A gracEmail reader writes concerning faith and understanding. His comments are in italics; mine are not.
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Man in his study of Scripture comes to differing conclusions and understandings of the same Scripture. Exactly when does our misunderstanding or misinterpretation become condemning? (a) When it has to do with Jesus? (b) When it has to do with “salvation issues” (of course we don’t agree on what “salvation issues” are and the noble answer is, “What God says is salvation” or when there is a “thus saith the Lord”).
This is getting at the point, as I see it. One is not condemned for misinterpreting Scripture. One is lost because of sin, and one stays lost by rejecting the knowledge and revelation of God in whatever form (John 3:19-20). Jesus brings us to God (John 14:6). Scripture points us to Jesus and testifies about him (John 5:39). To miss that purpose of Scripture is to miss salvation through it (John 5:40). Since Jesus’ day, some people have searched the Scriptures, thinking to find in them eternal life, but then would not come to Jesus to whom Scripture points, that they might have life.
If God has given us His perfect revelation, do we not have the capacity to come to the understanding which He intended? If we do not, is it not our own fault?
It is sometimes our “fault,” and sometimes our human weakness and limitation. Again, spiritual understanding comes from the Holy Spirit, from having God as our teacher, not merely (but not excluding) academic-type study and reverent scholarship (Col. 1:9). The spiritual person understands as much as God reveals. The less spiritual Christian does not desire and ask for God’s wisdom, and therefore does not receive it — even if he or she has much academic “knowledge” (1 Cor. 2:14). The pseudo-Christian resists God’s teaching and remains in the dark.