Written on Our Hearts

John Frame's Systematic Theology
Chapter 28

We've been talking about the words God reveals, and it's transmission to us.  But in the end, revelation is interpersonal interaction.  God speaks a personal word to us.  Scripture can be trusted; it is like hearing a parents voice; God grants assurance that it is from Him as we read.  This certainty is a hallmark of faith.  We ought to strive for certainty in receiving and believing Gods word to us, not a tentative hope mixed with doubt.  We see this in 1 for 15:1-6; Gen 15:6; 1 John 5:13; John 17:3; Luke 1:4; Acts 1:3; Hebrews 6:13; 2 Peter 1:19-21. 

God reveals Himself to us through people, besides words and events.

  • Theophany - taking the form of men to Abraham and Jacob, etc.  The glory cloud of Genesis 1:2 and Exodus 40:34 is another example.
  • Jesus - He speaks in every way: as God, the Word, a theophany who actually was a man, creator, redeemer, and prophet.
  • Spirit - He is the one who inspires other people to speak and write Gods words.  He leads us into the truth, illuminates Scripture for us, convinces us of the truth, authority and source of the Bible, and lives within us to guide us to walk by the Spirit.
  • Why do we believe Scripture is God's revelation?  Its own witness (normative), the facts and evidences within it (situational), and the Spirit's testimony to us (existential).  The Spirit causes belief, while the first two are reasons to believe it.  Westminster's Confession 1:5 addresses this, but gives too much efficacy to evidences apart from the Spirit's work.  These evidences are all suppressed without the Spirit at work to enlighten us.
  • This doesn't deny Scripture's sufficiency.  God has given us all we need in it, but we also pray for the Spirit to illumine it.
People as revelation
The image of God remains visible in us, in spite of sin, and in believers it is more visible.  Imitation of Christ, the apostles, other leaders and believers, and OT saints is a big NT theme.

Revelation in our hearts
God sets His name (His authority and presence) on our hearts, writing His covenant revelation there (Jer. 31:31-34; Isa. 51:7; 2 Cor. 3:2-3).  The Bible speaks of revelation received, which is neither general nor special revelation, but existential (Isa 53:1; Matt 11:27; Eph 1:17).

This messes with our categories of general and special revelation, which is okay since they are extra-Biblical concepts.  The Bible speaks of our reception of His revelation as itself a revelation.

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