Sunday, 6 April 2014

The permanence of God’s Word

In 1 Peter 1:24 and 25, Peter contrasts the important messages of humans with the message of the Word of God. Peter lived in a time when many ideas were circulating about life, and the vast majority of people would have been very surprised at his assessment of such ideas. The apostle did not expect them to last long – in fact, these messages would have the same influence as temporary flowers and grass. In contrast, the message that was preached to them, which was based on the Scriptures and is included in the Scriptures, would last forever. 

No matter how surprised Peter’s contemporaries would have been at his assessment, the verdict of history is on his side. How many people today know anything of what the famous thinkers and orators of Peter’s day thought and said? Tourists visit the places where such lived and taught, and have little idea of the influence they once held. Yet the message preached by Peter and others is adhered to strenuously and lovingly by millions of people all over the world today. 

Since Peter’s time, many other notions have been suggested for improving the state of humanity, and they too have disappeared despite once having great influence. Yet the Word of God remains and has greater impact today than it ever did as can be seen in the large number of people who live their lives by it. All this means is that we should have the same confidence that Peter had in God’s Word and we should have the same assessment as he had of other ideas that are advocated in our contemporary world.  

Of course, the primary reason why God’s Word is permanent is because he has made it so. This is the obvious difference between other messages and God’s Word – the other messages were the compositions of weak, limited humans whereas God’s Word is the product of the wise and almighty God. Because he is full of all wisdom, the Lord knew what to put in his Word, and because he is almighty he always has the power to ensure its effects are fulfilled. 

Peter reminds his listeners that they had experienced the effects of this word when it was preached to them. The content of the preaching is described as good news, which raises the question, ‘What were the various features of the message that allow it to be called good news?’ Obviously, he is referring to the gospel about Jesus, in which his person and work are explained. We are familiar with the gospel, but we should remember that it as a gospel that came to us (and them) through the Word of God. As we here the gospel today, let us be thankful for the permanence of God’s Word.

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