The Responsibility of the Christian (continued)
The Christian as Craftsman (continued)
The Spirit, the Holy Spirit, gave the Word. Here, to Timothy, the Apostle says so: "All Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for ..." this and that and that. The Spirit gave the Word. We must be adjusted by the Holy Spirit to the Word that He has given! That is 'rightly dividing', or, as literally the word is, 'cutting straight lines' with, the Word of God. Just be honest with it! Just let it mean to you what it really does mean, and don't try to get around it. "All Scripture is given by inspiration", by the Holy Spirit. Paul was not saying things just out of his own predilection, his own preferences, his likes and dislikes: he was speaking what has become Scripture. Don't get around it. Be honest. You don't stand to lose anything; you stand to gain the blessing of God. Yes, we must be adjusted to the Word of God: neither less than the Word, nor more.
We have been considering some figures, metaphors, similes, of the Christian. They are very clear, very simple; but I come back again to where I commenced. Put together, they do show that a Christian is a very responsible person, or is to be so regarded; one who must say to himself or herself, 'I am not in something that is just optional - my pleasure, my life; not something that does not matter very much - as though I could say, "I am saved, I shall get to Heaven all right!" Oh, no! There is more than getting to Heaven all right!" ' Oh, no! There is more than getting to Heaven, there is more than just being saved. There are great interests of the Lord to be served, and these are the people required for them.
So - 'Give diligence, take your share of the hardship as a good soldier, guard your trust, keep the rules, learn discipline.' "For thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance into the eternal kingdom..." (2 Peter 1:11). And so we, the successors of Paul in the battle and in the work, may be able to say, as he said: "I have fought the good fight ... I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day: and not only to me, but also to all them that have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8). We are in the same fight, the same contest, the same calling.
(Next: The Stewardship of the Mystery - All Things In Christ)