One of our couples celebrates their 50th anniversary today. Because it is 2020, the well-wishing tributes were restricted to videos clips sent from family and friends. One encouragement Linda said was, “You were made for each other!” In a way, this is true for all of us; we are ‘made for each other’. All of us are made in God’s image; and God is, in himself, relational. Thus, it is no surprise that relationship is the most common answer to the question: what makes life meaningful. But how do good friendships and marriages develop? University of Winnipeg sociologist Beverley Fehr, author of Friendship Processes, says, “The transition from acquaintanceship to friendship is typically characterized by an increase in both the breadth and depth of self-disclosure.”
The most important relationship we have is with God. In fact, it is his stated mission in scripture: “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people (2 Corinthians 6:16)”. This gracious promise is repeated throughout the bible with similar references found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hebrews, and Revelation. “God’s dwelling place is with man (Rev. 21:3)”, and he initiates relationship with him by revelation – self-disclosure to those with whom he longs to dwell and relate. Theologians have traditionally spoken of two categories of revelation: general and special. General revelation is that which God gives to all, evident in his natural creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God (Ps 19:1)” and “his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse (Rom. 1:19-20).” Moreover, our human nature reveals the moral attributes of God that are ‘written on our hearts’ (cf: Romans 2:14-15). Through general revelation to all humanity, God communicates his existence, power, nature, glory, and our need of him.
Special revelation is the specific means God uses to redeem his people: his Word, and the person of Christ. Paul writes of the bible’s redemptive, discipling power: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16)”, and Hebrews 1 speaks of Christ as the perfect revelation of God: “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 (vv1-3a)”.
God takes the initiative in relating to us and I pray you would thank him for his ‘self-disclosure’. In this life we can merely scratch the surface of the depth God has for us but, thankfully, we have eternity before us as his bride: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)”