Friday, October 03, 2014

The scriptures are profitable for salvation

"You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
The scriptures, while they do not give us salvation, do enlighten our minds and understandings to receive the truth of God which leads us to salvation. The scriptures are a useful tool to bring an unbeliever to faith and trust in Christ. Luke relates the story of one Apollos. "Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures... And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ." (Acts 18:24-28) What is even more remarkable was that the only scriptures Apollos had were the Old Testament Jewish scriptures. Teaching from the Old Testament scriptures, Apollos brought faith to many. In fact, for the next several centuries, many would be converted based on the Old Testament scriptures alone, especially many learned philosophers and many who would later be called fathers of the early church. The scriptures teach us of our need for God, our inability to save ourselves, and of God's promise of salvation which was fulfilled in Christ. In fact, Paul tells us that the Old Testament was a tutor leading us to Christ. "But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:23-24)

However, salvation is not limited to being born again, it extends to every area of our lives. Peter speaks of us, "obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:9) Here speaking of a salvation that is on-going and continual; a saving that is progressive and one that takes place in our soul. Paul also speaks of a continual salvation when he says, "and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him." (Colossians 3:10) Notice that our new man is being renewed, a renewal that begins with our being born again and that continues until our resurrection in Christ.

The scriptures renew our mind and bridal our flesh that we might grow in our reflection of' His image. The scriptures not only teach us about salvation, but also equips us for every good work; the scriptures teach us not only to live, but to live well. James said, "If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' you are doing well." (James 2:8) The scriptures teach us how to live and how to live well. When we believe the truth of the scriptures and put them into practice in our lives, then our lives are transformed by the grace and power of God and we learn what it means to live holy and godly lives. We learn to live our lives as they were meant to be lived and, in living according to the design of God, we find life abundant and life full of joy.
"Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 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)
The scriptures were written for us and for our benefit. God, knowing our lives and the times we would live in, recorded His dealings with mankind that, thousands of years later, we would be able to read the accounts and see their examples and learn how to live. The scriptures teach, exhort, warn, and inspire. They provide daily benefit for those who partake of them. Let us not neglect such a great gift from the Lord.

David Robison

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