Sunday, March 23, 2014

Our turn to listen - The Instructor and the Compendious Word of Scripture

This is a continuation of my series on Clement of Alexandria and his book, "The Instructor." If you are new to this series or are unfamiliar with Clement and his book, you may want to first read the introduction to this series.
"Such are a few injunctions out of many, for the sake of example, which the Instructor, running over the divine Scriptures, sets before His children; by which, so to speak, vice is cut up by the roots, and iniquity is circumscribed." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 3, Chapter 12)
Having giving numerous examples from the Law, the prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles, Clement summaries the purpose and use of the commands of God; that we might root out all vice and iniquity from our lives and become clean within through His word. Jesus also spoke of the cleansing power of the Word when He said to His disciples, "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you." (John 15:3) The goal of the commandments of God is meant not only for our instruction but also for the cleansing of our soul; to rid us of sin and to establish righteousness within.
"Innumerable commands such as these are written in the holy Bible appertaining to chosen persons, some to presbyters, some to bishops, some to deacons, others to widows, of whom we shall have another opportunity of speaking. Many things spoken in enigmas, many in parables, may benefit such as fall in with them. But it is not my province, says the Instructor, to teach these any longer. But we need a Teacher of the exposition of those sacred words, to whom we must direct our steps." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 3, Chapter 12)
Our Instructor comes to us, not to speak some new revelation, command, or riddle, but to explain what God has already written; to illuminate our minds to His word that we might grow up unto His by it. Jesus spoke of this ministry when He said, "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 14:26) It is our turn, not to receive the revelations of God, but to understand them and learn how to apply them to our lives. Jesus has come to open up the scriptures to us that we might both understand them and learn how to live them. To know the scriptures is of little value if we also lack the wisdom to walk in them. This is the ministry of our Instructor, to marry the two - knowledge and obedience.
"And now, in truth, it is time for me to cease from my instruction, and for you to listen to the Teacher. And He, receiving you who have been trained up in excellent discipline, will teach you the oracles. To noble purpose has the Church sung, and the Bridegroom also, the only Teacher, the good Counsel, of the good Father, the true Wisdom, the Sanctuary of knowledge. 'And He is the propitiation for our sins,' as John says; Jesus, who heals both our body and soul—which are the proper man." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 3, Chapter 12)
Clement is coming to the end of his book. Now all that remains is for us to choose a relationship with our Instructor; to turn to Jesus that we might walk with Him and learn from Him. All we need in life we will learn from Him and in Him will be found the answer to all our questions and wondering. He is both good and true and in His love for us He will instruct us and lead us in the right way.

David Robison

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