Sunday, September 09, 2007

the word as truth

Mike Ratliff really nails this piece on The Sword of the Lord. Based on He 4.12, Ratliff confronts some of the thinking of our day.
In this day in which the truth is said to be unknowable, Christians must rely on the only source of pure truth we have. There is no truth that we can say is the complete truth unless we take it from God’s Word. The Bible is pure truth and it is the authority we rely on in order to have a firm foundation in this lost and dying world that is consuming itself in rebellion against God.

Everyone these days - modernists, post-modernists, emergents, evangelicals, fundamentalists, me, etc. - seems bent on defending their understanding of truth or exposing the wrong in someone else's version of truth. But only the Bible is divine. Ratliff exclaims:

It is living. Unlike my words or your words, the Word of God lives on, whereas our words pass away. The Word of God has a life in itself as the living and incorruptible seed. It creates life where it comes.

On its efficacy he explains:

[I]t is living and active or powerful. Unlike many today who say the Bible is a mystery that no one can really understand, we know that a genuine Christian has the Holy Spirit and, therefore, can read, know, and understand it. Through that understanding, we receive conviction and conversion. Also, when we are suffering, we can read it and receive comfort and confirmation. In fact, we should start with prayer and the Word of God before we take our cares to other people. Because it is pure and true the Word of God can raise us to great heights of holiness and joy or happiness.

On its similarity to a sword:

All who touch the Word of God are wounded by it. Some are slain and are reborn gloriously. Others are cut to the heart, which leads them to repentance. Some are hardened by it to their doom. However, those who are Gods, will have their self-righteousness, sin, and unbelief killed by it as they use it. Like an razor sharp sword, the Word of God is piercing. This piercing divides the truth from the lies, the tender from the hard, the belief from the unbelief. It forces its way into the hard heart thereby pulverizing all of our self-righteousness and bases for pride. It causes us to become humble as we submit to the Lordship of Christ as it works in our hearts. No matter how secure or tightly locked up our hearts have become, it can penetrate the smallest opening or make one of its own.

On it being discriminating:

It divides the outer from the inner. It shows us that our external religion is what flows from our internal religion. This is our joints and marrow. Genuine Christians may be religious, but they know that it is there personal relationship with God that really counts and they receive this knowledge from God’s Word as it works in the heart to manifest it’s truth there.

On its revealing nature:

It is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. No matter how well hidden we may hold some fleshly, prideful nugget, the Word of God cleaves our hearts like butcher cutting a carcass. It lays open our secrets and tendencies that we share with no one.

And I love this piece from his conclusion:

We must also expose our hearts to it often so that that it will kill our sins and empower us to destroy the evils of the day. We must also allow it to criticize us, and our opinions, and projects, and acts, and all about us.

Thanks Mike.

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1 comment:

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

And I repeat for your consumption a comment I left on Mike's post:

There is only One God, and the Bible is His only revelation. A movement that tweeks methodology must be very careful, a movement that questions established interpretation is on thin ice, but a movement that leaves the Bible as the foundation of their beliefs and the focus of their followship has died no matter how fresh and exciting they may appear.

And any movement that is satisfied with their Biblical creed without actively seeking to be more like Christ and more useable in His service is immobilized in their creed and lacking the humility and self searching required to be changed from glory to glory. It is usually the norm that the further we mature in Christ the more we should see how far we need to go. There is danger on all sides in the fragmented streams that call themselves “Christian” but I believe God is looking for a remnant that can be so filled with His Spirit that God can entrust them with a demonstartion of His power that will point sinners and saints alike back to Christ and His Word.

We should thirst for a time that people will say as they once did, “These men have turned the city upside ” and have “filled the city with their doctrine”. It isn’t God’s Word that lacks power, it is that some no longer believe it while others carry it in leaky cisterns. We can pray that God in His sovereign wisdom will hear our cries and send a revival that will shake the church and display the Risen Christ before the entire world.