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Reading Someone Else’s Mail
by Josh Fults
Have you ever read someone else’s mail? I know you didn’t do it on purpose because that would be a federal offense. But have you ever gotten someone else’s mail in your box and opened it without looking at who it was addressed to? This happened to me once, and I was completely befuddled. Who is this person and what are they talking about? I have had a similar experience several times when texting other people. Recently, I was texting a friend and somehow I ended up sending one to my wife that I thought was going to my friend. She responded with, “What are you talking about???” Then there was this one time in graduate school that I was emailing my wife and accidentally sent it to my male professor, complete with a gushy salutation at the end. He figured out what happened and sent me back a response, complete with the gushy salutation. Remember that Dr. Combs?
I think majority of us have had experiences like this. Where we either receive a message meant for someone else or accidentally send a message to the wrong person. This can cause some serious confusion. Believe it or not, we also do this sometimes when we read the Bible. We do it in two ways. Sometimes we read other people’s “mail” and try to apply it in our lives, and then sometimes we take our mail and try to apply it to the lives of other people. We have to be careful in the way we read and interpret the Bible or we might find ourselves confused and a bit bewildered.
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First, we do this at times by trying to get others to read our mail, and we try to apply what scripture says to people that are not Christians. You see, the whole Bible is not written to everyone. The parts about God loving everyone, and Christ’s death and atonement for sins are written to everyone. The places that mention grace, redemption, and having a relationship with Christ are written to everyone. Passages like these are an open invitation to “whosoever will.”
Yet, the do’s and don’ts, the thou shalt and the thou shalt nots of the Bible are written specially to Christians because we have a relationship with God. The rules and commandments are written to God’s people. A relationship with God must be present first before a person can be bound to the terms of that relationship.
We see this in God’s dealing with Israel. First He established a relationship with Israel, then He set the terms of that relationship and gave them His law at Mt. Sinai. In the same way I began a relationship with my wife before there were any terms of that relationship. I didn’t send her “love notes” before I began a relationship with her, for to do so would be out of context…
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