Last week, I posted an exhortation to being immersed in Scripture. This week I want to talk a bit about how I am attempting to do that.

I have been following the modified version of Professor Horner’s Reading System (here)

Part of that as I learn Greek this year is reading some in Greek.

I am attempting to also get back into habits of study and psalm reading, which I will write on when I have done them.

Each year I have attempted also a 90 day reading plan and have listened through an audiobook form of the Bible once.

One habit that I am trying to get into and have been for a while is carving out a 1-2 hour block each week to just read the Bible in a sequential fashion.

“Jesus Christ, our Lord,
through whom we received Grace and Apostleship,
into an obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name.
in whom also is you!
called to be Jesus Christ’s” (Rom 1:4b-6)

Just as important for Paul here is both that he was called and equipped unto his apostleship as those to whom he is writing are Christ’s own, even as he goes on in the next verse, that they are αγαπητοις θεου, that is the beloved of God. Our place as belonging to the Son, as being the heirs of the Kingdom is as sure to Paul as his own being an apostle (which if you’ve read the Corinthian letters is very sure in his mind) This is a high statement of God’s love for us. In his very introduction of himself Paul is telling those who lay claim to the Gospel that they are just as surely in the bosom of the Son as the Son has called him to obedience in spreading the Gospel among the nations.

The Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon said of John Bunyan that his works were so centred on the Bible; “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline”

I want to echo Spurgeon’s prayer from the same sermon; “Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.”

All too often we treat the Bible as if it is a chore to do, I think in part this comes from our misunderstanding of what the Bible is; ever hear of the backronym “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”? It is this approach that I want to combat today, the problem with this understanding of Scripture is that it limits 2 Tim 3:16-17 to just “All Scripture is breathed our by God and profitable for teaching, and for training in righteousness.” so what’s left out? “for reproof,” and “for correction,” and “That the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Paul is clear here that the focus of Scripture is that we might be conformed to Christ, (after all that is the purpose that the Spirit came (John 16, et al)) this conformation is not just one of head, that of giving us instructions, do’s and don’ts, that of giving us things to affirm, or deny. No! Scripture as wielded as the sword of the Spirit is meant to bring us closer to Christ in His fullness. Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, Christ as the Eternal Son of God to whom we are to be conformed to. If you encounter Scripture and do not come out being a little more like Christ, then you haven’t encountered Scripture. If you encounter the Spirit and don’t come out a little more like Christ then you didn’t encounter the Spirit. We do not worship a God who is afar off, and commands obedience, but one who is very near, to be in our mouth and heart. Let the Blood of the Children of God run Bibline.

We Believe…

The first statement of the Apostle’s Creed is a statement of belief, an affirmation that what is laid out following is borne by the Spirit into the hearts of men (Eph 2:8) A Spirit borne testimony by which God makes foolish the things of the world.

The Mighty One, God, The LORD, speaks,
and calls the earth from sunrise to sunset.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines out.
Here we see Yahweh, speaking out from His dwelling place, and to whom does he speak; He is addressing the peoples of the earth. God is speaking out from His place of abode amongst the peoples of the earth unto the nations that he disinherited at Babel.
There is a few more things of note here; Yahweh is described as Mighty, His dwelling place is the perfection of beauty, (As for me it is God to be near God (Ps 73:28)) and His Glory, just as his call goes out to the ends of the earth (from sunrise to sunset)

The Creature/Creator Distinction
The problem with what has come to be known as New Age Spirituality converging with Christianity is exclusively in the realm of how we differentiate the created from the creator, on this I think in general the Western Church in following Augustine’s synthesis of Theology with Platonism has made this Creature/Creator distinction harder than what Biblically is mandated, I’d more easily fall on the side of the Eastern Fathers in what has been recently named Palamite Panentheism after Gregory Palamas (1296-1359) that the divine energies as distinct (but dependent) upon the essence of the Triune God uphold and sustain creation, so it can be said that without God creation would cease to exist. (Acts 17:28, etc) While the New Age system is closer to my position than most other Western conceptions of Creature/Creator distinction, I would say that in that system the divine depends on creation to exist as divine, which of course leads to the corollary that creation is divine hence a dismantling of the Creature/Creator distinction.

Without the Creature/Creator distinction Christianity cannot make such claims as it does to spur on its adherents such as “Be Holy as your Father in Heaven is Holy,” or “I will be their God and they will be my people.” indeed the distinction comes into full force through the doctrine of the Incarnation, Death, Resurrection and Glorification of the Second Person of the Trinity. Nothing says more powerfully that God is not Creation than His very entering into Creation such that we might be His own.

On the Indwelling God
This action by God towards us is then the basis on which we must understand the indwelling God, indeed it is Christ, who died who said that if he were not Glorified then God would not dwell in us. (John 16) This is not some arbitrary feeling, or searching that we might have power over creation, or have our own way, we are dwelt in by God to be conformed to God. It is not an empty call without empowerment, but one which when God alights on our hearts that which was stone, which made the creature into god, becomes enfleshed ready to be conformed to the Self-giving God, the God who comes to us, but once he is with us, we talk of him indwelling. It is not the natural state of fallen man that they are indwelt by God, but of the Child of God it is. God comes to us. Confronts us. And makes us His own. In this process of making us His own He makes His dwelling in us.

The proper direction of the Holy Spirit is always to the conformation of those in whom he dwells to Christ, to the mind and spirit of Christ, to humility and self-denial. In contrast the New Age view of the doctrine of the god within is that we must conform this world to our desires, to our wants and needs.

We need proper Biblical and Pentecostal understanding of the Spirit’s work in our lives, not an Enlightenment denial of His existence, spurred on by the Augustine Synthesis of Platonism and Christianity in it’s Creature/Creator dualistic understanding. The Spirit dwells in us to make us alive, the living Church, the vanguard of the Kingdom of God, for the Holiness and Righteousness of God displayed in the Son of God through the death of God on the Cross of God. We dare not shrink back from what is our right having been made Children of God, but we dismiss and dismantle those things which assault the very notion of the Incarnate God by destroying the distinction between God and His Creation.