Sunday, May 19 2024 - 1:53 PM

Sharing Scripture — May 4, 2024

Faith Against All Odds


For use: April 28 – May 4, 2024
Texts: Psalm 119:162; John 16:13–15; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Romans 3:23, 24; 6:15–18

King James Version Only adherents may soon tag on an exception to that rule in light of how a new patriotic KJV Bible aims to blend church and state. According to its promotional website, God Bless The USA Bible is “the only Bible inspired by America’s most recognized patriotic anthem, ‘God Bless The USA’ by Lee Greenwood”. The large-print Bible, emblazoned with an United States of America flag on the cover, contains a copy of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and Pledge of Allegiance.

It could be supposed that from the publishers’ standpoint, this blend of faith and national pride serves as a reminder of the rich heritage and enduring principles that define the founding of the United States of America.

But herein also lies the danger. As a publication “inspired” by a patriotic song, has this Bible, though containing God’s word, lost its focus as sola Scriptura?

Protestant reformers held to five great solas: Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, and all to the glory of God alone. Coming to that conclusion, however, was a process led by the Holy Spirit.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, the reformers came to see the danger in the marriage between the Roman Catholic Church and government, and how that bond contributed to the misuse of and distraction from Scripture. As a result, they chose to examine Scripture for what it is, unfiltered through the erroneous interpretations of those in power (Deuteronomy 4:22 Peter 1:20-21).

With this newfound clarity, they refocused on the Word and came to understand that only by the grace of God, through faith in and of Christ, believers become reconciled to God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Satan wants to tear us away from these truths and to derail us on our faith journeys, and he often does that by turning our gaze inward (works, self-sufficiency), away from the love and forgiveness found in Christ. This great controversy between God and Satan will force each of us to pick a side.

God, in lovingkindness and grace, has given us a choice. Which side will you choose?


For Reflection


Connecting: Are there any spiritual upsides to including political documents in a Bible? What’s the difference between a God Bless The USA Bible and women’s/men’s study Bibles?

Sharing: Much of today’s younger generation of Christians attempts to empathetically connect with those outside the faith, oftentimes to the point of condoning sinful behavior. Review Romans 5 and 6. What advice would you give these young disciples to take into their mission field?

  1. Christ lived among the “other” but never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:211 Peter 2:22) and we are called to do the same
  2. Truly living in Christ molds the heart to desire living a holy life (Romans 8:1-11)
  3. Putting off sinful temptations can be painful, but the suffering cannot compare to the glory and joy we will have in the New Earth (Romans 8:18)
  4. By focusing so much on relating with others, we may lose sight of the messages in Scripture
  5. There will be people who won’t change, and we have to let them make their own God-given choices
  6. Other

Applying: Prayerfully consider how can you be like the Protestant Reformers in your present religio-spiritual context. Ask God to help you uphold Scripture and to be a light in your local community.

Valuing: Why is sola Scriptura so important to the great controversy? In your own life?

~ Stefani Leeper

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