Avoid Deception – Read the Word Purposefully

The Galatians were deceived by the Judaizers. Instead of continuing to follow God’s Word, they allowed a group of people to convince them they needed to add something to God’s Word regarding salvation in order to experience salvation. The Judaizers told them salvation wasn’t found in Jesus alone. Rather it was found in Jesus plus works. In this instance, it was the work of circumcision.

Paul is shocked they would submit themselves to the law. He lets them know in his letter to them.

What contributed to their deception?

One reason the Galatians were deceived by the Judaizers was their inability to listen to the Law.

“I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?” (Ga 4:20–21)

What does it mean to “listen to the Law”? Why is it important we listen to the Law?

BDAG Defines it as:

to hear and understand a message, understand

Arndt, William, Frederick W. Danker, Walter Bauer, and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 38

Listening to or hearing the Law implies more than hearing it read aloud or preached. It implies understanding the message the text is attempting to convey.

The Galatians Misunderstanding and Paul’s Clarification

The Galatians did not understand the message of the OT Law, namely, one cannot earn salvation through works. Over and over again the Law points to our inability to keep the Law to gain salvation. Incase the Galatians did not understand the laws application, Paul makes it clear in chapter 5:

“Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” (Ga 5:2–4)

It is important we listen to the Law, it tells us we cannot keep it and we need a Savior, so that we are not “obligated to keep the whole law” and end up “severed from Christ”.

The Law cannot justify us. Only Christ can provide justification through His work on our behalf.

How can we be better listeners to the Law ourselves?

Work on being better Bible readers

(1) Association – Find a way to associate the text to an experience you have had in the past, or something you are going through right now.

(2) Pray for Understanding – Before you read, pray the Lord would open the text up to you.

(3) Pray the Text – After you read, pray through the text. Praying the text isn’t rocket science. Start with the first verse you read and pray whatever comes to mind. When you have milked that verse dry, move on to the next, and then the next, until you have prayed all the verses you read. If you want further ideas and reasons why praying the text is helpful, Donald Whitney has written an excellent book Praying the Bible, which I highly recommend.

(4) Meditate on the Text – If all you do is read a chapter, close your Bible, and go about your day, chances are you aren’t going to remember much of what you read, which means you probably aren’t going to apply much of what you have read to your life. In comes meditation. By meditation, I don’t mean sitting with your legs crossed, arms out, palms up, trying to clear your mind. I have in mind just the opposite. Instead of trying to clear your mind, you should fill your mind with the text. There are several ways to do that:

  • Think through the key words in the text.
  • Write out the text.
  • Journal the text.
  • Memorize a key verse(s).
  • Visualize the text by drawing it (probably more for you artsy types).
  • Think of how the text applies to your life, your family, or your community.
  • Formulate the main idea of the text. Think about what the text is telling you is true, and then ask what you should do, think, or believe based on that truth.
  • Ask yourself how the text points to Jesus.

By employing these tips, you should be able to read the Bible in a way that allows you to hear what God’s Word is saying.

Understand the purpose of the Law

The Law points to Jesus.

How does the Law point to Jesus?

  • The Law also shows us we cannot keep the Law – The continual sacrifices are meant to show us that we are incapable of keeping the Law. That in and of ourselves, we would remain under God’s judgment.
  • The Law shows us we need a substitute – We don’t atone (make right) for our own sin. In the OT Law an animal is sacrificed in our place. The sacrificial animal is meant to point to another sacrifice to come.
  • The Law points to Jesus through its ineffective nature – Sacrifices have to continually be made. The sacrifices are not sufficient to provide us with salvation from God’s wrath.


If we want to keep ourselves and others from being deceived by faith teachers, we must be students of the Word reading it for all it offers. We cannot pick and choose which verses to read, nor can we read it in isolation from the other texts in Scripture. Rather, we must read it in context and in a faithful manner.

If the Lord Delights…

After release from bondage in Egypt and receiving the Law from the Lord at Sinai, the people reach the edge of the wilderness. Moses sent several men into the land to spy it out. Upon returning, the report from several spies was not good. They feared the people in the land. They didn’t trust the Lord’s promise. They told the nation they could not take the land as God had promised. 

Seeing the mood change in the nation, both Joshua and Caleb, two of the many who spied out the land, attempted to lead the people to trust in God’s promise, will, and power. 

If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.” (Nu 14:8)

They directed the people to focus on the Lord and not the obstacle. They pointed to God’s will and desire. Ultimately the people did not listen and ended up spending 40 years walking in the wilderness. Their misfortune provides a valuable lesson, especially when we connect this text to the New Testament author James. James warns us not to plan too far ahead.

James writes, 

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13–15)

James warns us to submit our plans to the Lord. We should trust in His will and not our own. His promises, His strength, His sovereignty.  

Our God is a God who is capable. Our God is a sovereign God who is in control. Our God is a God of Providence. He is purposeful in bringing about His will. We must not presume upon the Lord, thinking He will do what we want Him to do. Rather, we must rest in God‘s will for our lives, trusting that He has our best interest in mind and we will be used for His glory, which will result in His praise.

Admittedly, it is not easy to realize our life is meant to bring God glory especially when times are difficult. It is much easier to believe we were created to bring God glory when we are successful in our eyes and the world’s eyes. But God has a plan for each and everyone of our lives. God‘s plan is meant to show forth His glory for His praise. 

We must rest in our God given purpose, recognizing we are a part of bringing God, the God who created the universe, glory. In other words, we are who God has chosen to use to show forth His greatness in numerous ways. 

Knowing we are created for God’s glory should provide us comfort and joy, as well as it should provide us meaning in life.

How can you trust in the Lord today? How can you delight in His will for your life even if it is proving to be a difficult time?

Are You a Church Consumer?

One of the hallmarks of the modern mindset is individualism. We instinctively focus on the freedom and the rights of the individual to do or say whatever he or she chooses. This attitude has inevitably spread into Christian culture, where my commitment to God’s people has been replaced by the idea that a church should serve and fulfill me, providing the teaching, music, friendship and sub-culture that I desire.

Yet really, this is only an expression of our sinfulness, a way of putting ourselves at the centre of our own lives.

When God rescues people, however, He puts them together to live for the benefit of one another. This means that my greatest concern should not be how a church could serve me, but how I may best serve that church, using the gifts that God has given me.

Question for Reflection

  1. How can you best serve your church with the gifts God has given you?


Read/Mark/Learn Romans, 232


What is Your Purpose in Life?

Got Purpose

Why did God created you? In other words, what is your purpose in life? I know I think about the reason God created me. I am sure you do as well. How do we answer the question?

For What Purpose Did God Create Us?

Glorifying God and enjoying Him forever is how I answer the question.

What does it mean to glorify God?

It means: We worship Him; we praise Him; we lift Him up; we honor Him; we adore Him; we revere Him. These are all synonyms that help us understand what it means to glorify God.

If our purpose is to glorify God, that means our purpose is not:

  • To get a great job.
  • To have a great family.
  • To live in a great house.
  • To make a lot of money.
  • To live a comfortable life.
  • To be secure.
  • To have everything go just our way.
  • To have others praise us.
  • To have others lift us up.
  • To have others worship us.

Some of these are good – Job, family, house – and if God so blesses us with them, we should be thankful. These things, however, are not our main purpose in life. Our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Now that is a massive claim, so where do I get this from?

The Biblical Evidence

The Biblical Evidence for Glorifying God

Let’s start with Psalms 86:8-13. There we learn:

  • There are no other gods like Him, nor can they do works like His (8).
  • He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (9).
  • His ways are truth (11).
  • He is the one who loves us and saves us (13).

Since the Christian God is unique, our Creator and Sustainer, His ways are always true, and He loves and saves us, we are to glorify and worship Him.

Another Scripture that helps us understand our purpose in life is Isaiah 43:7. It reads,

“everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.””

Isaiah teaches us that everyone is created by God and they are created for His glory.

Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 6:20 tells us that we are not our own. We were bought with a price. The price we were bought with was not silver or gold but the blood of Jesus. For that reason, we should follow God’s commands, glorifying Him with our actions.

Finally, 1 Corinthians 10:31 exhorts us to do everything we do to the glory of God. Whether we are eating, drinking, having fun, working, or whatever else we do, we are to do it for God’s glory.

The Biblical Evidence for Enjoying God Forever

Our purpose in life is also to enjoy God forever. I get this from:

Psalms 16:9 & 11 which tells us the Lord is the One who gives us life. As well as He is the one who provides us with joy, with pleasures forevermore.

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure…You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Revelation 21:3-4 is another Scripture that tells us we are to enjoy God forever. There we learn the Lord will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Death will be no more, along with no more mourning, crying, or pain. Instead, we will live in a New Heaven and New Earth, enjoying God and His creation forever.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”” (Rev. 21:3-4)

What the Evidence is Telling Us

From these Scriptures, we see that our purpose in this life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, which means it is not all about us, but it is all about Him. Finding out this life is all about God can be a tough pill to swallow, especially since our natural desire is to glorify and promote ourselves, in order to seek self-worship.

Even though God’s Word goes against our natural desires, it is God’s Word. It never lies. It is always true. If His Word is inerrant, we must trust it, believe it, and submit to it.

How Can We Glorify Him?

With our newly discovered purpose, we need to know how we can glorify God. Let me offer a few ways:

  • By praising Him.
  • By worshipping Him.
  • By living according to His commandments.
  • By calling others to Christ.
  • By enjoying Him and Him alone, being completely content with Him.

Diagnostic Questions & Challenge

Before we end, let me provide a few diagnostic questions for you to consider.

  1. Do you seek to glorify God in all that you do?
  2. Do you ask whether your actions are glorifying God before you do them?
  3. Do you search Scripture to see whether or not you are living in accordance with God’s Word?
  4. Do you enjoy God and the things of God?
  5. Do you enjoy reading His Word?
  6. Do you enjoy fellowshipping with His people?
  7. Do you enjoy hearing God’s Word preached?
  8. Do you enjoy singing praises to God?
  9. Do you enjoy telling other about God?

If you enjoy and seek to glorify God, you should be able to answer these questions in the positive.

I am afraid, however, there are many who call themselves Christians who can’t answer these questions positively. In other words, they don’t seek to glorify God, nor do they enjoy Him or His people. I believe this is especially true in the Bible Belt where people are quick to call Jesus their Savior, but fellowshipping with His people, reading His Word, and submitting to His commands are absent.

If we are truly Christians, we will live to glorify God and we will enjoy God and the things of God. With that in mind, let’s glorify God and enjoy Him forever.


Westminister Shorter Catechism Question 1


What is My Purpose in the World?

What is my purpose in the world? That is a question everyone asks at one point or another in their life. You may be asking this question right now. If so, I invite you to read along.

In my last post, I argued that we are not writing our own story. Rather, we are characters in God’s story. As a result, we need to know where we fit into God’s story. In other words, we need to know our purpose in God’s story, which will then tell us our purpose in the world.

Our Purpose is to Image God

Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are created in God’s image. Here is what the author writes,

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

This means that everyone has been created in God’s image, and it is everyone’s duty to image God to others.

God’s Rescue Mission

Even though it is our duty, everyone cannot image God, because they are corrupt, defiled, and sinful (Rom. 3:23). But it is God’s plan for mankind to image Him by taking up His mission to reach the nations, so He goes on a rescue mission. He send His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross, in order to redeem mankind. All those who repent and believe that Jesus is the Christ, their Savior, will be reconciled to God (Rom. 3:21-26; Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 1:3; 2:23-25; 3:23-24; 4:2, 15; 5:1, 5).

Redemption Leads to Imaging

Those who are redeemed by Jesus Christ are able to shine forth God’s image to their neighbors and the nations. They are able to show others God’s love, grace, mercy, justice, wisdom, etc. As well as, and more importantly, they are able to share with others God’s gospel. The same gospel that saved them from eternal destruction.

Our Purpose is Fulfilled

When we image God to others by our actions and our words, we are taking up God’s mission to reach the nations with His gospel. When we take up God’s mission, then and only then are we accomplishing our purpose in God’s story, which means we have found our purpose in this world.

A Purposeless Life

If our purpose is to image God, and the only way we can image God is by first being reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ, then those who do not believe Jesus is their Savior are living a purposeless life because they are not on mission for God.

Questions For Reflection:

  1. Do you see it as your purpose to image God to your neighbors and the nations?
  2. Do you desire to share God’s gospel with others?
  3. Do you share the gospel?
  4. How are you doing with imaging God through your actions? Do you love others, show grace to others, seek God’s wisdom in your actions, practice justice in your dealings with others?
  5. Do you believe purpose is only achieved when we are on mission for God?



The Purpose of the Good Book

The Good Book, as some often call it, is written in such a way as to present the truth God has purposed to reveal to mankind. Since the Good Book, or the Bible, presents the truths God has purposed mankind to know, we should not expect the Bible to give us answers it was not designed to give us.

How We Often Think of The Bible

The Bible, like any other book, was written with a purpose, which we will get to in a minute. First, let me explain how people generally think of the Bible. I will start with a comparison. Take a math book for example, you would not open it and expect to learn about history, nor would you open a literature book and expect to learn about the inner workings of the human body. Rather, you would expect to learn about the subject the book was written about. Math books teach you math, and literature books teach you literature. If math and literature books are written with a purpose in mind, we should expect books covering other subjects to have a purpose as well. The Bible is no different.

However, we often treat the Bible as if it should be different, believing it should provide us with a detailed history of the surrounding countries, use language that is in accordance with the twenty first centuries scientific dictionaries, rather than language descriptive of an event, or provide us with answers it was not designed to provide, such as what existed before the beginning of the world, or who created God. In short, we believe the Bible should encompass all aspects of history, mathematics, science, literature, etc, while at the same time answering all our most pressing questions. If it does not, then we often believe we should be able to write it off as if it is a book wrought with error. However, this assessment of Scripture is not fair, because it is not taking into account the purpose for which the book was written.

The Purpose of Scripture

So what is the purpose of Scripture? The purpose of Scripture is to tell us about God, Us, His plan, and His Son.

The Bible tells us who God is – The Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign Lord of the Universe. It provides us with a glimpse of the Character of God, and how He expects His people to live and interact with Him and His creation.

It tells us who we are – We, and the world, are apart of God’s creation. Since He is our Creator, we should worship Him, but we often don’t. Here is where the Bible reveals the problem of why we don’t worship Him. Scripture tells us we are sinners and we inherited our sinfulness from Adam and Eve. As a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, mankind and the entire creation fell into sin. The result of our sinfulness was a broken relationship with God. We could no longer enter into the presence of God because His holiness would not allow it. The great news is that God had a plan, which is revealed progressively in His Word, the Bible.

God’s plan involves the redemption of all creation through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. Jesus, who is also God, came to earth, lived a perfect life, while being subjected to the same pain, suffering, and temptations we face, and died on the cross to pay the price for our sins. If we believe in Him as our Savior, then we will experience a restored relationship with God along with eternal life, instead of eternal death. God’s plan also tells us that after Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended into heaven, where He awaits a time when He will return to redeem and restore creation to a perfect state. All those who have believed in Him as their Savior, will enter into this new creation with Jesus as their king, and they will live for all eternity.


The purpose of the Bible is to reveal the overarching meta-narrative of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. As you travel through the pages of Scripture, this narrative is revealed. Through reading the story of the Bible we learn how mankind and all of creation fit into that narrative, as well as who our God and Savior is, and how we can and should interact with Him and His creation. If this is the case, then Scripture, like all other books, was written with a purpose. As a result, Scripture should be read with that purpose in mind, meaning we should not expect the Bible to answer questions it was not designed to answer.