Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in salvation. 1 Peter 2:2
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.
For a very brief introduction read the first paragraph here.
We must come to Jesus by faith
There was a man who was blameless in many ways. He was honest in his business dealings, tried to treat everyone fairly without showing partiality and kept his life free from sexual immorality. On top of that, he knew the scriptures quite well and was faithful to pray, tithe and even committed to fasting. He would be an exemplary man in our day and age where so many do not live up to standards of decency and integrity. There is one big problem though – he was not a Christian. He would have put most professing Christians to shame by his lifestyle, but that says more about professing Christians than the devout religious man. How can I say he was not a Christian then? He was the man in Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:9-14, and no, he was not the publican. The publican stood with his face to the ground and cried out to God for mercy understanding the weight of his sin. The Pharisee we have been talking about had great hope that his life well-lived would be his ticket into heaven. Jesus tells us the publican crying out for mercy was justified, and the Pharisee, however exemplary he was, was not.
We might wonder, “How can this be?” Does God not care that we are doing the best we can, attending and participating in church, and being an example to those at our work and home? All of these things may seem good on the surface, but even the Jew in our text believed in God and did so many good works that we would look like atheists compared to him. We have already looked in depth at how Jesus bore the sins of many and took their punishment on the cross, and in doing so, He can now declare sinners righteous. How do we receive it? A jailer once asked the apostle Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” Did Paul answer, “Help those who are in need and be generous and kind to everyone”? No! All he said was, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31). Believe is the verb form of the word faith. As I have shown from the scriptures in previous articles, everyone stands condemned in their sin and no amount of community service can change our verdict. We must come to Jesus with the empty hands of faith. Empty hands mean we do not bring anything to God – our works, our false belief that we are good. We just bring our sinful selves to God confessing our sin. Saving faith means entrusting our lives to Jesus Christ and His work of redemption. It is more than just nodding our head in agreement, but trusting wholeheartedly in Jesus Christ to remove our sin and the wrath of God abiding on us. Friends, my exhortation to you is simple. Ensure you believe in Jesus alone and are saved!