Evangelists and Apologists note: The six things that have already happened

  1. Through Christ, the Triune God has already revealed Himself unmistakably in every aspect of creation so that humanity is without excuse.
  2. Against Christ, humanity has taken knowledge into its own hands and so barred the door against all claims from above.
  3. In view of Christ, God has handed humanity over to its chosen futility, locking the door from His side too.
  4. In Christ, God has entered this prison and manifested His eternal glory in time and space, even in human flesh.
  5. As Christ, humanity now has a perfect mind with which to comprehend God (and everything else) – one that is not only human but also in God.
  6. Out of Christ, His Spirit has been poured to incorporate us into the Man who knows.

This is what has already happened.

Here’s what happens when we forget 1:

We think:

  • That the universe is basically mute (when actually it’s preaching day and night)
  • That humanity is not really deaf – they’re listening hard but the sermon’s too quiet
  • That we, therefore, have to piece together proofs to amplify the sermon
  • That ‘evidence’ for God exists only in some limited aspects of the creation (e.g. fine-tuning)
  • That there are certain obvious pointers to “God” but ‘Jesus’ and ‘Trinity’ are actually pretty obscure
  • Therefore, that evangelism is a three-part process from creation to God to Jesus. (It’s the very opposite!)

Here’s what happens when we forget 2:

We think:

  • That humanity (or at least some humans) are actually truth seekers
  • That the mind is somehow less fallen than the rest of the person (rather than the centre of our enmity)
  • That fallen humanity is genuinely questing after the capital-T Truth when it makes its enquiries
  • That the way forward is to agree to their own systems of truth verification
  • Therefore that we need to find ‘evidence’ to submit to their systems

Here’s what happens when we forget 3:

We think:

  • Perhaps if our faulty grasping after knowledge was the problem, our true grasping after knowledge will be the solution. (Instead we should realize that the grasping was the problem!)
  • If we now reason properly we can reverse the fall. (But no, God has confirmed our decision and locked the door from His side).
  • Maybe God is pleased by our efforts to ascend to knowledge (rather than thwarting them – catching the ‘wise’ in their craftiness)
  • Maybe God will aid our efforts to shepherd an unbeliever up the mountain. (In His grace, He might aid the unbeliever but not our efforts)

Here’s what happens when we forget 4:

We think:

  • Christ is the cherry on the epistemological cake.
  • We can (or even should) should reason from creation to Christ (rather than Christ to creation).
  • Christ is one relevation among many (rather than the one Lens through which all must be seen)

Here’s what happens when we forget 5:

We think:

  • There remains within Adamic humanity a capacity for knowing God (rather than realizing that this capacity lies in Christ alone).
  • That the quality of our conversion, or ongoing knowledge of God, finally depends on our own reasoned response to God.  (At base it relies on Christ’s reasoned response to God).
  • Christians are rational individuals raised to a higher intellectual plain (rather than fools united to a Person who is Wisdom).
  • Once we have come to Christ we can know God autonomously.  (No, only in Him by the Spirit can we go on knowing God)

Here’s what happens when we forget 6:

We think:

  • Maybe we need Jesus to bring us to God, but it’s up to us to get to Jesus.  (No, it’s the sovereign work of the Spirit through the gospel word).
  • Maybe there are ways and means to get to Jesus apart from the Spirit-empowered word.  (No.  While the whole universe screams ‘Jesus is Lord’, the Spirit unblinds our eyes to these things only as He shows us Christ in the word).

…………………………………..

So then, these six events have already happened.  Acting like they haven’t happened or they need bolstering by our own efforts betrays the gospel that we proclaim.

The only thing that needs to happen now and the only thing that can happen now to remedy our situation is for the Spirit to sweep the unbeliever up into the Son’s knowledge of the Father.

And, lest we divorce the Spirit from the word, the only means by which the Spirit does that is the gospel word.

So get proclaiming.

.

Posted on by Glen in apologetics, evangelism, gospel, Holy Spirit, mediation of Christ, preaching, revelation, salvation, theological method, trinity

About Glen

I'm a preacher in Eastbourne, married to Emma.

0 Responses to Evangelists and Apologists note: The six things that have already happened

  1. The Simple Guy

    That just goes to show you can’t be too careful.

    About your assumptions, about your conclusions,
    and about what you suggest in previous blogs.

    :-)

    Craig

  2. The Simple Guy

    All joking aside however,
    Doesn’t 2 Cor 5 imply that God has unlocked the door for a time, But 2 Cor 6 says that time is now, and will not last forever?

    God has reconciled (past tense) man to Himself in Christ, but now man must be reconciled (present tense) to God.

    I have been struggling with this for some time now, and my understanding at this point is that God has removed all barriers to all men – now men must be reconciled to God. On the judgment day, all who did not accept the offer will miss their chance.

    My thought is that Christ paid for all of the sins of all mankind. But there is one sin that cannot be forgiven. That sin is rejecting Christ. If Christ is rejected, there is no other offer.

    Does that make sense, or am I missing your point?

    Craig

  3. Jon Sidnell

    @The Simple Guy, I’ve basically come to the same conclusion recently, bolstered by a few other scriptures. God has forgiven every sin that can be forgiven, leaving only the pride of unbelief that cannot be atoned for.

    However, I think I’d say that although God’s side is clear, there still remains a blindness that the Spirit has to remove for this to be of any benefit to people – so man isn’t free to choose God, even though God is free and clear to accept anyone.

    I’m also not a Calvinist, so I don’t really believe in irresistible grace :)

    Got a load more to say on this, but I’ll leave it for now and may say more later!

  4. Marc Lloyd

    Thank you, Glen. V interesting and helpful.

    And the fact that man is not genuinely grasping after Truth is even more interesting when one remembers that Christ is the Truth. Perhaps you were implying that?

    Do you not think that Creation properly understood implies Christ the Creator?

  5. Glen

    Hi Jon and Craig:

    “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” – for they had said [of Jesus], “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30)

    “And when the Spirit comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” (John 16:8-9)

    Hi Marc,

    Indeed. And creation doesn’t just *imply* Christ but ‘proclaims’ Him – see again axiom number 1.

    Just goes to show – in reading articles, you can’t be too careful!

  6. Marc Lloyd

    So how does that fit with the denail of 4b?

    Goes to show… etc.

  7. Glen

    Ah yes, fair enough. I guess it’s a case of the One Lens through which reality can be truly appreciated entering into His universe. He (and therefore the world) was known prior to this incarnation by anticipation (by faith). In this regard this is parallel to the truth that people were *saved* prior to Christ effecting the salvific work. They knew creation (and they knew forgiveness) on the basis of what was to happen through Christ’s incarnate work.

    So the creation proclaims not simply the Logos, but the Logos-to-be-incarnate. And part of why He can be the Lens for our view of creation is the very fact that He enters into it in our humanity (which is point 5 above).

    To paraphrase Hebrews, both the One who illuminates and the those who are illuminated are all of one. (Heb 2:11) Which is another way of saying that not only salvation but also revelation requires Christ’s High Priestliness.

    He was always the High Priest of all knowledge. In the incarnation He not only manifested Himself but manifested how He could be this High Priest.

  8. Marc Lloyd

    Good oh. Goes to show…. (Are you getting bored of “Goes to show…” too?)

  9. Otepoti

    it just goes to show that you can’t be too careful, introducing a meme to a blog…

    :-)

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