Friday, March 27, 2015

"Principle and Practice"

    If queried about the truth and veracity of the Bible, most born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will quickly and decisively respond in the affirmative, echoing the Psalmist, "In His Word do I hope" (Psalm 130:5).

    In the practical outworking of our walk with the Lord, however, we may find ourselves not always acting in accordance with our principled confidence.  At the root of any sin we commit lies unbelief.  Our spiritual enemies offer us a way that contradicts the mandate of the Bible.  If we respond to their temptation, we either tacitly or directly determine that God's way is not best despite the Bible's clear declaration that "to live is Christ… the wages of sin is death" (Philippians 1:21; Romans 6:23).  We face the same challenge with which Satan confronted Adam and Eve, namely, the attack upon God's faithfulness and the truth of His Word.  "Ye shall surely die" the Lord warned regarding the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  "Ye shall not surely die" countered the devil.  Our forefathers believed the enemy rather than the Friend, just as we do any time we distrust and disobey God (Genesis 3:1-6).

    The more we grow in the knowledge and understanding of our Lord and His Truth, the more likely we are to believe Him in times of temptation.  "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ… Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (II Peter 3:18; Psalm 119:11).  If we "live by faith,"  it must be that we experience the death of sin by its rival, namely, by unbelief (Romans 1:17).  Thus, we must realize our need to believe the Scriptures in far more than merely the principled sense that the Bible is true.  We must realize the specific confrontations we will face throughout our lifetime to believe someone or something other than the Word of our Lord.  Again, at the root of every temptation lies Satan's deception, "Thou shalt not surely die."  Only as we increasingly know the character, nature, and way of our perfectly faithful Heavenly Father will we find ourselves consistently arise to affirm, "Thy Word is true from the beginning, and every one of Thy righteous judgments endureth forever" (Psalm 119:160).  Obedience, "the obedience of faith," flows from such confidence based upon our Scripture-formed conviction that "Thy Word is truth" (Romans 16:26; John 17:17).  The principle empowers the practice as we recognize our calling to "walk by faith" (II Corinthians 5:7).

"This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous, for whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.  And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcommits the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" 
(I John 5:3-5)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Who can understand his errors?  Cleanse thou me from secret faults.
(Psalm 19:12)

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