The Scriptures Are Not Blase
The Bible is not in the habit of overstating things. It is sharp, clear, crisp, and pointed. It’s truths are complex, yet easy to understand. It’s demand: that you drop your weapons and repent of your ridiculous rebellion against a holy and righteous God. It’s offer: that you experience the inexpressible joy of life in communion with God. There’s nothing normal about this. There’s nothing commonplace about a bloody God upon the cross and an empty tomb. And there’s nothing safe about submitting yourself daily to an examination before word of God which is sharper than any two-edged sword. The Scriptures are not safe. And yet so often I open and read, blind and deaf to the intensity of its message.
One of the advantages of having lived in a semester/year driven environment for the last four years is that it makes reflection simple. Semesters act like bookmarks as I think back through how the Lord has transformed my thinking year by year. This last year was spent learning many things, but perhaps most important was understanding how vivid Scripture is. The Bible is not Wonderbread. It’s not tasteless filler. It’s a jabanero pepper that shocks me off my feet and blows apart my categories of thinking. It breaks and builds as it confronts my understanding of reality time and again.
Every sentence in the Bible is a claim to objective truth (with the exception of certain passages that deliberately record incorrect thinking of men like Job’s friends, Balaam, Satan, etc). The Bible declares reality as it really is. I know that’s a redundancy. But there must be a definition between reality as I perceive it and true reality. Holding to the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture means that everything from cover to cover I am bound to believe, hope in, and rejoice in. And those realities collide in a black and white decision of belief and unbelief.
But sadly the wonder of belief so often fades. There is a tremendous difference between belief and wonder. It’s the difference between thanksgiving and indifference. Between love and familiar neglect. My indwelling sinfulness naturally corrodes the electric nature of the Scriptures applied through the Holy Spirit. It’s here where the danger of practical unbelief creeps in. James calls it being a hearer, but not a doer of the Word. Paul charged Timothy to “guard the good deposit” within him. Guarding is an active pursuit. And you only guard what you consider valuable.
It is my assumption here that every single word of Scripture was specifically authored by God to communicate either something about Himself or mankind in relation to Him. This revelation naturally contradicts our perception of reality. And so every sentence in Scripture is loaded with otherwise unknowable truths about reality as it really is. And there is where excitement is found in the Word: To have our eyes opened by the truth to the truth. As such, the Scriptures are never vague or given to overstatement.
Here are just a few examples of these simple truths that are stunning when thought upon, but can easily become blasé:
1) A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish. (Isaiah 42:3)
2) Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions. (Matt 12:15b)
3) [Y]ou also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:22b)
4) It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. (Ps 118:9)
5) Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee. (1 Sam 8:27b)
It is no overstatement to say that the highest heaven cannot contain God. It is no overstatement to say that hell is a lake of fire whose smoke rises forever and ever. There’s nothing soft about the cross, or ordinary about the resurrection. Take great care not to grow dull from familiarity. It’s a constant fight and battle. And yet the joy of knowing God for who He is makes every ounce of energy spent entirely worth it.