[Taken from my Booklet: A Reasonable Salvation]
An interpretation of Scripture that is merely historical or theological but fails to offer a serious and practical approach to living the Christian life is—what I call—a linear view of God’s Word. But His Word is far more dynamic than this, which is to say, His Word is a source of daily wisdom that can, from a spiritual perspective, address any stressful circumstance or decision which should occasion an answer from God. And life is crammed full of such moments! Faith is far more than creed. Faith must include a life that honors the growing relationship the believer has now with God through Christ. Calvary provides us by faith an eternal life, but a linear perspective sees the word “eternal” and may fail to emphasize the “life in the Son” which has commenced at salvation.
“And this is the record,” John explained Salvation, “that God hath given to us eternal life.”
But there is more:
“and this life is in his Son” [1 John 5:11].
We have been emphasizing the idea that Salvation is being in covenant with God, as much as, Abraham or Moses ever were. God is a Covenant-God and He has more than drafted a “New” covenant for us. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, it has been officially instituted. As we have been saying, this speaks to a relationship we have with Him. The covenant view honors the commitment between God and us with an emphasis on our devotion and faithfulness to God. Covenant is an agreement, a contractual arrangement, in which both parties are responsible for that relationship. I know: we are excited about God’s part in protecting us, healing us, providing for our needs, etc. But we might become lax as regards our part?
We have also noted that certain biblical terms carry the idea of covenant which must be underscored. To be clear: fellowship is intimacy and “…[righteousness] implies relationship.” Nothing yells “new covenant” more than this! Scholarship learned,
“A man is righteous when he meets certain claims which another has on him in virtue of relationship.”
In a word: covenant.
Emphasizing the relationship with God is a realistic and reasonable approach to a study of the Word. This requires a more dynamic understanding of Scripture, a view of God’s Word more like personal letters written to each believer. And this requires that our knowledge of God is experienced and not just an academic pursuit. Such learning results in a growing intimacy with God [Philippians 3:10].
“.. Though the gospel is capable of doctrinal exposition,” Bishop Lightfoot observed. “though it is eminently fertile in moral results, yet its substance is neither a dogmatic system nor ethical code, but a Person and a Life. [Christ]” As Paul asserted,
“For me, to live is Christ…” [Philippians 1:21].