God is Never a Copilot

People will sometimes say, “God is my copilot.”

On the surface and in a western culture this may sound fine at first hearing but it is not biblical.

There are numerous examples in Scripture that point to a complete and utter submission to God as his follower. This puts God in the pilot’s seat and you back with the rest of the passengers of followers. You are either on the plane and therefore with Him or you are not on the plane and therefore outside God.

We are called to imitated Christ.

Eph. 5:1-2
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

As children follow after their parents, we are to do the same with Christ. This clearly puts Him before us. He is the one who has set and will set the direction of our lives as followers.

Philippians 1:21
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

In life, we are to live not simply like Christ but here we see “is” which can be also translated as “equals” (=). That’s how far we are supposed to go in our following after Him – to the very point that people look at us and inevitably see Christ. We should be invoking a double-take out of those who meet us.

If we die, we get to be with Him (the gain part) – by no means should this be taken as a call to suicidal behavior. This reflects that for the true Christian, death is not the end but the beginning of being in God’s presence!

Our savior, Jesus Christ, lives to God – our greatest example.

Romans 6:10-12
“The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”

We are to be dead to the sin so common in this world and through Christ we are empowered to turn from this sin. This is not our power but it is from Him. What other thing is it we think we need to pilot ourselves toward besides His perfect example?

Exodus 20:3
“You shall have no other gods before Me.”

John 14:6-7a
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.””

Christ is very clear that there is no other way but through Him.

What is it we think we need to be a copilot for? The term “copilot” in this context reeks of pluralistic tendency and suggests that somehow God is just an add-on in life. After all, copilots are not an absolute necessity to flight (though they come highly recommended).

Faith in Christ, however, is a necessity. Not an add-on and not a legit option among many.

With all this in mind, the line should read: “God is my pilot.”

Epistles

Dictionary.com

noun
1. a letter, especially a formal or didactic one; written communication.
2. (usually initial capital letterone of the apostolic letters in the New Testament.
3. (often initial capital letteran extract, usually from one of the Epistles of the New
Testament, forming part of the Eucharistic service in certain churches.

Etymonline.com

partly from Old English epistol and in part directly from Old French epistleepistre (Modern French épitre), from Latin epistola “a letter,” from Greek epistole “message, letter, command, commission,” whether verbal or in writing, from epistellein “send to, send as a message or letter,” from epi “to” (see epi-) + stellein in its secondary sense of “to dispatch, send” from PIE *stel-yo-, suffixed form of root *stel- “to put, stand,” with derivatives referring to a standing object or place (see stall (n.1)). Also acquired in Old English directly from Latin as pistol. Specific sense of “letter from an apostle forming part of canonical scripture” is c. 1200.


Discussion/Explanation

In short, an epistle is a letter. Many of the New Testament (NT) books were originally sent as letters to provide instruction to a particular group of believers in the times after Christ. We have those letters (most, not all) collected into the NT portion of the Bible.

Books of the Bible that are also called “the Epistles” include:

Romans

1 & 2 Corinthians

Galatians

Ephesians

Philippians

Colossians

1 & 2 Thessalonians

1 & 2 Timothy

Titus

Philemon

Hebrews

James

1 & 2 Peter

1, 2, & 3 John

Jude

That leaves out the Gospels (Mark through John), Acts (which is effectively Luke 2), and Revelation (which is a prophetic work). In other words, almost all of the NT is made of epistles.

Most of these letters were written by Paul. Romans through Philemon are all clearly written by Paul – thereby called the “Pauline Epistles”. Hebrews through Jude are called the “General Epistles” as they are written by others, bearing the author’s name – with the exception of Hebrews.

Hebrews, to this day, is still debated as to who wrote it. There is sufficient evidence to believe that it was written by Paul but the text lacks the evidence to “hit the nail on the head” in regards to nailing down authorship definitively. Some of Paul’s contemporaries are argued for by some scholars and still others just leave the authorship as “unknown”. Regardless, it remains as one of the epistles that makes up the NT.

When next you read any of the Epistles, pay particular attention to the very beginning and end of that letter. You will find a wealth of information in these areas of the text as to who it was originally written for as well as surrounding contextual information.


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