Yesterday we explored what it means that the Bible is authoritative. We saw that since the Bible is God’s very Word and God doesn’t err or lie, then the Bible is binding on us just as God is. God is perfect, so is His Word. We must obey God and to do so we must follow how He has revealed Himself to us in the Word. Remember what B.B. Warfield wrote: “When the Bible speaks, God speaks.” To disagree with the Bible, then, is to disagree with God Himself.
Today we look to answer the question, “Is God’s Word enough?” This question is immensley practical and cannot be taken for granted. This question is answered by the doctrine of Scripture’s sufficiency. The Bible’s sufficiency is it’s “enoughness.” As Kevin DeYoung says, this attribute of Scripture is the most likely to be denied outright or by practice among confessing Evangelicals. While on paper people may give assent to the sufficiency of Scripture, many deny this confession by their practice. We might claim to think the Bible is enough, and yet we pine away after business visionaries or just plain visions. The Bible is nice, we may think, but if Jesus could somehow “call me.” Then I could really understand God and what He is like. God has plainly (though it may not feel like it) to us about the glories of Heaven. Yet, we would rather here about it from a kid who says he went there as a toddler and hung out with Peter and Jesus. As rapper, Propaganda once said: “Silly us, ignore the plain. We prefer a riddle. Dying to see a miracle, while holding God’s diary. Looking for signs.” We claim to have the Word of God. But if we are honest, often we look to just about everything else to know Him and enjoy Him.
Whacked out Charismatics are certainly guilty of this, but they are not the only ones. This issue is all too close and personal. I think it will help to see the sufficiency of Scripture once we see how it is linked to the sufficiency of Christ. The Bible is enough because Jesus’ gospel is enough.
But Now, He Has Spoken Through His Son
Take a look at Hebrews 1:1-4. Again, I have to beg you to go and buy Kevin DeYoung’s book, Taking God at His Word. His exegesis of this passage is masterful and is worth the price of the book. Here is the text:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)
The book of Hebrews, not unlike the rest of the Bible, is about the superiority of the Second Person of the Trinity. Jesus reigns above all other types and shadows of Him. Hebrews shows us that Christ is the better Moses, the better Lamb, the better High Priest, the Greater Temple and etc. Jesus is better, the supreme revelation of God; being God Himself in the flesh. The author of Hebrews (whoever the guy was) starts this theme early in the book. Like really early; just in case we forget the supremacy of Christ over all things and in all things.
The author points out that “in many times” and “in many ways” God spoke to the patriarchs of the Old Testament. He spoke through visions, direct speech, and burning bushes. The times and the agents varied. But they varied “long ago,” in contrast to “in these days.” The author is contrasting the differing modes of revelation to the singular mode God has given now. God, who used to speak through man, has now spoken to just one. God spoke to “our fathers” in these ways. But we are not “our fathers.” God has spoken to us in Christ.
Not only has God spoken in Christ now, He has also seen fit to speak in Christ forever. In other words, we are not waiting for anything else to come down the pike. The revelation of God in Christ is final. See, revelation is never separate from redemption. All the things spoken in the past were spoken to typify or hint at Christ. They were not ends in themselves. It was Him they spoke about. Christ is the fulfillment of all of those other revelations. Christ is the end of all things! Revelation points us to redemption. The Exodus pointed the Israelites to the truths of the gospel; namely that God is holy, man is sinful and only the sacrifice and obedience of another will earn favor in the eyes of God, all that obtain by trusting and not doing. Christ is the final revelation. Christ is the creator of all things (v.2c). Christ is the sustainer of all things (v.3a). Christ is the revelation of God Himself (v.3a). Christ has atoned for sin. Jesus has taken the sins of all His people on Himself, punished in our place and receiving the full, just wrath of God on our behalf. Christ rose from the dead for our justification and did something unspeakable. He sat down. Sitting down has the ring of finished work, does it not? When you come from a long day of work and you sit down, what does that signify? The day is over, the work is done. If there were more work to do then you would still be standing up and doing it. Beloved, there is no more work to do! Christ has finished the work; “It is finished indeed!” The gospel’s aim is accomplished. Reconciliation is purchased, justification earned. Jesus rose from the dead but He did not do more work. There was no more sin to take and no more wrath to bear. He had ransomed a people from every tribe, tongue and nation. He rose from the dead only to sit down at the right hand of the Father (v.3b). Christ, unlike the high priests of old, did not have to repeat His atonement. God’s acceptance of the son proves the final acceptance of us. Redemption is complete. Revelation is complete. Christ, the one superior to angels, sits now to intercede on behalf of those He has atoned for. Hallelujah what a Savior!
Christ is King. Christ is Priest. And Christ is the final prophet. There is nothing left to say. As Herman Bavinck writes, “In Christ God’s revelation has been completed.” We don’t need anything else. The Old Testament points to Christ. The gospels record the life of Christ, particularly his death and resurrection. This gospel is interpreted by the Spirit of God through the apostles in the rest of the New Testament. We don’t need Muhammed. We don’t need Joseph Smith’s tablets. To say we do is to deny the sufficiency of the gospel.
How Does This Shake Out
God still speaks, He just doesn’t speak new things. God speaks to us only in the Bible. This fact denies any “still small voice” that one may claim is telling them things. The only way the Spirit speaks today is from the written Word. I know this is hard to swallow. I think much of God’s wisdom in giving a simple book is to shame the wise. All we need for life and godliness is here. We don’t need Jesus to call us. We don’t need a vision or a dream. To desire such is a spit in the face of the Son of God. We have the Bible, we don’t need anything else.
Your biggest problems can all be answered in the Bible. Don’t get it twisted, the Bible is not an exhaustive source on all things. If you want to learn how to change a lightbulb, the Bible is a poor choice of literature (although God may be pleased to bring about more patience in you to complete the task). But the Bible tells us who God is, what He wants from us, who Christ is and what He has done.
Catholics, we do not need the Pope. Church leader, we do not need the latest marketing strategy. Counselor, we do not need to lean on secular psychology. Christian, we do not need your feelings or inclinations. Pastor, we do not need your joke and anecdotes. God has been gracious enough to give us the Bible to reveal Himself and His gospel to us. Take. Read. Christ is sufficient and so is His Word. If you want to hear God speak read the Bible. If you want to be privileged enough to hear Him speak aloud, read it aloud.
Joy comes from knowing God rightly. The Bible is the only way to do that rightly. Look to the Bible. We have the privilege of not being enslaved to our poor intuitions about who God is. He has told us!