Eternity asked Christians around Australia what they’ve learnt from the Bible this year. Here’s what they said.
|“I have re-learned from the story of Abraham that God uses flawed people, to his glory. This gives me confidence to endure in ministry despite my own flaws and limitations. It also fills me with hope that I see God using so many people all around me, many of whom are facing significant challenges.”
|“We have a living hope, a lasting inheritance and it is in this that we rejoice. Our circumstances might change, our experiences might be horrible, but what we have won’t change. It reminds me that I belong to God. If I’ve had a bad day at work or a great day at work, my faith and trust in Jesus need not waver because it isn’t dependent on my experiences. This truth helps me press on because I know that I am secure in Christ and that there in an imperishable, undefiled and unfading inheritance kept in heaven for me. This truth from God is not only day changing – it’s life changing.”
|“The real epiphany for me has been this: that I don’t need to change people’s minds, rip the blinkers from their eyes, argue back and forth until I’m blue in the face. I only need to speak the truth, with love, and allow God to do the rest. The truth will always resonate. Ephesians 4:15 says, “… speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ”. And the truth, of course, is written through the pages of the Bible. My job – as a follower of Jesus – is to communicate the truth in a loving way. Easier said than done. Many biblical truths are hard to hear if you are far from God, but it would be unloving for us not to share the truth in such circumstances. In John 8:31-32, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. The truth is what people need.”
|“The Christian Union at RMIT has taught me that spending time with everyone learning about the gospel is a great thing. I used to be hesitant to get to know people, I would rather be alone and listen to music, but I’ve opened up and now I’m learning to share my testimony.”
|“This year through reading the Bible as a new Christian I have learnt that I have been saved through Christ’s loving sacrifice on the cross. Jesus paid this cost so that I may be justified in front of God for my sins. I have found that works to save yourself are not what will save you, but trusting and believing in Christ is the only way to find true salvation. I have also come to realise that my life is not my own but should be done to glorify God’s name.
“Everything I do should be to the honour of Christ our Lord who ascended after defeating death. This in itself has come as a big change of perspective for me, as I’m someone who has always tried to be a good person to feel internally good. I now try to think how I can utilise the gifts God has given me to his cause and not for my own purpose.”
| 1 Corinthians 1:4-6: “I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.”
For me, the curious word here is enrich (it’s the only time it appears in the New Testament). But as I’ve thought about it, I recognise it as beautifully descriptive of the all-encompassing, all-of-life work Jesus does in me. Grace is God’s unmerited favour, given to repentant sinners as a free gift. As I read this verse, I’m reminded foremost of my salvation and assurance in Christ. But then, I’m taught that same grace enriches me – it transforms my mind and speech – so that I can live out the gospel to the glory of God in such a way that it can be confirmed by others. This year, I’ve been involved in starting a new church in Green Square, NSW, and this verse has so struck me, that we’ve incorporated it into our church vision: “We aim to be a church that loves and enriches our community as we call people to follow Jesus”.