Saturday, March 31, 2007

One Must Believe in Order to Understand

In spite of what you always hear…when it comes to the Word of God and God Himself…it is NOT true that "you will believe it when you see it" According to Scripture one must believe it in order to see it. Prov 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” In other words, the beginning (the first and controlling principle) of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Matthew Henry's Commentary comments on this verse: “in order to the attaining of all useful knowledge this is most necessary, that we fear God; we are not qualified to profit by the instructions that are given us unless our minds be possessed with a holy reverence of God, and every thought within us be brought into obedience to him.”

In order for one to understand he must first, not only believe in God, but fear God. The problem with the unbeliever is not lack of evidence it is one of rebellion or lack of fear. That is why I prefer Presuppositional Apologetics rather than Evidential Apologetics (More on that in future posts). Many think that the “atheist” just needs more proof that God exists. Romans chapter one makes it clear that “what can be known about God” has been made “plain to them” (Rom 1:19). You can give them more proof but they will continue to “suppress the truth” (Rom 1:18).

Whoever wants to come to a saving knowledge of God and interpret the very Words of God must FIRST believe that HE IS. Heb 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” In other words - I'll see it when I believe it. Faith is the precondition to a correct understanding of God’s Word. Augustine understood this when he wrote: “Understanding is the reward of faith; therefore, do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that thou mayest understand." (Homilies on the Gospel of John 29:6)

In Paul’s letter to Timothy he wrote: “And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim 2:15-16, 23-25) Notice, it is God who grants repentance (it is a gift of God) and repentance is required for one to “know the truth.” Before you can see it, you must first believe it!

Heb 11:1-3 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Notice the phrase "by faith we understand…” Before you can see it, you must first believe it! We see it when we believe it. That means that our understanding, as well as our belief, is completely and totally dependent on the Sovereignty of God NOT our autonomous reasoning skills.

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