Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Why Read the Bible? To Slay God’s Adversary!

God’s Purpose for Man  – Image and Dominion

In this post I would like to continue my question on why read the Bible, by reflecting on God’s purpose for man. To address this truth, I am eternally indebted to the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Through their writings, especially the Life-study of the Bible by Witness Lee (feel free to check it out at www.ministrybooks.org ), I was brought back to the first chapter of the Bible—Genesis 1 and especially verse 26 which says, “And God said, “let Us make man in our image, after our likeness and let them have dominion over…all the earth…” God intended for man  to be in His image so that man might express God. (This is similar to my photo being my image to express me.) Then God committed to this man His dominion over all the earth. Dominion is to represent God. Such dominion was needed due to Satan’s rebellion which  brought God’s creation into chaos and collapse making it unfit for the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Hence, all the rebellious elements in the universe require man’s cooperation that they might be subdued and judged for God, since it was not God’s will to execute this judgment directly.

In my last post I referred to the beautifying of the bride of Christ by the washing of the water in Christ’s word. Such a beautifying function of God’s word enables God to gain the first aspect of His purpose, that is, to have man express Him. As Christ’s beautified bride we will become His corporate expression for eternity (Rev. 4:3; 21:9-11). That is, by beholding and reflecting our lovely Lord Jesus, our dear Bridegroom, we will transformed into His image from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).  This glory is simply God expressed. Through the sanctifying by the washing water in the word we will be presented to Christ glorious, becoming a Christ-expressing church (Eph. 5:26-27).

The Killing Function of God’s Word for Slaying God’s Adversary

However, after Ephesians 5, we come to Ephesians 6, where we see not a bride but a corporate warrior covered and equipped with the whole armor of God (6:10-18). The aspect of the church as the warrior, satisfies the second aspect of God’s purpose for man, that of defeating God’s adversary by exercising God’s dominion. To accomplish the slaying of God’s adversary requires a further application of God’s word, that of the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Eph. 6:17).

In order to apply the killing  function of the Word for slaying God’s adversary, we need to locate the enemy.  We have to realize that Satan is not merely an outward enemy attacking God’s kingdom from without, but an inward adversary (Job 1:6-12; Rev. 12:10). For example, Satan embodied in Peter’s natural opinion, his self, tried to  frustrate the Lord from going to the cross and thereby became a stumbling block to the Lord in accomplishing God’s redemptive economy (Matt. 16:21-23). The Lord turned to Peter and called him “Satan.” We have to see that we are no better than Peter. Not just our opinions, but our very self, our soul-life, needs to be denied, that we may take up the cross and follow Christ (v. 24). But how can such an inward adversary be practically dealt with. Surely, it is not by our self will. God does not want our asceticism.

Actually, it is only when in our experience, the written words of the Bible, are converted into the Spirit, becoming an instant, applied word to us that we experience the sword (Eph. 6:17). It is only by means of prayer in our spirit (v. 18), that the word becomes the Spirit as a sword to slay the inward adversary in our mind, emotion and will. We naturally love what God hates, and hate what God loves, and frequently choose our own will above His. But thank the Lord that we don’t have to try to be better. Rather, we can daily, even hourly, enjoy the killing word, slaying the adversary within us, and bringing all our rebellious thoughts into the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Praise the Lord, God’s word is so available, so we can frequently read and pray over a Bible verse, digesting it and musing over it.

I find this aspect particularly helpful, when troublesome thoughts or feelings frustrate my enjoyment of Christ. God’s word can do in us what nothing else can do. If we apply this truth, even our problems can become a catalyst to drive us deeper into God’s Word with prayer. I hope that you will try the same.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

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