This past week I read a post by a friend on Facebook. He spoke of the need to be in God’s Word and the need to follow His teaching because it is absolute truth. He quoted Proverbs 16:25 in the intro to his post.
Proverbs 16:25 (ESV) 25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
He also spoke of how the Bible was inerrant and infallible. In a nutshell, he was proclaiming the importance of studying God’s Word and adhering to the truth contained in its pages, and I responded with a big AMEN! But then I saw a comment that concerned me.
I read this reply to my friends post that really got to me. It has troubled me all week. Not because it wasn’t true, but because without understanding the Gospel of Christ Jesus it could be misleading.
The person spoke of the fact that memorizing and living a godly life would not save you only faith in Jesus Christ will save you. But what concerned me was the absence of any reference to repentance or works at all. But God speaks of it through James in James 2:14-26
God explained the need to know his word in several places. I like Deuteronomy 17:18-20.
If I do not know God’s truth in His word how would I know that I am saved by Faith and Grace?
We are saved by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I like the way Paul explained it in Ephesians 2
Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
If I did not know this passage how might I stand against someone who tells me something different? I have no authority, but what I am given in God’s Word. If I did not need the Bible why would God have provided it for me and Told me to put on the Full Armor of God?
The Full Armor of God
He warned me in Ephesians that I am at war, and it is not a war of flesh and bone. It is a war.
Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
How could I know this if not for the Word of God, but it is not enough to simply study the Word. We must seek our Heavenly Father. Seek a relationship with Him.
Seek First the Kingdom of God
We need to seek Him, in spirit and in truth. We must seek him through prayer and worship and part of that is to absorb the teachings of his Word. Christ Jesus spells it out in Matthew 6:25-34.
Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV) Do Not Be Anxious
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Jesus tells us in verse 33, But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. And how can we do that if we do not spend time in prayer like He did and study Like He did. Remember, Ephesians 6:11-12, “11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
I think of Jesus telling us about being anxious and I think of Him clearing the temple.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
You know all through the scriptures the Lord speaks of us being the temple and the Holy Spirit living in us, and when I think about the things that Jesus tells us not to be anxious about I think of this passage in Matthew.
Matthew 21:12-13 “12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
Yes in Matthew 21 he was clearing out the physical temple in Jerusalem. But the things that he ran out there are the same types of things he tells us not to worry about. Christ Jesus desires the same of my heart. He loves me enough to do whatever it takes to clear my heart of those things that prevent it from being a house of prayer. As I ponder all this I am reminded of Hebrews 11 and 12 and the great truth there.
Hebrews 11:39 – 12:2
Hebrews 11 the writer speaks of all those of deep faith in God’s Word. He reminds me that they are a great crowd of witnesses.
Hebrews 11:39 – 12:2 (ESV) 39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
You we have the Gift of the Gospel. I am thankful for the conviction by the Holy Spirit and the gift of grace and repentance. How blessed we are to have God’s Word laid out for us. I know that through prayerful study, guided by the Holy Spirit, God reveals Himself, and the desires He has for me, through this word. I cannot fathom being anything but hungry for this living water that gives me life.
It is true that purely memorizing scripture will not give me salvation. Christ told the leaders of the temple in the Apostle of John
John 5:39-40 (ESV) 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.
It is not enough to study the words. We must hear the truth and witness by the Father of the Son. The Holy Spirit helps us hear and obey.
True, we are not saved by works, even by reading the Bible, but how do we know God if we do not spend time with Him in His Word. How Do we not have those words burnt on our heart if the if we are not allowing the Spirit of God to do so?
Father thank you for the gift of your Holy Word. I pray that my hunger to know you may continue to keep me hungry for Your Word that I may grow closer to you and better know Your truth that I may not be deceived by the lies and tricks of the adversary.
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen