Saturday, March 19, 2016
Yes – same graphic of Paul writing. Yes – an extension of yesterday’s post. If you arrived here first, please take that into consideration.
We were reading about Paul’s statement before the elders at Ephesus:
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:27 KJV)
I believe “all the counsel of God” is contained in the scriptures, even parts hard to accept. So did Peter: The Pulpit Commentary tells it that Paul was "a teacher, who was so skillful in dividing the Word of truth that he could make the very mysteries plain. Compare his language in Ephesians 3:4:
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: (Ephesians 3:2-6 KJV)
“….where he speaks of their 'being' "able to understand his knowledge, in the mystery of Christ." It is right to declare the whole counsel of God; but it is wise only to declare it to those who are prepared to receive it. Compare St. Peter's counsel and reference to St. Paul in…” 2 Peter 3:15-16.
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Peter 3:15-17 KJV)
As a Christian, long term or new, there “are some things hard to be understood.” If you don’t believe this – if you really believe you know all there is about being a follower of Christ – you have not studied His words. It’s wasn’t just Paul’s writings, either. Peter writes of unlearned and unstable wresting “as they do also the other scriptures” which can end in destruction.
This is why the “full counsel” is available to us. Not just the verses we like or want to follow, but the ones that are hard to understand. The ones we must accept that God has a reason for their inclusion, though it is a mystery at first.
Picking scriptures from the buffet laid before us is fairly simple – take what we like and leave the rest as we would at any food buffet. Doing so with scripture leaves us open to the adversary Peter described:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (1 Peter 5:8-10 KJV)
And – if you think you can’t be perfect, established and strengthened by His grace, please go back to March 16th post. He is able.