People of the Book?
- Wednesday, May 23, 2007
So God is continuously plying His Word against the reality of the universe. Second, and related to this, God's application of His Word to the world is comprehensive. Nothing is beyond His reach; nothing can exist unless His Word attends to it. Even the fallenness of the world — all its brokenness, waste, tragedy, destruction, and disrepair — depends for its continuance on the Word of God. God "sends out His command" to the earth and all of creation, continuously and comprehensively. Nothing escapes the light and power of the Word of God.
Third, God's application of His Word to the creation is constructive. He is especially concerned for the edification of His people (vv. 12-14), that they might be well-led (v. 13), well-blessed (vv. 13, 14), and kept in perpetual well-being (v. 14). In Ephesians 1:22-23 Paul indicates that all the energy that the Word of God is bringing to bear against "all things" is for the sake of the Church, that she might grow strong as the fullness of the Lord and fill all the world with her Christ-bearing presence.
So God ministers His Word continuously. The creation gets no rest from the attention and exertions of the Word of God. He ministers it comprehensively. All of creation is the object of His ministry. And He ministers His Word constructively, with a view, especially, of building His Church to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ, and that all over the world (Ephesians 4:12-16; Matthew 28:18-20).
The Creation's Reception of the Word
We may also observe three aspects of the creation's reception of the Word from God, as these are indicated in Psalm 147:15-18. Here we may be brief. First, the creation receives the Word of God eagerly. The Word literally runs rampant through the creation, which makes no effort to resist it but seems eagerly disposed to receive and advance it throughout its length and breadth.
Second, the creation receives the Word entirely. The whole Word that God sends comes to the whole creation.
Third, the creation receives the Word of God effectively. It does in, for, and through the creation whatever God intends, and the creation willingly complies so that the Word may have God's desired effect.
We see, then, in the example of the impersonal creation additional guidelines for thinking about what it might mean to be a people of the Book: to receive the Word of God eagerly, entirely, and effectively, to accomplish the purposes of God.
A Little Test
So let's test ourselves. Here are some statements and scales you can use to determine how the criteria of God's use of the Word and those of creation's reception of the Word may indicate something about the extent to which you could describe yourself as one of the people of the Book:
I am consistent each day, and all day long, in reading, meditating on, and thinking about the Bible and what God is teaching me through His Word.
|Not at all||All the time|
I read the Bible in order to discover what it has to say about every area of life; I want to develop a "Biblical worldview" as I read and study the Bible.
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