Thursday, December 29, 2011

"The Book" Part 3

Reading the Bible with the proper attitude of humble faith implies the confession of our native weakness and need for change.

"My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken Thou me according to Thy Word" (Psalm 119:25).

We open the Scriptures to discover God, both in the essence of His person and the expression of His ways. Thereby we discover ourselves also, and the truth is initially disturbing (and often disturbing along the way as well). Originally created in God's image, humanity bears remnants of such an honored place and position in creation. However, the pages of the Bible quickly reveal our lost estate, even to the degree that our Creator rued the day He made us. "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart" (Genesis 6:5-6).

Left to ourselves, the human race is a disgrace with no hope but grace. The Bible plainly states the extent of our failure to be and do what we were made to be and do. Thankfully, it also plainly states God's loving purpose to redeem and renew us. Born again believers have begun the holy process of being conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus, as effected and empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Our roll involves trusting and submitting ourselves to God in the confession of our need for ongoing change. Consistent reading of Scripture is a primary aspect of this human response to Divine redemption. The Book changes the heart by first revealing our Heavenly Father's working on our behalf, and then the necessity of our devotion to being changed.

Little wonder that the Word of God refers to itself as a sword, a "sharp, two edged sword" (Ephesians 6:17; Revelation 1:16). Such weapons change things, leaving nothing the same that encounters its honed edge. The Book is a blade, a blessed blade that severs the diseased and poisoned flesh which would destroy us if left intact. By definition, we open it's pages in order to be changed, an ongoing process both blessed and painful. Let us expect this dual experience of the dual-edged sword, the sword of Scripture that does not and cannot leave us the same when we submit ourselves to its redeeming work of grace.

"Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
(II Corinthians 3:18)

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