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Are my eyes and ears too dull to see the truth in the Word of God?

There is a huge difference in the way people read the Bible. How do I read it?

Philippians 2:12-13

Before his conversionTo make a decision to turn away from sin and darkness, from the power of the devil to the living God. We repent from our former sins, cast off our old life – a life which enjoyed living in the passing pleasures of sin – and lay hold of a new mind – a mindset that is determined to resist... More, Paul and his fellow Pharisees had all read the same scriptures, and most could quote the book of Isaiah from memory. Yet, with their great knowledge and scrupulous study, they had completely missed the Life that was in the Word. How could this happen to such zealous guardians of the truth? The truth was right there in front of them – in fact they had memorized it. But their hearts had become so dull that their eyes could not see what was written and their ears could not hear what the Word of Life was telling them. Matthew 13:10-17.

In Luke 8:18, Jesus gave the disciples this critical warning: “Therefore, take heed how you hear” … and now that we have the scriptures in written form, we can also say, “Be careful how you read.”

When I read the words of the Bible, I have to ask myself: Do I crave to hear what the Spirit wants to teach me? When I read it, do I let its truth strip me of my pretenses so that I can honestly and boldly seek help before the throne of grace“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. Because Jesus was tempted, yet did not sin, it is possible for us to come to Him with boldness to receive grace. This grace is so we too shall not commit sin in our... More? Has this book become the Word of Life for me? Or is it just a bag of stones to throw at others?

Words for life

If I love the truth about myself, then when I read the Word of God, it is to my benefit to read what is actually written, and carefully consider the implications of those words for my daily Christian walk:

  • “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17.

Do I believe that “all” means all?  Can that apply even to mundane deeds like sweeping the floor or doing homework? What about hanging out with friends? Does the prospect of doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus seem like a Word of Life for me? Or am I more worried that my friends might think I’ve become a “buzzkill?” If the latter, maybe I should reconsider whom I hang out with.

  • “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.

Jesus’ commandment to “be perfect” really says something incredible about the “future and hope” He had in mind for His disciples. (Jeremiah 29:11) But as Judas sat together with his brethrenThe “brothers” and “sisters” are those who are a part of the church of Christ. (Matthew 23:8; Matthew 12:50; Hebrews 2:10-18)... More and heard those words, he did not hear it as a life-giving word. From his actions, his thoughts might be deduced: “Aw, come on, Teacher, no one can be that perfect.” When I read the same words today, which voice should I listen to: the one that apparently spoke to Judas, or to the Word of Life Himself?

  • “By the Spirit we put to deathIs to overcome the temptations to sin that arise when our lusts and desires draw us to react in ways we know to be evil (i.e. pride, hatred, evil-speaking, envy etc.) It is the act of denying those thoughts and refusing to agree with them. The lust to sin is not only suppressed, but it actually dies. (Romans 8:13; Colossians... More the deeds of the bodyDeeds of the body are things we realize are wrong only after we have done them, because the Holy Spirit points them out to us; our eyes are opened to the fact that they were wrong. Therefore, anything wrong that we do unconsciously—without our mind or our enlightened self agreeing to it—is a deed of the body. There is no... More.” Romans 8:13.

As Christians, we know we are saved by grace through faith. Therefore, based on the scripture above, whose job is it to put to death the deeds of the body – the Spirit’s or ours?  (Clue: it isn’t the Spirit’s). The throne of grace provides help for victory in temptation – not comfort for remaining in sin. Indeed, God’s grace offers forgiveness and cleansing for all who come to Him by faith. But grace is not a hiding place for those who are unwilling to let go of the sins they came in with.

The Word of God – for or about us?

Some people say, “All of the Bible is for us, but not all of it is about us.” There is a glimmer of truth in this. Suppose we are reading Revelation 21:8, and the Spirit reveals some points where we have been fearful, weak in faith, idolizing the greatness of this world, etc. If we repentRepentance is the act of regretting sincerely the sin in your past with the goal to never do it again. It is making a decision to turn away from evil and to serve God. Repentance is one of the requirements for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 2:17; Luke 15:10; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 3:19; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter... More and forsake those old ways, then Revelation 21:8 has been good for us but, God be praised, it is not about us. But if the Spirit shows us those hidden sins and instead of receiving that judgment, we comfort ourselves by comparing ourselves to people who we think are even worse, then Revelation 21:8 is not only for us, it is also about us.

Likewise, if we fightAlmost all talk of battles and wars when concerning a Christian life refers to the inner battle that arises when a sinful thought tempts you. God’s Spirit and the flesh are at odds. When you have decided to only do God’s will and are being led by the Spirit, a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit arises: there is... More the good fight so that we overcome lying, then all of the things that are written about overcomers are also written about us. (Revelation 21:7)  This is simple enough for a child to understand.

We often meet people who are new in the area and when the topic comes around to faith, they will usually say something like: “Yes, we are looking for a church where we can be comfortable.” Depending on the person, finding such a church may be easy or nearly impossible. But if people are hungry for the Word of Life – that is, hungry for a word that points them toward a new life in Christ – then they can find it simply by approaching the Scriptures with humility and a love for the truth about themselves. God will lead such people to others with the same mind, and they will find fellowshipFellowship means communion with other Christians who are living the same life that you are. It includes mutual edification and a unity in purpose and spirit that goes far deeper than friendship or human relationships. (1 John 1:7) We also experience fellowship with Christ when we overcome sin in the time of temptation just as He did when He was... More in the spirit.

Quote from J.O. Smith:

“Be an independent person – think for yourself and hear for yourself, read for yourself in the Scriptures, and judge and discern for yourself in everything. Then you will become spiritual and useful in the Lord’s service.”

Key teachings

Explore how God’s Word challenges and empowers us to live 100% according to His will, so we no longer need to fall in sin, but can come to a life of victory.

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The Gospel of God

Grace means that all our sin is forgiven when we confess it. But it also means that we receive power to obey the truth that Jesus came with. In this book, Sigurd Bratlie expands upon this, showing the true gospel of God which is obedience to the faith.

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