Like millions of other believers I’m big on doctrine! I’m big on truth. Arthur Holmes is right: all truth is God’s truth. It doesn’t matter if it’s truth about biology, botany, celestial mechanics or the brain capacity of a salamander.
Like millions of other believers I hold that the truth of and about God as it has come to its unending climax and fulfillment in the person and work of the Lord Jesus is what gives all the others truths their place and worth. So I’m for “getting it right” and that calls for commitment to and study of the biblical witness. But the Bible is not about itself; it’s about God who superintended the writing of it.
It’s a complex business—Bible study I mean—and that means we need wise men and women, gifted by God, to help us. It’s important that we get the non-negotiables right. It was right in the middle of a doctrinal presentation that Paul said, “Bad companions corrupt good morals.” So there’s a fundamental need to get a correct if not exhaustive grasp of the jugular elements of the Story of God. I get that! I see that! But I see this also—our commitment to Jesus-like behavior is part of the calling to which God calls people who will make up his NT elect (Ephesians 5:1-2) who will by their very existence, doctrine and adorning of that doctrine bear witness to God and His eternal purpose for, and His love of the human family.
I mentioned this in a little book of mine called Jesus: Hero of Thy Soul. Mary was barely more than a child when the parents split, the father vanished and the mother died. She was left to raise her brothers and sisters. When she should have been making daisy chains she was washing clothes, when she should have been pushing a swing she was scrubbing floors, when she was making food she should have been served food. She slept too little, ate too little, worried too much and died exhausted and guilt-ridden. Dear God, she was just a child. She was afraid to meet God because she was sure she hadn’t done enough to please him and didn’t know what she’d say to him when the time came to meet him. Can you credit that?
One of her little brothers who sat stroking her trembling hands said to her, “You could show him your hands.”
I don’t know what that boy’s entire theology was or what it became but he was on the right track with some aspects of the heart and mind of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. I can’t abide a religion that dismisses all that with immediate warnings about “salvation by works.” Bless me, who doesn’t know that salvation is by the holy generosity of God as it was/is expressed in Jesus Christ?
Listen to Mary’s little brother and hear the voice of the Lord Jesus in it and think of Acts 10:38-39
(Holy Father, bless the burdened children. This prayer in your Son’s name.)