Thursday, February 5, 2009


I wonder if it ever occurs to those in the process of rejecting the Holy Scriptures and Jesus Christ as Creator, Redeemer and Lord that they are rejecting because God has not opened their eyes. Would sorrow and fear over this be the beginning of faith?
Picture by Ron Andersen
I thought of this as I was looking up some verses in Luke in John Calvin’s commentary. I was reading the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Calvin writes about how it was God who kept them from recognizing that it was the resurrected Jesus that was walking beside them. Calvin goes on to write about the control God has over us particularly over our understanding of spiritual things. He writes:

“Now if the bodily eyes, to which peculiarly belongs the power of seeing, are held, whenever it pleases the Lord, so as not to perceive the objects presented to them, our understandings would possess no greater acuteness, even though their original condition remained unimpaired; but no in this wretched corruption, after having been deprived of their light, they are liable to innumerable deceptions, and are sunk into such gross stupidity, that they can do nothing but commit mistakes, as happens to us incessantly. The proper discrimination between truth and falsehood, therefore, does not arise from the sagacity of our own mind, but comes to us from the Spirit of wisdom. But it is chiefly in the contemplation of heavenly things that our stupidity is discovered; for not only do we imagine false appearances to be true, but we turn the clear light into darkness.”

If the unconverted could only understand this is it possible they would tremble and in that trembling would they repent of their awful rejection of the Savior? Would they understand that the words they so carelessly use about Jesus Christ are themselves a sign of their loss-ness?

Jesus in the book of Luke is careful to have the disciples see him in the Hebrew writings. Twice in this chapter, chapter 24, Jesus refers to Moses (the Torah) and the prophets as that place where he can be found. In verse 44 the Psalms is included. And Jesus chides the disciples because they do not understand, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (25a) And yet Christ opens their hearts and minds to understand, so that after they realize it is Jesus they say to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was explaining the Scripture to us?”

But there is another incident, a parable, Jesus uses, earlier in Luke, to show how unbelief is unyielding with out the work of the Holy Spirit. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man, who has died, pleads for Lazarus, who has also died, to go to his brothers and tell them to repent. But Abraham who is speaking with the rich man says “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” (16:31)

So if one is caught in such a web of unbelief that the Scriptures mean nothing …. What is left but for us but to love and care and pray and do some trembling ourselves for those who are so arrogant against the Lord.


Grace said...

Sorrow for unbelief, and awe were certainly a huge part of the beginning of faith for me, Viola.

Definitely, it was only as God showed me the limit, and finiteness of human reason, and humbled me in intellectual pride, that my mind, and heart truly became open to the truth of the gospel.

"The preaching of the cross is to those that are perishing foolishness, but to those who are being saved, it reveals the power of God..."

Viola Larson said...

Thanks for sharing that Grace. Funny it was out of a great deal of need and hunger, which I understand now as gifts from the Holy Spirit, that I came. But I came with too much arrogance and I think, hopefully, God is still gently pounding that out of me.

Sacramento, Ca