Phil Cox

Miscellaneous


(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)

Home page
Recent Columns
Previous Series
Phil's background
Preaching engagements
Creation and science
Miscellaneous
Contact Phil

Links
Stubbington Baptist Church
Acorn Christian Healing Foundation
Evangelical Alliance Basis of Faith

God chooses to whom He reveals Himself

27th April 2013

Matthew 11v25-26
At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Having pronounced woe on the Galilean cites that rejected the Good News of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus praises His heavenly Father because He’s hidden the Gospel from those people he calls “the wise and the learned”. He may have been thinking of:

Isaiah 5:21
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.

There’s nothing wrong with being intelligent, and there’s nothing wrong with using your intelligence to think things through. Our intelligence is God-given. But generally speaking, if a person has a higher opinion of his own judgment and wisdom that he does of the Bible, he will find it hard to hear and believe the Good news.

I think of some of the more prominent atheists of our generation, people like Richard Dawkins, who seems to me to be so sure he’s right, that he considers the existence of Bible-believing Christians to be an insult to his intelligence. The error these people make is they imagine that (1) science is a higher truth than revelation, and consequently (2) it must be foolish to believe anything that can’t be demonstrated scientifically.

In some academic circles (even in some Bible colleges) the idea that the Bible is the infallible word of God is treated as ridiculously naive. A third error is the idea that (3) humans have the wisdom to analyse the Bible in terms of its literary style and content, and our archeological and historical research, and prove the Bible to be untrue.

At root, all this is self-worship – the subtlest form of idolatry. Setting our own studies above God’s revelation is putting ourselves, and our understanding, above God. Why do we think we could understand anything better than God? The Lord says:

Isaiah 9:9-11
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

God is far above our understanding. And He's sent us His word, to speak to all who will receive it. But some people are so arrogant that they think they’ve disproved God’s word and His very existence. So how can they believe and be saved? What Paul wrote 2000 years ago is as true and relevant today as it was then:

1 Corinthians 1:19-21, 25
For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. ... For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

We humans cannot come to know God through our own wisdom. Who do we think we are? But we can receive His revelation of Himself, by reading and believing the Bible – especially when it is preached. But this requires us to go to church. It requires the Dawkinses of this world to sit quietly and listen to a man who is probably less educated – and certainly less arrogant – than they are.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

Let us pray for the gift of humility – for them and for ourselves.

Jesus rejoices that the Father has revealed the truth to little children. By this He doesn’t just mean 1-to-5 year olds – he means those with a child-like ability to trust what they can’t prove. He said:

Mark 10:15
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

We may sometimes wonder why ordinary people like us have come to understand such wonderful truths as are revealed in scripture by the Holy Spirit. We may even be tempted to call our faith into question, since so many educated and clever people have not seen these truths themselves. But we understand spiritual truth not because of our intellect but because God has chosen to reveal spiritual truth to us.

God alone decides to whom he will reveal his glorious truth, and from whom he will hide it. Why did God choose you and me? Jesus says here that it was his good pleasure to do so. He chose us because he chose to choose us.

Ephesians 1:3-6
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Why choose me? Why choose you? Perhaps we’ll find out why when we get to heaven and see him face to face. Perhaps we won’t. But let’s rejoice and give thanks that he did choose us!