The Back Page – Becoming God’s Book

We consider the Bible to be God’s book. It is, but the Bible is not the only writing God has authored
… or is authoring.
In Paul’s day, before internet searches, itinerant teachers relied on letters of recommendation to
introduce them to churches they wished to visit. These commendations were composed by accredited
leaders, and served to quiet any qualms a church might have about an unknown somebody suddenly
standing on its doorstep. We hear Paul, e.g., introducing his emissaries in 2 Cor 8:16–24.
In that same letter the apostle, unfortunately, had to defend his own credentials. Some in the church
tended to belittle him. So he asked, “Do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from
you?” Then he said an amazing thing—“You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our
hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us,
written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human
hearts.” The church—and the people of the church—were a letter from Christ.
God has written many books. Creation … but some people misread this book and credit mindless
evolution rather than a wise creator. Conscience … but some people so sin against conscience that they no
longer can read conscience correctly. History … but many of our books have been re-written to excise any
recognition of the divine. The Bible … but this remains a closed book for most people. We—God’s people
and Christ’s church—are the first, and sometimes the only, writing unbelievers read. They watch us, and
because we profess God’s name, infer ideas about God’s existence and character by what they read in our
attitudes and actions.
This is God’s design. The Lord urged, “Let your light so shine among people that they see your good
deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” People read us and praise God. Peter concurred—“Live such
good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds
and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Sometimes Christians say, “I don’t want people to see me. Jesus only!” But if we are God’s writing,
they do need to see and read us. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

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