“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17 ESV).
So, what is this saying? It is saying, basically, that even though all Scripture may not apply to us specifically, like if it is under the Old Covenant, or if it is spoken to a particular people (or person) at a particular time under specific circumstances relating only to them, that we can still learn from it.
But… and this is really important here… if we are reading any teaching or promises or instructions which are given under the Old Covenant (or in the Old Testament), we need to interpret them and apply them in light of the New Covenant.
Is the teaching or promise or instruction repeated for us in the New Testament? Is it in agreement with what is taught under the New Covenant?
And the reason that this is so important is that many people are pulling Scriptures out of the Bible, from the Old and New Testaments, and they are removing them from their context, and they are applying them in ways in which God did not intend, or which don’t apply to them.
For example, today’s passage is from Joshua 1. Moses had died, and now Joshua was to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. But not every promise that God gave to Joshua applies to all of us, so we have to be so careful that we don’t misapply the promises He gave to Joshua, thinking we have the same promises from God. We may, but we may not.
Certainly, though, we can apply “I will never leave you or forsake you,” if we are truly in Christ Jesus, by genuine faith in him. And we can apply “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” But this is providing that we are going with God, and that he is the one directing our paths.
Joshua 1:6 ESV
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.”
Okay, so right from the start here we see that these were God’s words specifically to Joshua. Obviously, we are not all called to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land, at least not in the same literal sense as what Joshua was called to do. But we can learn from this, right?
What are we called to do? As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of the world and with the worldly church, too, which is teaching a false gospel. For, we are also called to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness and to proclaim the truth.
And what is our Promised Land? It is our eternal life with Christ Jesus in heaven. It is our inheritance in God’s eternal kingdom. So how can we lead people to this inheritance? By sharing with them the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And that truth is that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. For, he died to free us from our slavery to sin and to empower us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14).
And why do we need to be strong and courageous? Because people are not going to like the message of the gospel, including many who call themselves Christians. They didn’t like it when Jesus taught it or when the apostles taught it, yet many more received it then than who receive it now, it seems.
So, we need to be strong and courageous because we are going to face much opposition, even from those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and even from pastors and church leaders and Bible study leaders and from family members, too, etc. But we can’t let that deter us.
Joshua 1:7-9 ESV
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
And what law or what commands must we follow? We are not under the Old Covenant, so we don’t have to obey all those old purification or ceremonial laws. God’s moral laws remain intact, though, and they are repeated for us under the New Covenant. We have to obey any New Covenant teachings.
And we must not turn from them to the right or to the left. We must not walk in sin now that we are born of the Spirit, but we must walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and in righteousness. For, if we walk according to our sinful flesh, we will die, not live with Christ for eternity.
The Word of God (all that agrees with the New Covenant and is repeated for us under the New Covenant) should not depart from our lips. Very specifically the gospel of Christ should not depart from our lips. We should be speaking it to others consistently and we should be meditating on it and doing what it says to do.
Then we will be successful in the eyes of God in our walks of faith in Jesus Christ. And that success is measured by the word of God and by the fruit that we bear for God’s eternal kingdom. For if we are fruitless, we will not inherit eternal life with God. For, Jesus Christ is to be our life. And he is to be our only hope, too. We need to make him our only Lord (master).
By Jonathan Foreman
I give you my destiny
I’m giving you all of me
I want your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs
I’m giving it my all
So, I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope
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Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of the singers nor of all their music