Monday, September 23, 2013

Understanding the Bible More Deeply: Acting on the Bible

If you read the Bible as though it were true, you must act on what the Bible says.

Let’s say you purchase a new hair dryer. On the label is a warning not to use the hair dryer in water. I can’t imagine how anyone would use the hair dryer while they were taking a bath, for example. However, something happened to someone to warrant putting a warning label on hair dryers. So you read the label warning you not to use the hair dryer in water. You say, “Aha! It’s dangerous to use the hair dryer in water.” It doesn’t seem reasonable that you would then get in a bathtub full of water and try to dry your hair.

However, we too often do that with the Bible. We read what the Bible says, agree with its admonitions, and then promptly go out and do something other than what the Bible says. When that happens, we make it difficult to understand the Bible better because it would be detrimental. Isaiah, when faced with a vision of the living God in Isaiah 6:5 said, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips…” If too much were to be revealed to us at once, we would be undone. Isaiah came close.

As we act on the admonitions of scripture, we are strengthened to receive greater understanding by virtue of the Holy Spirit who indwells all believers. When we fail to act on the scriptures, our minds are cloaked by God, even those who are unbelievers, so that we don’t understand. Paul wrote this to the Romans in the first chapter of his letter to them:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things...

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done."

Therefore, although you have knowledge of all the God has revealed, disobedience will result in a failure to understand what you know.

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