Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 9, 1961
NUMBER 27, PAGE 3,14b

The Purpose Of Divine Revelation

Roy E. Cogdill, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

What gracious purpose upon the part of God prompted the revelation contained in the Bible? Surely it has something to do with man's eternal redemption, but how did God intend for revelation to help accomplish man's salvation? Paul declares that the mystery of the Gospel was hidden in God for all ages in the past and now it is God's purpose that all men should be made to see it, that the manifold wisdom of God might be made known unto them. (Eph. 3:8-10) He also declares in this same connection that this was God's purpose from eternity, viz.: that the mystery of the Gospel should be revealed and preached unto the whole creation.

The Mystery Made Known

Again, Paul by the Holy Spirit tells us that God was pleased to make known unto all men, including the Gentiles, the mystery which had been hidden for ages of the past, but now is made manifest unto his saints. Furthermore, he declares that the riches of the glory of this revealed mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:25-27) From these passages and many others of similar nature, we learn then that it was God's purpose even from eternity to send Jesus, His Son, into the world to become a savior for the souls of men, and to reveal his plans for man's salvation in the Gospel of Christ. In accordance with this purpose the Holy Spirit came after the ascension of Jesus in order to guide the apostles in revealing the mystery of the Gospel. In I Corinthians 2:9 Paul tells us that the things God has prepared for them that love him had been neither seen not heard and therefore had not Entered into the heart of man until the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. He further says, "But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: .. the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God." Hence, we learn (I) that from eternity God had a plan for man's salvation; (2) that plan God purposed to make known unto men; (3) the Holy Spirit came into the world to reveal the plan; (4) that plan has been revealed in the Gospel of Christ. God's plan for our redemption is no longer a mystery but has now been revealed and manifested. Wherever the word "mystery" occurs in the New Testament scriptures referring to the Gospel of Christ, it is always accompanied by some term such as revealed, manifested, made known, etc., signifying that the revelation of God today is a fact.

Why Revelation Was Necessary

Why was it necessary in God's plan for such a revelation to be made known. There are many underlying causes. Man is an intelligent creature, responsible unto God for his actions, yet acting by his own free moral agency. By his own choice man had departed from God, and in order to be saved, must, of his own will, but in God's way, return to God. In order to bring man again unto God so that he could in righteousness and justice be saved, God must make known his own will and bring man to accept and adopt it. This is accomplished by the revelation of God's will in his word; and this is the very purpose for which God's will has been made known. Witness these scriptures which testify to that fact:

"But we received the Spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God." (1 Cor. 2:12) "The secret things belong unto Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deut 29:29)

"By revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words, whereby, when ye read ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ." (Eph. 3:34)

"To whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ." (Col. 1:27-29)

The Bible has been written, preserved by God's good providence, and given to us today, (1) that we might know God's plan; and (2) that we might do God's will and be saved.

Revelation Must Be Followed

When we fail to study and learn, hear and receive an understanding of God's will into our hearts, or fail to do the will of God once we have learned it, we make void the purpose for which God's revelation has been given, reject God's mercy, refuse God's grace, and stand condemned and lost before God. (Matt. 7:21-27; James 1:21-25)

In order to be saved man must study, learn, accept by faith, and obediently follow the plan of salvation God has arranged and revealed in his word; such is the very purpose of revelation.

Attempts To Defeat

Many and varied are the attempts of Satan to defeat God's purpose. He knows just how and where to attack in order to sabotage the entire plan and prevent the fulfillment of its purpose. Man must be prepared to meet such attacks, and the weapon to use is the word of God itself.

Satan would tell us, and has already convinced multiplied thousands, that God's word cannot be understood. He charges that it is vague, indefinite, ambiguous, and that it speaks with no clarity or certainty. Therefore, he suggests, you must allow the specially blessed representatives of the Church, the priests, etc., interpret the word of God for you. That means, of course, that the word of God is not a revelation at all, but can only be understood when in some special way God makes known what he means. Jesus said, "I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding and didst reveal them unto babes." (Luke 10:21)

Still others deny that God has revealed anything at all: proposing that the scriptures are susceptible of some "private interpretation;" that is that they can mean both this and that; that they teach both pro and con; that you can prove your doctrine by them, and I can also prove mine — even when our doctrines completely contradict each other. All this means that God has been guilty of "double-talk," and that his word, therefore, does not mean anything at all. This is the common contention that "you can prove anything by the Bible." If such be the case then there is no need for the Bible and no good can be served by it for it reveals nothing.

Either God did reveal his word plainly and clearly, or he did not. The Bible certainly declares that the very purpose of divine revelation is that men might know and do the will of God. Moreover, God has bound the obligation to know the truth upon man, and how may man know the truth if God has not revealed it so he can understand it?

Paul told the Ephesians, "Be not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Eph. 5:17) Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Again, "Thy word is truth." (John 17:17)