I’ve heard a lot of arguments, especially on hot-button issues, about how Christians don’t live by the Bible they claim to follow. Usually, such arguments point to an Old Testament Law that was specific to the nation of Israel about shellfish, mixed cloth, and the like. Quite frankly, it’s a tired argument, and usually used to confuse those who are church-goers who don’t know much about the Bible they claim to follow. What they don’t understand (or refuse to hear) is that certain laws were specific to Israel living in the land during the Tabernacle and Temple periods. While we don’t have time to go through the reasoning today (Romans and Galatians are great books to study on the topic), I will admit one thing about this argument: it should bring every believer to self-examination. We all should ask ourselves this question daily: do I really live by God’s word? Considering that this is the biggest argument hurled at us, let’s stop and consider this a moment (we don’t have time for all the implications today, but it’s worth examining them all). Jesus said all the Law and the Prophets hinge on the greatest commandment and its counterpart: “Hear and Obey Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is One. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself”(Leviticus 19:18b). Before He was to be murdered, Jesus said “A new commandment I give you, love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). Elsewhere in this sermon, Jesus tells them “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The Apostle Paul reminds Timothy that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And Peter reminds us that Scripture can be misused: “ And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16). Why do I throw all of these verses at you like this? We need to understand that we’re to obey God’s commands, we’re to obey Christ, we’re to uses all Scripture, which was breathed out by God, to grow in wisdom and be equipped for the good God desires us to do, and we’re to be on our guard, because the unstable and ignorant will twist scriptures toward their own ends. The best way to tell if we’re living by them is to be in them, daily. We need to seek to test the will of God, as Paul writes, by being transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2), and that faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). We can’t neglect the Word of God: by it, the Holy Spirit will shape and transform us, conforming us in to the image of Christ. We need to walk by the Word, seeking to please God through our obedience. But we can’t do that if our Bible remain unopened, or if we pick and choose which scriptures to read and which to ignore. Walk by the word! Psalm 119:97-120 Mem
Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. I am severely afflicted; give me life, O LORD, according to your word! Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD, and teach me your rules. I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts. Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.
I hate the double-minded, but I love your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word. Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God. Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope! Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain. All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies. My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.