“He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (Jn 12:48)
Throughout history God has been very creative in how he’s spoken to people. He spoke to Moses via a burning bush. He spoke to Balaam though a talking donkey. He communicated with Gideon through an experiment with a rug. More conventionally, God has used dreams, visions, direct revelation, and prophets to communicate with his people. The omnipotent God is not bound by conventionality or limited imagination.
But the undercurrent of God’s communication has always been the written word. The penning of the first 5 books of the Bible by Moses served as the guiding light to God’s people for centuries. The inspired authors of the New Testament had the same goal: “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (Jn 20:31). A written word has many advantages. As opposed to oral tradition, the written word is easily preserved and faithfully transmitted. The written word can be carried and consulted at any time. The written word can be more carefully studied.
Wouldn’t it make sense then that God’s people would devote themselves wholeheartedly to studying that written word? If a man actually believed that the Bible was the revealed mind and word of God, could he go month, week, or even day without consulting it? Could he in good conscience forsake an opportunity to study it with his brethren? What would you say to someone who said they were serious about getting to a faraway city, but never consulted the roadmap on how to get there? People who are serious about God and heaven are serious about studying their Bible.
Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word. Christians believe the Bible contains an accurate history of God’s people, God’s dealings with his people, and the Savior of God’s people. Christians believe what Peter said to Jesus: “you have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). People who believe what Peter did will be serious students of those words of eternal life.
Read again Jesus’ words in John 12:48 (at the beginning of this article). If we reject or ignore Jesus’ words that are revealed in the pages of our Bible, those words that we have rejected or ignored will serve as judgment against us at the last day. Can you be serious about heaven and ignore God’s Word at the same time?