Words Every Christian Should Know-General Revelation

The American Heritage Dictionary published 100 words that every High School student should know upon graduation. The idea behind the list is that vocabulary is an important aspect of engaging with the world we live in. A person who doesn’t understand the words they come across in books or conversations is at a distinct disadvantage and is unable to fully participate in the exchange of ideas.

Much of the same could be said of the Christian who doesn’t understand the words used in either the Bible or theological conversations. Their ignorance hinders them from grasping who God is and what he is doing in our lives and in the world we live in.

The point of these posts is to help us improve our Christian vocabulary–not so we can sound smarter and impress the people in our small group, but so we can better understand what God is teaching us in the Scriptures. With that in mind, today’s word is General Revelation.

Theologians speak of God revealing himself in two ways: Special Revelation and General Revelation. Special Revelation refers to the words recorded in the Bible that are addressed to specific people. General Revelation refers to the truths about God that are known to all people. These are truths that a person can know apart from the Bible.

1. God reveals himself to all people through creation.

Romans 1:18-21 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Notice here that through creation God has made his eternal power and divine nature plain to all people. That’s why they are without excuse when they sin against him.

2. God reveals himself to all people through his goodness.

Acts 14:17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

Instead of taking the “acts of nature” for granted, we should see them as signs of God’s goodness, love, and provision.

3. God reveals himself to all people through their own conscience.

Romans 2:14-15 Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.

God has written his law on the hearts of all people so that their conscience bears witness to him and his law by accusing them when they violate its standards.

General Revelation teaches us that apart from the Bible every person can know the following about God:

1. He is the all-powerful creator.
2. He is good.
3. We stand guilty before him.

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