Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Do We Know the Things We Know

A friend and brother of mine, Jonathan Parnell, recently wrote a great post called "Discovery for the Glory of Christ" over at his place. He asked, "Why do we know the things we know?" Not how, but why. Why is it given to us to know anything about anything, especially things about God? Read his post below:

Why do we know certain things that we know? The knowledge of things is not an end of itself. We know that we might do–there is an effect, a result, an action in accordance with discovery.

More specifically, God shows us things about ourselves never for sake of our just knowing about them. Understanding more of the depths of our hearts, our sinful propensities, the roots of our struggles, is never so that we can acknowledge it’s there and move on to something else. We see them in order to bring the implications of the gospel to bear on them. Actually, I think it is in those discoveries of ourselves that the gospel shines the brightest. It is in those times, in the face of those inner realities, that the gospel declares the definitive word and is embraced afresh as really good news.

The gospel does not allow any ’sweeping under the rug.’ The gospel does not avoid, it overcomes. It takes these inner discoveries, these circumstances, and it proclaims through them the sufficiency and glory of Jesus’ death and resurrection for us and our salvation.

The point Jonathan makes is a point that as Christians we can never hear enough of. Edwards talked about true religion consisting very much in the affections. We are to be affected. Lloyd-Jones in his wonderful book Preaching and Preachers repeatedly makes the point that as a preacher you are there to do something to the people. Something is to happen to them. We are to behold the glory of the Lord, and then be transformed into that same image (2Cor 3:18).

When I led a study through Edwards’ The End for Which God Created the World last summer, I said at the outset of the study to the group that it would be entirely profitless, and even blasphemous, if we talked about these glorious, wondrous, deep things of God for 10 weeks, and all we did was say, “Hunh… wow… that’s cool. Huh! I never saw that before! Wow, what an amazing thought!”

God does not want to be reacted to so nonchalantly. When we see His glory, He wants us to be thrilled. He’s worthy of our world being turned upside-down every time we catch a glimpse of the beauty of one of His manifold perfections!

And yet, how prone we are to either “sweep it under the rug,” as Jonathan says, or try to work up the awe in our own strength because we know it’s right. May God reveal Himself to us, and then change us because of it!

A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?
- Amos 3:8 -

I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD.
- Ezekiel 38:23 -

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