And now a bit about how to come rightly to the Scriptures:
We need to come not doubting but with belief and repentance.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8
What is the difference between a doubt and a question?
Let’s say your kid falls off the slide and bonks his head. At first he goes limp, after he come to he remains sleepy, then he has a headache and says you’re holding up 4 fingers instead of 2. Now a good question would be, “Does he have a concussion?” And you’d take him to the doctor to find out and be treated or sent home reassured that he is fine. You’d be satisfied with the answer.
But what if after he fell off the slide, he winced, jumped up, brushed off the wood chips and went on playing. You asked if he was ok, and he said “Yep, I feel fine.” What if then you started asking your-self, “Does he have a concussion? Or maybe it’s worse, what if he had a stroke and that’s why he fell in the first place? Why did he have a stroke? Maybe he has a tumor?” And after a battery of tests you insisted on, the doctors tell you he’s just fine. He’s a normal clumsy, growing, boy. But you persist, “What if they just missed it? What if he has a rare undiscovered virus that causes invisible tumors that cause strokes that cause falls that cause kids to feel fine when they really aren’t????” Now that is a unsatisfiable doubt.
We must be careful to come to the Scriptures with hungry questions expecting to be satisfied with God’s answer. He delights to fill us. But watch that you don’t come with a heart full of doubt. You’ll render the Scriptures useless or inapplicable to you. The Bible does not relieve never-ending doubt (though it does hold us accountable for it). Think about what Abraham says to the rich man who wants to come back from the dead to warn his brothers, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” Lk 16:31
When we come rightly we are blessed with feasts.
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. Neh 8:9-12
But of course, unless we wear Christ’s righteousness we can not come rightly. Jesus has even imputed his right-handeling of truth to us, quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Mt. 4:1-4
Next: Part 4, Principles: Keeping the End and the Means in their Proper Place
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