Sunday, August 27, 2017

Scandals in the Bible.

Scandals fill our news network constantly. Disgrace and shame follow in their discovery. Reputations suffer and the family name is sullied. There isn’t any honour in being associated with scandals or is there?
The Greek word ‘skandalon’ which gives us our English ‘scandal’ actually means ‘stumbling block.’ The New Testament uses it to tell the effect the Bible story has in the minds of society when it thinks of Christians. The following brief scandals of faith which cause the non Christian world to stumble Christ’s followers wear with honour. Sure, the cost is high and reputations, ambition and income suffer. However, disciples weigh that in the light of the cross and eternal truth and count the price as nothing.

The scandals begin from the very first words of the Bible, ‘In the beginning, God created … ‘ and it was done in six days. This offends evolutionists with their billions of years and they throw verbal ‘stones’ and unsubstantiated theories to smear Creationists, who often have superior scientific degrees.
This is followed by the opposition to the Biblical basis for marriage in Genesis 2. This has been discussed on previous blogs. Opponents to marriage as being between a man and a woman stumble and crash in disarray on this foundation for the most intimate of relationships.

Staying in Genesis is another frustrating rock of offense that won’t go away. The verifiable and worldwide flood of Noah and the Ark fame. Fossils from all around the world and from the depths to the mountain heights tell of this cataclysmic event. Once again it undermines their uncountable years of death and decay as a series of gradual events. Believers in the Biblical account are vilified and often overlooked in their professions.
Perhaps the greatest and most offensive sense of offense centres upon the One who is the reason for the Bible, the JudeoChristian faith, Jesus the Christ. It isn’t about His Sermon on the Mount, or His good deeds. No! It is because of who He is, why He came, what He did and promise.

Jesus claims to be the One promised in the 39 books of the Old Testament. He is the descendant of King David. He is the Son of Man, the Messiah promised. He is the Son of God, Emmanuel through the virgin birth. Pointers from the Old Testament are verified in the Gospel accounts as taking place in this Man of Galilee. That’s too much for some to handle.
Most offensive however is the Calvary event. The cross arouses such anger, disgust or denial that people have rampaged to silence or destroy those who believe the crucifixion. The cross says that no one is good enough for God. It says there is no other way to be acceptable to the Holy Creator. The cross vindicates the words of Jesus and cancels out the blasphemy charges against Him. For the resurrection declares Him righteous and He is able redeem all those who put their trust in Him.

For Israel the cross is a stumbling block and for Gentiles it is foolishness. For believers the
cross is the Almighty’s wisdom which discredits Human efforts to deal with sin. It is also the power of God by which He transforms the spiritually dead into new life. By Christ’s risen life He can take a person out of the spiritual realm of Darkness and into Christ’s kingdom of light. In accepting the crucified and risen Lord guarantees forgiveness, cleansing and reconciliation with God. Jesus is an offense because He offends our pride, our goodness and our deeds as not able to impress the Heavenly Father.

The final scandal of the Christian Faith is Christ’s insistence that He will return to complete His mission. His first coming was for our salvation. His second coming will be to reign and to judge which scares those who live without Him. Is it any wonder that those who are offended, scandalized by and stumble at the Gospel try and reduce it to myth, carve up its historical integrity or penalise the disciple.
The Bible is a scandalous book which transforms the believer into being a citizen of Heaven. It is a scandal which can never be silenced. It is a scandal over which unbelief causes people to stumble, yet it is a rock on which believers rise to greater heights. As Romans 9:33 says: ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.’

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