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Redemptive Revelation

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Special revelation, as opposed to general revelation.

1. Whereas general revelation comes to all via nature, and does not save, special revelation comes to some and is saving.

There are two inseparable instruments of special revelation:

The gospel, which must be preached to all.
The Holy Spirit, who applies the gospel to believers.

We are required to give the gospel to all (Mark 16:15).

Mark 16:15 NKJV
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

God commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).

Acts 17:30 NKJV
30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

Only the Holy Spirit grants repentance and faith (Romans 2:4; Ephesians 2:8–9).

Romans 2:4 NKJV
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

The mere preaching of the gospel, the instrument of special revelation, does not in itself save (Acts 18:6).

Acts 18:6 NKJV
6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

‘Many are invited, but few are chosen’ (Matthew 22:14).

Matthew 22:14 NKJV
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The many are those who hear the gospel outwardly, the few are those who receive God’s special revelation.

The content of God’s special revelation:

1. The gospel.
The person of Jesus—the God-man.
The work of Christ—his obedience, death and resurrection.
2. The nature of God.
His glory.
His will.
3. The sinfulness of man.
Our inability.
Our depravity (sinfulness).
4. Judgement to come.
The Second Coming of Christ.
The final judgement.

In Acts 17 Paul began with general revelation and ended with special revelation.

God ‘made the world and everything in it … so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him’ (Acts 17:24–27).

Acts 17:24–27 NKJV
24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

‘Now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed’ (Acts 17:30–31).

Acts 17:30–31 NKJV
30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

Supernatural revelation, as opposed to natural revelation.

Supernatural: above nature.

1. The Bible, God’s revealed will.
The Old Testament, consisting of 39 books.
The New Testament, consisting or 27 books.
2. The Holy Spirit, by which we know the Bible is God’s Word.

There are two ways by which men may come to accept the Bible as true:

1. External witness, such as archaeological discoveries, personal testimonies, etc..
2. Internal witness, by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit works effectually in believers by:

(1) Convicting of sin.
(2) Revealing the gospel.
(3) Creating faith and repentance.
(4) Convincing of the truth of the Bible.
(5) Showing God’s will in how to live.
3. The glory of Jesus Christ.
That he is God and man.
That he is Creator.
That he is the only Redeemer.
That he is the unique Son of God.
That he is the only way to God.
That his death is saving for believers only.
That he rose from the dead, ascended to God’s right hand and reigns and intercedes for believers.
That he is coming again to judge the world.

The crucial difference between natural revelation (to all) and supernatural revelation (to believers) is the way the Holy Spirit works.

At the natural level the Holy Spirit blesses the unregenerate outwardly.
‘He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’ (Matthew 5:45b).
All good things in life come from God.
1. This is called ‘common grace’, God’s goodness to all men.
2. Our intelligence, our health, our jobs, even government are by God’s grace at the natural level.
2. At the supernatural level the Holy Spirit works internally.
It is the internal work of the Holy Spirit by which we know the Bible is God’s Word.
It produces a faith so definite that:
1. ‘You would stake your life on it a thousand times’ (Luther).
2. ‘You know you are not deceived’ (Calvin).

CONCLUSION

There is only one God—one Creator. He has revealed himself supremely in his one and only Son. All other religions have in common salvation by human effort and that salvation is initiated by human will. The Christian faith alone provides a Substitute—Jesus Christ—who saves by free grace. His resurrection from the dead proves he is the Son of God.
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