Jul 20, 2014 0
Christians ought to concede one of the arguments of scoffers. The Bible CAN BE, and sometimes IS, ambiguous. Not on matters of essential doctrine, of course. There enough unambiguous words from Jesus and the Apostles, for instance, about the way to Heaven, the path to Eternal Life: Believing in Jesus as the Son of God, and accepting His atoning sacrifice for our sins. Repentance will follow; as will confessing Him in your life.
The “ambiguous” parts come with issues that have railed or raged through the centuries, in discussions between friends, to the basis of wars between nations. Lack of biblical clarity has caused numerous councils to meet in deep debates, and has led to divisions, schisms, and uncountable splits and new denominations. And wars.
End times – when will the End of the Age come? And will the tribulation be at the beginning, middle, or end of the millennium? Is the Book of Revelation given to John literal or allegorical? Are the letters to seven churches contemporaneous or prophetical? Do they address periods of the future church’s dispensational practices? Did Jesus mean that His sharing of bread and wine was to foreordain consubstantiation or transubstantiation? Is the Body of Christ the New Israel? Can believers lose their salvation? Are the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today, or did they expire in the first century? Infant or “believer baptism”?
I believe these ambiguities of the Bible – the “confusing” parts about which, counter-intuitively, much dogmatism reigns – were purposely put there by God. Many men wrote the scriptures, inspired (literally , “breathed-in”) in every case; that is, not of their own thoughts, as coffers say, but God’s. Therefore, don’t you think that if some things might be interpreted this way or that, it is because God wants to keep His children on their toes, spiritually?
None of those “stumpers” affect our salvation, you’ll note. No, they are “side issues” to our belief in God, our acceptance of Jesus, and (or should be separate from) our service to fellow humans. For instance, “No one shall know the time or the hour” of the Second Coming. Nevertheless, Christians argue. Nevertheless, the question has nothing to do with our salvation. But the ambiguity leads to… keeping us on our spiritual toes.
One of the ambiguities has to do with prayer. The other side of ambiguity’s coin, so to speak, is “mystery.” God cannot contradict Himself, so when we are told things that seem inconsistent, we may be sure that our puny minds are at times insufficient, not that we have not caught God in an “Aha!” moment.
We have “Aha!” moments when we listen to God. We cannot catch God in an “Aha!” moment.
In my baby-Christian days I made myself a victim of what I misunderstood about God’s will, and I still fall prey, as do many believers. When conscious of my sins, or a specific transgression, I would pray. And pray. And seek God. And fall on my face before Him. Don’t we all do this, sometimes?
Yet we know that God answers prayer. “He rewards those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6), among many similar verses throughout scripture. Yet what does “diligently” mean, precisely? Among multitudes of examples are stories of mothers who prayed daily for years for the salvation of their children. Surely this cannot contradict scripture; we are taught in Matthew 21:22, “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it (NLT).” Is it against God’s will to pray, and pray, and pray, for something? Does it mean we don’t trust Him to hear?
Sweet mysteries. We stay on our spiritual toes. We pray, we believe, and we seek Him.
However – back to when I was a baby-Christian – one trap into which believers should NEVER fall is this: once we have accepted Jesus, and He lives in our hearts, we must never pray prayers that approach God as “me, a lowly sinner.” Ashamed to lift our faces. How many Christians ruin their “walk” – cripple their faith – pollute their relationship with God – by adopting this attitude? MANY OF US!
Remember God throwing our sins into the Sea of Forgetfulness? This is similar. As God promises, and we cannot do, He both knows and forgets. But don’t you forget this: if Jesus is in your heart… then, when God sees you, He sees His Son. When He looks upon you, He doesn’t see the person who still fights sin and temptation. He sees that you are covered in the Blood Of the Lamb. Stand up, and claim that right standing with God.
The “defeated one,” Satan, also sees the Jesus in your heart, and cannot attack you unless you give him quarter.
Christians are too modest, or least about the wrong things, too often. Jesus lives in you! No matter what your transgressions or burdens, or how you are attacked… how can you keep from singing?
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How can we keep from singing? This is the title of a classic American hymn, its author somewhat obscure, but music by Robert Lowry, and it first appeared in printed hymnals around 1868. Here, performed in a style undoubtedly different than then, is the late Eva Cassidy.
Click: How Can I Keep from Singing?