Monday, October 20, 2014

The scriptures are more practical than educational

By this I mean that the scriptures are meant to be obeyed more than learnt; they are meant to motivate towards action more than to fill our minds with information. Paul said, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." (1 Timothy 1:5) However, these things do not come simply by hearing the scriptures, they require the outworking of the scriptures in our lives. It is not enough to hear that we need to love each other from a pure heart, we actually need to express that love through tangible acts and behaviors. Even faith, without working through love, is of little use and benefit to our lives. James says, "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (James 2:26) The goal of the scriptures are not to inform us, but to produce their works within us; works that give life to our faith and to the things we profess to believe.

Paul writes of the import of the scriptures in our lives, saying,
"Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, 'The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.' Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come." (1 Corinthians 10:6-11)
Many of these examples have become the Bible stories we were taught as children and that we ourselves taught our children. However, for some, they are just that, stories. Stories we have remembered, stories from our past, stories of a people long ago and very distant and different from ourselves. However, they are more than just stories. These are meant for our instruction; to teach us how to live and how to live a life pleasing to God. These stories are meant to inspire change and to promote salutary actions on our behalf. They are stories that are meant to produce action. They are stories with practical lessons for us today.

Amos prophesied of a time of famine, saying, "'Behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord God, 'when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the Lord.' "(Amos 8:11) However, we now live in a time and age where the Word of God has never been more accessible. Twenty-four hours a day you can turn on the television and radio and hear the Word of God spoken and taught. There is hardly a language in to which the scriptures have not been translated. We have a famine, but it is not a famine of the Word of God, rather a famine of obedience and the practical assimilation of the Word of God into our lives. It is not enough to hear the Word of God, it must be acted upon for it to benefit our lives. Jesus said,
"Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6:47-49)
Both men heard the same words of God but only one acted upon them. Our foundation in the Word of God is not based on what we know but on what we do. Many know the Word of God yet they lack the foundation of the Word of God that is build by the doing of what they know. The scriptures were never meant to fill us with information, but rather to construct a foundation for eternal life; a foundation that is build through the practical use and application of those scriptures. Jesus told the people, especially those religious people, "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself." (John 7:17) It is not enough to be willing to hear the Word of God, we must also be willing to do the Word of God, for it is only in doing that we reap its true rewards.

David Robison

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