From the Pastor’s heart
Wrestling with scriptures
2Pe 3:15And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 2Pe 3:16As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 2Pe 3:17Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 2Pe 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Apostle Paul was so used of God that the scriptures he wrote had surpassed anything that had been revealed until then by God to His holy prophets and apostles. We must understand a way in God where God will anoint someone to surpass another in what they bring to the world and the body of Christ. Heb 1:9… hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. This does not make them better than others but what it does is; opens up the word of God like never before through that person. If we do not understand this, we will try to compete with that person or get envious and jealous of that person. Therein lays the danger. If you have an ear, listen to what the Spirit of the Lord is saying in the verses above in Peter about this very concept. There were many in the past and there are many today who wrestle with scriptures to their own damnation. Cults, false doctrines, false teachers and prophets have arisen because of this.
In the last days, many more will come purporting to know the scriptures and will lead many away from the truth. Furthermore, they will bring damnation upon themselves. Even nice speaking people who will give you 99% truth and 1 % lie will come to lead many away. They will be of the kind who think they are doing you a service by telling you what they believe and hold as a revelation. Then, there are others who will be agents of the devil to bring disrepute to the word of God. The onus is on us to be connected to the word through the Holy Spirit so that we are not led astray even for a little while. Even if we stray for awhile and then come back, we could lose many years and face much sorrow and loss in life because we have believed wrongly. Always remember that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. This means; the word of God works in everyone’s life whether they are saved or unsaved.
Apostle Peter is admonishing (cautioning) us about wrestling with scriptures. He exhorts us rather to walk in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus our Saviour. To have that knowledge of Jesus, we need the eyes of our understanding opened by God and be given the Spirits of wisdom and revelation. People wrestle with scriptures when they do not understand it. As a result, they get frustrated and discouraged or they suit it to their way of thinking. Others just walk away from it all and do not bother reading it or waiting on God for revelation and understanding. There are many such situations described in the Bible:
1. The Pharisees wrestled with scriptures erroneously. Mat_22:29Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. Joh_5:39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
2. Others used the scriptures for their own purposes 2Pe_2:1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. Mat_24:24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
3. Then there are others who use doctrines to teach the Church and turn their hearts away from the truth Mat_15:9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Col_2:22Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 1Ti_4:1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Heb_13:9Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
4. Then there are specialist type people who use the word of God for their gain and sexual gratification 2Ti 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 2Ti 3:7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
There are many such references in the Bible that teach us more, about being cautious on how we handle the scriptures and how we then use them to teach, preach or exhort. Some people build a kingdom on one doctrine, others on one verse and so on. All this is not of God. We have an entire Bible that has been put together for the purpose of our salvation and edification. Even though there are other books, we have been limited to the Bible as it is presented today. Even so, many have taken the Bible and are suiting it to their needs. Where and when does all this end and what are we to believe in? Even the printed Bibles are being changed in wording to suit the needs of a modern society and many words are being rephrased and even removed. The truth is, you are only safe in the scriptures through the illumination provided by the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal the Lord Jesus who is the word whether it is the written word (Logos) or spoken word (Rhema). Take comfort in the knowledge that God has given us the Holy Spirit. He is our safeguard in every area of our faith and we should know Him more and more so that we are not led away by strange doctrines and teaching that has no power, value or life.
When Apostle Paul began to speak of things unheard of at the time, the Bereans searched the scriptures to see whether Paul was speaking the truth. Act 17:11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. I have learnt a secret in reading the scriptures; that God does things His way and not my way. When Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the only scriptural reference the disciples had were verbal instructions from Jesus Himself before He ascended. They were asked to go and wait for power from on high. When it did come, it came in a way that no one would have anticipated. It raised questions among the people but Peter moved by the Holy Ghost referred to the book of Prophet Joel. By doing that, he added scripture to manifestation and events of God. God can move first and then give scripture or vice versa. However, His manifestation always follow the word. In this case, Peter had received the word in Luke 24.49 and so knew what it was.
Many a life that had started well has ended in tragedy because that soul did not use the scriptures properly. Many have began cults and denominations like the Jehovah’s Witness and Mormons (also known as The Church of the Latter Day Saints) and many more such groups that had nothing to do with Jesus or His written word. Many people who had sought God earnestly even after being deceived by such men found the truth and received it because the truth is a person in Christ. So, when Christ Himself came to them through the scriptures they were saved out of the delusion and bondage. Others were saved out of a way of thinking that did not align to the word of God and who were living in all manners of sin and bondage. Many homosexuals who worshipped Jesus while maintain their lifestyle later found Jesus the person and were delivered. Today, we have so many practices of the word of God that defy imagination. Many have murdered based on scripture, others have rejected Israel as God’s chosen people and many others have manipulated scriptures for money, power, lust and status in life. Whole denominations and leaders of such groups have built cult like figures around themselves on the basis of knowing the scriptures and expounding it in a way that has drawn the masses away.
The bottom line to all this is aptly put by Apostle Peter in the verses given at the start of this teaching letter. The onus is on oneself to understand and divide the truth correctly and walk in grace. Apostle Paul echoes the same exhortation to young Timothy who faced all manners of doctrines and divisions of the truth. 2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2Ti 2:16But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
My exhortation to you is the same. Study the word of God for yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to confirm everything you read, hear and say yourself. The time is here when people will not listen to sound doctrine. When you hear it, you will know the difference between truth and falsity by the Spirit of God in you. Then when you give it witness by faith in your own heart, you will see the glory.
Lots of love