THE LIVING WORD, a Devotion for 25 November 2016 Anno Domini
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:1-4 (all verses cited are KJV)
We have heard much of the Word of God and what it means. When the Roman Proconsul, Pontius Pilate,
Declared, “Behold the Man!” he was not referring to any man in the multitudes gathered – he made reference to only One Man – the Lord Jesus Christ! When the Holy Scriptures make reference to the Word, to which word does it make reference? The bible scholar will know that that reference means the WHOLE Word of God as presented in Holy Writ – to every SINGLE Word. This directly refutes the so-called ‘dynamic equivalence’ of the higher critics and the editors of the new bible versions such as the NIV, ESV, NRSV, etc. So the WORD incorporates every utterance, phrase, jot, and tittle of the Holy Bible!
But the allusion to the Word has an even greater meaning than alphabetical symbols printed on a sheet of paper. It makes direct reference to that Great Personage of which those printed words symbolically represent – Our Lord. He is the Word Incarnate. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:1-4)
The Apostles knew our Lord in the First Person sense. They walked with Him, talked with Him, dined with Him, and even touched Him because He was the Word in the flesh. Thomas touched Him out of doubt. The lepers, whom no one would touch, were touched by Him. The dead little daughter of Jairus awoke from the sleep of death with the Lord holding her tiny hand. He was both fully God, and fully man. But His blood was not infected with the sin of Adam. He had none of Adam’s blood coursing through His veins since God was His Father.
Being both Alpha and Omega, He is the Beginning and the End – and, incidentally, He is all things in between. A powerful reference is made to this eternity of past, present, and future begins in the first verse of Genesis and is the final word of Revelations. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) The Hebrew word for God used here is ‘Elohim’ which means a plurality of ONE! The English vocabulary have no such exceptional word possessing singularity and plurality in the same sense. The Triune God was present and active in the Creation; but it was the WORD that was the Executive Power of Creation: “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4) This references the Lord Jesus Christ – “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
From the above texts, we see that Christ was the very Beginning, not only at Creation, but in Eternity Past. The Written Word is a perfect picture of the physical manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ. We see Him in every book, chapter, line and word of Scripture.
But do not forget the Omega-character of Christ in the End of all things. To be sure, we are given the Alpha and Omega nature of Christ so that our minds, being imperfect in understanding, can envision a beginning and an end; but there is neither beginning nor end to Christ. Remember, He is the Great PRESENT – THE GREAT I AM! But as an example of the scope of life given this earthly life and world, we must consider an end in the course of events before the Last trump shall sound.
Do you remember the last Word of the Holy Bible? “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Revelations 22:20-21) How routinely we conclude our prayers with that “AMEN!”
Why do we conclude our prayers with ‘Amen?’ This word comes down to us from the Hebrew worship service of the people proclaiming AMEN after the readings and prayers. The purpose of the practice was the same as it is in the Anglican form of communal prayers which end with the people proclaiming ‘Amen!’ It is in this way that we make the prayers our own in confirming our faith in them. A Hebrew word that is closely related is the word ‘Amam’ with means I believe. The word originally meant verily or faithful. Amen implies that we have absolute trust and faith in that which has been stated. It is said to be the most used word in the English language. (see Strong’s Concordance)
But the greater meaning of AMEN is simply another Name for our Lord Jesus Christ. Of all things certain, there is One thing that is ABSOLUTE – the Lord Jesus Christ! “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith THE AMEN, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” (Revelations 3:14) Being the End of the dispensation of all time, He is also the Beginning of all Eternity in the Eternity of the Presence. Since our mortal minds cannot comprehend Eternity, God must give us simple references with which we might grasp a shadow of the reality.
Unlike the American Constitution which has been amended many times and whose interpretation varies with the compromising opinions of the judges, the Word of God does not change. Every single Word we are told will be preserved. “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18) We are told, by those who despise the freedoms its original authors safe-guarded therein, is a so-called ‘living’ Constitution. That means its meaning is growing and changing. But when God refers to His Word as living, He means just the opposite. It draws an exact image of our Lord Jesus Christ who, like the Father, is unchanging. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He shares that same nature with His Father: “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6)
The Word of God is a Living Word because it is organic. It begets life to the believer. It does not change, but it changes US! All of the words of men dissipate as the vapors of the desert morning because they are INORGANIC – or non-living words. But God Word is full of the Bread and Water of Life! “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded. The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 13:13-14) That Fountain of Life is our Lord and His Waters gush forth in such abundance that the human heart cannot contain them – it is overflowing. Those overflowing waters are the joys of truth that we share with others. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” (John 5:24-27)
The Word is Immortal and cannot die. Therefore, if His Word ABIDES in our hearts, neither can we die! Jesus castigated the Scribes and Pharisees – the prominent preachers of His day, with these words: “And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:38-40)
I have often heard it said that a good and loving God could never send a creature of His making to hell. They say this to insist that all shall be saved without regard to sin or faith. How wrong they are! It is true that God sends no one to Hell for we send ourselves to that place if we are bound for it. God lovingly invites all to abide with Him whose sins are covered by the blood of His Son, but He will not open the gates of His Paradise to those who harden their hearts through the rejection of His only Begotten Son. None of us would invite any into our homes who would hate our son or daughter and who are already guilty of their murder. “Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:44-50)
“Prenez en Gré“
In Christ Alone
† Jerry L. Ogles, D.D.
Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide & Chancellor, Faith Theological Seminary
“Metus improbo compescit, non clementia.” – Syrus, MAXIMS: Fear, not kindness, restrains the wicked!
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer – HOLY SCRIPTURE:
“If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God’s Word; and if we be uncertain of God’s Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or a synagogue of Satan.”