Monday 31 December 2018

Equipped for Every Good Work

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:14-17

In some churches, the reading of the Bible ends with the statement, ‘This is the word of the Lord’, to which the congregation normally replies: ‘Thanks be to God.’ That declaration and response capture something significant about the Christian confession of Scripture – that the Bible is the very word of God, God speaking to us. And it’s to be received with gratitude – ‘thanks be to God’ – which isn’t always easy, perhaps, depending on the passage!

God has spoken in the Bible, and continues to speak through what he has spoken.

Even more than providing a reason to be thankful, that ‘all Scripture is God-breathed’ gives us great confidence as Christians. We read what was said in a biblical passage to God’s people centuries ago, and we discover that the same instruction, encouragement, commission, warning, or promise addresses us. The same Spirit who inspired the text presses it home to us, to our hearts and lives. God speaks to us!

And there is yet more: God not only speaks to us through the Bible, but shapes us in the process of doing so.

So it is that Paul tells Timothy that Scripture makes us ‘wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus’, and is useful for ‘teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness’. For what purpose? So that God’s people ‘may be thoroughly equipped for every good work’. In short, the Bible is the means by which God speaks to his people today and equips us to live out the salvation brought by Jesus.

That salvation, as we know, is all-embracing, reaching into every nook and cranny of life. It’s in every part of daily existence that I need God’s instruction and rebuke, his correction and training. This week, even this day, I may trust that his word will equip me for every good work.

Here, then, is something for us to take into the next year: God speaks through Scripture not to make us relevant or rich, smart or successful, but to bring us to salvation, to enable us to become wise in his ways, and to shape us for the life to which he calls us.

Truly, this is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

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