One thing that has become painfully clear in this election cycle is that those who describe themselves as evangelical may have those type of values, but they are not living them out. We can say we believe something, but if that belief does not translate into behavior, then we are only fooling ourselves. Our children and colleagues can clearly see the difference.
How does one not live out that which he or she says they value? They do so by not having a biblical worldview. A biblical worldview is only attained through devoted study of Scripture. Scripture is to be read, taught, and meditated upon so that it has the chance to take root in our hearts and thereby into our consciences. That is why the Apostle Paul reminded Timothy thusly:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
A Christian who does not desire to learn doctrine is a shallow and anemic Christian. A church that does not teach doctrine is devoid and duplicitous in its purpose for existing. Doctrine is from where we get our biblical worldview. It teaches us how to think and act as Christians. Commenting on 2 Timothy 3:16 and the value of the Scriptures, Warren Wiersbe explains:
“They are profitable for doctrine (what is right), for reproof (what is not right), for correction (how to get right), and for instruction in righteousness (how to stay right). A Christian who studies the Bible and applies what he learns will grow in holiness and avoid many pitfalls in this world.”
If I were to poll each of you and ask, “How many of you want to know what is right and wrong, and how to get and stay right according to God?”, I have no doubt all of you would raise your hand. However, if I told you how that was going to happen, some might not be so quick to volunteer.
The church seems to have developed an aversion to Scripture teaching. Many churches don’t even bother with having Sunday school or small group Bible study. The reason is most parishioners do not want to give an extra hour of their Sunday to do so. I have no doubt if churches offered “The Biblical Approach to Financial Wealth,” the classes would be overflowing. This is indicative of what Christians truly value most.
However, Paul reminds us that Scripture is profitable, just not in the way many of us understand profit. Biblical profit is inheriting God’s grace by virtue of our adoption through Christ into the family of God:
“This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.” (Titus 3:8)
It is through God’s grace that we can live holy and righteous lives according to God’s standards. We delude ourselves into to believing we’re good Christians because we go to church and even tithe, and yet we are no more salt and light to the world than are the heathen. We’re more concerned with our physical health than our spiritual health:
“For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.” (1 Timothy 3:8-9)
Being right with God, that is being righteous, is to be valued more than life itself. This is why Jesus figuratively described extreme measures we need to take to attain righteousness:
“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:29-30)
Obviously Jesus was not teaching self-mutilation. As I said, Christ is speaking figuratively to get across how important being holy is in the sight of God. We do not need to go to such extreme measures to avoid sin because Christ not only paid the price for our sins, but also He abundantly gives us the grace to avoid it.
We learn how to live this Christian life by studying Scripture.
We learn how to be right with God by learning His Word.
We come to desire holiness and righteousness by understanding how profitable it is in our lives.
Is it in yours?
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Copyright © 2016 David Jeffers