'The Word of God
28th August 2020
'the flower fades'
The grass withers, and the flower fades,
but the word of the Lord stands forever.
... Isaiah 40:8
There are - and always have been -
people who, when they read something
in the Bible they disagree with,
simple change it.
It's nothing new.
Southern slaveholders and European colonialists
had a theological field day figuring out
how to justify their actions, from the pulpit.
In the 4th century, the emperor Constantine
put Christian emblems on his army's shields
and forced millions of people to become 'Christians'.
People were doing it in 60AD - just read Galatians,
or pretty much all of the epistles.
They are missing out on something wonderful.
it is true that everyone who reads the Bible
is ging to find things they don't agree with -
or actually things that they think they don't agree with -
and be asked to change both some of their opinions
and some of their conduct.
But the person who has the faith
to accept the Bible as God's Word,
unchanging and absolute,
receives a compass which will never point
in the wrong direction.
Spiritually, intellectually and morally,
a Bible based Christian
is insulated from day to day dilemmas.
There is a saying
'If your Bible's falling apart
the chances are you won't be.'
Apart from the spiritual truth -
we don't change God's Word because he is God
and we are not -
we cannot know better than him;
as he says in Isaiah:
8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways,"
declares the LORD.
9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
There is a practical reason for not
trying to change the Scriptures.
God is the only fixed point in the universe,
and the Bible is the best way of finding him.
Changing it is like erasing the lines from
a road map and drawing in a shorter route -
we'd be like to end up in a bog,
or totally lost.
Once we know him we are like sailors
caught in a terrible storm
who have spotted a light from a lighthouse;
they don't sit around debating where the lighthouse actually is;
they head for the light.
When Jesus says,
"I am the way."
this is exactly what he means.
There is a story about a group of American soldiers
on a Pacific island.
They were greeted by natives,
taken to village and welcomed by chief who said,
'Let's read the Bible together
while the meal is prepared'.
One soldier 'We don't do that any more;
we've gone beyond that,
that's for yesterday.'
The Chief replied,
'The Bible is very much for today - be grateful -
if it were not so, YOU would BE the meal!!'
Best of all, once we have faith that the truth of the Bible
is absolute and unchangeable,
we realise that Christ promised us eternal life
if we believe in him.
And he isn't going to change his mind.
'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly',
it says in Colossian 3:16.
Not oppressively, not tyrannically -
to bring out the best in us
and bring us closer to the God of our salvation.