Saturday, June 29, 2013

Are you in the Bible?

Are you in the Bible?  I don't just mean your name, like "Mary" or "David" or "Stephen;" after all, millions of people throughout the West have Biblical names.  But what about you, the individual: James Russell or Deborah Evans or Jésus Martinez or whatever your name may be?  Are you in the Bible?  The answer is yes ... although maybe you've never thought about it.  But you can find yourself there, if you try, and it will change your life.

It doesn't even take much searching, or much imagination.  The Bible refers to you many, many times, and yes, when God wrote it, He had you in mind: you, specifically.  But, like any author writing about individuals in large groups, He used pronouns, like "he," "she," or "they."  You're used to this in everyday life: when you read that taxes have just been raised for your income group, the report doesn't say "Edward Sloane's taxes will increase in 2016," but Edward Sloane knows it's talking about him!  You see a road sign, it doesn't say "Sally Adams' Speed Limit 50 km/h," but Sally Adams knows she's included.

So, when you read the Bible, there are places where you can and should insert your own name.  Obviously, not in historical places, like Moses talking to the children of Israel; I can't read it "And Moses saith unto William...."  But in other places, it works.  And it can be electrifying.

I don't know your name, so I'm going to continue to use imaginary names in this post.  When you see one, simply replace it with your own name ... and read the passage that way.  This isn't a game: this is what the Bible really means.  It really is talking about you.

Try this one, for a start: For God so loved Danielle Markham, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn Danielle Markham; but that Danielle Markham through him might be saved (John 3:16, 17).

If your name is Danielle Markham, that should send a chill down your spine.  Substitute your own name, and it will: because that verse is talking about you, whether it uses your name or not.

Again: The LORD is Juan Ramos' shepherd; Juan Ramos shall not want. He maketh Juan Ramos to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth Juan Ramos beside the still waters. He restoreth Juan Ramos' soul: he leadeth Juan Ramos in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake (Psalm 23: 1-3). 

If "Juan Ramos" has received Christ according to John 1:12, and been born again, that's a totally new passage.  In fact, let's just stay with this random name for a moment: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto Juan Ramos, Except Juan Ramos be born of water and of the Spirit, Juan Ramos cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto Juan Ramos, Ye must be born again (John 3:5-7).

If you insert your own name into such passages, they come alive, don't they?  Unfortunately, you might not always find this a comfortable experience.  (I emphasize that none of these names belong to real people with whom I'm acquainted; they are chosen at random.) If you're not a believer in Jesus Christ, try this:

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. Linda Robinson has gone out of the way, Linda Robinson has become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Linda Robinson's throat is an open sepulchre; with Linda Robinson's tongue Linda Robinson has used deceit; the poison of asps is under Linda Robinson's lips: Linda Robinson's mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Linda Robinson's feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in Linda Robinson's ways: And the way of peace has Linda Robinson not known: There is no fear of God before Linda Robinson's eyes (Romans 3:10-18).

Put your own name in that passage, and you'll have a small glimmer of how your Creator sees you, and how you'll be judged, if you don't receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour.  That's not my opinion; that's the Bible.  You just hadn't made it personal yet.

Let's look at one last passage, and then start inserting your name in the Bible in other places where it might replace a pronoun.  If you're a born again Christian, this applies to you ... and if you haven't received Christ yet, this can apply to you.  Forgive me if, in this case, I use my own name:

Referring to Jesus Christ: He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and William hid as it were William's face from him; he was despised, and William esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne William's griefs, and carried William's sorrows: yet William did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for William's transgressions, he was bruised for William's iniquities: the chastisement of William's peace was upon him; and with his stripes William is healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of William (Isaiah 53:3-6).

 And of you ... if you'll receive Him as your Saviour.  What a Christ!

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