Several times, in our pursuit of our identity in Christ, we come upon questions and dilemmas from the Word that many times make us question what it is that God is saying. So often, we find things in the Word like “Rom 11:29 For the free gifts and calling of God are without repentance. ” and then we find “Job 1:21 And he said, I came naked out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away. Blessed be the name of Jehovah. ” We ask ourselves, why is God being two faced?
Hitherto, my Bible reading was like the picture below;
I would take only what I wanted and cut out what I despised or felt uncomfortable with. I was not mindful of God, who in all things let the fullness of Christ come through. All the Bible is God’s word. In fact Paul says to Timothy [2Ti 3:16,17] All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.
In reading His Word, I have realised this, it is easy for me to extract a scripture and begin to preach a sermon on it, or pass on a message not mindful of the sea it comes from. This is what I mean; the Word is like eating a 7 course meal. The fullness of it cannot be explained in the appetiser or the soup or the fish or the palate cleanser or the main course or the dessert! When all these things come together, they make a 7 course meal. Separately, they are individuals at the moment.
The working of the 7 course meal is such that “the guests taste a wide assortment of dishes, not to stuff or overwhelm them with food” and also, “It may take four to six hours to completely finish such a dinner, “.
The dessert is not the dinner. The dinner is complete with all the seven courses to the pleasing of the guest of the home. These small factions only make sense within the line up. Not that they would not taste good on their own.
Christ is fuller than the 7 course meal. Col 1:19 For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell; He is the dwelling place of the fullness of the Father. We can call the Bible the Spiritual 66 course meal for every book in it compliments the image of the Father. Therefore, it will surely take us more than six hours to complete if we are eating on purpose.
Some parts of the Bible are like what Paul talks about here “Gal 3:24 So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. ” There is a time for the law and a time for faith. One leads to another. Perhaps the fullness of Christ is in the main course? Who knows, but there are things leading us to this main course! Appetisers, soups,fishes, palate cleansers…
We must learn to see these things in their context lest we misuse or misunderstand this great banquet of knowing Christ. They are held together in God and all find their place in Him. So when I read a verse in a chapter, I ask myself, where does this fall in within the chapter; so I read the chapter. I may further prod and ask, where does this fall in within the book? Or further yet, where does the book fall in within the history of the time?
So the more questions I ask, the more answers I receive, the more fullness is opened to me by His grace and revelation. I find answers and rest. When the main course is done, then the desserts. All these come together for a beautiful banquet. If one is lost, the fullness is missed. May we continue to behold this marvelous Jesus, all the way from Genesis to Revelation and embrace the transformation into likeness with Him.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.