Church Covenant, Section 12 (Newsletter 04.04.18)

Dear Church Family,

The twelfth section of our newly adopted church covenant reads: “We will submit to the authority of the Scriptures as the final word on all matters of life and doctrine.”

To this point our church covenant has hit on the major requirements for every Christian in the context of meaningful membership in a local church. This last commitment boils all of the other eleven sections down to this basic resolution: we will bow before the Bible. Now of course, I’m not suggesting we worship a book, as in pages filled with words. I am suggesting our lives be worship of the God revealed to us through this book. We express our love and offer our worship for Him by humbly obeying His Word.

In a way, this is really where the rubber meets the road in the Christian life. Are we going to believe what the Bible says or are we going to believe something else? Are we going to do what the Bible says or are we going to do something else? Our emotions, our feelings, our impulses, our cravings, our habits, our personalities, our upbringings, our preferences, our intuitions, our education, our training, our friends, our culture—our everything must kneel before the Word. If we refuse to submit to what the Bible says, if our lives aren’t shaped right down to what we believe and do by the Scriptures, then what does that say about how we view God? There is so much that could be said, but let’s apply this in our own lives and in the life of our church under three headings: Know the Bible, Trust the Bible, and Follow the Bible.

It stands to reason that if we are going to submit to the authority of the Scriptures as the final word on all matters of life and doctrine, we must know the Bible. All Scripture is from the mouth of God and we must treat it accordingly. This is why we are committed to reading, praying, singing, and preaching God’s Word as a church. This is also why each member is strongly encouraged to read, study, memorize, and pray the Bible personally. We won’t know all of the Bible equally as well, but as we give ourselves to this lifelong pursuit of God through regular and sustained Bible intake, His Spirit will help us grow.

As we grow in our knowledge of the Bible, we must also grow in our trust of the Bible. If we are in Christ, we truly are new creations here and now, but yet we still battle against our sinful nature. That being said, there are areas in all of our lives where God is working on us. When He lovingly confronts us in our error through His Word, we may be tempted to doubt the wisdom and goodness of its truth. Initially, it may seem to us that the change God calls for will actually lead away from the fullness of life instead of to it. This has been at the root of every temptation since the Garden. In that moment, we must take up His Word as a sword and slice off the head of the serpent. Regardless of what the tempter says, we must trust what the Bible says as the truth.

Trusting the Bible gets at what we believe and following the Bible gets at what we do. They’re really two sides of the same coin. Throughout the course of our lives, there will be many points where following God’s Word comes at a great cost to us. Often following the Bible is difficult or maybe even seems impossible. Probably more often than that, following the Bible may seem unnecessary—that no great harm will come from only partial obedience in this one area. This is where trusting the Bible is so key. There continues to be so much in this life that we don’t and won’t understand until Christ returns. In our estimations we may clearly perceive a better, more agreeable or efficient way of doing things. We tend to look for shortcuts and loopholes. But when we trust the Bible, we will follow the path He’s laid out before us in confidence—even when its narrow or through the valley of the shadow of death.

So, let’s pray that we as a church and church members would grow to know the Bible, trust the Bible, and follow the Bible more and more as the Day approaches. Let’s commit that we will humbly kneel to the authority of the Scriptures in all areas of belief and practice. Let’s ask Him for wisdom in faith, knowing that He gives generously to all without reproach. May we be people of the Book as children of the King.

Gentry