SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2012.
WHY THE WORD OF GOD IS LIFE
Reflection On The Synod Of Diocese Of Okrika
A SYNOD, usually, is a great convocation of God’s people in the Anglican Church. It is held annually. A bishop, in a diocese, uses the occasion to give account of his stewardship to parishioners and also give his charge to the flock and the wider society.
In keeping with this tradition, the Synod of Okrika Diocese was held at St. Thomas’ Church, Azuabie Deanery on May 11-13, 2012. The Bishop, Rt. Rev. Tubokosemie R. Abere, spoke on the theme: ‘The Word of God is Life’ (Phil. 2v16)
According to the Bishop, the Word of God is life to the believer because it energises him. He drew examples from Jesus Christ. It is in Christ we have salvation and eternal life. We cannot save ourselves but we can live lives that show God’s saving power. Although we have a part to play, the Word of God explains that it is made possible by God’s work in us (Eph. 2:8-9). St. Paul, writing on this, used the word ‘dunamis’ (i.e., God’s power – energy). He says: ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves; our sufficiency is of God’ (2 Cor. 3:5). It is the action of God, and this is effective.
The Word of God stirs the Church to new moments and new insights. It directs its life and influences it to righteous living. Without the Word of God, there will be no life in the Church. God’s Word makes us understand that the highest standards must be set if Christians are to live out their faith within a society that is morally warped and spiritually depraved.
Rt. Rev. Abere continued: “The Word of God is powerful. This indicates that it continues to speak to us on a daily basis; at every age, to every person, and in every situation. It is ‘active’ that is, to say it works in us, like yeast in flour, causing growth. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, resembling the sword that comes out of the mouth of God in Revelation (1:6) and the sword of the Sprit in Eph. 6:17. It can be used as an offensive and defensive weapon. Jesus used it three times to overcome the devil in the wilderness (Matt. 4:4ff). It does not change and is both decisive and sincere. It has no iota of doubt about its veracity.
“This no doubt explains why Egyptians refer to the man who keeps his word as ‘a sword’. It penetrates. This means that the Word can reach the deepest recesses and most hidden part of our soul and spirit. It can search the intent of the heart without discrimination. There is no one who reads or hears the Word of God sincerely that is not affected by it. It ‘judges’ or ‘discerns’ the thoughts of our hearts. That is, it helps us discern if the thoughts of our hearts are godly or not. It is the Word that judges our thoughts and actions, not we who judge the standards of the Word.”
Abere lamented: “There is no doubt, our society has drifted from things of God and has yielded to the gods of pleasure, worldliness, politics, material wealth, hatred, tribalism, greed and selfishness. We have created our own cults, groves of ego and materialism. A sure cure for the endemic corruption that pervades the Nigerian society is a return to God and His Word. Those who hear God’s Word must proclaim it to the waiting world. If there is any time to share Christ’s love, it is now. It is only the Word of God that can interpret this kind of love. Life can only be meaningful and challenging when it concerns itself with the truth needed to fill the void in our soul. God’s Word invites us to share in this life of knowledge of God and service to mankind.”
The Word of God is the very soul of our being. Through this, the great treasures God has given to man (life and power) are imparted to believers. Through the Word of God the sinner is convinced, convicted of his sin and converted. As he is forgiven, the crooked is straightened, the forsaken is received into God’s family and the blind is made to see.
Indeed, the Word of God can bring deep, strong and long lasting faith to make our spiritual life robust because ‘faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God’ (Rom. 10:17).
Bishop Abere therefore warned Christians and the society thus:
There is tendency to abuse and misuse good things. We must therefore warn ourselves against false teaching and false usage of the Word of God. Through the ages, portions of the Word of God have been subjected to various interpretations— personal, subjective and objective.
We should not think that we don’t have time to read God’s Word. The time we have is given to us by God. We should use it to meditate on His Word. We must be persistent about it, if we desire the spiritual life it gives through faith.
If we do not read, study and ponder on God’s Word, we shall not be grounded in our Christian life. Rather than become strong ‘we shall be tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.’ (Eph. 4:14)
We should hear God’s Word and obey it. If we neglect the Word of God, we shall be like the man who looks at himself in a mirror, and in a short while, forgets what he looks like (James 1:23, 24).
People of God, it behoves us to note that all who hear God’s Word should respond with complete obedience and unwavering faith. Also, up to this time, God speaks through His servants (preachers and evangelist). The Word of God, personified in Jesus Christ, gives us life, abundant life and eternal life. (Jn. 5:39; 10:10; 14:6).VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.