The Unending Riches of Scripture
January 9, 2020 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
One of the things I love about Scripture is that it never grows old. You can read through the Bible again and again and still be astonished by new insights. These new insights come in two ways.
First, there are new insights by way of new application of old truth. The Good News of Jesus never changes. The unity of Scripture never changes. Our lives change. Our circumstances and experiences change. So, we can come to old, familiar, well-loved passages and still receive “new insight.” These truths impact us afresh because of the current situation we may be enduring.
Second, there are new insights by way of greater clarity or understanding of truth. While the Gospel is simple, it is complex in its tying together all the wonders and goodness of our infinite God. We will never plumb the depths of truth in this lifetime, nor in eternity (cf. Eph. 2:7). It is that good.
This discovery of new insight into the truth of the Gospel and its application into our lives is one of the most compelling reasons to be committed to a regular discipline of Bible reading. If you are saved, and thus indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Sword of the Spirit will never be boring for you. In fact, the Holy Spirit is eager to use the Word in your sanctifying growth. We “quench the Spirit” (1 Thes. 5:19) when we turn off the steady stream of God’s word in our lives.
In my Bible reading plan this week, I am reading Ephesians. Ephesians 2:1-10 has been one of my favorite passages in all of Paul’s writings. I have preached on this passage. I have written seminary papers on this passage. I have memorized this passage. I love this passage.
When I read Ephesians 2:1-10 this week, however, I noticed something I have never noticed before. The passage is bookended with the word “walk.” In the opening line Paul says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (v. 1-2). He closes verse 10 by stating that God has prepared good works beforehand “that we should walk in them.” We once walked in trespasses and sins; now we are called to walk in good works.
This transition from walking in trespasses and sins to walking in good works is Paul’s way of communicating the powerful transformation of the Gospel. For, in between these two uses of “walk,” Paul speaks about how God makes us alive with Christ. This is not our own doing (v. 8). This is the gracious, loving work of God. By bookending this astonishing work of God with the transformation of our walk, Paul makes clear that the gospel, when believed, does not leave us unchanged. We walk differently.
Paul’s great transition to his “ethical teachings” in the second half of Ephesians reads, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (4:1). There’s the word “walk” again. We’re commanded to walk in a certain way. Does that mean we are on our own to figure out how to walk in this way? Does this mean we walk in a worthy manner by our own strength? By no means! Paul has already made clear in Ephesians 2:1-10 that our walk is transformed when God makes us alive with Christ. So, in Ephesians 4:1 Paul commands us to do what God has made us to do, which should be a natural outcome of believing the gospel.
I love insights and encouragement like that. Don’t you? Are you committed to a regular discipline of Bible reading? God has so much to bless you with as you dig into his Word.