On Christianity & Philosophy, IIa. The Gospel & the State of Man

The Gospel is the focal point of all history. It is upon the Gospel and its accomplishment on the Cross of the Lord Jesus that our very history is measured, for, expectedly, when God becomes a man and dwells among men, the world is turned upside down. For the Jews, it was the end of their worship of Yahweh as they knew it, for the very center of their worship, the Temple, was destroyed by God in 70 A.D. to demonstrate emphatically that Christ is the true Temple—the only acceptable means of worship for those who would worship the Father in Spirit and Truth.1 For the Gentiles, it was the fulfillment of God’s Promise to Abraham: “Through your Offspring shall all the Nations be blessed,” and it was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the psalmist: “Yahweh said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you; ask of me, and I will give the Nations as your heritage, and the ends of the earth as your possession.’”2

Likewise, the Gospel is the focal point of wisdom, for in it God was pleased to reveal himself most fully in his Son, Jesus Christ, who is one with the Father and the very manifestation of the Father in human flesh.3 It is only through the Gospel that we, who were once enemies of God and ignorant of his ways, have access to the Father and to him who is the Author of Wisdom.4 Therefore, if we as mere creatures are to obtain any knowledge about God and the supernatural, we must go through Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

But before we go any further, it would be beneficial to define some of the terms that we are planning to use: Philosophy is the the human endeavor for wisdom and knowledge based upon human reason. The practice of philosophy is always done one of two ways: without the consideration of Special Revelation or beyond the scope of Special Revelation (we will discuss this later). The Gospel is the breaking forth of God into history, his redemption of his Church by his blood, and the full and final manifestation of himself and his Wisdom in his Son, Jesus Christ. Christian Philosophy therefore is the practice of using human reason to ascertain that which God has not revealed in his Word.

On the State of Men toward the Gospel
The Scriptures paint a very bleak picture of the state of men apart from the divine enlightenment toward the Gospel. They declare that, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2Cor 4:4). Elsewhere, Paul writes that all men apart from the Gospel are “dead in their trespasses and sins” and that “no one is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Eph. 2:1; Rom. 3:10, 11). We in our natural state, because of our father Adam, have at best, blind minds that cannot perceive the Gospel and dead hearts that cannot embrace the Gospel. Therefore, there is no remedy for our condition save the remedy that Christ prescribed to Nicodemus, namely, “You must be born again–you must be born from above. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:7,8).

In other words, because of our dire natural state that is blind to the Gospel and dead in trespasses, if any man is to come to Jesus Christ to believe in and to receive the glories of the Gospel, the Father must draw him through the Holy Spirit and give him new life. For Christ himself said as much: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44).

Therefore since it is only by the Spirit and the will of the Father that a soul comes to Jesus Christ and believes in and embraces the Gospel, it is only the faithful proclamation of the Gospel that creates the environment in which a soul can be saved. The declaration of Paul is particularly apt: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for all who believe, first to the Jew then to the Greek (Rom. 1:16). For it is only through the proclamation of the Gospel, the Spirit’s enlightenment, and the soul’s subsequent belief that creates the humble state of which the apostle speaks: “Then what becomes of our boasting [in our salvation]? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith” (Rom. 3:27). The prophet declares as well, “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another (Is. 48:9,10).

If anyone is to come to the Father, he must come through faith in Jesus Christ alone. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is no your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8).

Tomorrow: On Christianity & Philosophy, IIb. The Gospel & Philosophy

Categories: Theology

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