Recently, during a small gathering with a wonderful group of people my wife and I are privileged to be a part of, and after hearing a thought provoking message from the one and only Dr. Doug Wheeler, we had a brief discussion. During this discussion we all verbalized our insights on how what was taught applies to us personally and spiritually. All points were dead on and also very honest. During the discussion part of something I said took me by surprise. I’m not sure if that happens to anyone else, but it’s not the first time it’s happened to me.
I shared a situation I was in spiritually about 10 years ago that will forever be stored in my spiritual memory bank. I’m not going to elaborate the whole story for the sake of digital paper, but the main point was I was struggling with scripture and I felt highly condemned. It caused me sleeplessness and stole my peace out from under me. Thankfully, I had a mentor in my life at that time by the name of Rusty Parker. He was the dean of Agape College at the time. I reached out to him about all of this and he arranged time in his busy schedule to meet face to face with me. As I explained everything I was struggling with, he, of course with love and compassion, encouraged me to peel away from the particular scriptures I was reading at the time. For me, that meant I really needed to put the Bible altogether down for a time, but not forever. This was an attempt and hope to let the power of God through His spirit be the one to penetrate the hardness of my heart and deliver me. Though it took time, God was ever faithful to restore to me the ability to see His Word for the goodness and truth and peace that it really is.
Coming back to what was said in our gathering recently as I told my story. I got to a point where I really felt the Holy Spirit revealed something that has been encoded into my heart. I said(paraphrasingly),
“The Word of God to those whose heart is in right standing with Him is pure and brings life. We see God for who He truly is and see the love He has for us. But to those who are not in right standing it can be the opposite. It can be a detriment and stumbling block, and cause people to only see His wrath and judgement and keep them under condemnation.”
This isn’t a new concept being on the side of having a true relationship with The Father through Messiah. We know His goodness because He has enlightened the eyes of our understanding(Ephesians 1:18). But being on the side of the consequences of sin and not having a proper relationship with God it is impossible to get to know Him through this Holy Book because Life is not operating properly in the heart.
In the letter Paul wrote to his Roman brethren he explains something that should help us get a better grip on the importance of the meaning behind what I believe the Holy Spirit said through me. Romans 1 is a beautiful passage because it gives an understanding that one of the ways God reveals Himself is through nature. All people will be without excuse regarding the knowledge of God’s existence. What also is said in this chapter can be so distorted and perverted once read with a dead heart. Being on the side of the wrath of God, reading this only confirms for us His wrath and not His love. But does this mean God isn’t trying to get us to see Him for who He really is? Of course not. This passage is clearly showing us that God has given ample evidence of Himself through His creation so that there is a chance for everyone to get to know Him.
Paul also goes on to say in chapter two, verses thirteen and fourteen,
“For it is not the hearers of Torah who are righteous before God; rather, it is the doers of Torah who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the Torah, do by nature the things of the Torah, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the Torah.”
Can you comprehend that? This passage confirmed for me before I was even truly living for Messiah that He is who reveals Himself through His spirit. In my heart I learned from Him who He is by His Spirit rather than by scripture. The Bible became a book of confirmation for me of who God is rather than a seemingly schizophrenic back and forth of ancient writings that in some places show wrath and judgement, and in others love and mercy. I believe what Paul is essentially saying here is that the Word of God is null and void to those who do not have His spirit living in them to reveal His nature, but to those whom God’s spirit is in, He has made them alive to His nature and truth, and to them His Holy Word was given to affirm what He has done in them. The latter of these are the true Sons of God.
I would like to be clear that I have no quarrel with those who read the Bible without knowing God. But I will say that it is pointless and vanity to read it without knowing Him, because true understanding of it can not be uprooted from a relationship with Him through Messiah.
Did Adam have a bible? Did Noah? Did Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Did Joseph? I’m sure there were ancient writings available at some point, but nothing like we have now. We are blessed and very fortunate to have amassed a collection of writings given by men so in tune with God. I am grateful for the Holy Bible, but my relationship with The Father precedes my ability to comprehend it. It can not be reversed.
I titled this article “The Other Side” because I’ve been on both sides. I have, in the past, lost the order of things and lost my ability to understand and rightly divide the Word of Truth(2 Timothy 2:15). It caused me a lot of pain and torment because I felt I once knew God and then lost Him. I searched for Him in scripture and looked for comfort there and there was none because my heart was condemned and hardened by scripture. Was it scriptures fault that my heart was hardened? No. Because my heart wasn’t able to comprehend His goodness as it should, scripture became futile to me.
All of this is not to say that God can’t reveal Himself to anyone through holy scripture. It is to say that the proper understanding and order of scripture can only be appropriated by The Life given through His Holy Spirit, of which can only be received through His Holy One, Yeshua The Messiah.
I love Paul’s prayers in Ephesians because it solidifies the absolute necessity for God to be the one to open our eyes and reveal the depth, height, length, and breadth, of His love. This love is His absolute true nature. Read those prayers and pray them over yourself. Ask The Father to open your eyes as only He can. Don’t bury yourself in vain study of scripture you don’t understand without first having established in your heart who God is.
If you have not received Jesus as your lord and savior, this is first. Then through the same faith receive His Holy Spirit. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). Then get on your knees and pray without ceasing, asking God to reveal to you the gift of knowing His love. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians,
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”
The Word of God is only relevant in the Love of God.
With Love and Shalom
– From Death To Life