Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Bible is True Because Jesus is True. Not Vice Versa.

During a recent conversation the subject of the bible being central to the faith came up. The scriptures are an integral part of the faith for sure for that is how Jesus is revealed to us. However, it must be noted that many will be quite familiar with scripture and indeed love and trust it in his or her understanding but still have it incorrect.

Acts 9: 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" 5 And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." ESV

Saul indeed loved the scriptures. He could probably quote his way through much of the law, prophets and writings. In his zeal and love for those scriptures he set out to destroy the Jesus freaks of his day. Those cultists of the Way were a plague. Those perverse teachers of lies must be stopped at all cost.

At the risk of putting words in the mouth of Saul if he were to answer Jesus’ original question, which he could not of course, would he have said; “Because the bible says to?” In the law we see there is great blessing for obedience to it. Also the threatening of destruction is the reward for violating it. So he believed he was doing YHWH a solid by consenting to the death of Christians, confiscating property of some and casting them into prison was really what God wanted him to do. After all that is something of which his teachers and contemporaries were in favour. He had Jesus wrong didn’t he.

In our day many profess faith in scripture. Some are making their vocation the study and teaching of scripture and could, like Saul, quote their way through huge sections of it. Many of them could do it in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. But they are getting Jesus wrong and doing horrible things to Christians and saying horrible things about them thinking they are doing YWHW the same solid.

So what makes the difference? How is it that so many scholars will agree on what the words are and mean and still have this stress?

John 5: 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. ESV

One needs to come to Jesus to have life. In addition one cannot understand the scriptures apart from Jesus for they testifiy of Him. And Jesus cannot be come to on our own terms. The Jesus of the bible is not marketable. He is not willing to be manipulated. Christ will not serve on a panel looking to solve the earth’s problems. Jesus came to die on the cross for the sins of His enemies. To redeem them and give life to them. This makes no sense whatsoever to the natural mind. That is how the bible is gotten wrong by those who get Jesus wrong. If a person has Jesus right because he or she received Him as a gift has his or her battles cut out for them.

John 15: 18 If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. ESV

Jesus is there with crucified and risen arms to carry us through these dark times of resistance from unbelievers, erring and false brethren. He has stacked the cards against us, brothers and sisters, for His own purpose that we take up our cross and follow Him. What a blessing we have to be able to hear His words of forgiveness and assurance, know we are His because of the waters of baptism and receive His body and blood for the forgiveness of sin and to strengthen our faith and life.

Glory be to the Father and to the † Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

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