The start of a new year is often accompanied by fresh commitments to read the Bible more consistently. I trust that’s one of your goals this year as well. If so, perhaps recalling Scripture’s role in God’s plan of redemption will help us follow through in this objective.
Specifically, I want us to see that the Bible itself is an ingredient in God’s work of redemption.
Our Triune God communicates in order to establish fellowship with his creatures. God sends his Word (Isa. 55:11) to both save and sanctify. God used the Scriptures to effect our regeneration (Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23) and persists in using Scripture to advance our sanctification (Jn. 15:3; 17:17; 2 Cor. 3:18). In theological terms, the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to conform us into the image of the Son of God. This should be all the motivation we need to inhale the Scriptures daily.
The reality of God’s Scriptural revelation, I think, calls us to happily acknowledge God’s goodness, humbly embrace God’s commands, and heartily entrust ourselves to his care.
Let’s happily acknowledge God’s goodness: “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way” (Psalm 25:8, emphasis mine). Have you considered what your life would be like without God’s Word? It’s a scary thought for me. I would be lost in the enveloping fog of my own invented reality. I would enthrone myself as Lord, deify my own reasoning capabilities and divinize my own moral standards. I would tell myself—and self-righteously announce to the world—that I dared to question authority and refused to submit to anyone but myself. In actual fact, I would be in the tyrannical grip of my own fears and desires. Thankfully, we have a word from God because we have a good God.
Let’s humbly embrace God’s Commands: “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way” (Psalm 25:9). We know all too well that life outside of God’s gracious rule is dehumanizing and soul-deadening. We have the scars to show it—the lingering residue of guilt and shame; the ever-present reality of broken marriages and relational strife; the aftereffects of poor choices and how they spill over into the lives of our loved ones. Sin enfeebles our lives. We’ve learned the hard way that enslavement to Christ is the only genuine path to freedom. Therefore, we pray with John Donne (1572–1631):
“Batter my heart, three-personed God. . . .
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me” (“Batter My Heart”).
Let’s heartily entrust ourselves to his care: “All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies” (Psalm 25:10). Steadfast love and faithfulness are not abstract concepts. They have a name. Jesus is steadfast love and faithfulness incarnate. He kept God’s covenant and testimonies for us.
And our access to this Christ is found in Scripture. It is there that we sit at his feet and ponder his work. May he have his way in our lives in 2022.
And so we pray:
Almighty God, and most merciful Father, we humbly submit ourselves, and fall down before your Majesty, asking you from the bottom of our hearts, that this seed of your Word now sown among us, may take such deep root, that neither the burning heat of persecution cause it to wither, nor the thorny cares of this life choke it. But that, as seed sown in good ground, it may bring forth thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold, as your heavenly wisdom has appointed. Amen. (Middleburg Liturgy)