“Progressive Revelation is a movement from truth to more truth and so to full truth.”
– Alec Motyer
If you google Progressive Revelation you’ll find a series of definitions, all referencing God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture. Of those, I like Mr. Motyer’s best. It leaves room for God’s voice outside of Scripture alone, that growing revelation that takes the truth of scripture, and through life, makes it breathe by the Spirit.
For those who read my last post you’ll recognize a theme here, that of discovery. I believe this concept of progressive revelation is what should mark both the life and the anticipation of a Christ follower. We live. We journey. And along the way we come face to face with God again and again that we may know him more.
Sometimes it is in the manner of the mural, a scene we return to over and over again. Each time we visit we find a deeper understanding and appreciation of who God is, and sometimes more importantly who we are to God. I still remember an illustration from Oswald Chambers. He likened our revelation to a staircase. God will repeatedly bring us back to the next step until we take it, and then we can move another step closer. Time and again growing closer and closer to Him.
That said, the answers we get are not always the answers we seek. I came across a line in my journal earlier today. I wrote it down after finding news of the death of Rachel Held Evans. She was a writer I followed a few years ago. A writer who challenged my own closely held ideas and forced me to explore issues of faith from a different perspective. I don’t know if these words are my own, but I am challenged by them.
‘Christianity isn’t all about answers. Sometimes it’s about living with the questions.’
Progressive revelation is the result of engaging with life. Life can be beautiful, and it can be ugly and cruel. Life can be crystal clear at moments, and beyond comprehension at others. Life will raise us to great heights, and it will crush us beneath its heel. And, at least for me, this kind of living is full of questions. Far more questions than answers.
Sometimes, when it’s really hard, it’s tempting to flee. To give in to the hurt and run. We close ourselves off and refuse to take another step. If nothing else, it feels safe. But safety of that kind is an illusion. I’ve tried living it in the past, and it is a stunted and broken life bent only on survival. Living is more than just survival.
Let me leave you with two progressive revelations that have only grown deeper as I return to them time and again. When I am afraid, I lean on these truths, and I hope they will help you along the way.
One, God loves me. In a way I don’t understand. The more I delve the deeper it gets. It brings me to tears. I can’t understand it, but I know it. And I trust it.
Two, that at all times, God is present. In the darkness, in the light, in the answers and in the questions. I am never alone, and my companion is truth.
When I remember these two things, I find courage to face my fears and doubts. For the only thing that awaits me, even in the questions, is God.