Someone once presented me with an apt analogy involving one Jane Doe-Blow and her beloved husband Joe Blow. It seems that Joe went off to war, leaving behind a long letter describing how he loved Jane and what he had done for her and how he hoped she would live until his return.
Not surprisingly, Jane read Joe’s letter over and over, slowly and lovingly, weighing each word and phrase and sentence, reading between the lines to squeeze out every last ounce of what Joe was thinking as he wrote to her. And because she really loved him, she also obeyed everything he said about how he wanted her to live as she awaited his return.
I don’t think that’s too far-fetched, do you?
Yet when it comes to the Lord’s love letter to humanity, way too many professing Christians read a paragraph here and there and call that Bible study. They feel no need to try to learn about Him and what He did for us in suffering and dying on the cross, how He bore the sins of the world to pay our sin penalty. They are under no compulsion to find out how He operates in this world, or what He expects of us. They are not even the least bit curious about His prescription for getting into heaven.
After all, some minister has told them in seven words or seventy all they need to know about Him – a description they then embellish as much or as little as they please. It’s just so much easier and more fun and more acceptable to make up and obey this god of their imaginations, a god who just happens to agree with them on every last point.
Which is a major reason that we end up with heresies from the social gospel to name-it-and-claim-it theology. And why, when we try to share God’s truth with these people, they have no qualms about rejecting what they’re convinced is just one more (far less inviting) opinion on the matter.
I suppose it’s really no surprise that this is the case today, since it’s what the Bible predicts for the last days. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."
Still, it doesn't have to happen to us. Get yourself a good study Bible (I've found the Life Application series very helpful), pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance, and let the Lord being growing your knowledge, wisdom, and understanding today!