Romans 4:1-3What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Genesis 15:5,6And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
The Bible is a collection of writings. These writings were directly inspired by God. The Bible, as a collection, was compiled through inspiration. The original anthologists left out many texts which did not seem to be in agreement with the rest of the writings. The Old Testament is actually the translated Jewish scriptures, which were passed down through the generations. These scriptures remain unchanged thousands of years after being written. It is these scriptures that Paul refers to when he says they are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”, and “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16).
The New Testament is simply an extension of the Old, an account of the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning Jesus, the work of the disciples, and a view of the early church. There is no New without the Old, and vice-versa. The New Testament was originally translated from the Textus Receptus, Latin for “received text”, into a variety of Bible versions and languages, including the King James and the original Serbian Bible. More information on this text can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textus_Receptus.
The point I’m trying to make is that the Bible is a collection of texts originating directly from God, written down by His faithful servants, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The stories of the Bible are historical events which took place in the past, or will take place in the future. Most of these stories hold both a literal and a symbolic meaning. The stories of the Bible are meant to serve as examples for us (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-11). In addition to parables, there are laws, prophecies, songs, prayers, and proverbs. All of these come directly from God and should be treated as such.
One of the main characteristics of the Biblical figures, the good ones at least, seems to be obedience and faith. When God called Abram out of Haran, Abram obeyed the call and left his family. When God called Moses to be the leader of His people, Moses obeyed and faced the most powerful man in the world, even though he was afraid. When God told Gideon that 300 men would be enough to defeat the mighty armies of Midian, Gideon trusted God and went forth in faith. True to His word, God removed the threat.
We see from the Bible that these faithful and obedient men and women are not perfect. In fact, many times, the lives of the patriarchs and prophets could even be considered completely unholy. However, once confronted with truth and the Word of God, they repent of their sinful ways and become paragons of faith and obedience once again. We are meant to look at these examples and use them in order to avoid the pitfalls of sin altogether. Most of the time, this is as futile as attempting to squeeze a camel through the eye of a needle. We are almost unable to resist sin. Of course, God doesn’t allow more than we can handle, but even this seems too much most of the time.
Our only hope is knowing that Jesus paid the price for these sins. We are recompensed, and only need to claim the free gift of eternal life. This does require faith and obedience on our part. God has made it very clear what He requires us to believe. The laws of God have been in place since the foundation of the world, and they are clearly given to Moses on Mount Sinai. These are the precepts that we must aspire to, even though we will most likely fail to keep within their bounds. God wants us to keep trying, but not of our own strength. He knows we cannot do it on our own, which is why we have the Holy Spirit to guide us through the labyrinth of sin. Of note is that we have no claim of righteousness by keeping God’s Law. We must do it because it is right, not because we gain favor with God.
Our only claim to righteousness is through our faith and obedience, yet this faith and obedience comes from God Himself. It is the faith of Jesus, the obedience the precious Son of God showed by allowing His own sacrifice to take place. It’s a circular argument, and we are only bit players in this greatest of controversies, the battle between good and evil. Yet, here we are, and we must soon choose a side. In Revelation 3:14-22, apostle John is given a vision of the church in the last days. We are described as “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Yet God’s only command to this last church is to choose a side, either cold or hot.
Today, I challenge you to choose God over all others. I challenge you to ask God to write His Laws on your heart, in your forehead and in your right hand. This means to feel, think, and do according to God’s will. The time is coming when the choice will be made clear, but until then, practice makes perfect.