December 2, 2013
II Corinthians 3:2-3
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Most people do not read the Bible, even though it is so available in this country. There are many different editions from which to choose, and some of the better include the King James Version, New King James Version, New International Version, American Standard Version, New American Standard Version, Berkley Version – and many more!
But there is a version of the Bible that everyone reads! You, Christian! And whether you are a serious disciple of Jesus Christ or a Christian in name only, people read you, and from what they read in your life, they form opinions of what the Christian faith is all about!
As we saw in last Friday’s blog, Paul was defending his ministry in Corinth against the claims of leaders who opposed his teachings based on his claim of apostolic authority. The proof of his and his associates’ ministry was the people themselves. Verses 2 and 3 are the heart of Paul’s argument:
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by
everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our
ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on
tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
“…written on our hearts…” – the ministry done by Paul, Sosthenes, Timothy and others had produced the fruit of many conversions in Corinth. And this record was written on the Apostle’s and his associates’ hearts. But the record of God’s work was also inscribed on the hearts of the converted in that Grecian city. God had promised this inner inscription centuries before to Israel in Jeremiah 31:33 and 34. Now it is being fulfilled in those who form the Church. In the future it will be fulfilled in hearts and lives of those of the Jewish nation:
“…this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those
days,” says the LORD: “I will put my law in their minds, and write it on
their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more
shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying,
‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to
the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and
their sin I will remember no more.”
So in this sense, you are God’s Word – that Word being written by the Spirit on your heart. And people read you! And they form opinions of God, the Church, and Christianity in general from what they read in your life! Is it any wonder that included in the Ten Commandments is this admonition in Exodus 20:7: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain…”? Taking His name in vain means treating His person in a light or negative way. If you call yourself a Christian – even if you go to church and are seen by others and known to be a Christian – you are carrying the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Is your life reflecting Him? Or is how you live resulting in what Paul said of certain Jews in Romans 2:24: “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you…”?
Jesus called us in Matthew 4:19 to, “Follow Me….” Paul – after his conversion on the Damascus Road in Acts 9 – followed his Lord with all his heart. So careful was he about living out his faith in Christ that he said in I Corinthians 11:1 (KJV), “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Can you dare say that to those who are looking at the way you live? Can I?
We are The Bible All People Read, and – make no mistake about it – people do read us! What are they reading in your life and mine? God help us to be a true edition of the Word of God – The Bible All People Read!