Monday, May 30, 2016

1 Kings 17:17–24 Miracles Confirm God's Word

KEY TEXT: 1 Kings 17:23-24 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, "See, your son lives." And the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth." 

KEY THOT: While it may be that our faith should not rest on signs alone but the Word of God, nevertheless Scripture has no issue with miracles as confirming signs regarding the word of the Lord. The widow told Elijah unashamedly: “Now I know you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.” And this is consistent with NT teachings:
  • Mark 16:20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
  • Heb 2:3-4 This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
The Hebrew understanding (Scriptural worldview) of truth is not just simply cognitive (intellectual), but holistic. Truth is what is really real, not just what is rationally consistent or coherent, which is a Greek understanding of truth. For the Greeks, 1 + 2 = 3 is true or even truth. But for the Hebrews, truth goes beyond the rational to the whole person—truth that which will affect us personally in life-transforming ways. In the case of the widow, truth was a life-transforming experience, for Elijah's word raised her son from the dead and changed her perspective regarding Elijah. That he was more than just some religious free-loader but a man of God.  

Even Jesus himself expects the gospel to be proclaimed not just as a series of intellectual propositions, but as a life-transforming reality: “As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt 10:7-8). It is not good news if we can only proclaim the truth proposition that “God loves you” but cannot demonstrate its reality among those who are suffering from physical sicknesses and spiritual oppression caused by the devil. The gospel is “good news” because it can set people free from bondages to sin, sickness and Satan. It is not just some hope of life after death, but a proclamation of life even before death: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). 

Jesus says, “Then you will know the truth, the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Here, Jesus is affirming the Hebrew understanding of truth as a life-changing experience that will set us free from our bondage to sin, self and Satan. We can be set free not just from evil. We can be set free to do good because the gospel will transform us from sinners to saints.

Father, thank You that Your Word is truth. Help us live out the truth of the Gospel that has set us free. Deliver us from the deception that we can still live like sinners because we are saved by grace. Amen.

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