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, March 09, 2010

From the paper - Remember that God is 'just'

For a very brief introduction read the first paragraph here.

Remember that God is 'just'
The 1962 classic film, The Music Man, is about a con man that arrives in River City, Iowa and deceives the people into thinking he is a traveling band instructor.  He convinces the people to purchase instruments and uniforms for their children and then tries to run off with the money.  If you have not seen the movie, I will not give away the ending except that everything turns out just fine for the people and the con man.  Everyone lives happily ever after, so to speak.  It is not too uncommon for movies to portray “bad” guys who turn their lives around as never being punished for the bad they did.  We have to be careful not to project this common idea upon God.  Although He is love, He is also just and holy.  He does not wink at our sin, or push it aside even if we decide to turn our life around.  The scriptures testify that all men have sinned and are worthy of condemnation (Romans 1:18, 3:10, 3:23).  In order for us to have hope of being justified (declared righteous), our sin must be dealt with.  This is why the word “propitiation” is so important in the scriptures.  It tells us how a loving God can accept sinful man.  

The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 3:25 that Jesus was put forward as a propitiation by His blood.  The apostle John also says in 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Propitiation is at the heart of the gospel, so what is it?  It is God putting forth Jesus to not only bear the sins of many, but also the punishment sin deserves.  This is why Jesus’ death on the cross is often called a penal substitutionary atonement.  He died in the place of sinners, bearing their sins (substitute) and taking the just punishment of God (penalty) they deserved.  When Jesus sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane, asking His Father that if it were possible to remove the cup, He was not just referring to His physical suffering.  Christ’s immense sorrow stemmed from the wrath of God that the cup symbolized (Psalm 75:1-8, Jeremiah 25:15-18, Isaiah 51:17-21).  Jesus knew of the prophecy in Isaiah 53 that spoke about how the LORD would crush Him and put Him to grief (Isaiah 53:10).  This is what caused our Lord’s anguish – not the rods, the whips, or even the nails and excruciating pain of the cross.  He died on the cross in our place and was physically raised to life on the third day, proving that His sacrifice was accepted by God, meaning that God’s wrath was appeased and that sinners were forgiven.  Now anyone who trusts in this great work of Christ can know for certain their sins are forgiven and there is now no condemnation.  Do you trust in His work?

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