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Take Delight in Glory Revealed

Something Fishy:

If you were to ask me why I love my wife and I responded, “I love her because she’s so mysterious! There’s so much that I don’t know about her.” Wouldn’t that sound strange? If you were to ask me why I love my child and I said, “I don’t know. And I love that I don’t know!” Wouldn’t that be odd? Here’s my point: There’s something fishy about a person who delights in what he doesn’t know than what he does know. If this is true in my relationship with my wife and child (and with others), how much truer is it in my relationship with God?


Consider the following sentences: “God, I love you because I don’t know you. You’re so mysterious and beyond anything that I can ever know.” At first glance this may appear humble, and perhaps noble. But the longer you look, the weirder it gets. In fact, I’d argue that it’s completely unfitting for Christians to embrace sentences like this.


And We Have Seen His Glory:


It’s unfitting because God has revealed himself to us, specifically in two ways: general and special revelation. His general revelation includes nature and human conscience (Psalm 19:1–6; Romans 1:19–20; 2:14–15), and his special revelation includes Scripture (Psalm 19:7–11; 2 Timothy 3:16). General revelation tells us that there is a God. Special revelation tells us who that God is. Both nature and Scripture speak with one voice.[1] They both work together to give us true knowledge of God. In fact, this one voice culminates to one Word—Jesus Christ.


“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus is the Word. John provided this record of Jesus for one reason—that his readers may “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31). Jesus said, “I and the Father are one . . . No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 10:30; 14:6). Jesus came and taught his disciples these things: “that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).


Do you see the connections? Fullness of joy comes from faith in Christ, and faith in Christ implies knowledge of Christ. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). God has revealed himself in his Son through the special revelation of his word. Without the word, there can be no knowledge. Without knowledge, there can be no love of that knowledge. Here’s my point: You cannot love what you don’t know. You cannot love God without knowing God. And Jesus, the “glory as of the only Son from the Father,” is the fullest revelation of God. We can know glory through Scripture!


The Sin of Unbelief:


This is why it’s fishy when a person gets more excited about his doubts and ignorance about God than what he does know about God. Yet, some people wear it as a badge of honor. Celebrating what you struggle to believe about God is not a virtue. When you become proud of your doubts and refuse to take God at his word, it becomes the sin of unbelief. It’s fishy when a person’s heart is moved by gaps, holes, emptiness, and not glory revealed because that’s not the way the Bible is. It’s fitting for Christians to say, “We love God because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). It’s unfitting to say, “We love God because we don’t know.” It makes sense to say, “I want to know God more because I love him.” It’s nonsensical to say, “I can’t and don’t know God because I love him.”


The Secret Things Belong to The Lord:


The heart of the matter is this: Does God know how to speak to us? Is he able to communicate truth to us through words in a way that is meaningful and understandable? Indeed, Deuteronomy 29:29 does tell us that “the secret things belong to the Lord our God.” God is eternal (Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17), infinitely wise (Romans 11:33–35), and infinite in his being and perfection (Job 11:7–9; 26:14). None of us ever infinitely understands God. There are things we cannot comprehend about God that we must acknowledge; for example, why does God choose some and not others? Or how are we accountable for our choices yet governed by God? These are the secret things that belong to him.


However, within that same breath in Deuteronomy, it tells us, “But the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Even though we can’t understand everything to the fullest degree, we can know some things truly because the things revealed belong to us. God does the revealing. So, is God able to communicate truth to us? Both nature and Scripture, with one voice, declares, “Yes!” We can know and take delight in the God who speaks—not with a fishy humility but with a humble confidence.

 

***footnote***

[1] Joe Rigney helpfully distinguishes nature and Scripture, how both are necessary, and applies that to discipleship. See Joe Rigney, “With One Voice: Scripture and Nature for Ethics and Discipleship,” Eikon: A Journal for Biblical Anthropology 1.1 (2019): 26–37.

 

Tuezong Xiong (BS, University of Northwestern–St. Paul) received his bachelors degree in Pastoral Ministry and Bible at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul. He is currently studying at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, MN for his Masters of Divinity. He is the husband of Pa Kou. He also blogs at www.tuezongxiong.wordpress.com.

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