By The Book
“You just HAVE to read this book! It’s life-changing”! I’m sure you’ve had that experience of somebody trying to hand you a book and insisting you must read it. What were they excited about? The newest parenting theory? Financial advice? The latest dietary trend? ‘Truth’ on those matters seems to change frequently. And opposing viewpoints are each held up with the claim of truth. It’s enough just to walk away with your hands in the air. Or to surrender in dismay and choose to hold a neutral or apathetic position instead. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Maybe you can identify with these thoughts: “I’d rather not make that call! Unless I run into trouble, I don’t have to worry about that. I’m managing just fine.”
I had a conversation on faith with somebody the other week, and that was basically their posture. It was expressed in a relativistic stance: “I’m for good. So whatever works for you. Just don’t push it on me.” The problem with that thinking is that not all things can be equally true! And the problem with deciding not to evaluate a position and find firm footing in advance is that when you get into trouble you don’t have the time to do digging and vetting of information; you’ll end up having to put complete trust in somebody’s recommendation that “worked for them”.
So is there a better source for truth than human opinion? Yes! A couple Sundays ago we finished our sermon series titled FIRM FOUNDATION; five fingers, five non-negotiable theological truths for easy memory that will make for secure footing in our ever changing world. Our 5th non-negotiable belief is in the ‘supremacy of scripture’. We believe that the Bible is God’s Word. It is authoritative. God is the author of the Bible, and as such is the ultimate source of truth for our lives. It can be trusted, unlike fallible human opinion.
What impact should belief in the supremacy of Scripture have upon our lives? Confessing the Bible as authoritative should result in a life shaped by the Bible. Do you have a Jesus shaped life? Or do you have a life that looks an awful like the world? Eugene Petersen’s rendering of the famous conformity passage Romans 12:2 says: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Now that’s a great vision for a life: Well-formed maturity!
Adherence to the Bible as our rule of faith should lead to a lifestyle of seeking to grow in knowledge of what the Bible says, and to a lifestyle of obedience to what it says! There are many paths to growing closer to God (i.e. Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas), but there is only one path to God. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”(John 14:6). If Jesus is the only way to God, we better pay attention and learn from him. Our trusted source of information about Jesus is his disciples who were eye-witnesses (i.e. 1 John 1:1-3; 2 Peter 1:16-21). As we read about the life and teachings of the Word became flesh (John 1:14), the perfect one so full of grace, truth, love, humility, and power, we can’t help but be drawn to him. And the invitation of the Risen One is to come and trust in him and develop a personal relationship with him. And with that grand invitation to relationship he also offers us a beautiful challenge to change. If we love him we will obey his commands (John 14:15,23). If we believe in the supremacy of Scripture this challenge will be a easier to embrace, for we know the Creator of life holds the design and what he calls us to is for our own good.
I leave you with the benediction of 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”