Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Church Remains

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me.” John 5:39

Seemingly strange words from Jesus. As if He’s saying, What do you think you’re doing, searching the Scriptures as if to find eternal life in them?

But we’ve all heard it before, haven’t we? “That’s your interpretation.” “This is what this passage means to me.” “How can we really know what the right interpretation is?”

Many people search the Scriptures and just as many get all different kinds of things out of it. Search the Scriptures, yes. We should never stop.

But search in them to find Christ. If you’re not finding Jesus in the Scriptures you’re not finding eternal life. If your search of the Scriptures leads you to some conclusion other than salvation in Christ alone then your search is in vain.

They testify of Christ. Jesus Christ is the center of the Scriptures. He is the source of the Scriptures. He is what the Scriptures point to.

Too often we read/study/talk about the Scriptures as if they’re merely the source of eternal life just because they are what they are—the Words of God. But the Word of God—the Scriptures (the Old and New Testaments)—are not just words from God. They are words with specific and clear meaning. The testify of Christ. They are not just the source of eternal life—they are the source of eternal life in and because of Christ.

What does this mean? One of the reasons there are so many church bodies (or you could say divisions) in Christianity is because of thinking such as in the third paragraph above. The Christian Church transcends all these church bodies. The Christian Church has always existed and will always remain. Church bodies come and go.

That doesn’t mean they don’t matter. We need to align ourselves with a church body that faithfully adheres to the Word of God. Jesus said: “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20)

We can’t pick and choose in the Scriptures. Christ has given us His Holy Word for our salvation. He is the Lord of His Holy Church—that’s why it remains. Many things said and taught in Christianity sound good. But are they centered in Christ? Do they point to Him and the salvation He accomplished by His death and resurrection?

The Church has always existed and so have false teachings. We should not stand idly by. We must search the Scriptures. We must boldly and lovingly respond to false teachings with the Word of God. That is what the Church has always done and will continue to do. Always pointing to Christ and the glory that is due Him alone. Anything that detracts from His glory will not endure. His Word will not fade away. Because it is centered in His Word, His Church remains.


Peter said...

This blog really centers in on the issue of our day in 21st century America. We have lots of people running around talking about Church and Christ, but their notions of Church and Christ are completely different from the holy Scriptures.

I believe it was Dr. Nagel who always taught us, "Who is running the verbs." When Jesus is running the verbs, then you know things are right. And who is this Jesus? The one who suffered, died, and rose again for the salvation of the world. If you're talking about that Christ and His Church, then you are on the right path. Anything else is a different Christ and a different Church.

Thanks again, for this wonderful blog!

rev.will said...

Hi Peter!

Good to hear from you! It's been a long time since those days at the sem. Yes, Nagel was brilliant in that observation. I could stand to remember that more often when I preach and teach. Thank you for your comment and the much needed reminder that the Christ of the Church we're talking about is *always*, *always* the one who suffered, died, and rose again for the salvation of the world. Well spoken, and may we continue to preach this Christ crucified boldly in the Church and to the world.