Wednesday, December 17, 2008

God Acts and God Speaks

Philip Graham Ryken seems to capture very well the necessity of both God's actions and God's words and how they complement each other. The following excerpt is from the latest volume in the Reformed Expository Commentary series:
The good news for the shepherds was that this child was born in Bethlehem to be their Savior and their God. They never would have known this unless God revealed it to them. If the angel had not appeared to them while they were out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night, the shepherds never would have come to Christ. They acknowledged this when they referred to the good news as "this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us" (Luke 2:15).

What this shows is how much we need the preaching of the gospel. To understand what God has done, we need to have someone explain it to us. By itself, what God had done would not save the shepherds, or anyone else. They needed to know what it meant by faith, which could only happen by divine revelation. This is now God saves us: not simply by sending Jesus to be our Savior, but also by preaching to us the gospel so that we can believe in his saving work. God doesn't just do things; he also says things, and we need to know what he says so that we can believe in what he has done.
("Gloria in Excelsis Deo," by Philip Graham Ryken in The Incarnation in the Gospels by Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips. P&R, 2008, 108; emphasis mine.)
This is a fantastic selection of sermons adapted from the forthcoming commentaries on Matthew (Daniel Doriani), Luke (Philip Graham Ryken) and John (Richard D. Phillips). I purchased this at our church's bookstore at the recommendation of our senior pastor. This has made for wonderful meditation during the Christmas season.