Jesus Christ is the revealed Word of God. Holy Scripture is the written Word of God: the written human words witnessing to God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the form of the Bible, the Word of God manifests and maintains his absolute authority and freedom in relation to all other powers. In that form he also creates and sustains the relative authority and freedom of the Church by becoming the object of Church proclamation. Jesus Christ, then, is the one living Word of God in three forms: revealed, written, and proclaimed. When Church proclamation remains subordinate to the biblical witness, just as the prophets and apostles remain subordinate to Jesus Christ, preaching becomes by God’s grace a living Word spoken by God himself.
Church proclamation is God’s Word. This identification may be true despite all appearances to the contrary. Its truth, however, is established not by us but by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was proclaimed the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). The Church received this revelation and his commission to proclaim it. As the head of the Church, Jesus Christ continues to bear witness to himself through it. It is his absolute authority and freedom that establishes the relative authority and freedom we need to speak truly of God in spite of ourselves.
There is nothing automatic about God taking our preaching about him and making it his proclamation to us. All the ignorance, error, and foolishness of our preaching should be sufficient to persuade us of that. Only grace can finally persuade us that the identity is true. Only God can and does put our bad words to good use for our salvation and his glory. Only God can and does expose and overcome our opposition to hearing his Word of judgment so that we might hear his Word of grace and live as forgiven sinners.
Copyright © 2019 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.