Putting the Pieces Together
One Christmas, our family decided that we were going to become a jigsaw family. We set up a table, sourced the most enormous jigsaw puzzle that we could find, and laid out all its pieces. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm soon proved unequal to the task. From time to time, one of us would walk up to the table, pick up a few pieces, fail to put them together—and then give up and walk away.
It is entirely possible for you and me to study the Bible as if we are picking up bits and pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, failing to put them together, and never seeing the magnificent picture in front of us. In other words, as the book of Hebrews puts it, we can study the Bible and find that it’s “of no value” to us because we “did not combine it with faith” (Hebrews 4:2, NIV1984). We might be meticulous in our Bible study and disciplined in our Bible memorization and yet all the time refuse truly to accept the Messiah about whom we are reading. To such people, Jesus offers challenging words: “You do not have [God’s] word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent” (John 5:38).
It’s sobering to think that even when men and women put themselves in a position to consider God’s word, they might still refuse to come to Jesus, the Giver and Sustainer of life. By nature, we have our fingers in our ears to silence God’s voice. By nature, Scripture tells us, “no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11).
As one author writes, though, while “there is no life in the Scriptures themselves … if we follow where they lead, they will bring us to Him, and so we find life, not in the Scriptures, but in Him through them.” The word of God in Scripture and the Word of God incarnate are interwoven, with the Spirit bringing God’s word to people so that they might meet and discover Christ.
Are you carrying around pieces of the Bible in your mind without putting them together and then standing back to see the beautiful picture of Jesus, arms outstretched, ready to save those who will come to Him in repentance and faith? Will you combine your knowledge of God’s word with true belief so that you avoid the pitfall of knowing a lot about the word without ever knowing the Word? Will you come to God’s word each day expecting to encounter Jesus as His Spirit works through His word? Let us be those who echo the prophet Samuel as we open God’s word: “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10, NIV).
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Godlessness in the Last Days
1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
All Scripture Is Breathed Out by God
10You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. 12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom1 you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God2 may be complete, equipped for every good work.
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