Monday, May 22, 2017

Studying The Scriptures VII

Many today believe that the old Testament is irrelevant to modern Christians.   This is directly contradicted by II Timothy 2:16-7.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”   Paul says it is all relevant.  

In I Corinthians 10:6-11, he tells us, “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  Even the most obscure passages warn of the consequences of ignoring God’s plan, in hopes of preventing our experiencing the same consequences.

Many believe that the old Testament law is completely obsolete, quoting  verses like Romans 10:4 to support their claims.  “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”   Jesus himself said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven,” in Matthew 5:17-19.   While those who believe are no longer under the Law, it is still in effect for the unsaved world.    While it cannot save them, understanding it’s provisions makes people aware of their need of salvation, according to romans 3:20.  “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

Those who ignore that law, or teach others to ignore it will lose any rewards they might otherwise earn, although they will not lose their salvation, according to I Corinthians 3:13-15.  “Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Each book and story in the Bible was specifically directed by god to teach us certain things in order to prepare us to serve him in a proper fashion.    The first few chapters of Genesis tell us who God is, how he created the world, and how man began to rebel against him, choosing to follow Satan instead.   God is a just God who cannot overlook such rebellion, and the remainder to Genesis and Exodus illustrate his love and mercy, providing a way to be freed from the consequences of sin.   Hebrews than uses those illustrations to enable us to understand what eternal salvation requires.  The historical books show us the rewards for serving God, and the punishment for ignoring him.  Leviticus helps us understand the moral standard and attitudes God expects from his people.   Proverbs provides a series of short, easily remembered guidelines for having the best life possible here on earth.  Romans explains the basic doctrines of the Christian faith, while I Corinthians demonstrates what it means to walk in the Spirit.  I and II Timothy and Titus explain what is required in ministry, while Revelation and the various prophets warn of what we can expect in the future.    The overlapping teachings of the various books enable us to verify our understanding of the different teachings. 

Clearly, it will be necessary to study all the scriptures if we are to be fully prepared to serve God acceptably.  We must not limit ourselves to a few subjects or passages we consider more important.  

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