I’ve been wondering how it is YOU came to the understanding of “the finished work of Christ”. Many people are now saying “it is finished” with regard to sin and forgiveness and I’m just wondering how it is you came to see this. Is it the Hebrews chapter that does it for you? Is it some personal experience?
Hello my friend,
Now, it seems by your added question about Hebrews that maybe you’re asking how I got past the Scripture barrier that gives you such difficulty, so I’ll try to address that.
No, Hebrews had no major impact on how I came to understand the finished work, other than the usual “once and for all” sections. Truthfully, I had lots of questions about certain portions of Hebrews that made me seriously wonder as to it’s meaning … except for the fact that the clear demand of its once for all aspect told me to let it sit for a while under my belt and that maybe it would show itself later. And that’s just what happened. It seems things had been gelling as I was becoming more and more determined in the life of Christ so that when some questions about it came up I just kind of KNEW where it was coming from.
I remember having read a book by a J. Sidlow Baxter back in the early to mid 80’s after one of the teachers at Grace Bible Church recommended it. I can’t even remember the name of the book but it dealt with what is called the God-ordained formation of the Bible, even down to the arrangement of the individual books of the Bible. I was rather impressed with the whole thing at the time, even though I slowly began to reconsider much of it later on. But I did gain a real insight into the character of the letter of Hebrews (which was the reason it was recommended to me). It is there that I was challenged to consider that the whole nature of the letter could be better understood if it was viewed according to whom it was written: the Jews.
Interestingly, I re-read some of it a few years ago to verify some things I thought I learned from it only to discover that I didn’t find them there. Apparently, I had remembered much more from my own impressions than was written in the book. I think it was just the fact that I got a good push in a new direction so that my own swirling thoughts about many Biblical questions found themselves automatically adjusting. It was like one of those big Duh! times in my life in which I found myself wondering why more didn’t see the common sense in it. But then again, I suspect the doctrine of Bibliology leaves preachers with the impression that common sense should play no part in the formation of the Scriptures.
If there were any Bible books that played a larger role in my growing understanding of grace I would have to say it was John and then later 1 John more so than any of Paul’s writings. I always sensed something so simple and pure in John’s writings that depicted the reality of the Word made flesh so clearly before my eyes. Yeah, while everyone else was only quoting Paul in relation to grace I was more into John in those early years of my understanding.
Do you know why I think that impacted me in a different way than many? Because those who were quoting Paul were doing so in a doctrinal fashion in a search for technically correct answers regarding grace. Don’t get me wrong, I learned much in spite of it, just as I’m sure others have, but somehow my digging into John’s more personal style (at least it had appeared more personal at that time to me and to others) left me with a simplicity in seeing Christ, rather than a simplicity in seeing grace. Does that make sense? The funny thing is that as I began to read more of Paul’s writings, I couldn’t help but see more reality and less doctrine! For whatever the cause, I’m thankful for that.
At the same time I was venturing more and more into the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke (though John was considered to be mostly written regarding the dispensation of grace so that it was safe … haha). Now, I had been taught by the grace teacher I met in the late 70’s that the gospels were the most dangerous Bible books to read because, as he said it, they were a tossed salad! LOL! This was all based upon the very correct interpretational skills using dispensational theology which stated that there were three distinct dispensations alluded to in these Bible books that had to be identified so that one could know how to interpret any particular verse. Yeah, I mostly stayed away from those so-called dangerous writings, and would also counteract most problem-passages posed by others as being a matter of accurately handling the word of truth (Boy, that one has been over-used!).
Anyhow, I’m probably writing stuff that has nothing to do with answering your question, so I’ll stop here and let you tell me if I totally missed it. Haha!