Lent 5: The timelessness of God’s word
“Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89, ESV)
The Word of God is eternal in Its effect and impact. It is not subject to changing circumstances or the fickleness of human nature. God is not a rash speaker, and therefore His Word cannot go unfulfilled. The fact of the timelessness of God’s Word is both consoling and scary. Yet, truth is not intimidated by our feelings, or subject to the devaluation of sentiments. The Passion of Christ brings this to the fore.
There are those who have contended that the Bible belongs to the past and should only be treasured as a historical document. They consider the principles archaic, to be consigned to the category or archived ideas. Nothing can be more unfortunate than to have that mind-set, for the testimony about the timeless relevance of the Bible is overwhelming indeed.
The value of God’s Word can never expire. While addressed at different times to particular contexts, the principles are timeless. Apostle Paul, applying Abraham’s response in earlier times to his own immediate readership said, “But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 4:23–24). He continues, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
To Church in Corinth he writes, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11), and to his son in the faith whom he painstakingly mentored, he writes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16). It echoes the words of the Psalmist: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9–11)
As seasons have changed and God’s people have been hit by life’s vicissitudes – even when dearest friends have betrayed, there has been one place to turn to as the refuge in the storm: the unfailing Word of God. The promises of God are backed up by His character, integrity, and power. Of course, we have to understand His promises and interpret them correctly, and not just gamble with them. As Numbers 23:19 says, God cannot lie. Apostle Peter also reassures his readership about God that “he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:4).
The Word of God is valid for all times because God remains enthroned forever, watching over His Word to perform it (see Jeremiah 1:12). No prophet, pastor, politician, adverse circumstances or the viciousness of tyrants can ever altar or weaken God’s Word. His commands and prohibitions cannot be flouted with impunity without serious consequences. It is dangerous when the suicidal permissiveness of our day makes people arrogate to themselves the liberty God has not given. The Lord Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35).
Most Rev. (Dr) Emmanuel A.S. Egbunu, Bishop of Lokoja
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