Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Letter

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. - John 5:39-40

Charles Spurgeon, consistent with Origen's view of Scripture, gives us a meditation upon this passage:
Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages; from first to last they testify of him. At the creation we at once discern him as one of the sacred Trinity; we catch a glimpse of him in the promise of the woman’s seed; we see him typified in the ark of Noah; we walk with Abraham, as he sees Messiah’s day; we dwell in the tents of Isaac and Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise; we hear the venerable Israel talking of Shiloh; and in the numerous types of the law, we find the Redeemer abundantly foreshadowed. Prophets and kings, priests and preachers, all look one way-they all stand as the cherubs did over the ark, desiring to look within, and to read the mystery of God’s great propitiation.  
Still more manifestly in the New Testament we find our Lord the one pervading subject. It is not an ingot here and there, or dust of gold thinly scattered, but here you stand upon a solid floor of gold; for the whole substance of the New Testament is Jesus crucified, and even its closing sentence is bejewelled with the Redeemer’s name.  
We should always read Scripture in this light; we should consider the word to be as a mirror into which Christ looks down from heaven; and then we, looking into it, see his face reflected as in a glass-darkly, it is true, but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing him as we shall see him face to face. This volume contains Jesus Christ’s letters to us, perfumed by his love.  
These pages are the garments of our King, and they all smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides, and it is paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem. The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child Jesus; unroll them and you find your Saviour. The quintessence of the word of God is Christ.
The scribes and the experts in the law in the days of Jesus' ministry on the earth had the groomsman's coat but not the Groom.  It may be that is the case with many today who have their texts and their prooftexts and their pretexts, wielding the letter like a hammer while turning from the Spirit who gives life to both Word and worshipper. 

I confess it has too often been the case with me that my knowledge outran my wisdom.  Or, perhaps, as Paul says of some of his Jewish brothers in Romans 10:2, my zeal was not sufficiently tempered by knowledge of the Scripture's purpose. 

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).

5 comments:

Rick said...

My goodness, what a beautiful post.
Take the rest of the day off.

mushroom said...

That sounds good to me.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Wow, powerful message, Dwaine!
I could memorize the entire Bible and it would be meaningless without the Spirit.

Ann Kellett said...

Wow! Eyes are opened! Thank you.

mushroom said...

Thanks.