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In order to be comforted by the Bible you have to accept its challenge

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In order to be comforted by the Bible you have to accept its challenge

One of the most fulfilling aspects of teaching the Bible, is being able to comfort people with God's promises. But over the years I have learned that we don't receive the comfort we need from the Scriptures until we place our life under it - resting in the reality that it is God's word.

Ordinarily we accept the parts of the Bible that we find comforting, and reject those things that we find offensive or too challenging. We pick and choose which parts of the Bible we want to be authoritative "for us." And let's face it, there are passages that we would love to be able to ignore. Some passages are a serious affront to our selfishness and pride: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) There are other hard sayings about our inner life and sexual ethics that would be much easier to do away with: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)

But what we need to realize is...

If you don’t accept the challenge of the Bible because it seems
too hard to be true, you will never rest in the comfort of the Bible
because it will seem 
too good to be true.

 God’s Word is filled with comfort and promise:

  • We can be made right with God not by our works, but by what he has done for us. (Ephesians 2:8)
  • Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. (Romans 8:39)
  • God uses everything that happens to us for our ultimate good - nothing gets lost. (Romans 8:28)
  • In the coming kingdom, you will be the you you would have been if the fall had never taken place. (2 Peter 3:13)

These are life-changing promises, but to rest in them you have to have an authoritative Bible. When you reject a section of Scripture because it doesn't fit with your worldview, you need to realize that you are losing the ability to gain comfort from God's word when you need it most. There will come a time in your life when you need to hear a word of grace and promise, but because you have placed yourself over the Bible instead of under it, when you read that "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus," you will say, "that is just too good to be true." Why? Because when faced with the challenging parts, you have rejected it saying, "that is too hard to be true." When you accept parts of the Bible and reject others, you are smart enough to know what you are doing. You are placing yourself as an authority over God’s word instead of placing yourself under its authority. You are making God’s word submit to you, instead of you submitting yourself to it, and so all of its power to comfort you is diminished or lost.

And so when you come to a place in your life when you desperately need to be comforted by God’s word, the comfort won’t come because you have been the authority - not God.

But, when you place yourself under the word of God, and humbly accept the things that challenge you the most, you will gain comfort when you need it the most. You will know that you aren’t creating God in your own image, but he is re-creating you in his. Read and meditate on God’s word and accept its challenge and comfort!

Scott Brown
Lead Pastor of New Valley Church

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