I had been examining features of a semi-cultic Christian sect. I noticed that most of those who had joined it at the start, asserted that they did so following ‘Bible Studies.’ ‘Bible Studies’ indeed. This need not surprise us as many christian derived cults claim to be supported by the of ‘authority’ of the Bible. It’s not so hard to link a bunch of unrelated scriptures together in a way that appears to make a case for almost any kind of belief. ‘For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty’ 2 Peter 1.16 NIV. To know that real Jesus and live in His revelation of Himself and Father is a life-bonus. Those who have seen Jesus in their spirit and know Him in their hearts are not likely to be deceived by distortions of scripture. A year ago I was talking with friends about death and what follows for the Believer. Paul talked of ‘departing to be with Christ.’ Most Christians believe the same - that we depart the body to go and be with the Lord. I remarked that I believed the same thing - which cast a jarring note among the group who had been schooled in the notion of ‘soul sleep.’ One of my friends replied with some emphasis. ‘ I’d rather believe what the Bible teaches.’ But the Bible does not teach soul sleep. The Bible does not teach many things that divide Christians and which some have made a ‘perspective’ and on which they have built a denomination. The fact is, truth revealed is found firstly in a living Christ and only after that in His book. YOUR LENS Francois Du Toit writes, ‘The Bible has confused and divided more people than any other book - what has been my salvation from losing complete interest in the Book has been an encounter of the most intimate kind in the romance of the ages, by discovering again and again, and again, the absolute clarity and joy of Jesus, the Savior of the world, giving context and relevance to the Scriptures!’ ‘Bible Deism’ makes the Bible a stumbling block and the scrambled ‘word’ a deceit. The Bible is not its own interpreter as some would claim. All of the Bible and particularly the new testament record must be interpreted in the person, life and accomplishments of Christ for us. Or it has no validity. The only valid perspective in this age is the new covenant. It’s not a theology. It’s what God has done in Christ. There is a hermeneutic or lens through which the Bible must be read and comprehended: This is the person and Spirit of Jesus Christ. All scripture has authority. Yet the most authoritative declaration of the gospel, its meaning and application to our lives appears in the writing of John and Paul. This is not to say that others are wrong. But it is to say that in John and Paul the gospel of the Kingdom is expounded in clarity, fullness and force. TRUTH IS A PERSON If you know Jesus the truth will set you free. ‘Knowing Jesus’ comes directly to you from His person. The knowledge of who He is and what He means for you comes to you from Jesus by the Spirit. This Spirit, the spirit of wisdom and revelation is in you and with you. Marinated in the presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are surrounded by the Spirit of Truth when you read your Bible. Jesus speaks to you through other people - particularly through those who have a new covenant union with God as their own. They are apostolic in the genuine sense. This kind of authority comes from Jesus and not from the Bible. We are not advocating Biblical ignorance. Just saying that proper interpretation comes from revelation and not a private or denomination interpretation. ‘Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things’ 2 Peter 1.20 NIV. Neither are we at liberty to develop private and denominational interpretations of the gospel. SEPARATION - THE GREAT DARKNESS Those who live in separation as a result of living from religion or the law are never reliable witnesses. They will scramble the witness of scripture into cunningly devised fables. They need not be evil people. They can be sincere people who unwittingly assist in the dissemination of doctrines of demons. All dilutions of the gospel of the Kingdom originate in the spirit of anti-christ. Any teaching that dissociates life, righteousness, the love of God and your belonging in God from Jesus and places it in other conditions is erroneous. It falls into this diabolical category. Just as life and life came from the person of Jesus, so it comes today from those for whom Jesus is life. The voice of Father said. ‘This is My Son. Listen to Him!’ Today Father says to the wise and the foolish virgins, ‘These are my sons. Listen to them!’ A friend of mine saw an angel in attendance at a gathering of Believers. But the angel was not present to endorse the culture and teachings of the group - for they had‘another gospel.’ The angel was present with the Spirit to lead people out of un-gospels and half-gospels into the fullness of Christ. GOD IS FOR US The gospel of the Kingdom is summarised in the theological notion of the vicarious humanity of Jesus. This is a new covenant statement acknowledging the fact that Christ lives not only in us. He is our life in every aspect of existence. But particularly in our relationship with God, with the self and with other people. Thankfully it is not our fitful resolve and many attempts to do better as a follower and believer. It is Christ’s union with Father that is ours and His relationship with the Spirit that is our relationship in fullness. While this is our inheritance it becomes ours as we possess it by walking in the truth and divesting ourselves of cunningly devised fables. We are what we believe and our beliefs construct the reality we live in. So we need to believe what Jesus believes and agree with Father and cooperate with Holy Spirit. Bible study will not gain you a relationship with Christ. This is because you already have it. Your life in Christ is less about ‘receiving Him’ and more about living in the fact that He has already received you.