Saturday, October 10, 2015

twisting verses...

I was greeted a couple of mornings ago by a word of warning from my sister. Her post went right along with a series of sermons a friend from high school--a pastor now--has been giving at his church lately. In Sarah's own words (and yes, I got her permission first!): "I believe there is danger in taking a verse out of context. Every verse was put in its place for a reason, picked by God himself. If you remove that verse and use it to fit your own purpose you have changed the very essence of it."
by Sarah

It seems like such a common thing lately--people pick and choose which verses they want to put on display for one reason or another. I guess that's been happening since the Scriptures were first written down, but is sure seems prevalent now. No matter which side of an issue someone is on, it seems like they twist verses to show how Jesus would be on their side.

People dismiss the verses that make them uncomfortable or that don't fit in line with the point they are truing to make. They say, "Oh, times have changed so much since then. That just doesn't pertain today--it's too old fashioned."

The thing is, we're told in Hebrews 13:8 that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." We're also told in John that Jesus is the Word of God. That means that the Word of God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It doesn't change with the times because Jesus doesn't change with the times. God is timeless, and therefore so is His Word. And as it says in II Timothy 3:16-17, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

All scripture, not just the verses we want to pick and choose so that we can make a point. That means the verses we want to shout from the mountaintops and the verses that make us cringe in shame because they remind us of our own personal failures. In Jesus's own words, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5)

We have to be careful, especially in this world that is desperate for some small glimpse of the truth. We need to speak truth, but we need to make sure that we are speaking the whole truth. Partial truths are dangerous, partly because it is so easy to make them sound however we want them to. Our world is longing for the truth, even though most people don't realize it. As followers of Christ, we are called to speak the truth and to do so in love. We need to draw others to Christ, and then let Him change their hearts. It's important to remember that we are all sinners saved by grace, and none of us are worthy of the gift we've been given.

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