Atonement Part 2-Because “knowing” is also Important
There are lots of things you may want criticize about this ministry and the one thing that I am sure is on most everyone’s list is that we spend so much time on so many details. I happen to agree with that one. We do spend a lot of time on details and (admittedly this next statement is against every podcasting best practice) might I say this lesson is one of the worst offenders. Today we’re going spend a lot of time on only a few things. Why? Why do we focus so intently on these things? Well, because they’re important. I unapologetically argue there is nothing more important than what we discuss on this program week after week. These are the things of life and death. These are things worth living and dying for. That’s why I love William Tyndale so much. Like most Englishman of his time, he loved Mother England but when it became apparent that he would never be able to achieve God’s calling on his life he left behind everyone and everything he knew and for the rest of his life he was a hunted fugitive who eventually paid the ultimate price so that the common man and woman could get to know God better. And do you know why he did all of that? Because he thought it was important.
In this lesson we are still struggling to properly define the word “atonement”. We go over what we’ve been told it means and we ask “Why?”. One of the sub-purposes of this lesson…and frankly every lesson we present is to get you into the habit of wondering “Why”. Some may think that that is sowing dissension or inciting rebellion or even encouraging or facilitating doubt. Nothing could be further from the truth. KNOWING is important to your atonement. You see, we have to “accept” our Salvation for it to be applied to us; right? Can you really accept something you don’t understand? God loves you, but more importantly He wants you to love Him. You can’t love someone you don’t know. You and I should spend every day of our lives getting to know everything about God that we can. KNOWING what gifts He is offering you is the only real way to fall in love with Him and the only real way you’ll be able to give yourself to Him. Is it difficult? Yes. Does it take work? Yes. But you know what I’ve learned through my many years on this earth? Nothing valuable is ever easy.
So, take a moment to ask for God’s guidance. Believe me, you KNOWING these things is more important to God than it is to you. Therefore, He is more than willing to do all He can to get you to a point where you KNOW what your atonement really is. Why we weren’t just born with complete knowledge; I can’t say. Why does God make us toil for understanding; I don’t know. I can guess that it is because He wants you to truly appreciate His Love for you and that takes effort. BUT, He doesn’t expect us to go it alone. He offers Himself as our Guide into all Truth. (John 16:13) So, before you do anything, pray that God’s Spirit will assist you on this journey of discovering the majesty of His Atonement.
The Bible is one of the world’s most incredible documents. Christian or not, any objective thinking person has to admit that. In, in my opinion, you don’t even have to believe what the Bible says to respect it. There are few documents that have been so meticulously assembled, cared for and studied in all the history of human literature. Now, I am certain that scoffers and atheists may argue that I’m being a little hyperbolic but I honestly believe that most who have spent a decent amount of time researching its history would have to agree with my above statements. Like no other literature of any sort…religious or not…an unbroken documentary trail leads all the way back to the origins of this very ancient collection of writing. This is a beloved and revered book and we know that because of how much priority those that love God put on it. To us IT IS THE WORD OF GOD…the mind of God…the precious thoughts, instructions and judgments of a loving, living Father.
As proof, one need only look at the efforts that men and women have put forth down through the millennia to make the Bible available for all to understand. Though difficult to accurately estimate, some have said that the Bible has been translated in part or in whole into more than 3,000 languages. Now, the important part of that statistic is to realize that the VAST majority of those translations have been completed in recent times…certainly not more than 200 years. Another important fact to realize here is that the growth in the number of languages into which the Bible has been translated is accelerating largely BECAUSE there are so many translations. You see, linguists and etymologists will tell you that there are very few isolated languages. In other words, almost all languages are related to some other language. Without getting too bogged down in the details let me just say that the more languages something is translated into the easier it is to accomplish that next translation. Each translation is used as reference for other subsequent translations. That is partly why there are so many language versions of the Bible.
Now, imagine having almost NO other translations to work with AND throw in the fact that the language you want the Bible translated into is new and, frankly, incomplete. That is what faced William Tyndale in 16th Century England. At the time, the Bible had only been translated into a handful of languages. The only “authorized” version was written in Latin; a language very few of Tyndale’s countrymen spoke. That alone severely limited access to the Word. In addition, Tyndale lived at a time of transition in England. His country was slowly defining a unified identity which would eventually include a national language. It may be difficult to believe, but the language we refer to today as English has only been spoken in England for less than 600 years. That means when God got a hold of William Tyndale and inspired him to write a Bible in the language the people of England there was hardly enough of a language to work with. Well, God always chooses the right person to accomplish His difficult tasks. So, take a moment to pray for guidance and help in understanding and then have a listen to this week’s episode as we dive into the fascinating subject of the English Language Bible.