Jude 1:3 “…contend earnestly for THE faith which was ONCE for ALL delivered to the saints”.
In the last couple of years, there have been stories about people from the middle east getting saved through dreams without hearing the gospel or the name of Jesus. While I may not limit anything the God of creation can do, I believe when I read scripture that He has chosen to limit the means by which He will save His people. I do not find anywhere in scripture where God saves by dreams and even visions and I will by scripture present a case.
The natural revelation helps men see that God has created everything. David heralds this in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork”. And Paul in Romans 1:20 echoes the same “20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”. God never chose the natural revelation to be the means to save men but prepare men for the supernatural or special revelation. The natural revelation can create a desire for special revelation, however the natural has no power of its own.
Paul declared that the Gospel (good news) is the power of God unto salvation, Romans 1:16, for in the Gospel is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, Romans 1:17. And Paul who penned these words, he made sure we understood by what means the power of God came about. It is by preaching the gospel that people respond by calling on Him. In Romans 10:13, He declares how we are saved “For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But then he brings about a dilemma that must be addressed, he says vs. “14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Paul is stating clearly that for one to believe, they must hear to believe and it must be done by preaching (sharing the gospel). The gospel that is preached produces faith, Romans 10:17, “ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. The voice of God is His word, this is the special revelation. “Faith comes by hearing the word and not by studying the nature. Nature drives us to scripture for true understanding of God and His ways, it’s the word of God that gives birth to faith”, Phil Johnson.
The sufficiency of scripture prepares man for salvation. Paul reminds Timothy of the process of his salvation “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”, 2Timothy 3:15. Timothy did not come through any other means but by the truth of the scripture.
Cornelius in Acts 10 received a vision of an angel of the Lord who brought good tidings of God’s acceptance of his alms and prayers. Instead of God by the angel declaring him saved or preaching to him, Cornelius by vision he received sent for Peter who when he came preached Jesus (gospel) to him and his household and there they received the gospel. Similar to the experience of the Ethiopian eunuch, he did not receive an angel visit like Cornelius but his heart was eager the same way as Cornelius to learn and serve. God sent an angel to speak to Phillip to go and meet him, Acts 8:30-32, “30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading? 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” …35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him”. The understanding is informed by the word of God, faith comes by hearing…Jesus called a person who hears the word and understands it good ground or good soil, Matthew 13:23. Understanding is special revelation.
The natural revelation is important and most necessary just like the law, the reality is, the scripture has superior power to bring to light special revelation that leads to salvation through the preaching of the word. Dreams and visions may be a means of awakening, but they are not the means for salvation, Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Jude encourages believers to “…contend earnestly for THE faith which was ONCE for ALL delivered to the saints”, Jude 1:3. We must stick to the word, Blessings Ev