All Men

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There is an old Gaither band song titled “The Longer I Serve Him, the Sweeter He Grows.” That is a truth. But I am finding the same thing can be said about the Scriptures. Many years ago I was, I thought, well versed in the Bible, having sat under the excellent teaching of several serious Bible students and expositors.

In recent months I am finding gems hidden in plain view as I read the Word daily. I am learning to read each verse, each passage, slowly and carefully, asking questions as I do. No longer do I read quickly because “I know the story.” Somewhere along the way I started paying greater attention to what Jesus said. If He said it, He means it then, now and forever. It is truth. I have noticed that some of what He said has been taught or interpreted to have a general religious meaning somewhat different than the straight forward no-interpretation-needed understanding. Jesus is not confused. He knew what He was saying. I choose to believe it, and in that choice I am discovering riches beyond measure.

One example is found in John 12:32. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

This has been explained as being evangelistic. The preaching of the cross, talking about Jesus’ death, will draw people to faith and conversion. We just need to lift up the story of the cross to those who have not heard, and they will be drawn to Jesus.

That simple explanation does not account for “all people” being drawn to himself. He said “I will draw all people…” Who will? Jesus. When? When He is lifted up. When was that? Good Friday. Where did this take place? On Calvary.

So to take Him at His word, all men, all people, were drawn to Him at the time of the Crucifixion. This makes perfect sense when you consider His death was once for all mankind. By incorporating all people, past, present and future, into Himself His death than became the one death for all. The huge sin burden and debt of everyone was loaded on to Him. Therefore His death, carrying all peoples of all time and everywhere to the grave, made it possible for anyone anywhere to walk free of sin.

He did indeed die for the entire human race. It is accomplished fact before we ever heard any preaching. Our part? Believe Him. Acknowledge our sin is now dead and forgiven. Rejoice that we were included on that day, that day above all others, when He was lifted up from the earth. If He had not actually done that, our salvation would be based on words alone, a shaky concept at best.

We can rest on the authority of His word. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” It is finished, indeed.

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Revelation

Don’t you love those moments of revelation, those times when the lightbulb over your head is switched on? In an instant you KNOW something you hadn’t known before; you see a side to an issue that had never crossed your mind; you recognize a veil has been removed which you didn’t even realize was there.

To have a deeper understanding suddenly flood in is not the work of agonizing study, research and sitting under hours of brilliant teaching, all of which are worthy endeavors. Some ‘revelations’ can come from letting bits of knowledge percolate and simmer on the back burner, as it were, until the mind manages to connect the dots. This is actually advanced problem solving rather than true revelation.

Revelation means simply something revealed, something that could not be known by human reasoning, something that had to come from outside oneself. Those are treasures not easily dislodged once received, especially when the new insight is contrary to previously held beliefs. Then you know you could not have made it up to self-delude, a favorite practice for most of us. Jesus says in John 14:26 “But the Counselor, Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Revelation comes through and from Holy Spirit of God, and is therefore Truth, as He is Truth.

All of this is to introduce a revelation I received in my living room a few years ago. Simple at first look, it is profound. “No one knows all there is to know about anything. That includes the Bible, themselves, others, God.”

Since this is so, there is absolutely no right or place for anyone to make a judgment about others. No place for self-righteous declarations of what and who God is – other than what He has self-revealed, of course. No place for huffy, stuffy attitudes about “My translation of the Bible is the only true one!” Certainly there can be no certainty about the motivations and inner heart of the people around us.

If we all put down our swords of accusations wouldn’t the world, at least our personal world, be a better place? Just remember, when you think you know it all, you don’t. When you realize how little you know, you are on the road to wisdom. Selah.