Recently, I saw a video of a slum in which people were living with an open sewage system. If we were to live in such a place, the foul odour would be obnoxious. However, those who live in such surroundings for a long time get accustomed to the stench which does not bother them at all. This is exactly what happened to man who has fallen into sin.
The prayer and the agony of Jesus Christ in Gethsemane is a manifestation of how deadly sin is to someone who has never sinned. Sin has blinded us to reality and enslaved us. It is faith in the Lord Jesus that releases us from the power of sin. However, in spite of this, we see the presence of sinful nature with us. Residual sin in our lives is like dry leaves on a tree that does not wither away. This can cause us to lose heart. But we don’t have to, as we have an antidote to residual sin in the Word of God which shows us how to deal with sin that persists in our lives.
Residual sin in our lives is like dry leaves on a tree that does not wither away.
Firstly in Psalm 19, the psalmist details the functions of the Word of God. In verse 7 he says that the Word of the Lord is perfect. This conveys the idea of not being deficient. No sanitiser can ensure the killing of germs 100%, yet in faith we fully trust them. However, unlike these sanitisers, the Word of God can revive the soul 100%. The Word that is translated as ‘revive’ can also be translated as ‘restore’ or ‘bring back’. When residual sins cause a believer to wander away, it is paying attention to God’s Word that can bring him back 100%.
Secondly, we are living in a world where ethics are turned upside down. In 1 Corinthians 1:19, Paul writes, “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’” God will destroy this wisdom because though it appears wise it is primarily foolish. When we pay attention to God’s Word we will be wise like Noah who trusted God and built an ark to protect himself and his family from rain that the world had never experienced till then. This was at a time when others seemed wise in getting along with business as usual! God’s Word is sure, meaning it is reliable and trustworthy to make the simple wise.
Thirdly, the Word of God is right. This means that the Word of God is direct and clear. We may not like it or agree with it but that only reveals the depravity of our hearts and not the deficiency of God’s Word. When God’s Word is obeyed, the believer experiences joy. Rebellion and true rejoicing can never coexist.
Fourthly, the Word of God is pure and enlightens the eye. The tragedy of our day is that the world glorifies what is shameful and it is ashamed of what it needs to be proud of. Enlightenment of eyes empowers us to make the right choices.
Fifthly, it speaks of the Word as the fear of the Lord. Dr Boice1 commenting on this says, ‘“If fear of the Lord” actually denotes the Scriptures, the effect being substituted for the cause, then it is the Word itself that is described as being pure and, because it is pure, enduring. This is the way most commentators take it. Corrupt things decay. That which is pure endures.’
Since the Word of God is entirely pure, being without any deficiency, error, fault, or inadequacy, the Scripture, along with the God who spoke it, is the most enduring of all things. Jesus said, “until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matt. 5:18).
Finally, the psalmist says, “…the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.” (Ps. 19:9b). Truth and righteousness are acceptable to God and we are not left to speculate about them. God’s Word educates us about God’s holy demand.
The tragedy of our day is that the world glorifies what is shameful and it is ashamed of what it needs to be proud of.
Psalm 19 begins with general revelation, moves to specific revelation and finishes with a prayer that keeps the focus on the God of the Word. In essence, the psalmist asks for help. He knows much about the Word but that will not be a deterrent against sin by itself. The Word of God is the means by which we know and please God and we ought to remember that our aim is to draw close to God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Verse 17 is the result, namely that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work while verse 16 which mentions God-inspired Scripture, is the cause.
A man of God without the Word of God is incompetent or impotent to do any good work that is acceptable to God. We should not forget that such a man may find acceptance and applause from men but in heaven’s perspective, he has lost the battle. It is important to note that verse 16 begins with the phrase ‘All Scripture’, not just some parts but all Scripture has its origin from God. Everything in scripture may not be plain but the essentials for salvation are simple enough for even children to understand.
“The Bible is useful for: -teaching the truth – It tells us what is right-rebuking error – it tells us what is wrong-correcting faults – it tells us how to leave the wrong way-training, giving instruction – it tells how to keep going in the right way”(David Sprouse2)
Those of us in ministry should not forget the words of Paul recorded in Acts 20:26-28, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
1 James Montgomery Boice. 2005. Psalms, vol. 1: Psalms 141 (Expositional Commentary). First published in 1995 by Baker Books. ISBN: 080106578X (ISBN13: 9780801065781). Page 1732 David Sprouse. 2012. Teaching 2 Timothy: Talk outlines for the book of 2 Timothy. The Good Book Company. ISBN: 9781908317599. Page 75.