All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT)
We are looking this week at four operations of the Scripture that help us with our relationship with God and each other. It’s a connected progression.
The first of these is TEACHING – which is Scripture helping us to understand, or being able to know the track or pathway God would have us walk with God, and love our neighbors as ourselves!
The second operation is REPROOF – how the Bible shows us when we’ve slid off the track.
The third operation of Scripture we looked at yesterday is CORRECTION - how to get back on the pathway of living, so that we are once again blessed, and a blessing to others.
Today’s final operation of Scripture is TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS - The Bible teaches us how to live so we can stay on the pathway – so that God will be pleased with us. Instruction is like a roadmap for life. We can find the avenue that leads to salvation in the Scripture. And we can travel the highway of confident living when we "trust in the Lord" with all our hearts.
And the Bible tells us that the operation of the Scripture is the best you can have in your life when it comes to living a right life:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (KJV)
While it may be difficult to accept Scripture’s teaching, rebuke and correction, training in righteousness is definitely the most difficult. That’s because it isn’t just for a moment, an event or a season – it’s a lifetime practice.
God’s Word is designed to transform our character and nature comprehensively, day by day, step by step, down to the last molecule; it works on us until we see no trace of the carnal nature that so controls many people today. In place of the flesh, or natural appetites we see the operation of the Spirit of God.
In short – when people look at a Spirit-driven/controlled believer, they only see Jesus.
Paul, God’s great apostle to the Gentiles, invited us all to join him in following after Jesus in this pursuit. He didn’t claim to have arrived – but was hot after the goal:
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
This is that going on to perfection John Wesley was fond of proclaiming. He knew there was always a rough (rocky) road for anyone who chose to follow Jesus, but being perfected in loving God and others IS the job description for believers.
It is the difference the world should see when they look at a follower of Jesus Christ.
That, my friends, is what staying on the track is all about.
Has God’s Word taught you?
Has it reproved you?
Has it corrected you?
Has it been busy transforming you, until the old you is so far in the rear view mirror you can hardly remember what living for your own desires was like?
Good! That’s what it’s supposed to feel like when life is On-Track!