Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Pre-Prolegomena: Our Submission to God's Authority

Our Submission to God's Authority

Having shown that we are to submit to the lordship of Christ, how can we do so in practice? After all, Christ is not present on this earth, and the next time He will come again is in the Second Judgment (Mt. 26:29, Mk. 14:25, Acts 1:11, Rev. 19:11). Whoever claims direct visitation by Jesus Christ today is a liar. The Apostle John was the last to have something like a visitation (Rev. 1:12-17), but this was for the purpose of New Testament revelation which is now complete.

How then can we submit to the lordship of Christ, since Christ is not here? God in his grace has given us a way to do so, through the Holy Scriptures. The Apostle John in his inspired writing tells us that the Word of revelation is shown in the person of Jesus Christ, who came down and was born into the world for us (Jn. 1:1-14). The Word of God's revelation therefore lies in Jesus Christ, and to know Jesus Christ is to know God's Word (Heb. 1:1-2).

Jesus Christ ↔ Word of God = Scripture

Conversely, to truly know God's Word is to know Jesus Christ. Therefore, to submit to Christ means to submit to what is taught in the Scriptures.

In order to further prove the point, 2 Tim. 3:16 shows us that all of the Scriptures are indeed meant to help us to live the Christian life. The Scriptures are said to be breathed out by God, which means that the Holy Spirit is the one who inspires them. The eternal truths of God shown in the person of Jesus Christ are now taken by the Holy Spirit, who uses human language to express these truths.

Therefore for us today, to submit to the lordship of Christ is to submit to all the truths taught in Holy Scripture.

But what about the Holy Spirit, it is asked? Well, 2 Peter 1:19-21 answers the question by telling us that the Scriptures are not of anyone's interpretation, but of the Holy Spirit who supervises its writing. As we have seen in 2 Tim. 3:16, the Scriptures are the breathed out product of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the person who authors the Scripture and interprets it to us.

The Holy Spirit being the author of all of Scripture means that we have an objective revelation of Jesus Christ. By following it, we come to know God and are then able to submit to Christ's lordship. Submission to all of Scripture therefore is what Christians should do.

The Holy Spirit as the interpreter of Scripture means that our subjective understanding of the meaning of Scripture is given by the Holy Spirit. It is not that the Scriptures cannot be understood by itself, but that we as sinful human beings are unable to accept what they teach. Thus, we naturally distort the meaning of Scripture, even without realizing we have done so (1 Cor. 1:18-25, 2:14) The Holy Spirit comes to us and gives us light to understand the true meaning of Scripture.

The Holy Spirit does not speak apart from the Scriptures which He breathes out. Our submission to God's authority therefore is indeed a submission to all of Scripture in all that it teaches, and this is what all Christians are called to do.

No comments: