Monthly Archives: March 2018
Romans 10:17 is a very significant verse that we dare not limit or narrowly bind its implications.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When I used to read this verse, an image of pews and podium popped up into my mind. Teaching may be a part of this process of hearing, but the idea here is much bigger than that. Teachers do not all teach the same thing and that can be troublesome to the extent that people get discouraged trying to get to know God. I know from experience.
The key is in understanding the word ‘hearing’. The fact that it is used twice in an almost melodious way is beautiful. The word ‘hearing’ is translated from the Greek word ‘akoe’. In Hebrew it has the sense of hearing to hear. It implies attentive hearing to the word of God.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5
Asking for help from God brings great rewards. Instead of praying for specific needs, try praying to understand the truth about God and his son. Prayer involves listening. It is two-way. You cannot trust anyone unless you first listen attentively. Your brain must receive information and process it. Faith is not mindless. True understanding can only come when we are actively engaged in learning what God is all about. Everything else will fall into place.
A good understanding about the gift of holy spirit is also important. The holy spirit is key in teaching us God’s Word. Christ and the holy spirit are tied together. That is also how Christ is tied to us. He is the way to God. God who is spirit (John 4:24) is over all. God’s spirit is with Christ and that spirit has been made available to us. We are one with God as Christ is one with God.
9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-10
Several of the earlier Greek texts translate the ‘word of God’ in this verse as the ‘word of Christ’. The context of this chapter in Romans and the book of Romans in general, explains what God has done through his son Jesus Christ:
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me John 17:21
18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Ephesians 2:18
We need to understand who Jesus Christ is if he is to be our Lord. The subject of the Bible is Jesus Christ. He is foreshadowed in the Old Testament and his record as he walked this earth is in the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. His resurrection and what he is doing now and in the future is recorded in the rest of the Bible. This is the ‘word of Christ’. How can you make Jesus Christ Lord if you don’t get what he is all about.
When this all works together it is powerful but it takes trust on our part to benefit. The more we learn about God and Jesus Christ accurately will build trust and we will see the results of that trust. Faith is not blind.
There is no power that is completely sure, reliable, and 100% efficient other than the power of God. The power that God gives is quite different from any other power on this earth.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I Timothy 1:7
God’s power is accompanied by love and sound thinking. God spells out all three in his Word. The Word provides the basis for what is truth. Truth brings us to power, love and sound thinking if we so choose.
Our world is filled with contradictions to the truth of God’s Word. People adapt things that they like to believe, instead of seeing the heart of God and trusting in his infinite wisdom. Truth is what God is; love is what God is and the Word is God:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
Contradictions are everywhere. Contradictions are always interlaced with truth. Recently in the news there were some blatant examples of this in regards to life after death. Honestly I have no idea where purgatory, limbo and other unsubstantiated beliefs come from except out of the minds of men. The Word is pretty simple on this topic:
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent(go before) them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
According to the Word of God, ‘Aunt Sally’ who died a while ago, is not sitting on a cloud awaiting others to join her. Aunt Sally is ‘asleep’ awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians explains what will happen to Aunt Sally when Christ returns someday in the clouds. He will give a shout (!) and there will be the trumpet of God and good old Aunt Sally will awake and be joined by all other Christians to be with the Lord forever. (I Corinthians 15 sheds more light on this) This is the genuine comfort of God in knowing the truth. It is power, love and sound thinking.
God’s Word is the true comfort of our lives:
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
It is easy to say “I love you”, but what does that mean? You could ask a variety of people and it might get a lot of different answers. There are all sorts of theories about love. Human love has a variety of colors and shades.
You could also ask God since he is the author of love. God’s love is talked about in detail in the Word of God. There is no mistaking the love of God when one experiences it first-hand. It is very different from the world’s conception of love:
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. I Corinthians 13:1-3
Wow, there are some statements in the verses above that sound very loving! This whole section is talking about the love of God as it permeates people’s hearts. The love of God has a recognizable set of tools:
4 Charity suffereth long (King Jimmy language meaning ”having a long fuse’) and is kind (not a gossip, nor mean, snarky or a busybody); charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself (lifting oneself above others), is not puffed up,
Each of us have our own individual qualities, we are not to compare our lives with others. To do so denies the very essence of what God is all about. When we size ourselves up by others, all hell abounds!
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly (stay in one’s lane), seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil (does not lay guilt and shame at people’s feet); 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity (‘aha I gotcha’, but rejoiceth in the truth (truth is an integral part of love); 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. I Corinthians 13:4-7
Everything else is false love. The worldly kind of love ultimately brings people down. It may carry expectations that might herald guilt and condemnation and the pointing of fingers down the road. God’s love brings people up and empowers them. It lifts us up and out of the mud and darkness. Worldly love has potholes and traps, that trip people up. God’s love is freedom and peace. It never disappoints:
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
We are constantly growing in our lives and we mature as we take on values that are sure and unfailing. If we continue to look to God for our answers, he is ready, willing and able to provide them.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
When you see it you will know it.
There are two ways that the world wears down people in relationships. People can either feel excluded (feel like they don’t belong) or if included, shamed and relegated to an insignificant position. God does neither. It is important to understand that when a person feels either way in their relationship with God, something is amiss.
Nobody gets missed by God in John 3:16:
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Nobody is diminished in God’s eyes either. We have release from condemnation and guilt :
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption (sonship), whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
‘The Spirit’ bears witness to our ‘spirit’. Those who have believe Jesus as Lord and all God provided through His son, receive the gift of holy spirit. We can no more be pushed around if we clearly understand what this means:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6
This where our significance really lies. It is our confidence. We no longer have to bow to the current tide of human error and culture as we look to God who so richly supplies. We can be lifted in a good way to reflect the goodness of God and love others in the same manner. They may not recognize that kind of love right away because it runs counter to the world, but God’s love produces results, it does not return void.