Why should we know God's Word?

In our day and age where anti-intellectualism runs rampant in the visible church, it is not surprising to see poll after poll verify what students of scripture have known for many years. The visible church does not know much about the scriptures they profess to believe in. This is sad considering many saints during the Reformation period lost their lives for the sake of being able to read and study God's word. Not to mention the many passages in scripture that speak as such:

Isaiah 66:2 This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.

The posts on this blog will address essential Biblical doctrines of the Christian faith. You can find much of the background for the posts here. My prayer for these posts is that the people who read them will be encouraged to open their Bibles and not just read a verse or two, but learn them and indeed, be transformed by them. As Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17). This is my prayer as well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

From the paper - Continue in Jesus' word for truth, freedom

I have the privilege of writing a column in the religion section for the local paper in Pataskala, Ohio, The Pataskala Standard. In reality, it is the only article in the religion section (not a big paper!). I have been encouraged to post those articles on this blog for the curious to see. I hope to post one or two articles a week. One thing I have to tell you is that I do not pick the titles for my columns. One of the editors picks the title based off the content of the article and so far, they have been good titles! I rejoice in God's sovereign hand for the good titles and to allow each article in full to be included in the paper. If you have any thoughts feel free to post them.

Continue in Jesus' word for truth, freedom
Jesus once told a number of Jews who believed in Him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Now those are two things this world desperately longs for and yet cannot seem to obtain: truth and freedom. Most of us want to know what is really true and can’t stand it when we are duped or someone pulls a fast one over on us. We are thankful for the many freedoms this country affords, and we get upset when we feel someone is trying to encroach upon our freedoms. What Jesus is telling us here is that we can know bona fide truth and obtain a freedom that no government official can ever take away from us. The obvious question is, how? How do we know truth and gain lasting freedom? Jesus’ solution seems simple, “continue in my word.” The apostle John records these words in John 8:31-32 where Jesus has been speaking to a group of Jews. Now what may startle us is what Jesus’ has said to them prior to this and this provides the all important context. He told them they would die in their sin unless they believed in Him (vs 21, 24), and later on He will tell them that those who commit sin is a slave to sin (vs 34). As you can imagine they were shocked at what Jesus said to them.

Today, these things would shock us as well since we typically don’t look at ourselves as being enslaved to sin. Maybe we do a few things wrong every now and then, but enslaved? It may not be politically correct, but Jesus never came to be popular but to speak the truth, and Jesus is speaking of people enslaved to sin. The scriptures teach us that all men are in sin (Romans 3:9-19) and are enslaved to it apart from Christ (Romans 6:16-20). Thankfully, Jesus gives us the key in John 8:31-32 for unlocking these chains of sin that have enslaved us. He tells us that continuing in His word is the key to break us free from our sin. In other words, we must ditch the buffet mentality of going through the His words and picking and choosing what we want to believe. We must consistently listen to and believe everything He says, not just the words that are pleasing to our ears. Then we will know Jesus, who is the truth, (John 14:6) and He will set us free (John 8:36). We will know the truth about His death to take away our sins (John 1:29) and remove the wrath of God that abides on us and give us eternal, abundant life (John 3:36, 10:10). We will be free to know His love (John 3:16), His grace (John 1:16), His living waters (John 4:14) and worship Him for eternity (John 4:23). This is liberating truth and true freedom. Do you have it?

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