WCF 1.1 — Pastoral Comments

Posted on Nov 25, 2017 by admin
Chapter I
Of the Holy Scripture

1.1 Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable;1 yet they are not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation.2 Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal Himself, and to declare that His will [i.e. the afore mentioned will] unto His Church;3 and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing:4 which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary;5 those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people being now ceased.6

1 Rom 2:14–15; 1:19–20; Ps 19:1–3; Rom 1:32; 2:1; 2 1 Cor 1:21; 2:13–14;  3 Heb 1:1;  4 Prov 22:19–21; Lk 1:3–4; Rom 15:4; Matt 4:4, 7, 10; Isa 8:19–20;  5 2 Tim 3:15; 2 Pet 1:19;  6 Heb 1:1–2.

God our Creator is not only invisible; He is not part of Creation. Therefore, in order for us, creatures of dust, to know Him or even to know about Him, He must reveal Himself to us. He has chosen to reveal Himself to us in two ways, which we may call general revelation and special revelation.

Under general revelation, God reveals to us about Himself in the things He has created and in the way that He brings things to pass. When we look at the things that God has made whether they be trees, animals, the clouds, the stars and even our own bodies, we cannot help but acknowledge in our heart of hearts that there is a Creator who is powerful, wise and good. When we observe providence or how things happen, whether in nature or in our own lives, we are also made to consider that someone great and powerful is directing all things. So the apostle Paul says that those who refuse to acknowledge God are “without excuse” (Rom 1:20).

Nevertheless, sin blinds our eyes and dulls our hearts so that we are easily misled from the truth. And moreover creation and providence cannot convey truths about our need for salvation and the way of salvation. Therefore, special revelation is needed. Thus God appointed prophets to preach to the people, and He also revealed himself supernaturally by various means such as visions and dreams. Then in order that such revelation might be preserved accurately for future generations, God committed all that He wants to convey to His people in writing. Once the Bible was completed, God ceased to reveal himself by those former means.

Today we have two books from which we can learn about God. The first book is the book of creation and providence. We should learn to appreciate this book more. But even more important than that is the second book, which is the Bible. It is only through this book that we can learn God’s will for us. Let us, therefore, read this book daily and listen carefully when it is preached. It is in this way that we will hear our Saviour speaking to us.

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