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37 Truths To Joy In The Whole Bible

I was just reading through the book of Esther and came to the part where Esther had
convinced King Ahasuerus not to kill all the Jews in all of his 127 provinces. When I read
that I was relieved, thinking, "Oh good, they are going to call it all off, the Jews will live
and rejoice." They did live, but the command was then given that instead the Jews should
kill all who hated them in the 127 provinces. The Bible presents this as a good and
glorious turn of events, but my pleasure in this Biblical story was temporarily aborted. I
had forgotten some of the humbling (for sinners like us) yet glorious truths of the Bible.
Fully acknowledging and accepting these truths is a prerequisite to understanding and
loving the whole Bible. Parts of the Bible won't make sense or bring joy unless we accept
these things.

I very much hope that none of this sours your opinion of me. I'm just trying to help us all.
But, to quote Esther, "If I perish, I perish."

So, to understand and love the whole Bible we must...

1. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that God has eternally planned (or as the King,
"decreed") everything that has or will ever come to pass in all of creation. He has
never and will never "make up" new plans as history goes along. An infinite mind,
with infinite wisdom, motivated out of infinite love, does not get it wrong "the
first time." "For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has
appeared in these last times for the sake of you." (1 Peter 1: 20)

2. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that while we see in Scripture that God
sometimes changes His mind, even the change of mind was planned from all
eternity. In history and in Scripture God sometimes addresses situations from the
simple perspective of what a situation deserves, pertaining to justice. In these
cases He has planned to view things narrowly, from a holiness versus sin
perspective, because that is what God is: "holy, holy, holy." In His astonishing
holiness He fully intends to punish. There is nothing deceptive about it. But God
is more than holy. He is Love. He is Holy Love. And so in His great plan He plans
for and allows the interplay of His holiness and love, His justice and grace. God
is, after all, all about displaying Who He is. But in viewing things from the
narrow perspective He does not thereby cease to have an infinite mind.
Everything- even His own threats- takes place in the broad perspective of His
sovereign, eternal, and completely unchangeable plan. As mentioned, He does not
make things up as He goes along.

3. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that the Old Testament people were saved by
believing in the promise of the One to come. They were not saved by sacrifices,
but the sacrifices themselves were to be understood as pointing to the Sacrifice of
the Lamb to come.
4. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that the Jewish nation of the Old Testament (the
Old Covenant) was never saved eternally as a whole nation. They were saved and
favored as a nation in regard to earthly and temporary things, but no individual
Jew will be in Heaven who did not believe in the coming "pierced for our
transgressions" King. Likewise, no Jew today is saved except by believing as
Christians must believe. There are not two people of God. "For He is not a Jew
who is one outwardly... He is a Jew who is one inwardly..." (Romans 2: 28, 29)

5. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that while God is absolutely sovereign,


absolutely in control of all things in all creation, we as humans are also fully
responsible for our choices. We choose or "will" evil in our hearts. God wills what
is good in allowing us- in His absolute control- to will evil. He has the power and
the right to work (sometimes by allowing) all things for His glory and the good of
the church. We, on the other hand, never allow sin in our own hearts out of a
desire for His glory and the good of the church. God is God, and we are not.

6. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that God created man and woman equal in glory
and dignity with each other, yet with different roles.

7. Fully acknowledge in our hearts our own sinfulness and that of all of humanity.
Our own sinfulness is greater than we can conceive.

8. Fully acknowledge in our hearts the horrible nature and consequences of sin.

9. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that sin is so horrible that we can't save
ourselves. Christ had to pay the penalty for our sin, and die in our place on the
cross, so that we could receive forgiveness.

10. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that sin is so horrible that there are no works, no
performances, we can do to get God to accept us into Heaven. Jesus said He is the
only Way to the Father, and that all we need to do is believe in Him as the God-
man Who was crucified for our sins, and is now risen, and we will be saved.

11. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that believing in Christ is not a work or
performance we do, but a gift from God that He enables us- by His Holy Spirit- to
exercise.

12. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that while there are various kinds of belief in
Christ, only the belief that has love for Christ at the heart of it is true belief. No
mere intellectual belief connects us with Christ. There is a loving feeling in the
heart and pleasure in God when we are truly believing in Christ.

13. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that just as Christ gives us salvation as a gift, He
also gives us Spiritual gifts (note the parable of the talents) that we are to use and
for which He will reward us. We don't earn the rewards. It is God rewarding- in
us- His own works which He used us to perform.
14. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that in Heaven there will only be love and that
every Christian will be as filled with love as they can possibly handle at the time.
There could not possible be any jealousy of those who in heaven receive more
rewards. Those who barely escape from the fire (1 Cor. 3) will be so filled with
love that they will rejoice that others have received their just (gracious) rewards.
Those who produced one hundred fold will be so humble that they will rejoice in
the blessed company of those who were less faithful in this life. Each will receive
his or her place, but all will be one perfectly happy, God-drenched, society.

15. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that for unbelievers to still be alive at this
moment comes from the pure mercy of God, only.

16. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that apart from Christ we each deserve to be
suffering in Hell at this very moment.

17. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that Hell is nothing short of everlasting conscious
torment.

18. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that to die is simply fair, it is simply just, for we
have all sinned against God.

19. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that this applies as much to children and infants
as it does to scoundrels, for the essence of sin is a lack of perfect love for God, a
love which is enabled by the Spirit of God. Infants too have inherited Original
Sin.

20. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that God is able to save even the pre-born, as
John the Baptist rejoiced in his mother's womb at the presence of the pre-born
Jesus.

21. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that God is so infinitely Great and Worthy that it
takes only one moment in time without love for God to justify our everlasting
punishment in Hell, apart from Christ.

22. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that God's aim has always been and will always
be to glorify Himself. He did not decree creation, the fall, redemption, and the
eternal consummation out of loneliness, but as an overflow of His infinite joy in
Himself. As Jonathan Edwards noted, a fountain pours forth because of its hyper-
fullness, not because of its deficiency.

23. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that this Self-love is good in God, because He
alone is infinitely worthy to be loved. He would sin against Himself if He did not
infinitely love Himself. We were created to join Him in this love of Himself.

24. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that the love He has for Himself does not
preclude the fact that He loves each Christian individually with a love that we
could not possibly comprehend, and that He will spend eternity showering us with
His goodness, grace, kindness, and innumerable and inconceivable blessings (See
Ephesians 2: 7). He glorifies His own grace, goodness, and joy in giving these
things to us, and at the same time it is with a love for each child more genuine
than the very best earthly father could give his children.

25. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that God is so infinitely Great and Worthy that
He did the right thing to decree the Fall of mankind and the demons, so that He
might have the context to glorify Himself by displaying all the attributes of His
perfection, including His glorious power in wrath, (see Romans chapter 9:17 and
22). He would have sinned against His own infinite worth had he not decreed the
Fall and everlasting punishment of angels and men, for He would have failed to
plan the display of His holiness and majesty, in its fullness.

26. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that God is so infinitely Great and Worthy that
He has the right to choose some people for wrath, and others for grace, without
asking His creatures beforehand or seeing who would be "worthy". None were
ever worthy. Before either had done anything good or evil, it says in Romans 9,
"Jacob I have loved," and "Esau I have hated."

27. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that being chosen by God gives one rights and
privileges that are not fair... but are grace: undeserved and unearned. Again,
fairness would be for them to eternally suffer in Hell.

28. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that being chosen by God is not reversible, that if
true love for the Trinity is in our hearts, we will certainly inherit eternal life. Our
pride would like to think we earn part of our salvation, if not all of it, but we must
be humbled by the fact that Christ earned every ounce of salvation for the elect
people of God.

29. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that if we are His children then there is nothing
we can do to make Him love us more than He already does, and there is nothing
we can do to make Him love us less than He already does.

30. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that our duty in this life is to get right with God
through Jesus Christ: to love Him, believe Him, and obey Him.

31. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that getting right with God is not something we
can do. We must plead with God for a new heart- He alone can grant it. As Luther
said, "We are all beggars."

32. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that being chosen by God gives one rights to
judge with Christ, in God's time, the whole world of unrepentant men and angels.

33. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that this right is sometimes manifested,
especially in the Old Testament, by God commanding His people to kill and
destroy those who are not the covenant people, including their children. Note the
book of Esther in the introduction above.
34. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that while God gives a sort of general mercy to
all while they live, those who were chosen for eternal wrath are fundamentally
hated by God. It could not be otherwise if Hell is what He has predestined them
to. (Again, see Romans 9.)

35. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that Jesus died on the cross for the chosen people
only, not for those God hates and has predestined to Hell.

36. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that God is in Himself the very Holiness from
which His commandments, threats, and promises derive, and that in being the
Creator He has rights to do things that we may not do. He may kill (Cosmic
Capital Punishment) when and how He pleases (Psalm 7:11-13), for all have
sinned against Him. He may bless as He pleases, for He is God. God, by virtue of
being God- literally infinite in all perfections- may do whatsoever He pleases, and
He does so.

37. Fully acknowledge in our hearts that in this life we are commanded to love all,
because all are God's creatures, because we do not know before the Day of
Judgement who are the elect and who are the reprobate, and because we were, "by
nature no better than the rest."

The above is not meant to be a full theology, but a summary of things which I believe trip
up most Christians today. I have not included things like Scripture's teaching on the
Trinity, the Person and two natures of Christ, or the Christian relationship to government
and society. Rather, I wanted to challenge us, or in many cases simply remind us, with a
presentation of truths which directly challenge our pride. If we do not come- or come
again- to joyfully receive these things into our hearts there will be many parts of the Bible
which make us wince, cause us confusion, weaken our faith, and be far from sweet to our
souls