God’s Truth; March 12, 2020

Colossians 1:13-14 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

I should have used this in my message the other day on Children of the Light! One thing about the Bible is that its major themes are repeated many times by many different writers, so they come across in different styles to hopefully hit home in the hearts of all people, as wildly different as we are. That’s why it’s a red flag when someone “proof texts” a particular teaching from just one passage, and particularly when they insist on just one translation of that passage. God’s truth is universal and eternal, (Matthew 24:35) but language is a function of culture, and meanings often shift over time. An example would be the English monarch who, on first being shown St. James Cathedral in London, said it was “awful.” Translated into modern English, that would be “awesome.” We need to listen carefully to the Holy Spirit when we read the Bible, as well as read the Bible through in various translations, to have the best chance of really hearing what God is saying to us. That said, receiving the Gospel into our hearts really is a matter of going from darkness to light, death to life, just as Paul says here.

I’ve lost track of how many different translations of the Bible I’ve read from Genesis to Revelation, but I’ve only read the Apocrypha in one translation, and that just once. It has interesting stuff in it, but I can really understand why it was not accepted into the Canon. That aside, reading the Bible is a joy, as familiar as it is. In my preaching I rarely stick to just one passage, but pull in other passages that apply to the same truth, too often overloading my hearers! That keeps me from being the best person to teach completely new believers, because they don’t yet have the foundation to bear the load. I’m reminded of Paul’s long, convoluted sentences. There’s just so much marvelous truth, and it’s all interconnected! That’s why I need to let the Holy Spirit apply the brakes when I am speaking. He’s been talking to me recently about not saying hurtful things unintentionally, but I also need to let Him sharpen the point, so to speak, when I am saying necessary, important things, so that my extra words won’t cloud the truth, or even bury it, that He wants to get across through me.

Father, thank You for this Word. I certainly didn’t expect it when I started reading! Thank You that we’ll be able to visit Seinan University today to see their exhibit on 79 Missionaries. My parents are in that number, but when I contacted them by email yesterday to confirm that the museum wouldn’t be closed today because of COVID-19, the response made it seem like the person writing didn’t recognize my name. That was, frankly, disappointing, since my father founded the University Department of the school, but then, that was 70 years ago! I ask You to keep a check on my words and actions today, that I will be kept from projecting any attitude of self-importance, but will rather be a blessing to all I encounter. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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