Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Devotional - The Precious Word of God

Good morning everyone. I hope your day has started off well and you are looking forward to this day, a wonderful gift from our Father. Use it wisely. We are continuing with Galatians 1.

It is so easy to make the Bible say what we want it to say. It is so easy to convince people of it. Many people do not read the Word for themselves and if they do read it they read it like a novel. Unless we take the time to actually study it we will always be in danger of being manipulated. Sunday preaching is not studying the Word. Preachers take the Word and tell people how it is applied every day. Preaching is a unique thing but it is not the in-depth study of the Word that we need to be involved in.

If we think it is hard in our current age imagine what it was like without the written word. The early believers had the Torah but they were living the experience as the New Testament was being written. How much easier it must have been for people to come in and dilute or change the gospel of grace, the gospel that had been given to Paul to teach. He writes to the Galatians out of great concern:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. vs. 6-7

The apostle Paul appears to be like a mother hen at times, always watching over and trying to protect the little ones. But there was good reason for this. This gospel of grace that we have we take for granted but in Paul's day this was a new revelation. Everything else, all other religions required works. To be able to receive salvation for free, simply by the grace of the Father was astonishing and hard to accept. By our nature we want to earn things, it makes us feel better. Let's not kid ourselves, the great maturity of people still struggle with this. The reason they struggle is because we do not really want to receive salvation, only have our guilt relieved.

People still struggle with the notion of the Bible. Because it was scribed by men it is easy to dismiss it as good literature. But this was not a thing from the mind of a man or group of men. Paul describes his gospel as this:

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. vs. 11-12

If we cannot settle in our hearts that the Word of God is from God and is the truth of God to man then we will always be open to be victims of any teaching that comes along. We cannot accept some parts of the Word and dismiss other parts. We cannot accept it as a great work of literature and still call on the name of Jesus. We cannot live and grow by word of mouth. In order to be a solid follower of Jesus we need to know and accept the Word of God as the truth, the great revelation of our God.

The great fact that we tend to ignore is that the Word of God was birthed through the Spirit of God. Although we can study the words on the page we will never understand the Word unless we understand it through the Spirit. Just as Paul did not receive it from any man and just as he was not taught it by any man, we too must be taught it by the Spirit. It is only by the Spirit that we will know the Word to be true and that it will come alive to us.

Do not abandon the Word of God for what appears to be an easier gospel. What can be easier than free? Do not let anyone come in and rob you of the richness and depth of the Word. Study it for yourself and ask the Spirit of God to teach you. You do not require any interpreter or any mediator to approach God. Jesus Christ is the only mediator that we need and the Spirit is our teacher. Do not let anyone steal it away from you.

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