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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

From the paper - Big words tell big truths about Jesus

For a very brief introduction read the first paragraph here.

Big words tell big truths about Jesus
Propitiation, justification and imputation. To some these words sound like they either came from some old, crusty theologian or from someone who had a bad sneezing fit. In reality, these three words were not made up by some scholars so they could sound smart, but were written so everybody would know them. These words came by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Yes, they are found in the Bible and they tell us about the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without them we have no gospel and with no gospel we have no Christianity. So what do they mean? In future columns, I will look at each word in depth, but today I would like to give you a little taste of them and show you how sweet they are to the souls of believers.

Let us take them one by one. The word propitiation tells us about the type of death Jesus died on our behalf. We just think that Jesus died for our sins, (which He most certainly did!) but the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 3:25 that God also put forward Jesus as a propitiation, meaning Jesus bore not only our sins but also the punishment our sins deserved. God being holy and just could not overlook our sins (Proverbs 17:15) since it would go against His very being (Psalm 7:11). For our sins not only separated us from God, they also put us at enmity with our holy God (Romans 5:9-10, John 3:36). Through Jesus’ propitiatory sacrifice Christians are now reconciled and have eternal peace with God!

Justification is found in one form or another throughout the scriptures. The apostle Paul uses it specifically to refer to our standing before God. Anyone who trusts alone in Christ’s work on the cross are justified or declared righteous. Think about that for a moment. Somebody is guilty of terrible crimes and fully deserves to be punished for what he or she has done, and then the judge declares the criminal to be not guilty, perfectly righteous! We would scream if we saw this happen in the US court system, and yet this is what happens to someone who puts there faith in Christ. They are not guilty. That is the remarkable work of justification. Then finally, what happens to us after Christ takes away our sin? Are we just neutral and when we commit another sin we are back to the redemption drawing board again? Nope! The righteousness of Christ is imputed or credited to us and therefore seen perfectly righteous in God’s sight. This is imputation.

Jesus accomplished all this at mount Calvary so that those who receive this gift of God by faith alone can have peace with God. Anyone who is in Christ can joyfully claim there is now and never will be condemnation, but everlasting life. Wow! What fantastic news. This has enormous implications for our lives so stay tuned as we dig a little deeper into God’s gift of love.

No comments: