There is a federal statute that says it is illegal for individuals to open correspondence that is addressed to other individuals. This statute is meant to protect personal information or valuables from being stolen. If you accidentally open someone’s mail you have not committed a crime. Thankfully, it is not illegal for anyone to open a Bible and read. (At least not yet). However, when reading it, it is important to understand who is being written to.
For instance, in the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he says “Behold, I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NKJV). The word ‘we’ tells us these verses are not addressed to just anyone who reads it. Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit writes ‘we’ shall not all sleep (meaning die) and ‘we’ shall all be changed. A serious reader must search to find who exactly the ‘we’ is. To do that requires going to the start of the letter.
It reads “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God… to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus… with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” (1 Corinthians 1:1-2 NKJV) These verses tell us the ‘we’ group consists of not only the church at Corinth, but everyone who has been sanctified in Christ Jesus. I know the word sanctified sounds a little religious, but it’s simple.
When a person puts faith in Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross, believe in their hearts that He rose from the dead, that He is Lord over all, and call on Him for salvation, they are sanctified. You can tell if sanctification is at work in you because God plants desires in you that were not there before, like a desire to pray and worship, a desire to love and help others and a desire to please the Lord. Fulfilling these desires is not to gain acceptance by God but instead response to the fact that you have been accepted and begotten by Him. His indwelling Spirit now compels one to live differently.
Don’t look at the Bible as an outdated history book with rules. Look at it as an inbox full of promises and warnings waiting to be opened and acted upon. To the weary, ‘you’ve got mail’. Jesus invites you saying “come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29) To the prideful, you’ve got mail. The Apostle Peter warns “…all of you… be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:5-6) To the unsure, you’ve got mail too. “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation…. whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11
Have a great week!