and goal of our self-determination.

Copyright © 2019 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.