Putting The Puzzle Together To Truly Understand The Story
What is it that God will look at when the end comes? Did He have a purpose in mind when He created us? Therefore, what is the very first thing He will want to see in us? Is it that you said a prayer of salvation back on August 8, 1977? Is it that you fought against the evil around you? Is it that you had a faith that moved mountains? Is it that you did everything you could think of correctly?
What will be the most important thing to God when we stand before Him on that day?
To find this out, let's start at the beginning with the fundamentals... Metaphorically I imagine all of scripture as a puzzle...therefore, when some of the pieces are missing the complete story is incomplete. God sees the whole picture from the beginning to the end, but fallen man cannot understand it. They can't fit the pieces together so as to understand the plan. Which is the reason for the parables - so those who truly want to know can begin to understand how the Kingdom of God works.
In my "teacher mentality" the Lord has helped me to understand that learning about God's plan and purposes happens through two basic ways. Study of scripture and being open to hear from the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, it happens in a relationship between the student and the teacher. (...and of course the written word)
So, what are the reasons for needing these two things to understand God's purposes??
#1) Because in order for our biblical knowledge to be worthy of being approved by God, we must study it....which means to take the time to dig, seek and be open and thirsty for the truth...as so much of the truth is not just lying on the surface.
2 Tim. 2:15 "Study to show yourselves as one approved by God, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."
#2) And then, since the carnal mind cannot understand the things of God, then we must also abide closely, making sure that Jesus and His Holy Spirit are along side us as we study since Jesus IS the Way, TRUTH and Life! Yes, our teacher who leads us into all truth.
John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
1 Cor. 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Romans 8:7 This is so because the corrupt nature has a hostile attitude toward God. It refuses to place itself under the authority of God's standards because it can't.
#3) Also, because He IS The Word made flesh and therefore understands scripture more than anyone else could! Yes!? As it is He that walked it and talked it and IS it!
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
#4) Also, because He IS the exact image of the Father, therefore He understands God more than anyone else could. Amen!?
Col. 1: 15-17 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
#5) And the Holy Spirit will teach us the main purposes for the law, for the OT and for what the prophets taught. So we learn where we came from and why...and then how this all brought us to where we are now in the New Testament...so we'll know how to "handle rightly the word of truth", so as to be competent ministers of the New Covenant...as living under the law is different than living under grace. There is a distinct difference.
Gal. 3:19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.
2 Cor. 3:6 Who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Heb. 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
#6) AND because ALL the law, and all that the prophets taught and proclaimed are completely fulfilled and satisfied in and by Him...so reading, interpreting and using scripture as though we are still under the law, is unbiblical. Yes!?
Matt. 5:17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
James 2: 8-12 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.
John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Gal. 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
#7) AND because, I dare say, that the ultimate purpose for our lives is to go back to be what God 1st intended, which is a people that have been perfected and act in congruency with His image and character. Therefore, since Jesus is God then we get to that point by understanding in scripture the importance of becoming more like Christ. This happens by cultivating the same attitude as Christ, and emulating Him as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit - all of these work together to bring us to that point.
Eph. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared from the beginning, that we should walk in them.
Phil. 2:5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
Luke 6: 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Eph. 5:1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.
Col. 1: 28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
Matthew 5:48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Some translations say 'complete' instead of perfect...which I think helps us understand it better. As God wants us to mature and come to completeness in becoming like Him)
Matthew 22: 34- 40 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’b This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’c All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
SO, therefore we must *measure everything we think is true in scripture with; Christ and His Holy Spirit. The buck stops with Him...as there will not be another answer beyond Him or in addition to Him. People want to complicate the gospel...and add to it...and make it as though there is Jesus and trying to be good. Or Jesus and this or that. But it is Jesus period...or He would NOT have said that He is THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life....and that NO one can get to God without Him.
*(Metaphor. I've also used the words, "to sift everything through"...in another blog)
So if you or I interpret scripture so it points back to us, or to the law or getting sinners to act better, or to anything else as THE ultimate answer to our world's problems, or the answer to what God wants from us in the end...then it is false. This is a good way to see whether a doctrine is headed toward cult thinking...is if it steers you away from Christ and His character. If they remove Christ as the head and replace Him with a person, doctrine or what is popular, then it is another gospel. Scripture that is interpreted correctly will always point us back to Jesus...who IS God's plan! Jesus is the ultimate destination in every way. It starts with Him and ends with Him and His love being perfected in us.
Col. 2:2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. So they will have the complete confidence to understand God's mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.
1 John 4: 7 - 18 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Sonb into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice forc our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love...with one purpose and goal in mind.
Eph. 4:11-16 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists...for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God...to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children...Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ.
In my studies, I believe with all my heart that what God truly wants and will be looking for in each professing Christian...is that we have given ourselves over to God's Holy Spirit...not as our co-pilot, but as the pilot. That the evidence of the Holy Spirit living inside us...as apples are the natural evidence that an apple tree is indeed an apple tree...will be obvious to the point where we are willing to do what our human nature would have an aversion to (as in Matthew 25: 31-46) ~~ which shows we are being perfected in His great love and that our highest goal is to live in obedience to Christ and His New Commandment, which in God's plan fulfills all that He requires.
Blessings to you!!
1 Peter 3:15-17 But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.