I appreciate Mike’s commentary on this subject. I would add that on Mysticism it’s an uphill fight. Back in the early 80’s, 40 years ago I was heavily into the Spiritual Formation Movement, and have watched as it has grown to be emphasized in most Protestant Seminaries. It’s a very hard sell to call people out. It’s quite attractive to even the most sincere and devoted members of the Church, looking to improve their spiritual walk.
“ The second and last add-on Paul addressed in this epistle is mysticism. This is a huge issue even in our time and is encroaching on the visible Church in many forms such as ‘Contemplative Prayer.’ What is the draw for mysticism? Isn’t it to become more in line with God and put oneself on the right track so that the believer can grow spiritually and possess more of God and our Lord and the Holy Spirit? Is this commanded anywhere in Sacred Scripture for us to do this? No, what we are called to do is to become living sacrifices and live out our lives as acts of worship by being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). This is not mysticism. No, it is becoming saturated by and immersed in the Word of God and working with God to develop the mind of Christ so that we can live out our faith in God’s Wisdom. When we believed and repented as God regenerated us, He justified us and began the sanctification process that will last the rest of our lives. We received at that moment all of Christ we will ever need.”
In Vos’ commentary on the 360 year old Westminster Larger Catechism, we can read how meditation is described.
Q. 157. How is the Word of God to be read?
A. The holy Scriptures are to be read with an high and reverent esteem of them; with a firm persuasion that they are the very Word of God, and that he only can enable us to understand them; with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them; with diligence, and attention to the matter and scope of them; with meditation, application, self-denial, and prayer.
9. What is meant by “meditation,” and why is it necessary in connection with reading the Bible?
“Meditation” means thinking carefully and seriously, for a greater or less length of time, about the meaning of something. “Meditation” does not mean, as many people wrongly suppose, a mere idle wandering of the thoughts or vague daydreaming. It is definite; it calls for effort. Meditation is necessary in connection with Bible reading because we cannot expect to gain the real riches of its truth by a hasty skimming of its surface. It is true in Bible study as in all other fields that serious thinking requires time.
The Bible is not a modern supermarket with its wares all packaged and arranged on shelves ready to he checked out with the least possible effort; the Bible is a gold mine that has to be methodically and patiently worked if we are to gain possession of its treasures.
We have more and better helps for Bible study today than ever before, but the haste and complexity of modern life, with its many activities which make demands on people’s time, have resulted in many Christians who have only an elementary and superficial knowledge of the Bible, and who live from one year to the next with virtually no real increase in their understanding of Bible truth.
There is no shortcut to success in Bible study: meditation is needed, and that takes time.
by Mike Ratliff
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Peter 1:2-4 (NASB)
The root of most heresies springs from those who profess Christ as Saviour, but who believe in various ways that what the Christian receives at Salvation is not sufficient. Something else must be added in order for the Christian to enter into a fuller relationship with God or to go deeper into the things of God. Some…
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