God is real. He is alive. And he is constantly speaking to the human family. In fact, God reveals himself—his power, compassion, and nature—in various ways:

  • Through nature
  • Through powerful works (miracles)
  • Through Scripture
  • Through the church

But each of these manifestations of God is not the “main event.” Take the case of Peter and John in Acts 3 as an example. The miraculous healing of the man born lame was not an end in and of itself. The miracle got the crowd’s attention (3:9-10) but it was the story of salvation history that convicted their hearts (3:11-26) and, in the end, it was God who saved them and added them to his church.

There are many manifestations of God within our experience. But these manifestations must be kept in perspective, lest they become idols. The channels of revelation must not become the focus of our attention. These avenues of communication all point to something higher, something larger, something beyond themselves. They all point to God.

Within churches claiming to follow “nothing but the Bible,” perhaps the greatest threat in this regard is Scripture itself. While the text is normative to our existence, we must always remember that the words written on the pages of the Bible were never intended to take the place of the spiritual realities that they reveal. The Bible was written as a permanent record (a testimony to every generation) so that our faith might reach forward to something else—to something that is NOT recorded in writing, indeed, to something that CANNOT be recorded on the pages of any book.

In other words, our trust, our obedience, and our worship must be directed toward God, not the book that teaches us about him nor anything else that points us to him.

The same is true of the church. As the church of God on earth, we are both a sign and a foretaste of God’s sovereignty. As a sign, we point to a supernatural presence in a natural world. As a foretaste we offer a small sample of what is yet to come. Oh, we admit that the sample we offer is inadequate perhaps and often imperfect. But what happens in our midst is a sample of something much more supernaturally glorious than anything this natural world has to offer. Our existence points to a reality that is far above anything seen with natural eyes.

God is real. He is alive. He is speaking to the human family. The question is, “are we listening?”