Sunday, April 8, 2012

Just What Is The Purpose Of The Bible?

In the movie “A Few Good Men,” Lieutenant Jonathan Kendrick (played by Keifer Sutherland) tells Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (played by Tom Cruise) 

“I have two books at my bedside, Lieutenant: the Marine Corps Code of Conduct and the King James Bible.”  

It's estimated that more than six billion copies of the Bible have been sold. But how many people know what the purpose of the Bible is? 

I opened the Bible for the very first time while attending college at the University of Minnesota. There wasn't enough room on campus for all the students that desired on-campus housing, so we were placed at the Hotel Duluth. I read through chapters of the Bible and found it very interesting, but I never understood what the real purpose was. 

Jesus said to the very religious and pious people of his day, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you possess eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life John 5:39-40 (TNIV). 

These are the same people that let the Law come between them and the Life Giver! They even accused Jesus of being a sinner, a blasphemer and eventually got their wish and had him “gorified.” They were sin-centric not Christ-centric, and therefore never experienced the freedom of the new life that Christ wanted to give them; the freedom that resurrection Sunday pictures. 

Jesus, the Messiah, said he did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; but to fulfill them (Mat. 5:17 TNIV). The word fulfill is the Greek word Pleroo, and it means to complete. Jesus not only completed the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms, but he is the Light that opens up the Scriptures so that we can understand them (Luke 24:44-45).

The Light of the gospel of Jesus Christ will remove the scales from your eyes and the shackles from your ankles! 

Are you living life thinking that Jesus called you to change?  Changed equals “chained.” It's "do it yourself religion," as Bible translator and author Francois du Toit says. Jesus never called us to change. He calls us to receive a new life in him (Gal. 2:20; Col. 3:3). 

I couldn’t understand the purpose of the Bible when I opened it up for the first time while attending UMD, because I never wholeheartedly received what God wanted to give me in Jesus Christ. 

The purpose of the Bible is to lead us to Jesus Christ for eternal life or immortality in him; that we may receive freedom and participate in the new life we have in him; and that we would grow in the grace and knowledge of him (2 Peter 3:18); and that we would participate in his priestly ministry. 

I’m sending each of you a “key.” Here it comes! Now catch it. Stand up. With the key in one hand, lift the opposite leg up and put your foot over your knee. OK. Now reach down and unlock the shackle from your ankle. Shake it off and free yourself from that ball and chain that you’ve been carrying around. Now do the Hallelujah dance. Jump up and down and yell, “I am free! Free! Free! Hallelujah Amen! 

You are now free to experience your new life in Christ!  You have been unshackled from whatever sin or problem, fear or anxiety that you have focused your life on! You are now free to enjoy your life in Christ. You are free to wholeheartedly experience him! To live in Him! The old life is gone with all its sin and problems and fears. It’s really that simple. Don’t complicate it. Don’t labor. Rest in Jesus (Mat. 11:28-30). 

There is no life in the prophets. There is no life in Bible stories; nor is there life in the Scriptures; but the Scriptures, the Bible does point us to Christ who fulfilled them; he filled them to the full; he completed them; because as the Messiah, that’s  what He was called to do. Jesus completed his earthly ministry when he was resurrected from the dead, and ascended to the Father.

We have been given a new life in Christ - not a changed life, but a new life in Him - eternal life in him - freedom in Him! We share in his priestly ministry. It’s good news for everyone, especially for those who believe. 

We are free! Free! Free! Celebrate your freedom in Christ!

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