Friday, July 21, 2006

WordPoints - July 21, 2006

Getting the Right Answers
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan,
with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception
among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth,
that they might be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:9,10

Not only is obedience more important than understanding, it also happens to be the key to understanding. If we approach the discovery of truth with any intent other than to obey the truth once we discover it, it's not likely that we'll find the truth we're looking for. Getting the right answers to our questions depends greatly on our reasons for asking those questions.

In the above text, Paul wrote of those whose minds were confused and deceived by the "lying wonders" of Satan. Our adversary is indeed a crafty deceiver, and those who'll perish in the battle against him will be those who "did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." But notice what Paul said in the two verses that immediately follow: "And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:11,12). These words are a wake-up call, are they not? To study with anything less than the honest intent to act on the truth is to doom ourselves to being deceived. In the quest for spiritual truth, as in most important endeavors, very much depends on our motive.

When Jesus of Nazareth appeared in Galilee, proclaiming that His teaching was God's word to humankind, some saw the sense in what He said and others did not. What made the difference? Was it simply that some were more insightful than others? No, Jesus Himself said that it would be those who desired not simply to know but to do God's will who would discern that it was God's word they were hearing. "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority" (John 7:17). Even on such a fundamental question as that of Jesus' identity, getting the right answer depends on what we intend to do with the answer once we find it. Seeking the knowledge of God is a very serious business.

Anyone who attempts to read the Bible should begin with
a genuine respect for God. Then there needs to be a firm desire
to reform one's life according to its teaching.
Thomas Cranmer
Copyright © 2006 by Gary Henry - Visit the WordPoints web site:


osray said...

This is a good report. I pray that God will open our spiritual eyes and ears, to know His word better, and like you say, then walk the walk when we understand more.

EmmaSometimes said...

If someone is seeking truth, wouldn't their motives already be genuine? No one seeks the truth to find it and then ignore it.

Your point is very valid but the verse is addressing unbelievers (that they might be saved). I do agree that obedience to what God is telling us (truth) is undeniably an action that we must take.

C.S. Lewis did not have the motive of promoting Christ, more accurately he wanted to disprove the Bible. Case for Christ was the book he wrote from his study. This was essentially his realization that God's teachings were infallible. Would that make Lewis wrong in his motives?

On one hand, I have found the people in my past who regularly pointed to chapter and verse with 'interpretation' of what they felt I needed to hear or their version of what God was telling me, were driven to prove they are right and not to provide God's truth to others. This obviously is not always the case but for me, it takes a lot for me to not question someones motives.

I truly believe that God brings the growth in our life and just as much as we are unable to provide our own salvation, we are just as unable to make the increase in our spiritual maturity regardless of our motives. God brings the increase for us. We just have to let him work.

As a Christian, there have been issues that have been difficult for me due to many things: my lack of maturity, sin, the lack of conviction in the matter or even that God was not addressing that issue in my life. For instance, the bible states in every passage I could quote do not be intoxicated with drink, although some run with this idea that all alcohol is ungodly. Some would say I am not being godly when I have a glass of wine since that is not their conviction. Anyway...

Sorry, a bit of a rabbit trail here....very thought provoking post, as usual :o)

uncle joe said...

There goes emma cottontail hoppin down the bunny trail!

I'm too tired right now to make sense of anything.
God's Grace is abounding....

Gary Henry said...

Unfortunately, there might be many reasons why a person would "seek the truth" or "search the Scriptures" other than a simple desire to obey God.

Jesus, for example, pointed out that the Pharisees were experts in the content of the Scriptures. They searched the text diligently (John 5:39), but they failed to get correct answers to even the most important questions -- such as whether Jesus was the Christ.

Hopefully, our motives today are more honorable than those of the Pharisees, but I wonder if our intent in studying the Scriptures sometimes is not simply to KNOW the truth. That's a good motive, as far as it goes, but it falls short of what our real motive ought to be: not only to know the truth but to DO the truth (John 7:17).

When we honestly want to OBEY the truth, God's assurance is that we'll get the information we need to accomplish that goal.

On the other hand, if our intent is anything less than full obedience, there is no guarantee that we'll even recognize the truth when it is right in front of us (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

Badoozie said...

people read the bible for all sorts of reasons, some to disprove it, some to use it as a weapon to beat up others, and some as if it were a textbook. some don't read it at all, and still claim to be a believer

as for the pharisee's, God had hardened their hearts, therefore, they could have read until the second coming, and would never have gotten the love.

so i ask this question
lets say a person who is not saved is reading the bible, with the intent to become saved, but God has chosen that particular person's heart to be hardened, and God already knows that person will never be saved, but that person reading actually thinks they are going to find salvation.