â€œAnd it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.â€ (2 Kings 22:11)
This experience of Judahâ€™s good King Josiah illustrates the convicting power of the Scriptures and points up the essential importance of the revealed Word of God in the process of repentance, forgiveness, and salvation. It is the Word of God which brings conviction of oneâ€™s need of salvation, and this is the indispensable first step leading to salvation. â€œFor by the law is the knowledge of sinâ€ (Romans 3:20).
It is also through the Scriptures that one comes to an understanding of salvation: â€œThe holy scriptures . . . are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesusâ€ (2 Timothy 3:15). Furthermore, it is the Word which generates saving faith: â€œSo then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Godâ€ (Romans 10:17).
Finally, the very miracle of regeneration, transforming a lost soul into a born-again child of God, is accomplished by the Holy Spirit on the basis of saving faith in Christ (as revealed in Scripture) through the Word. â€œOf his own will begat he us with the word of truthâ€ (James 1:18). â€œBeing born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for everâ€ (1 Peter 1:23).
The result of King Josiahâ€™s reading of the Word was that he â€œmade a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandmentsâ€ (2 Kings 23:3).
In view of the transcendent importance of Godâ€™s Word in every phase of the process of salvation, it is no wonder that the apostle Paulâ€™s great command, just before his martyrdom and just after his tremendous assertion of the full inspiration of Scripture and its sufficiency for every need (2 Timothy 3:15-17), was, simply, â€œpreach the wordâ€ (2 Timothy 4:2). Not just preach, but preach the Word! HMM