Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Word of God in Its Threefold Form

1. Preaching
As Christians, we may say much about God, but all these words are not the Word of God. For our words to become God’s Word, God must first actively command us to speak them. Second, God must freely choose in love to make himself the object of our talk. Third, God must judge our talk to be true both in relation to him and in relation to ourselves. Finally, our words become God’s Word in the miraculous moment that God chooses to make them so. When this divine command, objectification, judgment, and event occur, we render true service in freedom to God and our words become the Word of God to be heard and obeyed.

2. Scripture
Church proclamation is made with hope; that is, with the lively expectation that it will not remain simply a human word but will become God’s Word. This hope is based on the recollection that the Word of God has been spoken in the past. Holy Scripture is the witness of the prophets and apostles to God’s past revelation.

Church proclamation and Scripture are similar in that Scripture is the written record of what once was the Word of God proclaimed. They are dissimilar in that the words of the prophets and apostles are normative for church proclamation today. The words of the prophets and apostles had to be written words to remain distinct from and superior to Church tradition.

It is the written words of the Bible, and not some other book, that remain canon for the Church because they continue to impose themselves upon the Church as such. And the biblical words continue to do so because Jesus Christ our Lord continues to press them into service in this way. So the words of the Bible also become the living Word of God today when, like Church proclamation, God graciously chooses to make them so.

3. Jesus Christ
The prophets and apostles understood themselves to be people called, enabled, and commanded by God to bear witness, not to their own feelings and motivations, but to God’s revelation of himself. Their words relate to God’s revelation the same way that any report relates to the event reported. God personally confronted the prophets and apostles, told them to proclaim what he had to say, spoke his Word to them, ensured their reporting would be true, then actually inspired them to speak and write his revealed truth in their own words.

God’s revelation is the Word of God spoken to us. At the right time, Jesus Christ came and as the Word of God spoke for himself to us. Proclamation and Scripture become the Word of God when God graciously chooses to make them so. In contrast to both, God’s revelation is the Word of God in and of itself. Ultimately it is identical with Jesus Christ who as the Word of God became flesh to live among us.

4. The Unity of the Word of God Proclaimed, Written, and Revealed
There is only one Word of God but it exists in three forms. Yet, while it exists in three forms, each form is wholly the one Word of God. We properly understand the unity of the one Word of God when we understand each form in relation to the other two. Jesus Christ as the one Word of God revealed is the basis of both the Bible and Church proclamation but is only known to us through proclamation which is consistent with the Bible. The Bible as the written Word of God is only known to us as Church when proclaimed and made alive by revelation. Church proclamation must be consistent with the Bible and like the Bible is made alive only by the revelation of God.

Copyright © 2019 by Steven Farsaci.
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