Every Christian is a student of God’s Word. Some are good students and some are bad students. But we are all called to study God, read God’s Word, know God, deal with the difficult passages about God, so that we truly get to know Him. Not doing so, is sin for the Christian.
Without knowing God, our moral efforts mean nothing. God is not pleased with piousness that doesn’t reflect the gospel. Just look at the Pharisees. They were pious, “moral,” and they followed the rules etc. But to what end? Without the redeeming love of Jesus as reflected in the gospel, our works mean nothing.
Good morals are the overflow of our relational knowledge of God. Being told to obey God or “follow rules” is not what makes people follow rules, knowing God’s Word is what produces obedience to God. Good works should be spilling out of us if we continually learning about Him. We are to love God with all of our MIND (Luke 10:27). Not just our emotions or affections are involved in loving Jesus, but our minds as well. God gave us minds so that we can use them to think about Him, to learn about Him, to grow in our knowledge of Him.
What makes us want to obey God? What fuels a desire to follow Jesus? Knowing Him! Growing up in church and getting formal Biblical training through going to Bible college has made me realize that the more I learn about Jesus, the Bible, and theology the more I want to follow Him. The more in depth I know His Word and learn about Him, the more it pushes me to live for Him.
I’ve heard it said that we are to try to live a moral life that pleases God, then once we master that, if we have time, we can study theology. This could not be further from the truth! In fact, the opposite is true.
Learning theology leads to Godly living.
Learning about the cross leads to Godly living.
Learning about the Levitical system leads to Godly living.
Learning about the life of Paul leads to Godly living.
Learning God’s Word leads to Godly living.
Learning about the miracles of Jesus leads to Godly living.
Learning about the book of Amos leads to Godly living.
No matter what book of the Bible I read, no matter what theological topic I study, learning and studying it stirs in me a longing for God and a desire to spread the gospel.
Life is about the gospel and living it out is what happens when you truly study theology. If you are struggling to “do the things you want” and not do the “things you hate” (Romans 7:15-16) then these are the things that have helped me:
1.) Study God’s Word – don’t just read it, study it. Use commentaries, lexicons, etc. Actually study it as if you were in Bible college. 🙂
Live for Jesus – it’s the only way to truly live.