#764: Taking God Seriously: God's Diary
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Reflections by the Pond
June 13, 2016
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
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The modern Christian, as opposed to the early first-century believers, has the advantage of two eternal connections to God and His Christ: the Holy Spirit and the completed Bible. The first is the third member of the triune Godhead, and thus dwells outside of time; the second—both Old and New Testaments—was declared eternal by the prophet Isaiah before the Old Testament had even been completed.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
And Jesus reiterated this, emphasizing the eternity of His own words.
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away."
Is it possible to imagine, even for a moment, that Almighty God created something so profound, so filled with His timeless and eternal wisdom, so critical to the salvation economy of His Son for man—is it possible to imagine that with all of that He would then declare it all right that man could pick and choose from this book what he would and would not obey? Can we possibly imagine that the God who is so powerful as to create the entire universe from nothing, and yet is so intimately involved in the lives of His followers as to answer their private prayers, would at the same time be clueless regarding changes to societal mores and not understand "what it is like living today"? How can we possibly think that He would buy our humanistic rationales for our disobedience?
Do we think God so masterfully and supernaturally selected out all the authors, spanning a period of roughly sixteen-hundred earthly years, inspired each one of them by the Holy Spirit in such a way that when all sixty-six documents were eventually compiled they did not just harmonize perfectly but comprised an eloquent beginning-to-end narrative of His Son, the Messiah—do we think that after all that He would then say, Well, you can follow Me and still disregard anything in My word that you think is inconvenient or uncomfortable?
Part of taking God seriously is taking God's word seriously.
All of it.
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God's word, the Bible, is not written at a level for five-year-olds; it is not written in "Dick and Jane" vernacular. It does contain many easily digestible truths, nuggets of gold that can be understood by just about anyone. "Love your neighbor as yourself," and the proverb, "A gentle answer turns away wrath / But a harsh word stirs up anger" are universally understood. But these represent just the few nuggets that work their way up to the surface from the deep, cavernous mine that remains below ground. Here and there are simple and clear pieces of gold that a passerby may inadvertently discover and pick up for himself. He puts it in his pocket and continues on his way, blithely unaware of the mountains of precious metal buried beneath his feet. To mine this gold requires some effort, some diligence, and, not least, faith.
You see, the Bible is not for everyone. Like a teenage girl's personal diary that only opens with a small key kept hidden close to her heart, the fullness of God's word opens only to those in possession of its key.
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."
"These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you."
John 14:16-17, 25-26
The Bible is, in a manner of speaking, God's personal diary. In it are recorded His history of creation, the accounts of His dearest people, His deepest thoughts and aspirations, His poetry and songs, His best wishes for those He loves, and the account of His firstborn Son from page one to the last. But most of this is indigestible nonsense to those without the unlocking key of the Spirit.
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18
And here is the tragedy: There are those in possession of the key, who never bother to use it. They never go beyond the scattered, more obvious nuggets sitting on the surface; they never open the deep mine of truth lying beneath. And, as Paul writes to the Corinthians, by not using the key that will open to them the deep mysteries of His word, they are missing out on the very "power of God." As a result, their growth—their spiritual growth—remains stunted, their knowledge and understanding of Christ emaciated and fragile.
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With His word, the Lord God Almighty has entrusted to each of His children His most intimate, mysterious, profound revelations. If you are a believer, if you have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you, those revelations are explicitly and personally for you.
Just as Father God is willing to condescend to our lives, involving Himself in the nuts and bolts of everything about us, so He wants His children to invest themselves in the workings, the subtle shadings, the sometimes mysterious details of His word. By doing this the Christian better understands that the Bible—just like God Himself—is to be taken as a unified whole.
More than that, we are to let loose the power of the Spirit to translate, to interpret, to convict our spirit when our life is at odds with the precepts of His word.
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
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The Holy Scriptures did not grow on earth. You are so to deal with the Scriptures that you bear in mind that God Himself is saying this.