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Religion of Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Source: Obourba Asante Taado

The Mirror Of The Soul

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Nonbelievers, infidels and enemies of the Bible are having a field-day on the web. They are quoting the Holy Scriptures out of context to advance their arguments. They accuse God of barbarism. They accuse him of being a God who condones murder and sanctions oppression towards women.
Mature Christians reading their comments may shrug it off as ignorance about the Almighty God. However, we cannot allow such comments to pass without making some few observations. God who gives life to all, created man and the universe. He (God) through the Holy Spirit moved men to write the Bible to guide his obedient children in their relationship with him. The Bible is perfect as he( God) is perfect. But what is the fundamental message in the Bible, one may ask?
The Bible tells how God created man, the fall of man and the subsequent entry of sin and death into the world. It shows God as a Merciful Father, who through his abundant grace provides the means to atone for the sins of man by offering his Son Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, death does not reign on man but he is reconciled back to God. This is the fundamental message in the Bible. Besides that the Bible serves as a Mirror to man.
The latter is what we are going to consider in this article. One may ask : If the Bible is an inspired book of a perfect God, why should it contain stories of murderers, adulterers, prostitutes, deceitful people, etc? The book of James provides the answer (James 1:21b-25) and we read: “Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
The most difficult thing for most of us in this life is to see ourselves as we really are. We like to “kid” ourselves about our condition. In the spiritual realm, we tend to follow the same pattern, convincing ourselves that we’re not really as bad as we seem to be. God knows that nature within us and he gives the remedy by providing a mirror, so that we can see ourselves spiritually as we actually are.
Sometimes when we look in a mirror, the picture is not the one we want to see. But the mirror only reveals what we really look like. If the face staring back at us is dirty or bewhiskered, it isn’t the fault of the mirror—the mirror just reveals our true condition. We must use the mirror to “correct” ourselves, to make the image what it should be. So we wash our face or shave or comb our hair. Spiritually, the Bible is our mirror. Even with the “great heroes” of the Scripture, God reveals the dirt. He tells us of Abraham’s lie (Genesis 20), of Moses’s impertinence (Numbers 20), of David’s adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11) and of Peter’s denials of the Lord ( Matthew 26).
But since we do not look into the mirror to see others, in the same way we do not read the Bible to see the sins or mischievous acts of others. We use it to see ourselves. The Bible reveals me to me. When we read in the Bible about the sins of others, we cannot help but become more aware of our own sins. When we read in Genesis 3 of the temptation of Eve, can’t we see our own daily temptations and weaknesses? The resulting “soul- searching” is the mirror effect of the word of God. Sometimes we need a comparison to be able to view something in perspective. Thus a tree which seems small when seen at a foot of a high cliff shows the enormity of the cliff’s height. So let’s measure ourselves.
What do we see when we look at Jesus in the Scriptures? The Apostle Peter wrote (1 Peter 2:21-23) “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, who when he was reviled, reviled not…”. The Scripture adds that Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin”, leaving us an example to follow. The notion of man is that we can never overcome our petty temptations but we see the example in Jesus (Hebrews 4:15).
What does the Apostle Paul say about the Old Testament in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11? We read: “ Moreover brethren I do not want you to be unaware that our fathers were under the cloud……….But most of them God was not well pleased,……….Now these things became our examples to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted…………And do not become idolaters as some of them did……Nor let us commit sexual immorality as some of them did…….Nor let us tempt Christ as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents………..Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ages have come”.
Now, what does this mean to modern man? The writings in the Old Testament were written as examples and instructions to the world for all succeeding times, to teach how God deals with man and how he applies his law. No man can have a clear knowledge of how God will apply his law without studying the lessons he has given in the Old Testament Scriptures. All his dealings with men are instructive to us and help in learning our duty and how God will regard our actions under his law. God’s dealing with the unfaithful are just as much for our good as his dealings with the righteous.
In the light of the explanations above, it would be ridiculously absurd to quote the Bible out of context to advance one’s own selfish motives. It’s only the hardened and the recalcitrant of heart who will not see the wisdom in the Scriptures.
To God be the glory.
Obourba Asante Taado.

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