The Bigger Picture
A.W. Tozer once said, “The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”
In the same way that a puzzle’s picture cannot be fully seen without all of the pieces, the scriptures in the Bible cannot be fully understood unless they are in context with the rest of the Bible.
Paul tells Timothy that the holy Scriptures, “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17 NIV). The purpose of God’s word is to lead us to salvation through Jesus and to “equip us for every good work.” This is pretty specific and is consistent with the rest of the Bible.
From Genesis to Revelation—and intertwined into every word in between—we find God reaching out to man so that we might receive salvation by faith through the work of Jesus Christ, as well as a call to seek holiness as God’s people—as a response to our love for Him and for our fellow man. The Bible’s message is about finding life in Christ and then seeking Christ-likeness so that we can share that same hope of life with every person in the world. Peter reiterates this when he calls Christians, “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV). Our “purpose” is to declare His love to the world.
If our purpose as Christians is to share God’s love with others, than the way we use the Bible should reflect that. It is a tool that can lead the reader to salvation in Christ and also to live a holy life dedicated to serving God by reaching others but when we try using the Bible for something other than Christ-like transformation we will find ourselves frustrated or wasting precious time following bunny trails. We may find ourselves looking for mysterious signs rather than spiritual growth, seeking to prove our holiness by acquiring gifts, trying to impose doctrine over love, or looking for the devil in every corner rather than just shedding God’s light into the world.
When Judaizers tried to tempt the church to misuse scriptures, Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation” (Galatians 6:13-15 NIV). A legalistic approach, outward signs, nor anything else should mean anything to us other than becoming “a new creation.” We are to be changed so that we can share the gospel message of the cross—of His love to the world.
When we piecemeal scriptures, we might get a quick glimpse at who God is and what He wants, but only when consider the entirety of the Bible as one message from one God can we begin to see the bigger picture. Only then can we hope to be transformed into Christ-likeness for the sake of others.
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet at 9 a.m. Sundays for Sunday school and at 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!