Of freezing oceans and a prayer that won’t sell

Allow me an editorial hodge-podge today, which I’ve not done in a while, mostly textual notes and biblical perspectives.

¶ Paul told Timothy: “Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit” 1 Timothy 6.6. The eternal God gives us all that we need. All. The key is to be content with what he gives us and not desire something else. God is sufficient for every moment. Often, he may be trying to turn us from our desire for something to find our peace and contentment in himself.

¶ Faith is the great condition of life with God: for entering, remaining, growing, and doing in the Kingdom. However you understand Romans 1.17, it puts faith squarely in the center of salvation and covers the whole process with it. And prayer has faith as the great condition as well. Doesn’t it seem that we ought to do our best to understand exactly what it is, how to grow it, where to get it? Some people think faith is just wanting it more or trying harder or even just a saving thought. Our people are right on to make faith the first (and continuing) step of salvation, based upon hearing the word of Christ, Romans 10.17.

¶ The only authoritative “word of Christ” is that which is based upon and taken from Scripture. Without the Bible, you have nothing. Absolutely nothing. No faith that saves.

¶ A Portuguese Bible version says that God freezes the oceans, in Job 37.10. Maybe Elihu wanted to say that God does the impossible. Or maybe he was ignorant that at any given time only 15% of the oceans will freeze. The content of the verse comes from an uninspired man. But “oceans” translates a Hebrew word that means breadth or extension. The ERV gets it right, that God “freezes even large bodies of water.” I like some versions’ rendering of “wide waters” for its alliteration.

¶ Elihu probably wasn’t from the coast, nor did he belong to a maritime people. Wide waters for him was likely a big river or lake.

¶ In his commentary on Hebrews, Albert Vanhoye says Hebrews 10.22 alludes to Isaiah 63.11: “Where is the one who brought them up out of the sea, along with the shepherd of his flock?” God brought Jesus up from among the dead — not the usual resurrection term. And Jesus is the great shepherd of the sheep. Still insisting on Christ’s superiority over Moses in his last drop of ink.

¶ Integrity is being whole, wholly what you ought to be. As ESV puts it, “in all respects” Titus 2.7. It is loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Without complete obedience there is no integrity, cf. 2 Corinthians 10.6. It is being “mature and fully assured in all the will of God” Colossians 4.12. Integral saints are whole saints.

¶ Is there any other kind of evangelism other than personal evangelism? Looking in the New Testament one has to wonder. Ever wonder why the Sovereign did not send his Son in our times, with the printing press, radio and television, and internet?

¶ A few years ago a little book about Jabez’s prayer sold tons of copies. Why? Because he used it to promote the health and wealth gospel, prosperity, taking from the old covenant and applying it badly. Why didn’t he write about Epaphras’s prayer? Maybe because (1) he couldn’t get his theology worked into it, and (2) it wouldn’t sell. The Bible may be a bestseller, but the true gospel will never be.

¶ It has been often observed, and in personal experience proved, that Scripture is simple enough for the common person to understand and deep enough to keep the most mature saint occupied with and feeding upon its spiritual riches.

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