The basic concept of this blog, and my personal theology, is that our Creator, the One having inspired Scripture, doesn’t limit His work to one person nor one perspective. I know that in my personal growth, others have played a major part because my Master has used them to reveal Himself in Scripture in some new, meaningful way. So, it’s a personal theology where I recognize that I am dependent upon others for a more complete view of what our Creator and Savior reveals of Himself through Scripture.
I have to also recognize that this may not be important for everyone. And that’s not easy for me to accept. I confess a tendency, sometimes a tenacity, to be independent. And my Master, recognizing that weakness in me, designed me with a requirement for others in order to know Him better. That means I learn in the context of others better than I learn by myself. Whatever I can come up with on my own is paltry compared to what comes out of a group of which I am a part.
This has affected my views of “church” (ecclesiology), “person-hood” (anthropology), and salvation (soteriology). And in these views, I probably differ from a lot of people because of my personal experience, mostly my failures. I am an introvert dependent upon others for my life with my Creator. It’s a paradox where I discover the best and worst of myself and others, and the absolute deepest, most vibrant beauty of our Savior.
Consider this, though: The writer of Hebrews wrote in a context of other disciples, and presented shockingly unique perspectives tailored to his audience. If it truly was a “letter”, then one congregation writes to another these shocking perspectives. If it’s a single sermon (very likely, considering the structure), then it was first spoken in the context of a collection of disciples. Either way, these bright, vibrant views of Jesus came out of the context of a group of disciples.
One of these truths, founded upon the previous precedents of the writer’s argument, has to do with a new covenant:
For finding fault with them, He says,
“BEHOLD, DAYS ARE COMING, SAYS THE LORD,Hebrews 8:8-12 NASB
WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT
WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH;
NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS
ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND
TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT;
FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT,
AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.
FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL
AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:
I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS,
AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS.
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD,
AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN,
AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’
FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME,
FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.
FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES,
AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE.”
Jeremiah, over 400 years before Jesus’ birth, spoke of a new covenant. Within the context of a “covenant people”, Jeremiah speaks of a new covenant. It had to be shocking for his audience then, contrary to their assumptions (as so many of his prophecies). But think through the elements of this new covenant:
- “The days are coming…” It happens in the future. The consequences of the current covenant will still come upon the people.
- It will be with Israel and Judah. The two nations will be reunified under one covenant, like they had been under the first.
- It will be different, not like the one before, with Moses.
- Under the new covenant:
- The law of God will be written in their minds and on their hearts
- He will be their God, they will be His people
- No teaching, they will all know Yahweh (spoiler alert! I’m returning to this)
- The knowledge of Yahweh will be based on His forgiveness and mercy
Now, for Christians (disciples of Jesus), we know this to be fulfilled in Jesus. But for Jeremiah, and for those who followed him, they could not imagine a covenant that did not include the Temple, sacrifices, and so on. They only saw that teachers would lose their jobs, not that the law itself would change, or go away. Yet, our writer of Hebrews has already pointed that out as he raised Jesus as our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Yet, notice the other element of this new covenant: We will all know Yahweh. The Spirit of God within us reveals to us the truths of God through Scripture. And we, in a sense, no longer need teachers. Not to say that the Spirit doesn’t gift some as teachers, He clearly does. But, the Spirit Himself is our teacher.
Here’s the thing though: That means we are to be students! The reality of our situation is that we (including me) too often want to be teachers, and spout our points of view as the point of view. But how can it be possible to have differing views if our Teacher is the same God? I believe the answer to that can be found in this question: How many times did Jesus use the exact same method to heal anyone? Every recorded healing is different from every other healing. In fact, where the same event is described in different Gospels, there are often slight differences even there.
If our Savior used different methods to do essentially the same thing, why would we expect that he would suddenly stop, and now use the same method with everyone? The same reason He used different methods to heal is the same reason He teaches people different things about Himself. We don’t all have the same needs, the same experiences, the same problems, or the same level of understanding.
If we were to learn the same things, why doesn’t He reverse Babel once we’re saved so we all understand the same language? That way there won’t be any differences in linguistic nuances. Let’s be honest, our Creator has never worked the same way with anyone. He worked with Moses different than Noah. He worked with Abraham different than David. Why? Because He created them different, and worked with them as He created them.
Therefore, how can we assume that what our Savior reveals to us must be the same as what He reveals to those around us? The main points are the same. In each instance Jesus healed. The end result was the same. It was the method that was different. So, too, with understanding Scripture, the end result is the same: our relationship with our Creator through our Savior. But the nuance in what He reveals about Himself through Scripture to each of us is nuanced to who He created us to be. And what you share with me reveals more to me about Him. THAT deepens my relationship with my Creator. And I believe THAT is His goal.
So, after all that, what’s your view through the knothole this morning?
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation