Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Word Shaped Life


Reading, hearing, believing and obeying Scripture is the sum of the Christian life. Why? Because it is in the Holy Scriptures that we meet Christ and learn to become like Christ.  If a man is to be truly Christian then he must be a man of the Bible. The Bible will shape how he thinks, feels, and acts. This means we reject rationalism and emotionalism as foundations for truth. It also means that we seek to bring our actions in accord with God’s Word

            We are not emotionalists. That means we do not believe the Bible simply when we experience something emotionally. Most people today believe something to be true only if they feel it is true. True worship is worship which makes us feel a certain way.  Many Christians approach the Scriptures, both the reading and preaching of them, the same way. If I experience a good feeling when I read the Bible then what I read spoke to me. Otherwise it did not. Christians are to believe and obey the Bible whether or not we feel it to be true.  Truth precedes and shapes our emotions. If our feelings object to certain truths in the Scriptures, we need to change our feelings, not reject or change the Scriptures. This is not to reject emotion, but rather to say that our emotions are sinful and need to governed by God’s Word.

            We are not rationalists. That means we do not subject all of life to reason. There is nothing reasonable about God becoming man. The Trinity is not rational.  A virgin bearing a child does not make sense to us. There are many things in Scripture which are not rational. In the 1700’s men began to place God’s Word underneath reason.  All of the sudden miracles were explained away and eventually Jesus became less than God. This also led to the modern rejection of the Sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. To the modern mind these just do not make sense.  As those who believe the Bible we must make reason bend to the Bible, not vice-versa.  This does not mean that we do not use our mind. We are to honor God with our mind. But that means our mind must always be shaped by the Word.

            Finally, not only must our mind and our emotions be shaped by God’s Word, but our actions must be also. Often the things we do and why we do them are influenced by the world more than by Scripture. This world could be the home we grew up in, the books we read, the friends we hang out with or the movies we watch.  Usually the influence from these various worlds lurks beneath the surface. We do not recognize that our actions flow from the corrupted river of the world. Holy Scripture splashes us with cold water reminding us when we are living like the world instead growing up into Christ. We should constantly be asking, "Am I walking in the ways of God?" The only way we know the answer to that question is by studying God’s Word.

            All of life is to be subject to the Word. We are a people who live under authority.  The key is to read and then re-read the Scriptures. But this is not enough. We all come with our own bias, our own set of glasses, which can cause us to misunderstand what the Bible is teaching. That means we must learn to read the Bible with other believers in a church community and especially to give heed to the preached word. It is from the pulpit that our assumptions about God’s Word are often most forcefully challenged. 

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8