The Air I Breathe

After a long winter of closed windows and recycled air blowing through the vents, a breath of fresh air is … well … a breath of fresh air! I feel this way when I read John Frame’s Doctrine of the Word of God. I feel that I am doing more than studying one very important doctrine. More than anything, I feel that I am breathing the air of faith, and it carries life into every cell of my body. Implicit faith is inspiring — I feel alive. Frame trusts implicitly in God’s ability to communicate. He trusts the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of God’s word to us. He trusts God to preserve his word in tact to each new generation of believers. He trusts the truth of God’s word against any opposition because it is just that — God’s word. And nothing else can be trusted more than God’s word. Here are just a few snippets of what I’m talking about:

“When God speaks, our role is to believe, obey, delight, repent, mourn — whatever he wants us to do. Our response should be without reservation, from the heart.” (p. 4)

“So our response to God’s personal words is nothing less than our response to Christ himself.” (p. 43)

“The power of the word brings wonderful blessings to those who hear in faith… It is so important that they hear in faith, lest the Word actually harden their  hearts and become a fire of judgment to them. God’s Word never leaves us the same.” (p. 52)

“When God shares his love with us, we have the obligation to treasure it. When he questions us, we should answer. When he expresses his grace, we are obligated to trust it. When he tells us his desires, we should conform our lives to them. When he shares with us his knowledge and intentions, we ought to believe that they are true.” (p. 56)

“Everyone who hears the authentic word of God knows that God has spoken to him.” (p. 85)

“The elect will not ultimately be deceived. How can that be? Evidently because assurance is supernatural. We know that the false revelation is false, just as we know that the true revelation is true — by God’s sovereign self-testimony.” (p. 86)

about the certainty of the Canon of Scripture: “we must approach our present problem with a presupposition: that God will not let his people walk in darkness, that he will provide for us the words we need to have, within our reach.” (p. 136)

“We are to be satisfied with what God has given us, and not long for more. In every age, God has given his people all the written words we need to live faithfully before him.” (p. 138)

I could go on and on, but I recommend that you read the book yourself. Breathe the air of faith as Frame exudes confidence in God’s word and God’s ability to communicate clearly with us. To all the nay-sayers and curmudgeons, he bids a hearty farewell like Jesus did in Mark 5. When Jesus raised the little girl from the dead, he first sent away the people that were ridiculing him and did not believe that he had power to heal. The unbelieving have no place along side of the faithful. It’s time to banish the noxious effect of unbelief and breathe the pure air of faith. Aaahhhh….

Not knowing where he was going…

GPS has changed the way we navigate. The destination is all we think we need to know. The GPS will do the rest. But our God is not a heavenly GPS that simply leads us to the destination. Each twist and turn of the journey is significant, and what we travel through is just as significant as where we end up. In Hebrews 11, the famous faith chapter, we hear that Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was going.” This is the essence of faith — acting when we don’t know the result of those actions. I’ve been listening to a series of lectures on the Reformation in general and Luther in particular by Dr. Carl Trueman here. I highly recommend it — fascinating. A smaller point stuck out to me as I listened today. In talking about Luther’s theology at an early point in his recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith, Dr. Trueman points out that, of course, Luther did not grasp at that point in time just where this theological journey would take him. Luther was setting out like Abraham, not knowing where he was going, but knowing that God was leading him inexorably.

It’s like that sometimes. We’re not all Abrahams or Luthers, who are the father of a nation or start a Reformation with ramifications that extend to future generations, but we all find ourselves nudged in certain directions. It’s how we respond to those nudges that is the test of our faith. Do we follow even when we don’t know the destination? Or do we try to conjecture where this will lead and what results it will yield — and then decide if we’ll follow through? God is looking for those who can take one bit at a time and act on it in faith. This may seem like God favors those with a high risk-tolerance — of which I am definitely not one — but think about that. What is riskier than NOT following God when He points us in a direction? Those who walked by faith before us were seeking a goal, but a goal they could not begin to comprehend — and so are we.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)