According to the weatherman, there was zero chance of rain on Tuesday. Yep, it rained on Tuesday. According to the pundits, Mr. Obama was supposed to be a messiah. Yea, like that weather forecast worked out well. Opinions are a dime a dozen, and many fall short when handled by ‘professionals.’
According to the Pew report…………..according to millenials…….according to Boston police………according to the Supreme Court……….yep, opinions, all according to our reasoned or unreasonable perceptions.
Everybody has them, some better than others; others worse than most. Frank’s opinion is better than Mary’s. Mary’s opinion is better than Jill’s. Jill’s opinion on same-sex marriage is not as good as Frank’s opinion on bird-watching. Mary’s opinion on bow hunting is good, but not as good as Jim’s opinion on cell phones, but certainly better than Frank’s opinion on how to sew a button, but not as good as Jill’s opinion on the color blue.
Stupid comparisons? Yes, obviously as there is an impossible context. Opinions usually carry the day according to the cleverness and stature of they who hold them, but in spiritual things, opinions hold little or no value, unless……………there is a proper context.
When people speak of scripture without the right context, it is no surprise that the results are like tossed salad, with seemingly unrelated things thrown together in a bowl, thus making little or no sense. Justification by faith, and justification through works are both true, but they are not biblical twins, and many a mind has been unsettled over things which are distinct but rather clear. Opinions are much better when the jewel is in the correct context.
When the first question was asked to man, the context is vital to everything that follows. ‘Where are you?’ said the Creator to Adam, and what we learn next is a remarkable statement and worthy of all consideration.
‘I feared thee, and I hid myself.’ Hmmm, fear and hiding, that which is palpable in 2015. Honesty demands agreement here, as this revelation of the human condition is in response to a simple question that has eluded the philosopher, (or should I say the sage has avoided this) and man has been trying to hide from God ever since. Proof? Ah, yea, it’s kind of obvious.
People fear lions tigers and bears, oh my, and when chased by a grizzly, there is no place to hide, but…
‘We hid as it were our face from Him,’ said the saintliest of men, and this is an awesome word, not because of false humility, but because He saw himself in light of the majesty of God. It’s always a good thing NOT to compare ourselves with others, to not see ourselves according to the success or failures of others, to not weigh ourselves according to the opinions of others, but to stand alone and apart, and to see ourselves against One greater, but notably according to the scriptures.
When a man says ‘there is no God,’ this is an opinion springing from a natural desire to hide. One may run from this observation and call it absurd, but hide? No can do. There is no rock on earth large enough to escape the penetrating eye of God.
So, the account of Christ if it were only according to the opinion of men would have little merit and strength.
However, there is one small, critical, and necessary word that needs to be seen and understood in all its clarity and power that is related to the first question asked to man.
The death of Christ is according to what? Is it merely somebody’s opinion? Some say He was murdered for good reason. Others say Pilate and Herod were responsible. Others say the Jews had their hand, while many more say a good man simply was a victim of unfortunate circumstances. Of course too, the ignorant say He never lived.
Ah, but our little ‘word’ that gives this event context, this word that gives it strength and credibility, and answers all the demands of creation, the law of God, sin, death, and everything under the sun. This word?
‘According to the scriptures.’ Yes, the agreement of truth, this symphony. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. Indeed one could fairly ask: what scriptures? And herein lies the inescapable fact of time and space, within reach of the most hardened of hearts. The word of God presents man as the hiding one, with God as the seeking One, to bring back that which was askew.
The law, the prophets, and the Psalms, all speak with one voice that the death of Christ was ‘according to the scriptures.’ This completely leaves out man’s opinion, and puts the onus on God to fulfill His word, while leaving untouched the responsibility of man.
‘Where are you?’ Not because God was unawares, but because He was looking for the piercing honesty that Adam’s posterity would have no excuse. ‘I hid myself,’ and there is no shame in admitting the obvious. ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ asked the Creator, a condition unknown to the consciousness of man, and it is this ‘according’ to the scriptures, that gives definition to everything that follows.
Hear the word of God through a once fearful but now strengthened Peter:
‘Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.’ In other words, ‘according to the scriptures,’ but man is still on the hook as it were. Such are the lights and perfections of scripture.
Not a life lived as a good man simply, but a life which magnified the death of deaths. What good man dies for misfits? What righteous man gives his life for the ungodly? What perfect man gives his life that the crooked may be made straight? What man does not hide His face from the wrath due to a broken law and fury of a holy God who cannot look upon sin, so much so, that the son of His delight said ‘my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’
A question asked NOT because of a lack of knowledge, but one asked ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.’ There are no flaws in God’s forecast.
Opinions are such poor substitutes for truth, and poor opinions of scripture are best left in isolation. Thy word is truth, and when the pure word is spoken without compromise, there is, yea rather, there must be a result; usually it is one of disdain or scorn spoken by the hiding ones.
God’s word finds us, as there is no place on earth out of sight from God’s perfect scrutiny. How do we know the grace of God appeared to all men? The verifiable, the reliable, and the truthful word of God; the conscience; the lives of men and women; the writ of heaven; and the opinion of the High Court gaveled ‘it is finished,’ which is ever and always according to the scriptures.
And oh by the way, ‘and that He rose again the third day……………according to the scriptures.’