Odd thought just crossed my mind. Romans 5 is happening, or
something like it.
We’re sure seeing a lot of the works of darkness revealed over the past several months: riots in the streets, bad people, bad plans and bad actions are caught. (Keep praying along that they’d be revealed, of course. And brought to justice.)
But then there’s Romans 5:
• Romans 5:10: For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
• Romans 5:15: But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
• Romans 5:17: For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
• Romans 5:20b: But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.
The principle that I think I might be hearing is this: if we’re seeing the works of dark spirits, how much more will the Holy Spirit be accessible to us in that time and place?
I think we’ll find him willing to share his heart with us. And I’ll bet you a shiny new nickel that it’s kind of a whole lot more encouraging than the sewage the spirits of darkness are spreading around.
Note: I believe that the revelation will come in unfamiliar form, perhaps in hard-to-recognize form. It may be in unusual coincidences, or stray thoughts in your imagination, or casual conversation. I was overwhelmed by Holy Spirit speaking about our days in a Marvel movie the other night. Keep your eyes open.
Where sin abounds (and isn’t it abounding now?), Grace (God’s power, God’s direction) much more abounds.
If somebody is telling you a flat-out lie, and I report, “This is what they’re saying,” without describing it as the truth or as a lie, Then am I telling you the truth to you? Or am I lying to you?
Related to that:
If somebody is telling a flat-out lie, and the Bible reports, “This is what they said,” without describing it as either truthful or a lie, Then is the Bible speaking truth? Or is it lying?
Of course, I’m going to argue that if the Bible is just reporting what they said, that this it is telling the truth, even if what it is truthfully reporting is a lie. Even when the Bible accurately quotes their lying words, it is telling the truth, and you can have confidence that they did, indeed, tell that lie.
For example, when Bildad the Shuhite says to Job, “When your children sinned against him, [God] gave them over to the penalty of their sin,” [Job 8:4] and the Bible truthfully reports Bildad’s fake news, then the Bible is still speaking the truth, even if Job’s children never sinned, and even if Bildad can’t tell his sphincter from a scepter.
Or when the Bible accurately quotes a snake calling God a liar, and declaring “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” [Genesis 3:5], then the Bible is still telling the truth, even though the words it is quoting are a flat-out lie, literally straight from the devil’s mouth.
This leads to a very awkward and uncomfortable place. I’m going to say this bluntly:
- Not everything the Bible says is true.
- Some of what the Bible says is a lie, because
- Sometimes the Bible truthfully reports people’s lies.
That’s going to trigger some folks, but take a deep breath and think about it: we’ve just discussed two specific lies that the Bible quotes. The Bible accurately (“truthfully”) reports the lies. But they’re still lies. They’re still in the Bible. The Bible contains these two lies (and many more).
What’s even more challenging is that the Bible doesn’t generally identify whether people are speaking the truth or telling a lie, just like it doesn’t comment on whether what they’re doing is wise or stupid. It never commented that the snake was lying, or that Bildad was lying.
And there are some epic examples of stupid choices and stupid thinking that the Bible reports to us. If you think about it, you can think of several yourself.
“But what about that verse that says it’s all inspired?”
The verse actually says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” [2 Timothy 3:16] Yep. That’s what it says. And yes, this is true!
So yeah, it’s still good for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Some of it, by virtue of accurately reporting people’s stupid choices, is particularly helpful for the rebuking and correcting parts! (Yes, David really did seduce his good friend’s wife, and then murder that friend to cover it up. No, we are not teaching that you need to do the same thing!)
In other words, yes, the Bible is still precious, and it is still God-breathed and useful nutrition for saints. But like all nutrition, some of it needs to be chewed well before the nutrients are available to help saints grow.
Don’t just grab pieces and swallow them whole. Find out who said it, who they said it to, and the circumstances they were said in. Learn to chew your food carefully.
If I ask my Father for something to eat, and then I complain about what he brings me, my complaint is not merely against the food. My complaint is also against my Father who brought me the meal.
Their depictions of Heaven were similarly unbiblical, and similarly designed to maximize the number of people running to the altar at the end of the service.
The best part of the conversation will be on Facebook. Come join in.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
That's the King James for 2Timothy 2:15, and people often bring this up as a justification for their fascination with the Old Covenant, or to reinforce their point that you have to earn favor.
There's so much Scriptural bastardry in how we've taught this verse. I'm really quite embarrassed.
First, "Study" in 1611, when King Jimmy commissioned his translation meant what the Greek word σπουδάζω means. However, in 21st Century English, the word means "be diligent," or "do your best." It has nothing to do with academic study.
I'm very much in favor of studying the Bible. But this verse is not even remotely talking about that. Illustrations (like the one here) that tie this verse to a picture of a Bible are seriously missing the point of this scripture!
Second, παρίστημι, "show yourself" (or worse, "shew thyself") in 1611, is more about "Show what you're really like," not "work for your approval."
"Approved" speaks of a coin that's been demonstrated to be real silver, not lead or tin: this is the real thing. Again, "Show what you're really like."
So the whole thing is more about, "Be careful to let who you really are show." The idea of "Don't hide God's delight in you" is there as well.
We could go on.
This is probably why the NIV (the "Nearly Inspired Version" lol) translates it as "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
For decades, this verse was used as a club, justifying church rules and expectations, requiring my suffering sweat (or my academic study) in order to be acceptable.
Don't let people use the Bible as a club. It's a love letter from a lovesick Daddy who wants his kids back. Anybody that uses Scripture to control others is a good person to pray for, but not a good person to follow.