Knowing Scripture Pt. 2
Lying is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Adultery is wrong. Murder is wrong. Says who? Who decided that? Who got to determine what is considered right and what is considered wrong? And is it true for everyone? Is it wrong for everyone to lie, steal, cheat and/or murder? The world tells us to believe in a relative truth instead of absolute truth. Relative truth says: What is true for me may not be true for you. Our world is constantly arguing about who is right. Democrat versus Republican. Vaccine versus no vaccine. Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice. Gay marriage versus heterosexual marriage. So, who is right? And more importantly who gets to decide who is right and who gets to decide who is wrong?
If you are a believer, were raised in church, or have even been around much at all you would recognize the first four sentences of the previous paragraph more easily if read: Thou shall not lie. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall not commit murder. Most people would immediately recognize them as part of the 10 Commandments1. The 10 Commandments are a part of the Mosaic Law2. Let’s briefly refresh our memory:
The Mosaic Law was part of the Mosaic Covenant which was a conditional covenant between the people of Israel and God (Yawheh), which both parties voluntarily entered pledging to uphold their end of the covenant. God promised blessing in exchange for the Israelite’s obedience and assertion of Yahweh as their only God.
The Mosaic Law is made up of three parts: the Ten Commandments, the ordinances, and the worship system (priesthood, tabernacle, offerings and festivals).
So what is the ultimate purpose of the 10 Commandments and, in turn, the Mosaic Law? Although not an exhaustive list, there are two truths God wanted to reveal to His people through the Mosaic Law:
- To reveal the holy character of God to the nation of Israel (Leviticus 19:2).
- To reveal the sinfulness of man (Galatians 3:19).
In Knowing Scripture Pt. 1, we talked about how knowing Scripture leads to the knowledge of God. The Law is from God and does indeed reveal God’s character and His will for His people. In revealing Himself, God sets the standard. And that standard is holiness. Leviticus 19:2 says, “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” Who sets the standard? Who decides what is right and what is wrong? God does. The standard is set by His perfect character. And the standard is holiness.
What role does knowing Scripture play in our pursuit of holiness? James 1:22-25 says:
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who has looked intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and has continued in it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an active doer, this person will be blessed in what he does.
Scripture serves as a mirror. It not only reveals what kind of person we are, but it does so by first revealing who God truly is. The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self always go hand in hand. There can be no true knowledge of self apart from the knowledge of God.3 So when we compare ourselves to the holy God of the universe, we quickly come to the realization that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God4. And therein lies the answer to the importance of knowing Scripture: knowing Scripture results in knowing your sin-fallen, hopeless, desperate state. God reveals Himself through Scripture to graciously and compassionately disclose our sin. Why? Because sin separates us from God and God does not want us to be separated from Him. Ephesians 2:1-11:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins… But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
God loves you too much to leave you enslaved in your sin-fallen state. He wants so much more for you. We see an example of this at the end of Genesis 3. Adam and Eve have sinned. They have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God declares their punishment., promises a Savior. Yet the grace lies in verses 22-23, “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’ – therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden…” God sent them out of the Garden of Eden so that they might not sin further by eating from the Tree of Life, which would cause them to live forever. God did not want them to live eternally in their sin. He did not want them to live eternally separated from Him forever.
Knowing Scripture is knowing our sin. Knowing Scripture keeps us from falling into more sin. Romans 3:20 says, “…for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” We must know God’s Word in order to know our sin. In John MacArthur’s book Reckless Faith he says, “Federal agents don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing. Then when they see the bogus money they recognize it.” How do we know the truth, what God says is right and wrong? We know by studying and knowing the real thing, by knowing Scripture. Do you know who knows Scripture really well? Satan. See Satan is a master at counterfeiting God’s word and he wants everyone to live separated from God. So, Satan uses Scripture to accomplish his purposes which are for confusion, doubt, and sin. He uses Scripture confidently and out of context. Satan takes God’s words and changes them ever so slightly to make the difference almost undetectable, like counterfeiters. But someone who knows God’s Word will recognize the difference and refute the lie. How will they know? Because they have treasured God’s word in their heart that they might not sin against God5. The only way to refute a lie is to know the truth. We see Satan’s blatant blasphemy in Matthew 46 when he uses Scripture to try and trick Jesus, who is the Word became flesh7. If Satan is so bold to attack Christ with His own words, we should expect no less of an assault.
Knowing Scripture is knowing God. Knowing Scripture is knowing our sin. Satan does not want us to be able to recognize our sin. He wants us to justify our sin. But we must know our sin and name our sin to fight our sin. We must fight our sin in order to live in fellowship with God.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you might be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil… taking up… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17
Author – Sarah D.
1 The 10 Commandments – Exodus 20:1-17
2 The Mosaic Law – Exodus 20-40; Leviticus 1-7; 23
3 Romans 3:23
4 Wilkin, Jen. “Chapter 1: Turning Things Around.” Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds, Crossway, Wheaton, IL, 2019, p. 26.
5 Psalm 119:11
6 Matthew 4:1-11
7 John 1:14