Last year I received a letter that told me I was to receive $700. I could have approached that letter in many different ways. I could have said, “This is a hoax,” and thrown it away. I could have said, “This must be from a friend who knows we have a lot of medical bills,” and kept it, eagerly awaiting the gift. I could have thought, “Keith must have applied for a loan,” and then sat down with the books and tried to figure out how we were going to repay it.
So what did I do? I looked at the return address—Internal Revenue Service. I looked at the date—two weeks after I had mailed in our tax return. I scoured the letter for clues about why I was to receive this money—I had made an error and they caught it. Then, and only then, did I decide what to do about it. Let them send me the extra money!
I applied the principles of hermeneutics to that letter. I asked myself, who is this from, when did they send it, why did they send it, and let that determine what it meant. I do it every day. So do you. So does everyone else. But for some reason people think you aren’t supposed to do that with the Bible. They treat it like some big book of riddles that is impossible to figure out, or that each one of us can interpret to mean whatever we want. Tell me, just how capricious do you think God is? Will He say, “You have to please me to get to Heaven so here is an enigmatic book of rules. Good luck figuring it out!” or will He give us a perfectly comprehensible guide for success?
God is not willing that any should perish, Peter tells us. He loved us enough to plan our salvation before he even made us, several writers say. The Spirit, who knows the mind of God, inspired men to write the things we need to know so that we can say with full assurance, “I am saved.” No one ever needs to wonder, or wish, or simply dream about having a relationship with their Creator. It’s all down in black and white. You can apply the same principles you apply every day of your life, and correctly interpret how to please God and receive the reward. It may have been a mystery once, but now we know “whodunit” and why.
Tomorrow we will talk a little more about how to interpret.
But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"-- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Cor 2:9-12