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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - Difficult Parts of the Bible - Part 4

James Meehan - Difficult Parts of the Bible - Part 4

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    James Meehan - Difficult Parts of the Bible - Part 4
TOPICS: Culture Makers

James Meehan: I'm gonna say it again, because this is so important. Our interpretation of God's word is not the same thing as God's word. Well, welcome to this week of "Switch Uncut," where we're closing out our little mini series, wrestling through the difficult parts of the Bible based on your questions that has been going in tandem, in parallel with our series, "The Bible, Fake News Or Good News". Now, over the last several weeks, we've taken extended periods of time to wrestle with one or two big questions per week. But this week we're gonna do a little bit more rapid fire to cover some of the questions that you'll ask. Listen, there's just so many that we wanna try to cover them as much as possible. And so these ones will be a little bit briefer in our answers, but hopefully you'll still find it valuable, it will get you thinking as you are continuing to wrestle with your big questions about faith, following Jesus in all things, the Bible. So with that being said, we're about to dive in. Caitlin, will you please hit us with the first question for today?

Kaitlyn Caffrey: Absolutely. So this is a question that we got from a ton of you guys, and it's a great question because it lays the foundation for, can we actually trust this book, this story that we've been talking about? And that question is, when was the Bible written? How did we compile all of this to get what we have today?

James Meehan: And this is such a good question. I remember during my years of not being a believer in Jesus, that one of the most frequent answers I would hear to this question was, "Well, the Bible wasn't written until hundreds of years after Jesus, so there's no way you can trust it". There's all of this time where these stories about Jesus were formed into these big, larger-than-life's legends and myths. And none of the original followers of Jesus actually believed that he rose from the grave. Those were just all stories that came up, the 20, 30, 100, 200, 300 years later. And here's what we've gotta remember about the Bible. The Bible is not one single piece of writing...

Kaitlyn Caffrey: Right.

James Meehan: of authors. Just the New Testament, the four different gospel accounts, have four different authors, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Then you've got the writings of Paul. You've got James, the brother of Jesus. You've got Jude who is believed to be another brother of Jesus. You've got Peter who writes several letters. There's all sorts of different authors that contribute to the collection of writings that we call the New Testament. And also there's a large collection of authors who contribute to the collection of writings that we call the Old Testament. So in total, I believe the Bible is 66 books, and not every single one of those books is from an individual author. Some authors wrote several books. But all of that being said, here's what we've gotta remember, is that while the Bible was compiled several hundred years after the death of Jesus, all of those documents, the Old Testament documents were written between about 400-ish and like 1,200-ish years before Jesus. So Genesis through Malachi, the Old Testament, all of that came hundreds of years before Jesus. And then the New Testament documents, most historians agree were written between the year 50 A.D. and 90 A.D. And Jesus lived from about around zero to 30-ish A.D. And so what that means is that the entirety of the New Testament was written between 20 years after the resurrection of Jesus and about, oh, that would that be about 60 years on the long end. And the people kind of disagree on which ones came first and where that falls. But a lot of people would believe that most of Paul's writings came between that 50 and 60 A.D. range. And so like the majority of the letters we have in the New Testament came within 30 years of Jesus's resurrection, meaning that the people who were there from the beginning would be able to say if these were being made up. And Paul even talks about this in 1 Corinthians 15, where he talks about how what he is writing to these early churches are things that have been witnessed and experienced by other Christians. And so, I say all of that to say the argument that the Bible was written hundreds of years later, therefore we cannot trust it, is entirely untrue. The writings of the New Testament were written within 20 years to 60 years of the resurrection of Jesus, within a single generation, within a single lifetime. Now they were later compiled into the final form that we have them where all of the books of the Old Testament and New Testament were decided on between the years 325 A.D. at the First Council of Nicaea, and then about 480 A.D. when Jerome kind of published this first full compilation of the Bible. So when was the Bible written? It was written over the course of hundreds of years by dozens of authors, specifically the New Testament though, those writings have been dated by most historians to be between 50 A.D. and 90 A.D., within a single lifetime of Jesus's resurrection.

Kaitlyn Caffrey: That's cool. The verse that came to mind while you were talking was in 1 John, where John, one of Jesus's best friends, is writing this letter, and he says, "We are proclaiming to you what we have seen and what we have heard".

James Meehan: Come on.

Kaitlyn Caffrey: "So that you can have fellowship with us, and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ". He was affirming the fact that they aren't just pulling stuff out of nowhere. "This is what we saw and what we heard". And this was literally one of Jesus's best friends writing.

James Meehan: It's so good, and when you bring that up, it reminds me of the very first few verses of Luke's gospel. He tells this person he's writing this to, Theophilus, that, "Hey, I have investigated these things thoroughly by talking to eye witnesses of what happened". And so he went on this investigative journey to discover what actually happened. What's true and what's not. And it was through those conversations through investigating and interviewing these different witnesses that he compiled his gospel account, the Gospel of Luke. And this is the thing that I think is so interesting, is not only do these biblical authors claim these things, but most historians agree that the first documents of the New Testament were written within the lifetime of these people, so that those eyewitnesses would actually have been alive.

Kaitlyn Caffrey: Yep, that's so good. And I think that that journey of investigation that Luke went on is like the same journey of investigation that we are invited into.

Come on. Absolutely.

Continue to research this stuff, continue to look into all of the evidence of the Bible's validity and just let yourself go on that journey because it's in asking those questions that we actually find those good answers.

Come on. So Good.

So moving on to the next one, you mentioned Paul's writings, and I think that this question comes a lot out of Paul's writings.


And it is, what is a woman's role in the church?

So good, yeah, there is... It's funny because the Life Church location that I'm at, I know there's this group of high school guys that are wrestling with this question because they read what Paul says in 1 Timothy 2 and in 1 Corinthians 14, where it seems to be this really clear instruction that women are to be silent in the church. They're not to speak, or share, or teach, or lead in any of those capacities. And so I think what's really interesting is we've got to remember the big idea of how to read the Bible wisely. First and foremost, that Jesus is King. And secondly, that context is everything. It's when we look at those two ideas we start to have a better framework for interpreting Paul's writings, because the reality is, is that all scripture requires interpretation. All scripture requires us to use wisdom to ask the question, "Who's the author, who's the audience, and what is it that the author wanted the audience to know"? And so with those kind of big ideas in place, let's talk about Paul's writing specifically. When we read these letters that Paul wrote, we have to remember that they are letters. We are reading someone else's mail. We are reading half of a text message conversation of what Paul was saying to these specific churches. And we don't know exactly what challenges these churches were dealing with, or the questions that they were asking Paul that led Paul to write what he did. And so what we wanna do is we just wanna start from a posture of humility and curiosity, acknowledging that there are times where what seems clear on the surface, isn't always what the Bible really means. And this is why we can't just ask the question, "What does the Bible say"? When it comes to the question of women in ministry, we have to ask the question, "What did women actually do"? Because we do have these two verses that seem to be really clear that women are not supposed to speak or hold positions of authority in the church, in 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 14. But when we look at the overarching biblical narrative, and we see the role that women played throughout the Old Testament and in the New Testament in Jesus's ministry, what we see are women holding significant positions of leadership and authority, and speaking on behalf of God. The Old Testament references female prophets. So these are women who were messengers of God, delivering His messages to their people. And 1 Corinthians 14 is kind of like referencing all things, prophets in the church. There's that, that's really interesting is that the Old Testament talks about female prophets. And if we fast forward to Jesus, we see women playing a significant role in His ministry. I think it's Luke Chapter Eight that outlined several of the different things that women were doing in ministry. They weren't just along for the ride. They were actually the ones funding his ministry, which I think is really interesting. And then when we go to the resurrection at the tomb of Jesus, who were the first people to witness our risen Savior.

Come on. Yep.

And what was it that they were entrusted with doing? Telling Jesus's disciples that he had risen from the grave. So the first human beings entrusted with the gospel message that Jesus had risen from the grave we're women. Then if we fast forward to the Book of Acts, in Acts Chapter Two, there's Peter, who's speaking on the day of Pentecost, and he's quoting from the prophet Joel, who says that, "There will come a day when God will pour His Spirit out on His people, and His sons and daughters will prophesy". And what Peter was doing is saying that, "Hey, because Jesus has risen from the grave, on this day of Pentecost, this prophecy is being fulfilled, that the sons and daughters of God will prophesy. They will speak on God's behalf. They will speak the words of God to his people". And then we move forward, and we look at the end of the Book of Romans where Paul is celebrating and commending these women who played significant roles in his ministry, these women who were deacons, who were apostles, who were a part of leading these house churches. And here's what we start to see. That the overarching narrative of the Bible shows us women being used by God in significant ways, which is exactly what we would expect, because the Bible begins,

Come on.

us being told that both men and women are made in the image of God. It's not that men are made in the image of God and that women are somehow inferior, no, no, no. It's that both of us together, we are created in the image of God. And when we come together, we can better reflect the relational nature of our God. And so I would argue that the overarching message of the Bible is that God wants to use men and women to accomplish his purposes. And because of all of that, I think it's wise to assume that what we're reading from Paul is probably specific instructions to the specific churches that were dealing with specific problems. And the reason why I think that's important to acknowledge is that even within 1 Corinthians 14, one of the passages where Paul tells women to be silent, he talks about how all of us, men and women, should eagerly desire the gifts of prophecy. And so what Paul's writing about there isn't about the roles of who has authority and who doesn't. It's about order in the church. And so there's a lot of people who assume that what Paul is saying is that, "Hey, right now there's this group of women who, when the church gathers, they're being a distraction, and in order to make sure they're not being a distraction, we wanna put the right order in place so that we've got a couple of prophets who will speak, and that while they're speaking, other people are listening". And then in 1 Timothy 2, I'll be honest with you. This chapter is one of the chapters that has some of the most confusing things there that I think are an indicator that we should wrestle with that piece of scripture with extra humility and curiosity. Because right before Paul gives this instruction to women, he talks about how men and women should each worship in the church. And there's some instructions there that, to be frank, most churches don't follow, because most churches assume, "Well, that was to a specific group of people for a specific time". But that verse about women being silent and not having authority over men, that applies to all women for all time. There's a little bit of a disagreement on how to even interpret the different parts of this same chapter of the letter. In 1 Timothy 2, it ends with Paul making the statement about how women will be saved through childbearing if they stay faithful to God. And what's interesting is, I don't think anybody actually believes that salvation comes to women by having kids. And so what we're even getting within that one chapter of scripture are words of Paul that require us to use wisdom, humility, and discernment to interpret well. But, because that one little piece of 1 Timothy 2 seems really clear, we've just taken that and we've made it this universal principle that applies to all women for all time, which I think it's better to realize, or it's better to interpret that as specific instructions, to a specific church for a specific reason. I think a much better passage of scripture to look to as a universal principle that applies to all people for all time is found in Galatians Chapter Three, where the apostle Paul says that, "In Christ Jesus, there's neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, slave nor free, but we are all one in Christ Jesus". And I think that, that principle, is the one that applies to all people for all time. That because of Jesus, we can be restored to the image of God that is inside of us. That because of that, all of us have value, have dignity, and have worth, not because of what we've done or where we've come from, but because of the fact that it is our creator God who made us.

Yep, there's basically nothing that I would add to that, because that is just a beautiful perspective shift of, again, we're meant to read the Bible in passages and not just pieces. And I think that we, it's a big miss if we don't look at the overarching narrative. Starting with the very beginning, the way that the Bible is set up, is men and women, male and female made in the image of God. And if the church is supposed to be the embodiment of Jesus here on the earth, then nothing should look more like Him. And I think that we are missing half the picture, we're missing a clearer image, if we negate the fact that women are also made uniquely in the image of God. I think the church should be a beautiful example of those image bearers coming together to represent Christ to the rest of the world. And that's the way we see the story set up, and that's what we see Jesus lean into.


So yeah, I think that that is wildly encouraging. So the next question, I think also comes out of some of the more confusing pieces of Paul's writing, and that is, does scripture condone slavery?

Hmm. What a wonderful question. And I think this is another one of those things where there's a lot of people who will rip pieces of the Bible out of context and use it as evidence to say that God is pro-slavery. That is so far from the truth. Again, what we have to understand about the Bible is that it is God's word for us, but it wasn't originally written to us. And because of that, we have to start with the basic context questions. Who's the author, who's the audience, and what is it that the author wants the audience to know? Because what we have to acknowledge is that the way that we do things in our world today is drastically different than the world that the biblical authors were writing from and speaking to. And so when we think about slavery in our modern world, usually what we think about is the slave trade that was taking place during the 16, 17, 1800s, the type of slavery that was present in America, and in the European colonies and places like that, where it was this brutal subjugation of people of color taken from their homes in Africa, taken to the Americas, to places in Europe, and the slavery was based off of, "You are inferior to me based off of your color of skin". That's literally the arguments that people would make. And let me be very, very clear that that is so anti-gospel. That there is no question or debate about that. And what's important to recognize is that the leading abolitionists, the people who were arguing for the end of the slave trade and slavery were committed Christians in Rome. William Wilberforce was a guy who had this radical encounter with Jesus that completely changed his life. So he dedicated the rest of his life to ending the slave trade, and working to bring about the end of slavery itself in England. And he was working through the political processes as a member of parliament, and he literally dedicated his life to seeing both of those things come to an end. And what we've gotta understand is that what motivated him was his faith in Jesus and the teachings of the scriptures.


If we think that slavery is somehow being condoned or approved of in the Bible then we've totally missed it. Because first and foremost, the kind of slavery that we think of is totally different than the kind of slavery that existed in Bible times. So that's point number one that we need to make. Then point number two that we need to make is that in the biblical narrative, what we see is that God makes certain allowances for slavery. He's always instructing his people to treat these slaves as human beings with dignity. In the Old Testament, there's this significant event that's supposed to take place where after a certain number of years, the people of Israel are instructed to set all of the slaves free. And so nobody was enslaved for life. They were to be enslaved for a period of time before they would be released from their slavery. So that's sort of the way that the Bible talks about it the Old Testament. It's not slavery is good. It's, "Hey, this is the reality of your world. And what God's gonna do is slowly lead us to understand a better way". Because then when Jesus arrives, we see him talk about this idea of setting the captives free, of bringing freedom to the prisoners and the oppressed. A part of the gospel message is freedom from anything that enslaves us, whether it's physical slavery, because we are enslaved, or slavery to sin, the gospel applies to all of it. And then when we get to the apostle Paul, Paul continues this same trajectory of working to hollow out slavery so that it's not even slavery anymore. In his letters to Christians who own slaves, what he's telling them to do is to treat your slaves like family. Now, pause and think about that. If you had a slave and you were being instructed to treat them like a family member, what would you do with that slave? You'd set them free. And so what Paul was doing is he is subverting the Roman culture without saying something that was gonna get him and all the other Christians arrested for revolting against the Roman way of ruling. What Paul is doing is he's hollowing out the concept of slavery within the Christian community. Because even if you were a slave holder when you became a Christian, you now begin to treat those slaves as if they are family. And then he also talks to slaves about how, "Hey, if you're a Christian who happens to be a slave, then you should love and respect your master so much that your example would bring them to Christ". This is super politically incorrect in our world today because there are some people who will read those words as if Paul is saying it's okay for slave masters to treat slaves wrongly, and that is not at all what Paul is saying. But what Paul is saying is that, "Hey, if you give your life to Jesus, and you are in the position of being a slave, and you are not showing the love of God to your slave master, then they're not gonna be interested at all in what Jesus wants to do for their life. The best way you can witness to the power of the gospel is to show them love even as they mistreat you," which again is not something that a lot of people are comfortable with, but it is exactly what Jesus demonstrated every step of the way in his ministry, that as He was being murdered on a cross, He prays, "Father, forgive these people because they don't know what they're doing". Even while being murdered, Jesus called for forgiveness. And so what Paul is doing is something that's really, really radical. He's calling for slave masters to treat their slaves as family. He's calling for slaves to treat their slave masters as if they are people worthy of honor and dignity, too. And so what Paul isn't doing, what the Bible is not doing is saying that slavery is okay. What's actually happening is they are speaking to their context from their context to move these people closer to God's vision for the way humanity should actually operate with all of us together united as family under the name of Jesus.

Yep, I think again, it's super valuable and helpful to look at the narrative as a whole and realize that the entire setup of this story is built on a origin story of freed slaves.

Come on.

The Israelites were under Egyptian oppression, and the entire Book of Exodus is the story of God leading them out of slavery and helping them become a different kind of people who, as you're saying, still operated within that cultural context, but we're led to do it differently in a way that provided dignity and the same freedom that they had learned to experience.

So good.

I just think that it's like, oh man, we zoom out, we look at the story, we see what God is doing, and our God is a God of freedom from the very beginning. So yeah, next question. I feel like we are just hitting on a lot of Paul confusing points in this chapter, but like you mentioned, or in this video, but like you mentioned, when we read Paul's writings, we're literally reading someone else's mail. So it's fair that it's confusing, and I think these are all really valid questions, too. And the next question is, is there a right way to do church? I think in our culture, I think this question comes from the fact that in our culture, there's all these different denominations and different looks and feels to the way that a church experience can be.


Why are there so many factions and who's getting it right?

Yeah, well, this is such a good question too, because even some of the things that we've talked about in this call, people will disagree with. Because there are a lot of churches where people are doing the best they can to follow Jesus faithfully and honor the teachings of scripture who have a different view on women's role in the church than we do. And I think this is the thing that's so important to remember, that all scripture requires interpretation. And what we believe is that scripture is the written word of God. And that as followers of Christ, we are meant to live according to the truth of God's word, not just the ways of our world. And so what most people do is they come to the scriptures and they're like, "Okay, God, I wanna do things the right way. I wanna know what's true and live according to it". And so they take these teachings so, so seriously, which is a really, really good thing. But the mistake that can sometimes happen is we can forget that our interpretation of God's word is not the same thing as God's word. I'm gonna say it again, because this is so important. Our interpretation of God's word is not the same thing as God's word. One of my favorite scholars and theologians, he's a guy, N.T. Wright, recently said that he's confident that 90% of what he believes is true, 10% he's probably wrong on. The problem is, is he doesn't know what 10% of things he's wrong about. And the reason I love that quote is because this is a person who has dedicated their entire life to studying the truth of God's word, to being a professional Christian historian, scholar, and theologian. And even he's willing to say that, "Hey, I'm probably wrong on 10% of the things that I believe". And the level of humility that that requires, I think should define all of our interactions with God's word and with other Christians. Because what we believe is that if this is true, then it matters that we take it seriously.


And also we acknowledge that none of us were the ones who actually wrote these words down. So we do not know with 100% certainty what the author meant when they said what they said. And so what we wanna do is wanna to seek God with humility. We want to wrestle with these questions in community. And when we walk away with different understandings, we wanna do that with grace for the people that we disagree with. The entire letter that Paul wrote to the Roman Church was really a letter about bringing together this divided community into a united family. The back half of this letter, I say the back half, it's like the back quarter of this letter is all about how, even though you disagree, here's how we're called to treat each other. And this is the thing that we can never lose sight of, is that the beauty of Christianity is that even when we disagree, we are still family. I think that's one of the things that we've sort of lost, which we think that, "Okay, but if you disagree with me, then that means you disagree with God, and therefore we can't be family anymore". And that is just such a backwards way of thinking. Because the way that Paul writes, he's not arguing for everybody to agree about every little detail. Literally like read Romans 12 through 16. And what you're gonna see is Paul talking about, "Hey, even when you disagree, here's what matters. Do you still love each other? Do you still put Jesus first? Because at the end of the day, that's the thing that matters most". And so what we wanna do as followers of Jesus is we wanna be united in what matters most, who is Jesus, and what is it that he's called us to do? And we want to have space and allow for diversity in the things that don't quite matter as much. Now what I'm not saying is that certain parts of the Bible don't matter. That's not at all what I'm saying. But what I'm saying is that in the same way that Jesus said, "Hey, here's the two greatest commands. Love God with every part of who you are, and love your neighbor as yourself". What Jesus didn't say is that every single part of the Bible is just as important. What he said is that, "These are the two greatest commandments". And so what I wanna do is I wanna hang my hat on what Jesus said was most important. And I want to allow space for disagreement, for wrestling, for conversation and the things that maybe aren't quite as essential. They still matter, and we still wanna wrestle with it, and we still wanna figure out what is true as far as we can tell, and live according to that. But...


...when we disagree on the way that we interpret certain parts of the Bible, we can never forget that at the end of the day, we are still family.

Yep, yeah, I think about like, if the point of this whole thing is being formed into the image of Jesus, formation requires some resistance. It requires some things to rub up against us and challenge our way of thinking and way of doing things. And if we're all completely conformed and aligned on every single thing, where does that resistance come from? Where does that refinement come from? I think we need each other and the diversity of our experience and understanding of God and all of that to actually do this whole becoming like Jesus thing.

Come on, absolutely.

And an idea that we've talked about before is if we get so focused on our own rightness, we will never become righteous.

Come on.

Ever. It's the wrong focal point. It becomes about me and not what, like you said, the most important things, loving God, loving people. So I think that's great. Our final question, this is one that we also got a lot of, and I think that it's a powerful thing that a lot of us are wrestling with is this idea of what if I can't stop sinning? It feels like I just keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again. How do I get out of that?

I think this question is really personal, and what's beautiful about that is our God is a personal God who wants to know you, He wants to walk with you, He wants to comfort you, and He wants to strengthen you. And I think one of the things that can be really tough is when we first begin this journey of following Jesus, there's almost like this initial honeymoon phase where we're so fired up about the things of God, where we have so much motivation to read our Bibles, go to church and do the right things, and then at some point in the process, that initial passion seems to fade just a little bit. And then we start being confronted with the facts that even though the Bible says that I have become a new creation, I still have to deal with some of my old habits, some of my old ways of thinking that are more shaped by the ways of this world than the words of Jesus. And this is where I think the idea of understanding following Jesus as a journey is so, so important, is by grace through faith that we are saved. And the thing that's important to acknowledge is that salvation, oftentimes they way we talk about it, it can kind of sound like this momentary decision that happens one time. But the way the Bible speaks of salvation is not just a single event that happens at one point. The Bible also talks about salvation as something that we work out with fear and trembling, like it's this ongoing process that's happening in the here and now. And we hear about this idea that salvation, our salvation is nearer now than it was before. So salvation happens in the past, it's happening right now, and it is something that will be completed at some point in the future. And so all of us are engaging this journey we call discipleship, which is the process of becoming like Jesus for the sake of others. And in the same way, that when you're a teenager, you go through this process that is called puberty, when you begin to change and grow and things are different. Puberty takes time, it doesn't happen overnight. It's less of a days-and-weeks kind of thing. And it's more of a months-and-years kind of thing. And along this journey of puberty, it's not always sunshine and rainbows. There are aspects of this process that are weird, that are uncomfortable, that are clumsy, and take some getting used to. And I think that our relationship of following Jesus is a little bit similar to that. We're becoming more like Jesus for the sake of others. It doesn't happen over the course of days and weeks. It happens over the course of months and years. And it's when we look back after years of following Jesus that we really see the change that he has worked in us. And so I think that's the first perspective shift that we'll offer to you is that your journey of overcoming some of these sins that have their hooks in you isn't something that's gonna happen overnight. It's going to take time. The second thing that I wanna offer to you is just the importance of receiving the grace that God is offering you. Because the truth is, is that it's one thing to hear about God's grace, it's another thing to experience God's grace. And we can tell ourselves that, "Hey, I know that God has grace for us, but I don't know if I have grace for myself". And here's what I would ask. If you know that God's offering grace to you and you don't think you deserve it, then why do you trust your judgment of yourself more than God's?


And I really wanna challenge you with that because the truth is, is that if we really trust that God knows us more than we know ourselves, and that in spite of our wrongs, God is still willing to offer us grace, to forgive us of what we've done wrong, and to show us a better way...


...then why would we doubt that? I think this is one of the hardest things that we have to go on in this journey of becoming more like Jesus is actually learning to trust God more than we trust ourselves.


And this isn't something that happens from us just working harder or trying to be better. It is the ongoing work of God's Spirit that is living inside of us.

That's good.

The thing that I kinda wanna close with here is for you to simply be patient with yourself just as God is patient with you. Recognize that this is a journey that's going to take time. And when you show up every single day saying, "God, today, I wanna give you my best. And when I fall short, God, help me to experience your grace". If you commit yourself to that, here's what's gonna happen, not over the course of days and weeks, but over the course of months and years. You're gonna be able to look back and see how much God has changed you for the better. Not because you worked harder or not because you tried it to be better, but because God's grace, God's Spirit, God's power, the power of the gospel, was being unlocked in your life so that it could so that it could be unleashed into your community. And that's exactly what Jesus has invited us into, this ongoing journey, this process of becoming like Him for the sake of others.

Yup, that's amazing. I think the only things that I would add is, there's a couple of things that have been really helpful to me in seasons where I feel like I've been stuck, and probably the biggest one is don't keep it in the dark. Bring other people into the process with you. The church word for that is confession.

Come on.

And that is, "I am choosing to take this thing that feels really sticky and hard and messy, this thing that I'm struggling with, and take it out of the dark and put it into the light".


That has been something that has led to the most healing in my life is when I'm willing to take that hard step of moving this thing that feels a lot better if it stays hidden, into the light, because what we know is that sin, it grows best in the dark. It's because we are choosing to live in the story of shame when it's over here in the dark. But when we move it into the light and invite other people into that process, that is when we actually have the opportunity to experience God's mercy and grace. And a lot of time, one of the neatest conduits of God's mercy and grace is actually other people, other people who are not receiving my confession and going, "Oh my gosh, you're a train wreck, you're screwed, you have no chance". They're actually coming alongside of me and going... They're weeping with me and they're walking with me. That has been an immensely helpful thing. If I'm feeling stuck in something, that is a signal to me I need to take this out of the dark and move it into the light, and invite people into the process with me. And it is a process that we can trust in. A verse that I remind myself of sometimes is the verse that says that, "He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it".

Come on.

The biblical story that we have been walking through, if nothing else, it highlights the faithfulness of God, His unwillingness to give up on the people that He has chosen to partner with. That's us, that's you and me. So, yeah, I think this has been a neat series that we've been walking through, and hopefully answering all of these questions about the Bible has been helpful to you guys. This isn't the end of the conversation. So if you have more questions, continue to send those in, comment them below, 'cause we'd love to wrestle through this stuff with you guys. Any other thoughts, James?

Nope. That's it.

All right. Well then we'll see you next time.

See ya all.
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