The Glory of God 12

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

1 Tim 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart…

The point of the Scriptures is not to study them and in them find life, but the Scriptures point us to Christ Himself and teach us to go to Him for life. This is a vital point in terms of knowing God for the churches and for individuals. We cannot study the Scriptures and know the Scriptures enough to obtain life. We cannot obey the Scriptures enough to obtain life. The study of the Scriptures and obedience to the Scriptures were not intended to be a way of life and they cannot give life. Eternal life is found in Christ alone because He is life and He has the words of life. This is so vital and shows how an academic study of Scriptures falls far short.

This should also show us that regardless of how hard we study the Scriptures that alone will not give us the knowledge of God. We can know things about God in one sense if we study, but it must be the Spirit who operating under the offices of Christ teaches His people in the inward man. When Peter confessed Christ, He was told that it was not flesh and blood who had revealed that to him, “but My Father who is in heaven” (Mat 16:17). Surely, then, the knowledge of God cannot be obtained by diligent study alone, but it must be a study combined with seeking the face of God and prayer to reveal the glory of God.

The Scriptures were not written so that men could use them as a way of earning eternal life, but they were written to point to Christ who is the revelation of God. This should inform us of the way the churches and individuals should use the Scriptures and view them. The goal is not to know the Scriptures in and of themselves as the primary goal, but the goal is to know God. Preaching must not be to simply inform people of the meaning of Scripture, it must be to point people to Christ and to show people how they can know God in Christ. Preaching must not be just a lecture giving people information, but instead it must be a way of showing forth the glory of God in Christ and pointing people to Him as a way of life.

People can study the Scriptures and develop ways of study that make them very learned, even having several degrees in the study of the Scriptures. But unless they see the glory of God in Christ and know Him, they have yet to find the true purpose of the Scriptures. One can have an advanced or even terminal degree in hermeneutics (science of interpretation), but they cannot truly interpret Scripture apart from Christ who is the One that all of Scripture points to as the fulfillment of it all. Since that is true, the churches must take care not to just talk about Christ, but they must adore Him and point to Him and show the people that Christ alone can reveal Himself to them. This is not just another minor point, this is essential and in my estimation it is a major reason that professing churches are so weak. They preach the Bible as a book and preach Christ from that book as if all a person has to do is believe the basic propositions revealed. No, they must have Christ revealed to them by the Father who is in heaven. It is in Christ that people will behold the glory of God and come to know God.

The goal of Christian instruction is love, the love of God and our neighbor. The only people who truly love are those who are born of God and know God (I John 4:7-8). In other words, a study of the Bible as if there is nothing more than knowing the words it says will not help us find that goal. It is only in knowing God that we will truly love. This is to say the same thing in a different way, then, we must study Scripture, but we must study it with a higher goal. We must study and preach it with the goal of knowing God and then glorifying Him by His love abiding in us and then being manifested through us. Some may argue that this denigrates Scripture, but I would argue that it is what it is meant to be and what an exalted use it has. It has the intent that in the hands of the living God it can show us who God is and lead us to know Him and live to His glory. That is not denigrating, that is to show the real intent and that is far higher than just using it to gain knowledge which puffs us up if that is all we do.

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