“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;” – John 5:35 (NASB)
Below I thought it fitting to share what C. H. Spurgeon had to say about John 5:35. I thought to challenge what we really believe about the Bible and to encourage some (including myself) onward in the faith. I first say challenge us as to what we really believe about the Bible – that being inspired, sufficient and infallible, in it’s totality (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) – because if we truly believe that the Bible contains that to which we claim to believe, and we have been given a “new heart” in Christ, then how often we seek and search through the Scriptures (or the very serious lack thereof) is just one telling sign if our own heart may be deceiving us (Jeremiah 17:9). Secondly, I say encourage some onward in the faith as many people will not listen, will not heed, truly do not care to ‘dig’ for the precious gold, that being Christ Himself, through the Scriptures given for us.
Oh, if we have been so truly changed, then how could it be we allow Satan, and especially our own hearts, to deceive us using every excuse of the day, every avenue of the culture, to escape the “plowing of our own fallow ground”? Is it always easy – no; does it require diligence, cultivation, and often resolve – yes; but is it worth it – oh, so much more than you know – so much more than you will ever know if you keep heeding the lies that keep you from reading, digging and setting your mind to the Scriptures – without daily, deeply, drinking the “water of the Word” of God, you will not know the true power of God. In this depth, mere memes and tweets just do not cut it; a few verses once a week read to you by another does not cut it; lending all of your time to the fables, myths and cares of the popular current culture only makes the desert of one’s life that much dryer.
Do not think you will be the one to tap into water where there is none; if your soul is starving, if you feel apart from God, then “draw near to God and He will draw near to you”, however we must never forget the rest of this: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8) Ultimately, if you will “put your hand to the plow”, as we are to do as individuals privately and in corporate outwardly admonishing and encouraging one another onward, you will discover Christianity is truly about Jesus and not ourselves – this is very joyful and extremely liberating – it also is very sanctifying and will grow us in holiness (without which no one will see the Lord – Hebrews 12:14).
Doctrine (teaching) matters!
Christ In All The Scriptures by C.H. Spurgeon
From ‘Evening by Evening’ (‘Readings at Eventide’), 1869
*Also found in, Sword & Trowel 2020: Issue 1
“The Greek word here rendered search signifies a strict, close, diligent, curious search, such as men make when they are seeking gold, or hunters when they are in earnest after game. We must not rest content with having given a superficial reading to a chapter or two, but with the candle of the Spirit we must deliberately seek out the hidden meaning of the Word. Holy Scripture requires searching – much of it can only be learned by careful study.
“There is milk for babes, but also meat for strong men. The rabbis wisely say that a mountain of matter hangs upon every word, yea, upon every title of Scripture. Tertullian exclaims, ‘I adore the fulness of the Scriptures.’ No man who merely skims the book of God can profit thereby; we must dig and mine until we obtain the hid treasure. The door of the Word only opens to the key of diligence. The Scriptures claim searching. They are the writings of God, bearing the divine stamp and imprimatur – who shall dare to treat them with levity? He who despises them despises the God who wrote them. God forbid that any of us should leave our Bibles to become swift witnesses against us in the great day of account.
“The Word of God will repay searching. God does not bid us sift a mountain of chaff with here and there a grain of wheat in it, but the Bible is winnowed corn – we have but to open the granary door and find it. Scripture grows upon the student. It is full of surprises. Under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, to the searching eye it glows with splendor of revelation, like a vast temple paved with wrought gold, and roofed with rubies, emeralds, and all manner of gems. No merchandise is like the merchandise of the Scripture of truth.
“Lastly, the Scriptures reveal Jesus: ‘They are they which testify of me.’ No more powerful motive can be urged upon Bible readers than this: he who finds Jesus finds life, Heaven, all things. Happy is he who, searching his Bible, discovers his Saviour.
“Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages; from first to the last they testify of Him. At the creation we at once discern him as one of the sacred Trinity; we catch a glimpse of him in the promise of the woman’s seed; we see him typified in the ark of Noah; we walk with Abraham, as he sees Messiah’s day; we dwell in the tents of Isaac and Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise; we hear the venerable Israel talking of Shiloh; and in the numerous types of the law, we find the Redeemer abundantly foreshadowed. Prophets and kings, priests and preachers, all look one way – they all stand as the cherubs did over the ark, desiring to look within, and tread the mystery of God’s great propitiation.
“Still more manifestly in the New Testament we find our Lord the one pervading subject. It is not an ingot here and there, or dust of gold thinly scattered, but here you stand upon a solid floor of gold; for the whole substance of the New Testament is Jesus crucified, and even its closing sentence is bejeweled with the Redeemer’s name. We should always read Scripture in this light; we should consider the Word to be as a mirror into which Christ looks down from Heaven; and then we, looking into it, see his face reflected as in a glass – darkly, it is true, but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing him as we shall see him face to face. This volume contains Jesus Christ’s letters to us, perfumed by his love. These pages are the garments of our King, and they all smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides, and it is paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem. The Scriptures and the swaddling bands of the holy child Jesus; unroll them and you find your Saviour. The quintessence of the Word of God is Christ.”