From the Editor—Friday Reflections

Delivered Daily

The Friday Reflection by James M. Kushiner

March 5th, 2021

Tamme-Lauri oak. The oldest tree in Estonia. Planted in 1326. By Abrget47j


he Lord sends scribes to bring out treasures old and new. It is not enough to repeat the Scriptures—although they should be regularly studied so that much is memorized, especially the prayers of the Psalms. They must be interpreted, commented upon, but most importantly lived. The Lord promised the Holy Spirit would guide the Church into all truth—not to just know it but live it.

Because the truth is of God Himself, it must not be sullied or contradicted in word or by life. While jackasses may bear in their saddlebags the Scriptures and thereby deliver the Word of God to needful men, those godly saints who obey the Scriptures as well, shed all the more light, reflecting the life of Christ to others.

If you're impressed by the intelligence and diction of a man, thinking they are a sign of the Lord's favor, beware. Paul rejoiced that even if through envy or pretense, the Gospel was proclaimed. Unclean asinine mouthpieces of the Word will indeed protest, "Lord, Lord!" in response to his shocking and dismissive, "I never knew you."

This is a spiritual reality to bear in mind as we hear of the great sins of many church leaders who seemed to be "doing the Lord's work" and successful. The words they spoke were often true, and powerfully and compellingly presented. But it was the Word of the Lord that reached the hearers, not the man. As oftentimes the Lord uses suffering, disease, or ill-fortune to wake up a man's conscience, He's not above speaking through generations of Balaam's asses.

The "faith once for all delivered" is not only words but also a way of life, a life in Christ that grows into his image. The words are not subject to revision, but may be more deeply understood (through scribal treasures old and new), as long as nothing original is subverted or turned on its head. The words are "living" in that they are dynamic today, not in the sense that they are a malleable "living constitution" subject to revision by activist scribes.

The Church as a living organism draws deeply from its roots in the prophetic witness to Christ, which were inspired by the same Spirit who speaks in union with Christ in the Gospels and the apostolic writers.

"A tree's roots are just as important as its foliage, and provide the nutrients and water that allow it to prosper. They also form the anchor upon which the trunk elevates the branches and foliage in the eternal fight for light." (Olavi Huikari, The Miracle of Trees)

The purpose of drawing nutrients from the Scriptures is not to secure positions of power over others, intellectual distinction, or self-esteem, but to glorify God by opening ourselves to His light and truth, so that we no longer walk in darkness.

Thus the Church is dependent on drawing from the faith once for all delivered, in concord with generations who have faithfully taught and lived it. It reflects Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today and forever: full of grace, truth, mercy, holiness, love, joy, peace, as seen in Him and reflected in the myriad saints who show forth the fruits of the Spirit, the signs of the Christian life.

The words—first, the Scriptures, then the rest—all matter, as do writings about these things, as well as writings about living faithfully. As publisher of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, I know that we succeed only by reminding readers of what we already know and have heard through the generations.

Without reminders, the Church is like an untended field which will soon fill with weeds. For the Landlord to receive fruit, the soil of each generation must be cultivated, planted, watered, and tended. The soil, seed, and water do not change. It's been delivered. It's hard labor, resisting weed-prone nature, subversive of the world, the flesh and the devil.

As its masthead states, Touchstone speaks "to the confusion of voices in the world on matters of order in religious, social, and cultural life." Thus, articles from, say, 1996 are still relevant. Because it draws from one source, "it speaks with a unified voice of that which, manifest in creation and divine revelation, flows from the life of God himself." All this, delivered by the Deliverer.

Yours for Christ, Creed & Culture,

James M. Kushiner
Executive Director, The Fellowship of St. James

—James M. Kushiner is Executive Editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and Executive Director of The Fellowship of St. James.