Friday, January 15, 2010

The only way to rightly divide the word of truth is with the cross.

The introductory post explains the purposes, goals and scope of this blog. If you have not read it, I suggest you start there and then, look through the posts to get a feeling for where I have gone and where I am going. But, if you don’t have the time, feel free to read this post alone. The blog is meant to be a series however.
 
In the last post we began to look at the Jew-Gentile distinction and covenantal transition that is found in the New Testament. In earlier posts we established that when Paul wrote the phrase the word of truth he meant gospel and not scripture. Since the gospel is throughout the Old Testament writings rightly dividing the word of truth would mean to correctly handle the gospel as it related to the two covenants. Paul’s plea to Timothy to rightly divide the word of truth was a plea to hold to a redemptive view of the scripture and to translate what it would mean before the cross and after the cross.
 
However, it is not just the cross that is involved here but rather what I would like to call the Christ event. The Christ Event includes the cross but, it also takes in the entire transition from one covenant to the other. An important aspect of the covenant transition is the destruction of temple predicted by Jesus as the sign of the fulfillment of all things. The gospel is the promise of the fulfillment of all things which makes the word of truth the promise of the fulfillment of all things. Most important in this promise is the reconciliation of humanity to God via the cross of Christ.
 
This would be a good place to explain that it is not the purpose of this blog to suggest that God does not desire obedience from humanity. Rather, God desires obedience from the heart.

Obedience from the heart generates from a deep abiding love and appreciation of God. The gospel, the word of truth, the fulfillment of all things, is the mechanism for building this deep abiding love of God.  This love germinates from God’s love for us as shown by the Christ event. Therefore it is not law that generates obedience. It is grace.
 
One of the critical elements of a transformation from obedience from fear to obedience from the heart is embodied in the word of truth. As Paul stated, the word of truth is the power of God to bring about salvation to all of humanity (Rom 1:16). The Christ Event is the power God used to redeem and transform humanity but, if it is not properly understood from the grace standpoint, it does not have the power of transformation that produces obedience from the heart. This power is for the Jew and the Greek but, it only operates by faith in the love and grace of God. A look at the Jew-Gentile distinction found in the New Testament writing will help assure the saint that obedience from the heart is the only obedience God wants.

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