I recently posted a link to a PDF of Robert Govett’s pamphlet entitled The Twofoldness of the Truth. If you’re willing to read it (it’s not very long), please just skip this post and read the original. If you’re short on time or you’re curious how I’ll summarize it, feel free to continue.
When it comes to the divine truth, there’s an unfortunate tendency within fallen man to seek for simplicity and systematized understanding. As a result, radical, logical ends, reached along the search issuing from foundational, biblical truths begot multiple camps within Christendom, dividing Christians throughout the ages and especially over the last 500 years. These camps, in typical dogmatic fashion, ignore or contort verses that seemingly contradict their foundational tenet. But what do the Scriptures say?
For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the understanding of those who understand I will set aside.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
-1 Corinthians 1:19-20
The Wisdom of God, who is Christ, is twofold in Himself, possessing both the divine and human nature (1 Cor. 1:24, 30). As such, the Word of God, which is Christ, the Wisdom of God, possesses a twofoldness in its presentation of the truth, unbound by human logic and disrupting the systematizing of theologians who prefer, by their haughty spirit, knowledge that puffs up rather than a poor spirt whose love for the unsearchable riches leave one in awe and prostrate before the only wise God.
The Bible presents truths in a way which force one, if honest and unbiased, to say “Amen” to paradoxical statements. These truths represent two sides of the same coin of divine revelation. They hold the Scripture in a necessary tension which constantly measures, balances, and perfects the believer in his comprehension of the reality which is in Jesus, the God-man (Eph. 4:21).
Three in One
…the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…And God created man in His own image…
Be it the one name of the Father, Son and Spirit, the “Us” becoming the “God” in Genesis 1, or the many other verses that reveal the divine Trinity, the Bible makes it clear that God is both three and one. Both are true. The Christian faith was founded on a paradox.
Predestination or Free Will
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely.
Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love, predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will
On the one side of the coin, all men are commanded to repent and if anyone would just declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead, they can be saved (Acts 17:30; Rm. 10:9-13). On the other side, man is blind, dead, and enemies of God, unable to turn to Him (2 Cor. 4:3; Eph. 2:1; Rm. 5:10). God has foreknown some whom He has predestined to be saved, so He steps into time to call them out and enable them to come to Him and receive salvation (Jn. 6:44; Rm. 8:29). Both truths are true and must be received with an “Amen.”
Salvation – By Grace or By Works?
…Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who operates in you both the willing and the working for His good pleasure.
While there are several example verses discussing salvation being a matter of grace alone by faith alone, there are just as many examples making salvation a matter of works done in the body, whether good or bad. While an explanation of these views and a possible way of understanding how they work together has been a major theme in this blog (see: The Reward and Punishment of Believers (I)), the tension between the two gives a perfect example of the twofoldness of the truth.
For those who aren’t familiar with the popular Calvinist acronym, TULIP represents the 5 pillars of reformed theology’s doctrine, which represents one camp. While I can’t go into detail here concerning the doctrines, I will just quote a verse for each side of the truth. Bear with me:
There is none who understands, there is none who seeks our God.
…He has put eternity in their heart…
And the Gentiles, hearing this, rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.
And Paul and Barnabas spoke boldly and said, “It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken to you first. Since you thrust it away and do not judge yourselves worthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.
…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world.
-1 John 2:2
Because the God who said, “Out of darkness light shall shine,” is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
-2 Corinthians 4:6
But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the counsel of God for themselves since they had not been baptized by him.
Perseverance of the Saints
And I give to them eternal life, and they shall by no means perish forever, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.
You have been brought to nought, separated from Christ, you who are being justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
For now we see in a mirror obscurely, but at that time face to face; now I know in part, but at that time I will fully know even as also I was fully known.
-1 Corinthians 13:12
I don’t mean to halt the pursuing spirit of believers to come to a full knowledge of the truth. Rather, I desire to give those seeking believers a healthy word concerning our attitude toward the Bible and toward other believers.
We must have an “Amen” on the tip of our tongue in our reading and studying the scriptures. The truth is too high for our human minds to understand. We need a transformed mind, renewed to be the spirit of the mind, even the very mind of Christ (Rm. 12:2; Eph. 4:23; 1 Cor. 2:16).
The truth is complex, high, and twofold. May all the believers in Christ be saved from a dogmatic, one-sided radical view of the truth that forces others to pick a side. We must be diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace, until we all arrive at the oneness of the faith and of the full-knowledge of the Son of God (Eph. 4:3, 13).