“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).
There is a caveat in these words of course; Jesus said that this is true of those who abide in His Word, for it is they who are truly His disciples. But what is meant by His Word? There is nothing more boring and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake; the truth is far more than a collection of theological facts; the truth is an unending exhortation based upon the theological facts of the Bible and its greater part is devoted to God’s effort to persuade men to bring their lives into conformity to those theological facts. No man is any better off for knowing that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”; the devil and his demons all know that; and the fact that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that those having faith in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” is common knowledge in hell.
Theological facts are useless unless they are obeyed; God’s purpose in revealing Biblical doctrine is to secure moral action and the modern practice of deconstructing the Bible so that it denies the necessity of a moral response is a scandal in the kingdom. “Take up your cross and follow me”, said Jesus (Mark 8:34); but the cross of modern Christianity is not the same as the cross of Christ. His cross is a symbol of death; it stands for the abrupt, violent and painful death of human flesh; when Jesus took up His cross and set forth towards Golgotha, He knew He wasn’t coming back; the road He set out upon was His final journey in this life.
But modern Christianity’s cross offers a different outcome; its cross is symbolic only; modern evangelism talks only of the good things that Christianity can bring you; it offers the same as the world, only better; the new cross of Christianity doesn’t slay the sinner, it improves his life! But Christ was not going up the road to Golgotha to have His life improved; He was going up to give His life up altogether! His cross did not try and keep on good terms with Him; it carried out its brutal purpose and when its work was accomplished, His life in this world was no more. The truth of the Bible is that, in coming to Christ, we do not bring our life to live on a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. Our eternal life can only be salvaged by God as our natural life is offered as a sacrifice, as was His; only if that happens can we live in the newness of life, abiding in Christ, not just theologically, but experientially!