What Do You See?


Why this image?

Scripture contains many genres: history, law, poetry, letters, prophecy, just to name a few.  Understanding scripture in these ways is important.  The historic, poetic, and other senses of scripture can teach us much about God.  Still the full meaning of every scripture is only found in the person of Christ.  This is not unlike stereograms, those pictures you stare at or look at with crossed eyes until the 3D picture pops out of the 2D picture.  Sure, the 2D picture is often ornate, colorful, and fun to look at in its own right.  But it isn’t an end in itself.  It is the medium for something more.

Jesus opened the minds of the first disciples so they could perceive Him in the Bible (Luke 24:45-46).  We also need our minds opened so we can understand how the scriptures depict Jesus.  The letter of the Bible is like a curtain that can only be drawn back by the Spirit of God.  Unless that happens we may study the Bible, hear teaching, or talk with friends about scripture yet not perceive Jesus (2 Cor. 3:14-17).  It isn’t that such disciplines are unimportant, just that they are insufficient by themselves.

Let’s take a familiar example.  Circumcision was required by God’s law (Gen.17:11-14).  Historically, we can learn that God commanded this practice.  It was a sign of God’s covenant and separated His people from pagan nations.  On another level, this teaches us about holiness.  Our relationship with God makes us different.  This difference is reflected in who we are and what we do.  That said, Christ reveals circumcision’s full significance.  (Colossians 2:11-13).  The cross separated us from our fleshly nature just as circumcision cuts away flesh.  Based on the circumcision of the cross, the Holy Spirit begins to put our sinful behavior to death (Rom. 8:13).  Changed lives are a sign of our new covenant relationship with the Lord.

Notice that perceiving Jesus in circumcision didn’t change the historical facts surrounding it or the reality of holiness it represents.  When the Spirit opens our minds to Christ in the Bible, He never needs to distort other ways of understanding the text.  Not seeing Jesus, however, led some in the first century to believe genital surgery was a critical part of holiness (Acts 15:1).  Perhaps we don’t struggle over the issue of circumcision these days.  But all too often we see things in scripture we must fulfill instead of seeing Jesus who fulfilled all scripture.

Because other senses of scripture are important, it is beneficial to learn and fellowship about them.  The Bible is full of wonderful history, life principles, ways to pray, miracles, marriage, archaeology, prophetic visions, and many other topics.  There is nothing wrong with appreciating these things.  Still, my deep and abiding prayer is that our eyes would be opened to Him who is the fullness of all these things.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cathy Patton says:

    I enjoyed this post. My thoughts… I’m convinced, beyond any doubt, that Jesus has torn the veil, paid the full price for me and that “I’m my lovers, & He is mine”. But, the message of grace, grace, grace, “Jesus paid the price & does it all, I just have to ask for forgiveness & have faith then Jesus is fully pleased” is incomplete in my understanding. The bride makes HERSELF READY. I’ve been given every tool & most important the Resident Teacher/Helper. But I have to want to circumcise my flesh, I have responsibility, because I have freedom. I’m weeding known sin out of myself, 1st by knowing what sin is The Word, asking for the Light of God to illuminate areas still needing uproot & tearing down, as well as build-up, planting & healing. I find much advise by men in this sanctifying circumcision is only half truth. No, I’m not messianic & legalistic, but the commandments are still before me. Yes, I look for Messiah & know that grace keeps me going.

    1. mrteague says:


      Thank you for your comments as always & for taking the time to interact. If you haven’t already read it, I’d suggest taking a look at my booklet “Wonderful Things in Your Law.” In it I explore how the law relates to the new covenant. I agree that we are participants in the process of holiness. I see our participation being through faith. My flesh has been circumcised in Christ. There is no need for me to “reinvent the wheel” but there is a need for me to believe that He is my circumcision. If I don’t believe that, I will continue living in sin. If I try to “circumcise” myself, I am trying to accomplish my own work of holiness outside of Christ’s. But if I believe in the circumcision of Christ, I connect with the power of what He has already accomplished. The result is that my behavior changes. As far as the commandments, I would point you to Colossians 2:14-17 & Hebrews 10:1, which tell us the commandments were a shadow of reality in Christ and not an end in themselves. Ephesians 2:15-16 more directly say, “He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it.” There is no longer any relationship with God through the commandments. The only relationship with God is through Christ crucified. So, I don’t know if I’m saying something different from you but feel free to discuss further 🙂

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