As many of you know, last week I was at my denomination’s annual church camp. It was tons of fun and also some not so fun stuff, but that’s not the point. It was great to see all my friends again and be with them and I miss them all like crazy. However, that’s not the reason I’m writing this post. Mainly because I doubt anyone would seriously appreciate me ranting on and on about when you wouldn’t know what I’m talking about haha.
However, I am going to talk about what I learned there. The topic for this year is the same as this post. Finding Out the Whole Counsel of God. It’s a pretty deep topic, even if it is spread out in two sessions per day, five-ish days during one week, making a total of eleven sessions. We barely scratched the surface, but I still learned a lot.
The first thing we should do is fear the whole counsel of God. We should fear it because it’s so deep and wide. We need to pay attention to the Word of God because it is His counsel to us. It explains the mysteries of God in a way that no one else can.
Part of the counsel of God is the scripture. What is the canon of scripture? Or more importantly, what is canon?
A canon is a collection of works together. In Greek, it’s a measuring stick. The canon of scripture, therefore, is the measure of God’s word and is complete and fully breathed by God. (2 Timothy 3:15-17.) In order to know if something is scripture, we must know what scripture is. (Acts 17:10-11.) We need to know that what we believe is true in order to believe in God. Scripture is the highest authority because it is God’s word. Therefore, we must use scripture to evaluate scripture.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? And all you logic geeks might be shaking your head at this apparent fallacy of circular reasoning.
But you see, if you believe the Bible, it says that scripture is the highest authority. So we must use scripture to evaluate scripture. When you really think about it, it’s not as crazy as it seems. Honestly. But more on that later.
There are three keys that we need to unlock the scriptures.
First, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has to be working in our hearts for us to understand and believe in God’s Word and what He’s done for us. (1 Corinthians 1:20.) This should humble us because apart from the Spirit of God, it doesn’t matter how smart we are; we cannot understand the scripture apart from God.
The second key is prayer. (Psalm 119: 12, 18, 19, 27, 29, 33, 64 and Colossians 1:9-10.) John Calvin said that prayer is one of the highest forms of humility. We must pray and ask God to open our eyes to understand His Word and apply it to our lives.
The third key to understanding the whole counsel of God is Jesus. He is the one who has fulfilled all things and has given us the ability to understand and believe. (Luke 24:13-24.)
Scripture proves itself. Prophecies have come true. There are no contradictions in the Bible. See John 21:24. 2 Peter 1:20-21. Mark 16:15-18 with Acts 28:3-6. And so many more passages in the Bible also speak of this.
Scripture in its essence is simply the Word of God. We see His attributes in the Bible. The Word of God comes from God, spoken to men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write it all down. That’s why it doesn’t contradict itself even though it was written by several different authors over the course of hundreds of years. Canonical scripture has a prophetic or apostolic source that is inspired by God; that’s what sets scripture apart from any other spiritual book out there.
Now what connects the whole counsel of God?
God’s covenant, namely Christ, connects the entire Bible together, the main thread that holds together the tapestry of the world, woven by the Master Weaver. The most important relationship is that which we have with Christ. The first covenant, the covenant of works or the covenant of life, was made in the Garden of Eden.
Yet when this covenant was broken, God made a new covenant, the covenant of grace. Because despite this dark beginning, God had a wonderful and glorious plan to redeem us all. (Genesis 3:15.)
The third covenant is the Noahic covenant, or the covenant of preservation, in which God saved alive Noah and his family through the Flood; this covenant was followed by the Abrahamic covenant, which is also a covenant of grace. God promised Abraham to make his descendants like the stars or the grains of sand on the seashore.
Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant to us, providing a way to break the curse of sin and restore our lost relationship with God. This is what the Word of God is all about, telling this story that is fundamentally such a huge part of our lives.
Besides the scriptures, the counsel of God is His will. Namely, it is whatsoever comes to pass, and this is not only revealed in the Bible and history, but also what we see with our own eyes and special revelation. History has already been foreordained by God; everything that has happened, that is happening, that will happen, has already been decided on by God.
So, what is the whole counsel of God?
His will as revealed in His Word. We should read and study God’s Word in order to understand His will and to grow closer in our relationship with our Creator. Let me conclude with three R’s to better remember this.
Read – read the whole counsel of God. (Psalm 1:2-3.) When we meditate on God’s Word, we grow closer in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the friendship that matters most.
Receive – receive the whole counsel of God. Just because we are reading the Bible doesn’t mean we are receiving it and drinking it in. We should ask God to help us understand His Word. (Luke 7:30 and 1 Thessalonians 1:3.)
Relay – relay the whole counsel of God. The scriptures have changed our lives. We cannot keep this wonderful truth hidden. (Acts 20:27.)
Thus sums up in very brief terms the sessions at camp 2019.