With springtime quickly approaching I have began looking into what home improvement projects I will be working on over the course of the next several months. In the process I read several how-to-books. The problem with these books is that they seem to fall short of what we need. You tackle a project and realize that problem “C” is not discussed and you end up lost. This got me thinking about our own lives. Some of the most popular books today are “self-help” books; a “how-to” guide to living in America today. Yet, the one book that has all the answers is the one most rarely consulted. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue(II Pet. 1:3).” What He has given us is His divine word. Within its pages are found the answers. We just have to look. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (II Tim. 3:16-17).” The Perfect Man. Many of the self help books in the world can improve a man, but they cannot make a man perfect. However, the word of God does not just improve a man, it can make him perfect. The word perfect here does not mean without sin, or without spot, or without blemish. Only one man, Jesus Christ, ever lived that life (Heb. 4:15). The word perfect means fitted or complete. Its use here is the only place you will find this Greek word in the Bible. The man may be fitted. When working on a car you need the right tools for the job. You either need metric or you need standard depending on the make or the year of car. Although a standard wrench is close to working on a metric nut, is still doesn’t fit. Such is the man of God. God gives you the tools to do the job. Other books can equip you, but they just don’t fit. The man may be complete; that is lacking in nothing. Back to the car analogy. Just because you have the tools that fit, it doesn’t mean that you have all the tools. The self help books of the world can give you some tools. Sometimes those tools might fit, but they can never supply a man with all the tools needed. The bible supplies the man with all he needs to accomplish God’s will. A mechanic may have a lot of tools, but he won’t have the tools needed to build a house. Likewise, we must realize that God gives us all we need to accomplish His will. Training Mechanism. There are four ways that God’s word can equip a man for all good works. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. Let us examine each of these areas. Profitable for Doctrine. Although this is properly translated, I often feel as if the meaning is lost. Yes, the word of God is profitable, but what we must remember is that nothing else is! As stated earlier, the word of God is God breathed. It is God’s way of speaking to us each and every day. His ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9). Doctrine is the same thing as Law. It is a guide for our lives. God’s word must be that for a Christian. If he allows something else to guide him he ceases to be perfect. For Reproof. This word means “correction, reproof, censure.” Since correction again appears in the next clause, then we know that the idea conveyed here by Paul is that of reproof. To reprove someone is to “correct a fault, often kindly.” Therefore, reproving someone simply means to point our their flaws. When we look into God’s word we will often see things in it that point out the flaws in our character or in our actions. So long as these flaws exist we cannot be perfect. We must allow God’s word to change our ways. For Correction. This word refers to the “improvement of life and character.” Where reproof shows us our flaws, correction tells us how to fix them. For instance I Cor. 5 sees both reproof and correction used. Paul points out that the congregation is wrong for allowing the man living in an adulterous relationship continue to be numbered among them (Reproof). He then corrected them by showing them not only what they should have done in the first place, but also by explaining how to fix the problem (Correction). For Instruction in Righteousness. The word instruction here is the same word used to describe how a parent raises a child. There is a valuable lesson here. God does not expect you to begin your life as a Christian as a perfect man. The word of God will make you perfect in time. This is why we are to long for the word of God as newborn babes that we may grow thereby (II Pet. 2:2). It will instruct us, it will help us to grow. All the self-help books in the world cannot accomplish this task. Won’t you allow God’s word to perfectly equip you?
Grinnell church of Christ
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