The Frustration of Truth

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Daily Reform, Ephesians 3:8-12

From the Reformer

What is the fellowship of the mystery. The publication of the gospel is called a fellowship, because it is the will of God that his purpose, which had formerly been hidden, shall now be shared by men. There is an appropriate metaphor in the words, to enlighten all men—conveying the thought, that, in his apostleship, the grace of God shines with the brightness of noon-day.

Which hath been hid in God. This is intended, as before, to obviate the prejudice of novelty—to oppose the rashness of men, who think it improper that they should remain in ignorance of anything whatever. Who will question the right which God has to keep his own purposes concealed, until he shall be pleased to communicate them to men? What presumption—yea, what madness is it, not to admit that God is wiser than we! Let us remember, therefore, that our rashness ought to receive a check, whenever the boundless height of the Divine foreknowledge is presented to our view. This, too, is the reason why he calls them the unsearchable riches of Christ; intimating that this subject, though it exceeds our capacity, ought to be contemplated with reverence and admiration.

—John Calvin, Commentaries

Pulling It Together

You’re intellectually lazy! he screamed. He was furious because he did not understand the gospel. He thought he was “right” and demanded everyone else to correct him. Until you can show me the error of my thinking, I will never believe in your God.

The best one can do is show that there is a Creator; the next step requires faith. One cannot prove to a cold heart there is warmth and light inside a house that they refuse to believe exists. In fact, it is the reverse. Christ would warm and enlighten him by living within him, giving all the understanding he so desperately desires. But he wanted proof first. He demanded empirical evidence of the existence of one who will not be found. It is like asking a photograph to discover its photographer.

Augustine’s words are as applicable today as ever. “Believe that you may understand.” The light and warmth and truth is overwhelming, once one believes. Until then it is annoying and frustrating.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers

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