When God’s people hear about God and what he requires, they will respond.
– Mark Dever
Meditate on this quotation with me for a minute, and consider the creative power of God contained in his life-giving, faith-inspiring, soul-saving Word.
“When” – in the fullness of time God sent his son (Gal. 4:4), and at just the right time God sends his Word to us on the lips of faithful saints.
“God’s people” – when the elect of God hear the Word of God, the power of God converts them and they are saved. “You do not believe because you are not part of my flock,” Jesus says in John 10:26, for if you did believe you would prove to be sheep. The good news of the gospel is that all that God intended to save, he in fact does save, and he does so as His word comes to them. This is a missions imperative. “I have many in this city who are my people,” God says to Paul (Acts 18:10), and the same is true for us (cf. John 10:16).
“hear” – The gospel comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17), and this hearing comes by the general and prolific call of the gospel.
“about God” – This is the good news. We know God in and through and because and by way of Jesus Christ. As we proclaim Christ and him crucified, we make known the love and justice of God.
“and what he requires” – This reflects both the law which leads us to cry out for mercy and the instruction necessary for believers to live lives pleasing to God. Either way, God’s requirements are not left hazy for those who have the Word.
“they” – The gospel is for the masses. This plural reflects the countless millions who have not heard the name of Jesus, and the millions who have. The gospel creates new covenant communities, and it nevers accomplishes salvation apart from drawing people into fellowship with one another (cf. Heb. 10:24-25; 1 John 1:5-8).
“will” – Positively, absolutely, the gospel will accomplish all that was intended to do (Is. 55:8-9). It is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16) and it effectually calls men and women to faith and effectively converts them from wrath-deserving enemies to reconciled children. It will save and it will upbuild the church wherever it goes.
“respond” – The gospel requires a response of repentance and faith. Nothing more, nothing less. This response is singular event with lasting and life-changing effects.
Perhaps, in writing this sentence, Mark Dever did not pause to consider each word like this, but he could have. God’s omnipotent Word calls dead souls from the grave to new creation lives filled with good works. Likewise, God’s word creates and shapes the church. May we never forget the potency of the Spirit-breathed Scriptures and may lay everything aside to participate in carrying this message across the street and all over the world.
Sola Deo Gloria, dss