Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.'”

~ The Bible, Jeremiah 6:16, NIV

Is there any wisdom on the ancient paths? In this twenty-first century, for many, the Bible seems to be merely an outmoded book, irrelevant in today’s complex world. Critics view the message of the Bible as disjointed, superstitious, and simplistic in its thinking. Many supporters who still find value in its words, proclaim that the Bible must be culturally interpreted, applied to today’s global world, and its overarching messages of love, justice, and grace is all that really matters. These individuals will point to societal and individual misinterpretation of the Scriptures throughout the centuries, and challenge the validity of belief of anyone who holds to a more ancient, literal interpretation. In many corners of our world, such believers are openly mocked and vilified. Others allow entitlement of belief behind the four walls of a church building, or within the home. But, these individuals stress that such beliefs have no place in today’s marketplace of ideas.

However, ideas are relevant, they are the tools that shape society and define reality. The best ideas reflect truth. Not all ideas are equally valid, nor do all withstand the test of time. I believe that the Scriptures pass that test. I believe this so firmly, that I have staked my life on the foundations of Scripture, even as I recognize that I don’t always understand all the details clearly. God’s Kingdom is being revealed through the ages, but the foundation of that Kingdom, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, stands firmly fixed within the framework of time. Although true Christians may disagree on many things, on these essentials there can be no disagreement. These truths are the foundation of the faith, and to believe otherwise, though some may still call themselves Christian, is to stray far from the truths of Christianity. This, the common foundation of Christianity, is the place for Christians to begin discussing their differences–to “ask for the ancient paths.”

Yet, many refuse to ask. They seek to undermine the reliability of Scripture, they proclaim, “We will not walk in its way,” they mock those who proclaim Scripture’s truth as simpletons, hypocrites, and hate-mongers. They proclaim, “There is no good way on the ancient paths!” And, for them, I grieve. There is no anchor for their soul, there is no forgiveness for their sin, there is no hope for their salvation apart from the ancient paths. Society will march forward, changing direction with every breeze of ideology, and along the great highway of its march lies a pathway to death.

This is what the prophet Jeremiah is proclaiming, and as the people turned away, death is the result that Jeremiah witnessed. In a time of peace and prosperity, proclamation of favor and grace, trust in the love of God while reveling in wickedness, the ancient paths remind us of impending doom. God will judge wickedness, yet in His mercy he offers opportunity to avert impending judgment. He calls nations and individuals to return to the crossroad, to the place where the great highways of contemporary living and the ancient paths of history intersect. Through the ancient prophets, God challenges us to decide which way we will go, to listen to God’s instruction, to move along the ancient paths of virtue (morality, holiness, obedience, and compassion) that God has put in place for our good. But, we must pause, stand on the foundation of God’s Word, look for the ancient paths, ask where they may be found, then walk upon the path set before us.

So here I stand; I seek the ancient paths. Like the great Protestant reformer Martin Luther, I proclaim that in spite of my many flaws, my conscience is captive to the Word of God, and in words attributed to Luther, I proclaim, in the face of today’s swiftly changing culture, “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

“… Do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”

~ 1 Corinthians 14:20, ESV

The human imagination is a powerful tool. This is where your inner thoughts are formed. Your imagination is where the priorities, patterns and pleasures of the soul dwell.

Continue reading

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Genesis 1:1–2 (ESV)

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

In the beginning, God …

I’ve been thinking and studying a lot lately about the Christian understanding of God. In theological terms, this is Theology Proper which is the study of the being, attributes and works of God. As I’ve been meditating, I keep coming back to these first two verses of Genesis which provide us the foundational principles for understanding life.

John MacArthur explains that these verses describe the five components of reality:

  • Time
  • Force
  • Action
  • Space
  • Matter

I agree that these verses certainly do lay the framework for an understanding of our physical universe. They point to our origins, but deeper still, they provide us with some basic assumptions about God that I think we should also consider (and I’m sure that MacArthur would agree). Some of these assumptions, for me are tied to another phrase describing God that most certainly precedes those first words “In the beginning …”

The Living God

Jeremiah 10:10 (ESV)

“But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.”

These words, the living God, are uttered throughout Scripture by the likes of Joshua, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Peter, Paul and John. Some of the heavy hitters of my faith. The ones who laid down the foundation of essential doctrine that all Christians believe. So what do these Scriptures in Genesis and Jeremiah tell us about God?

He is Self-Sufficient: He existed before the beginning, so He must be life itself. Nothing was needed for Him to be. Everything needed for life is found in Him, and in Him alone. From Genesis to Revelation, the biblical story backs up this claim as God works through His providence in the outworking of history. His is the first word, and His will be the last word spoken over the present history of humanity.

He is the Source & Substance: You don’t need to look further than God to find what you need. There is nothing beyond Him that is capable of giving your life substance. When we settle for anything less than God, we’ve settled for a cheap imitation.

He is our Sustainer: Nothing would be alive if not for Him. God alone sustains life. Paul expressed it well when he reminded the Greeks what one of their own philosophers once said, “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28, ESV).

He is our Salvation: If He is life itself, then God is our only escape from this world of sin and death that we find ourselves trapped in. He alone holds the keys, and His plan is the only way of escape. And the great thing is, the Bible reveals even more about this God we serve, when it points us to an expanded revelation of the Living God, and the final word for our sin-sick world! Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh!

John 1:1–4 (ESV)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

One of Us!

This is so easy to forget in the struggles of daily living. Take time today, to meditate on that fact. The Living God has become one of us. Through Jesus Christ, God has reached down into His creation, and joined with us in the midst of our suffering. He has revealed Himself, and offered to us the promise of life!

Why would you choose anything less?

Final Thoughts

What steps are you going to take today to remind yourself that God is your Source & Substance, Sustainer, and Salvation?

If you don’t believe this, are you willing to honestly consider the claims of the Christian faith?