by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Reading: Zechariah 2:1-3:10; Psalm 119:153-176
READ (verses chosen for meditation)
Psalm 119:156 “Great is your mercy, O LORD; give me life according to your rules.”
Psalm 119:156 is a clear teaching that we can find life in God’s word. Especially on days when we need the mercies of God, His word can revive us. Yes, we can find the true meaning of life even in His commandments. Why is this so? Because as human beings, we are meant to live to the fullest through our obedience of God’s word. We are meant to rely on God’s word for righteousness.
One of the most important things that God spoke to Adam and Eve about (just because it is recorded in the Bible) was His instructions for how they should regard the Tree of Life as well as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Through God’s instructions; it was hoped that Adam and Eve learned the essence of life through obedience.
Indeed, God’s word is meant to be our signpost and our manual for living. It was never meant to be something that wearies our soul. So even as Jesus had come to give us life, we are still called to the obedience of God’s word in faith. This was why the Psalmist exclaimed that God was merciful because He is able to give life according to His rules.
At times, I hear from some believers that we need not focus so much on the word of God. As long as we have faith in Jesus, we need not be too worried on how we can understand the Bible better. Yet, how can we have faith if we do not understand? Where is the source of our faith? What is our faith telling us about living the new life? How can we fend off heresies (which is ever so rampant) if we are not even sure what the word of God is saying?
Albert Outler, a theologian who wrote much about John Wesley and his writings, coined the term “Wesleyan Quadrilateral”. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral outlined four sources which John Wesley used when making theological conclusions. These four sources are “Scripture”, “Tradition”, “Reason” and “Experience”. “Scripture” being the word of God as given to us in the Bible; “Tradition” as the historical evidence that is linked to the faith; “Reason” as being what is needed to understand “Scripture” but is to be guided by the Holy Spirit; and “Experience” is the way we experience about what is in “Scripture” such as the assurance of faith.
Of these four sources, Wesley (as well as Outler) didn’t have the idea that they are of equal importance nor authority. To Wesley, Scripture is always of the first authority and Scripture is the foundation to interpret “Tradition”, “Experience” and even “Reason”. After all, Wesley had called himself as a “man of one book”.
Like the Psalmist, Wesley understood the importance of Scripture and how it affects our life in Christ. In God’s mercy, let us therefore rejoice that He has given to us His commandments to follow; for surely we can obey and enjoy the true meaning of life in Christ Jesus. We can find mercies in His word.
Help us Lord as a church universal, not to despise a deeper understanding of Your word; but to be assured by the Spirit that Your word is life. Amen.