Monday, September 17, 2012

Miracles As Confirmation, Not As Foundation

When therefore [Jesus] was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. — John 2:22, ESV


They are so exciting. When one happens (and I believe that they do all the time) no one knows what to say. We use the word miraculous so often, but when it is truly the miraculous, it is obvious because the only response that comes to mind is an inability to respond. Everyone's mouth is open but words aren't flowing. Verbal descriptions seem unable to describe the moment. Tears usually do a better job than words when it happens.

What are some miracles?

People being healed. People being rescued and protected. Water turning into wine. The Red Sea splitting so the Israelites can walk across it. The greatest: Jesus' resurrection. You know: all those cool stories in the Bible.

But, for one example, I also see the sunrise and sunset happening every day as miraculous. Think about it. Our earth is spinning at 1,000 mph while traveling around the sun at about 66,000 mph. Then on top of that, our solar system is traveling around the nucleus of the Milky Way Galaxy at around 540,000 mph. The fact that we aren't just chaotically spinning through the universe blows my mind. I see that as miraculous. But it's become mundane.

But the miraculous, as amazing as it is, is not the foundation to our faith. The miraculous is rather confirmation of the fact that God is still interacting with us. It is not what our faith stands on.

God's word is the foundation.

It is God's word that reveals to us the nature of God. It is God's word that explains the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. It is God's word that describes our fallen nature and God's remedy for our plight. It is God's word that explains times of God's intervention with man. It is God's word that explains how Christians should live. It is God's word that explains God's character. It is God's word that introduces us to the new life that is found in Jesus. The miraculous? Just confirmation of what God has already been telling us.

The response of the disciples to the resurrection of Christ was not another emotional experience, followed by another experience and one more to come later. Rather, the response to Christ's word was a belief in the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. They believed what was said because of the miraculous that they experienced. The word of God became the foundation that the miraculous built on. It was never meant to be the other way around.

So what's our response? Spend time with Jesus in his word. Come to a conviction that his word is true. Look for the miraculous every day to point you to a confirmation of the validity of the word of God. Read the Bible. Study it. Enjoy it. Wrestle with it. Argue with it. Agree and disagree, but always submit to it. Why? Because it is the very word of God. I'm convinced that even the act of reading the Bible can be miraculous when you actually hear God speaking to you through it. His presence, as we read his word, is confirmation of the truth of his word, not the foundation for out faith.

So, be excited when you notice and experience the miraculous. Be excited that the miraculous is about to happen, but stand on the foundation of Scripture. It is that foundation that holds you up during the times when you can't see the miraculous happening.

The miraculous confirms the Bible. It has always been that way. And that will never change.

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me of a quote by an Anglican minister in the 19th century named Henry Cole.

    "Many reverend geologists, however, would evince their reverence for the divine Revelation by making a distinction between its historical and its moral portions; and maintaining, that the latter only is inspired and absolute Truth; but that the former is not so; and therefore is open to any latitude of philosophic and scientific interpretation, modification or denial! According to these impious and infidel modifiers and separators, there is not one third of the Word of God that is inspired; for not more, nor perhaps so much, of that Word, is occupied in abstract moral revelation, instruction, and precept. The other two thirds, therefore, are open to any scientific modification and interpretation; or, (if scientifically required), to a total denial! It may however be safely asserted, that whoever professedly, before men, disbelieves the inspiration of any part of Revelation, disbelieves, in the sight of God, its inspiration altogether. . . . What the consequences of such things must be to a revelation-possessing land, time will rapidly and awfully unfold in its opening pages of national skepticism, infidelity, and apostasy, and of God’s righteous vengeance on the same!"

    H. Cole, Popular Geology Subversive of Divine Revelation (London: Hatchard and Son, 1834), p. ix–x, 44–45