All of us know about the inexcusable revelations of God through nature and the written Word, but how many of us have ever sat down to think about what this actually means? The Bible says that there are two forms of revelation through which God has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity: General & Special Revelation.
General Revelation (Rom. 1:20)
This is the testimony of God to mankind throughout creation. The reason it is general is because all men have been given this degree of understanding.
General Revelation allows us to understand three out of four of life’s most important truths:
- There is a God.
Paintings come from artists, buildings from architects and creation from the Creator.
- He is very good.
Life could have been boring and even torturous, yet every day we are blessed with a number of different tastes, smells, sounds and sights which we are more than pleased with. We are surrounded by goodness in every direction which gives us confidence that God is good.
- Something is seriously wrong.
Since there is a God and we know He is good, then where is He? Why is there separation between us? Why does death and suffering occur in such a beautiful world?
Although these three points of knowledge mentioned above are greatly needed and necessary for salvation in Christ, no one will be saved apart from knowing and believing the fourth and final truth which is:
- God has made a way for sinners to be saved only through the death and resurrection of His Son — the Lord Jesus Christ.
Special Revelation (Acts 4:12)
This type is referred to as special revelation because this speaks directly to the specific details of the Gospel of Christ for salvation.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
Much damage has been done by well-intentioned Bible-believing Christians in misinterpreting certain passages of Scripture. A good example is found in Acts 17 when Paul is in Athens preaching to the crowds in the Areopagus.
Acts 17:30 says, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent.”
Some have twisted this passage to mean that since the Gentiles had not been exposed to the Gospel, then God was just going to overlook their sin because they did so in ignorance. The problem with this interpretation is that it would call into question God’s justice.
What had God overlooked? He was not overlooking sins, for that would make Him an abomination to Himself (Prov. 17:15). On the contrary, He was overlooking them — the Gentiles (Acts 14:16). He was giving them over to their own depravity (Rom. 1:24-28). It was rare for God to send prophets to other nations in those days because Israel was supposed to behave like a magnet in drawing the nations inward. Now, He is sending the Church to the world.