Four Things To Look Out For While Reading The Bible

I don’t know any other topic I am consistently passionate about other than the Bible. I want to see every child, woman, and man to grab a hold of the Bible and not let go. To look and look at their Maker until they resemble His likeness. But with that said I thought it was important to note how to be watchful of ourselves when we read our Bibles.

1. Studying Or Reading The Bible Doesn’t Earn God’s Love.

God’s love is perfect so there is nothing that we can do to add or take away from that love. I wish I could say that this is a lie that I only believed when I first had saving faith in Christ. But it is a lie I am inclined to believe this to this very day. I realized only once I got saved that I have a performance streak in me. I wanted to prove just how lovable I could be to this God. And the other side of that coin was that when I knew in myself that I was wholly unlovable, I sank into the pit of despair. This takes reminding ourselves of the Gospel every day. We may not read a chapter of the New Testament every day. But we must repeat the Gospel to ourselves with intentionality.

For example:

“God accepts and loves me because of Jesus Christ. I have experienced the great exchange with Jesus. He has received the punishment, separation from the Father, and death that my sins deserved. And I have received His righteousness. I am a child of God and He is jealous for me.”

We can spend hours in the Bible or we can spend minutes, His love will not change for us. But also I think Jen Wilkin said it best, “The heart can’t love what the mind does not know”.

Scripture reading is so good for our souls. It makes obedience look good and sin look bad. It anchors our often troubled souls. We have a new need for God’s truth every single day that we awake. We love the Word so that we may love God more and keep His commands not that He will love us. He already does, He loved us even while we were His enemies (Romans 5:8). How amazing is that! And we are no longer His enemies we are His children.

2. That Any Truth Gleaned Is Revealed To Us By God

It didn’t take long for the sin of pride to grip my heart when reading the Word. At one point every time I would open the Bible I would discover so much truth that I began to believe the lie that it was my wisdom that had garnered these truths. God quickly responded to this by showing me that it wasn’t within myself that I had gleaned these truths. In those following days the Bible that was opened up to me like an oyster was shut tight and I couldn’t make it open to me. The Holy Spirit soon convicted me and I repented. I’ve always fancied myself to be bright, and I thought that explained why I understood so much of the Bible. When in all actuality it was my Teacher, the Holy Spirit who gave me these truths. Now I come to the Word as humbly as I can, with lots of prayer. I believe that those days where I don’t understand certain passages of the text reminds me just how dependent I am on God to understand His Word.

3. Searching Scriptures Only To Find A ‘Word’ For The Day.

I get it, I do, sometimes we just have to make a beeline for the book of Psalms. The toil of everyday living or the storms of life have us going to and fro, and we need to be anchored in God’s truth. But I often would come to the Bible so weary that I wasn’t trying to learn about God, I just wanted to be assured that it would all be alright. I looked intently for the verse that could speak into my life that day. Instead of looking for the attributes of the God that never changes.

The Bible is about God, period. We do gain insight into who we are or into human nature by reading the Word. But if we come to the Bible only to look for ourselves we are cheating ourselves.

I think for a while I didn’t realize that seeing various attributes or the character of God could anchor my troubled soul as well. This God whom Enoch walked with, I walk with today. The God that was faithful to David will be faithful to me. I had no idea that what I needed the most was to see God, and not myself.

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.” – Corrie Ten Boom

I usually sneak a line or two in my prayer before reading the Word. For example:

“Lord, clear any ill-motivations that I may have for coming to Your Word.”

Some wrong reasons that I’ve come to the Bible include:

  • To share something on social media.
  • To check Scripture reading off my to-do list.

In themselves neither of these reasons are sinful. It is good to use our platforms to make much of God. And Scripture reading is a spiritual discipline that needs to be on our list of daily priorities. But because of the sin in our hearts any good thing can be perverted and twisted.

I may only be sharing to gain some vainglory for myself, or to make much of myself and not Christ. This is a problem. I may get so caught up in scratching meeting with God off my list that I don’t ask Him give me a desire for His Word. Or I don’t ask Him to bring revival into my heart. And even more importantly I don’t repent of these feelings. I know that the word of God is sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10;119:103). So when I can’t taste the sweetness there is something wrong with my taste buds. And this too is a problem

4. That Reading God’s Commands Are More Important Than Keeping Them.

God prizes obedience to His commands over our own knowledge of them. All through Scriptures God tells us over and over again that keeping His commands is what really matters to Him. He told it to King Saul by way of the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 15:22). Jesus spoke about the man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). And James warned us not to be hearers only but to be doers of God’s word (James 1:22).

The blessing comes in the doing not in the knowing.

This took me a while to grasp. I certainly know the miserableness of knowing better and not doing better. I think on some level we all do going through this lifelong process of sanctification. God has given us a portion that He knew we could handle. He’s given us today, and to practice the truth we’ve attained (Philippians 3:16)

Last Things

Even though I present these four things to look out for while reading the Bible, let us not cease to press on to know God. Meeting with God is more important than anything else we can do. Let us still put that important meeting on the top of our lists. Let us still come to the Word weary-hearted. Finally, let us be watchful but let us not stop gleaning from God’s enduring Word.

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Why We Can’t Lose Our Salvation

I have never undertaken writing something on my blog that may be considered ‘heady or theological’. I am totally relying on the Spirit of God dwelling in me to write about God’s truth. I know that there are some Christian denominations who hold to the belief that we can indeed lose our salvation. But the Bible doesn’t say such things. I am afraid that this school of belief is taught by man. Some even assume that if we hold on to the belief of eternal security (or that we can’t lose our salvation) we use this belief as an excuse to live a life that is full of sin. I hope to present God’s own words to you and to make a defense for why we should believe in eternal security.

I think that when someone doesn’t believe in eternal security, that in their hearts they believe that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ wasn’t sufficient. That perhaps His sacrifice wasn’t as He said it was on the cross, “finished” (John 19:30). That maybe they must work or earn some righteousness of their own in order to ‘supplement’ the perfect sacrifice. They must think that in not believing in eternal security that they live their lives in the true fear of God. I hope to present this notion as man-made beliefs and perhaps self-righteousness. Moreover, I hope to prove that the belief of eternal security is no license to sin but in that belief is the proper way to think about God.

The belief that salvation can be lost affects not only those who I’ve already addressed but also those who do believe in eternal security. Often in the dark night of the soul or once again yielding to some temptation many will give Christ the permission to give up on them. They know that their names are already written in heaven (Luke 10:20) but because of despair and hopelessness, they will feel as if their salvation and sanctification is dependent on them. I hope to refresh every soul that holds to the truth of either belief. I will show that the only thing we’ve contributed to salvation is our own sins. And that our salvation is because of the works of the Son, we are preserved by the Father and we are being sanctified by the Spirit. Salvation is an act of the Triune God alone, and that He is sufficient for all these things.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34 ESV *bolded for emphasis

Anyone who is Bible literate knows about the Old and New covenants made by God with His people. In the Scripture mentioned above, God is speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, he is prophesying of a new and better Covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ. In this particular Scripture, we see that the New Covenant is not like the Old, also that this covenant cannot be broken as the first one was by their forefathers. Unlike the Old Covenant where God’s law was carried in the Ark of the Covenant. In the New Covenant, His laws would be within the believer and written on their hearts. Also that they wouldn’t have to go into a temple to worship God, but that they themselves would become temples of the Holy Spirit. At the Passover when Jesus was eating with His disciples’ He broke the bread, which represented His body, and took the cup which He explained was His blood, ushering in a new and better Covenant (Luke 22:19-20).

I believe at the very heart of this belief of conditional salvation or security is disbelief and not understanding that God is sovereign. When we believe that salvation is conditional we think that God is not able to save us. We even go against the Bible, which says, ‘Christ is able to save to the uttermost’ (Hebrews 7:25). We reckon ourselves not united to Christ in His death, but that we are a hard nut to crack. In other words, we believe that we are such a challenge to God that it is impossible for Him to complete sanctification us.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

1 Peter 1:3-4  *bolded for emphasis

This belief in eternal security is not a license to abuse God’s grace. But it is one of those promises that compels us to become like God or to share in His divine nature. In fact, anyone who believes that their eternal salvation is an excuse to sin may need to do some self-examination. Because those who are God’s children though they may sin and yield to temptations cannot live a life of sin (1 John 3:9).

If you are yet not fully convinced that anyone’s salvation can’t be lost I ask you these questions:

1. Do you believe that God can lose His grip or that anyone can snatch away from His hand (John 10:28)?

2.Do you think that God cannot keep you even to end (1 Corinthians 1:8: 1 Thessalonians 5:23)?

3. Do you believe that God’s purposes of saving you can be thwarted ( Job 42:2; Isaiah 14:27; Proverbs 16:1)?

4. If God saved Paul (Acts 9) who called himself, ‘the chief of sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:5), why do you believe that God is unable to complete the good work He has started in you (Philippians 1:6)?

5.Do you believe that anything in the Bible hints at the fact that God doesn’t keep His promises?

Prayer: Lord while I don’t feel quite sufficient to write this post, and I am almost sure I didn’t mention everything pertaining to this topic. You, however, are sufficient for all these things. I ask that you would give these readers ears to hear. And give their souls rest from the busy work of self-righteousness. Say to their souls that, ‘I am your salvation’ (Psalm 35:3). Show them that the basis of salvation is dependent totally on You, on Your character and Your power. I say this prayer in the only name under heaven that saves us (Acts 4:12) and gives us true life, Jesus. Amen.