When the Bible says difficult things

Given that our Sunday services are resuming on the 7th of June, we’ve decided to extend our ‘Tough Questions’ series for one more week. This Sunday we’ll be thinking about perhaps the most difficult question, ‘How could a loving God send anyone to hell?’. Such questions present another question to us, namely, what do we do when the Bible says things that are difficult for us to hear?

If you read enough of the Bible, eventually you will find something in it that troubles you. There are things in the Bible that go against many of our natural inclinations. There are things that you will find personally painful. There are things that our society finds unreasonable, oppressive, and offensive. The Bible is challenging to every person and every culture. It doesn’t say things that we always want it to say.

We can trust God.

As you walk longer with God longer in your Christian faith, you become more convinced of God’s sovereignty. You realise that God knows us better than we know ourselves. You realise that he loves us more than we can ever imagine. You become aware that God is more committed to our joy and our holiness than we are. Therefore, we can trust God.

Conversely, the longer you walk with God, the more you become aware of your own limitations. We have limited knowledge and limited capacities. Just as we instruct our children for their good in ways that are sometimes painful and difficult for them to understand, so also God teaches us.

The longer you walk with God, the more you realise that the Bible makes sense. You see that its commands aren’t illogical. There’s a rationale and a cohesion behind them. They’re an expression of God’s goodness and grace. Through the Scriptures, you come to understand God, the world, and yourself better. You can say with the psalmist, ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light on my path’ (Psalm 119:105). You begin to walk in this light, following the One who is the Light of the world (John 1:9).

We also need one another in coming to understand God’s Word. God brings us together so that we can ask questions and find answers, to encourage and correct one another, and to seek wisdom in applying God’s truths to our lives. Together, as a community committed to the Bible, we are gradually shaped into the people God wants us to be.