For centuries, the commentators on Scripture have been revered, and rightly so because they taught the great truths necessary for their times. They are great examples of how an understanding of Scripture and the culture of Christianity became known again in a very dark world. They expounded parts of Scripture that had been hidden from ordinary people and were lost or obscured through the years.
That expansion of the knowledge of Scripture has proceeded through a number of centuries since the I AM became Jesus and has been made available to vast numbers of people. In countries where Christianity is the accepted culture, the knowledge exploded.
Growing knowledge does inevitably give greater emphasis to certain points and the dynamic point for our generation and our times becomes clearer.
However, the abuse of Christian culture and enmity against it is now more strident than ever. It is coming even from within its own walls and the early history of our beginning is mocked and its culture ridiculed. The history of Moses and the writings inspired by the Lord are dismissed scornfully as cave man mentality.
Disbelief in the Scriptures has added an urgency as never before to know what applies in Scripture to our specific time.
Jesus reiterated the necessity of restoring Christian culture when what He said in Jeremiah 31:33 to His people, and repeats to His people in Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16 after His death and resurrection. He said, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.” He was making a cultural statement, not a religious one. Jesus longs to restore the law and identity of the original culture of this world.
His reiterates it when He said near the end of the Scriptures He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city,” (Revelation 22:13,14). It is a statement of culture.
He has fulfilled all the requirements for our restoration, but now we hear with sickening frequency, the challenge to His authority. So often it is those who have not given proper contemplation to the Scriptures who say, “I would believe in God if he showed Himself to me.”
And it is the most dangerous thought in the world. Do you know why it is so dangerous? It is because of a warning given in Scripture that Satan shows himself pretending to be Christ.
Paul clearly warns about this deception in his address to the Corinthians. He warns that Satan and false teachers will “show themselves” to society. Paul said, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of unrighteousness; whose end shall be according to their works,” (2nd Corinthians 11:13-15).
Jesus Himself first gave the warning to His disciples when He said “for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:24).
2nd Thessalonians 2:9 also warns that a false one will appear to do the things that Christ did, and people will be deceived because “they received not the love of the truth,” (verse 11).
The necessity for our times is to understand the love for God and the cultural truth He presents through history. Without such love, we are told, many will believe that Satan, the imposter, is the Christ and many will be lost “because they believed not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” (2nd Thessalonians 2:10). Our greatest challenge is to understand the love our Lord requires of each of us.
My deepest prayer is that you and I will accept His challenge to have a love for God that has no boundaries. Is that your prayer too?
(To access the entire “Culture Close Up” mini-series, please click here.)