It’s basically this: It’s obstinate.
The Bible won’t be molded to fit our presuppositions. I mean, we can try to make its overarching theme, its God and the Gospel He offers, be something else. We can try.
But those words.
An example: “I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Jesus said this to the Jews who denied that He was the Messiah, the Savior, the Christ.
“For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.”
I had a conversation with a Coke delivery driver a few months ago, who asked me, basically, “Wasn’t Jesus’ teaching pretty much all about inclusiveness? Isn’t that about right?”
I don’t know where he had heard that, or if he just made an assumption based on some faulty information, but the thrust of the actual words of Jesus is this: He died, spilled His completely innocent blood, to include you, but unless you repent and believe in Him you will not be included.
The guy was just simply wrong. What he had said was not the core of Jesus’ teaching.
Those darn, obstinate words. The things we can’t melt down and reshape into something we like better.
The words of Jesus and of Scripture, while I wholly admit are sometimes complicated and always must be interpreted, are unchangeable. They mean what they mean. Jesus did minister in Galilee and did not minister in Manhattan or Shanghai. He did die on a Roman cross and did not die of old age. He did say “For God so loved the world,” and He did not say “God will let all perish and start over.”
I can’t remake Jesus in my own image. He isn’t an idol. He’s the real deal.
An example from my own attempts: I’ve gotten to the point where I, personally, hate political discussions. Some of the reasons are good, but some of it is rooted in laziness or cowardice, too, I’m sure. But the point is that I’ll sometimes pretend that following Jesus Christ and loving Him have no political dimensions. Since I don’t want to talk politics, I’ll pretend that I don’t need to think or pray over or have a judgment on almost any issue on the ballot, or in the news.
But then the Bible drives me back to God’s heart.
So, Leviticus and much of the Prophets tell me He cares for the poor, the foreigner, the widowed, and the oppressed.
And so, His commands to the Jews to not kill their babies like the Canaanites, and His descriptions of His sovereignty over childbirth, tell me that abortion is God dishonoring.
Yeah. So, while I can’t be a party spokesman for either the Republicans or the Democrats, the Bible reminds me of God’s heart for the unsaved masses in the public square. I can’t shirk every public or political issue.
Scripture pulls me out of my box.
What about you? Has the Bible challenged you on generosity? Divorce? Racism? Homosexuality? Caring for the lost? Who Jesus is? The end of the world?
If not, read it and trust it. It will. It’s a two edged sword because it’s true. And the problem with true things is that you can’t wish them away.
But of course when they’re good, you shouldn’t want to.