I believe that the Bible is God’s Word. Rather, I have placed the full weight of my existence in TRUSTING that the Bible is the very word of God. It is not as if I have just tattooed this onto my arm because I am looking for a crutch in my life. The Bible is not to me a badge of courage.
No, I have faith that the Bible is the Word of God because its truths have seeped down beneath the surface of my skin, into the very marrow of where I live my life. I have trusted in the promises of God. I have clung to the living promises of the Word when I had no evidence or ANY reason to, and I have seen God’s promises literally come true in my life.
That being said, the Bible not only makes some deeply comforting promises, It also makes some terribly incendiary comments about life—comments that cause those who believe them or have the nerve to profess them to be hated. Jesus even said, “you will be hated by all because of My name” (Luke 21:17).
The Bible is the only Book that reads you while you are reading it. Hebrews 4:12 states “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Consequently, when people who begin to read the Bible come to places in it that begins to cut against the grain of how we are living and brings conviction of our sin, many will simply put the Bible away in a drawer. Others will explain it away, seeking to make the Bible mean something it doesn’t mean.
Truly, the Bible can bring about a conflagration of soul. It can produce hatred for God before it produces a love for God. It must show us that we are sinners before we can feel the need for a Savior. Yet, because I believe that the Bible is truly the VERY word of God, I believe that we have to be faithful to accept it for what it is and seek to understand it in its full-orbed teaching if we are to truly understand God’s plan for the world.
I believe that the Bible is progressive revelation. By this I mean that God had a plan and a timing for dispensing His truth to the world. The Bible was written by about 40 different authors over the course of around 1,500 years all with one central message—God came to bring salvation to fallen humanity. Deuteronomy 29:29 states: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” There are things that God does not intend for us to know or understand, but the things that He has given to us are for us to understand and put into practice.
Hebrews 1:1-2 sums up the roll of the Old Testament and New Testament perfectly when it states: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” In other words, in the Old Testament God spoke to people through Moses and all of the prophets (the books of the Old Testament), but in the New Testament He has spoken to us through His Son—Jesus. He spoke to us by sending Jesus into the world to give us an EXACT picture of what God is like. “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).
And Jesus said and did some pretty radical things.
Jesus ripped the religious elite to shreds with his words, while He could be very gentle with people steeped in sin. Jesus never justified or winked at sin, but depending upon who He was speaking, He would vary His methodology. In meeting with the rich, young ruler (a man who’s REAL god was his wealth) Jesus, “looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property” (Mark 10:21-22).
See how the word of God cut this man & exposed him? He really loved his money, and Jesus (in love) exposed the man’s idolatry and the man went away sad because he had great possessions. Jesus wasn’t a jerk to this man, but He was honest, and his honesty was an offense to the rich man.
Yesterday, I quoted a text from Romans 1 on my Facebook page and stated:
The Bible’s explanation for why the Newtown tragedy occurred:
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness & unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth… For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, & their foolish hearts were darkened… And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of… murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (see Romans 1)
Immediately, this set off a fire storm among many of my friends on Facebook, and they were seeking explanation. I’m going to try to unpack my explanation here, knowing that many will be angrier still, some may hate me or even de-friend me because of my beliefs.
Scripture teaches time & time again that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. This is a theme running throughout the Bible so I will not give any references other than to quote Isaiah 66:1-2:
Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, & so all these things came to be, declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
The Bible also teaches that we harden ourselves against God’s advances, even though He has our best interests at heart:
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:16-19).
In our natural state, we don’t want God. We certainly do not want God dictating how we live, and so we reject His advances. Consequently, because we reject God, God “gives us over” to whatever it is that we most want. As Romans 1 states, God “gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of… murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (Romans 1). That IS His wrath—His “giving over,” His releasing His hand of protection off of humanity to do what their hearts are naturally inclined to want to do, which is sin. (Again, please remember that I believe this is what the Bible teaches).
The Bible teaches that the Israelites are God’s chosen people, and even they chose the sins & idolatries of the world RATHER than seeking to love & serve God. Therefore, God “gave them over” at various times and in various ways to chasten them for their sin. He ALLOWED them to be carried away captive in Babylon for 70 years because of their sin & rebellion. They hardened their hearts, and he gave them up to their NATURAL desires.
My point in saying “The Bible’s explanation for why the Newtown tragedy occurred…” was simply an attempt to say the reason Friday happened is because God has taken His hand of protection off of us and when He does this all hell breaks loose. I believe that God is calling us BACK TO HIMSELF–to belief, to repentance from our sins, to faith, and to rest. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS OCCURRED BECAUSE OF HOMOSEXUALITY, ABORTION, OR WHATEVER THE “HOT BUTTON SINS” ARE THAT A LOT OF PREACHERS LIKE TO HARP ABOUT. I believe that, as Romans 1 states: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness & unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. I believe that God allows tragedy to call EVERYONE back to Himself—including Christians.
Christians are supposed to be Christ’s representative on earth, living lives to the glory of God and in such a way that unbelievers are attracted to want to know more about Jesus. Yet, instead many profess to know the truth but secretly live devilish lives. I believe that judgment begins with the house of God. I believe that the reason the church in America is so weak & anemic is because God’s people are satisfied with sin rather than we are with knowing Jesus in greater measure. We would rather live in our dens of sin than we would to live in the light of God’s joy. As C.S. Lewis stated it:
“It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
I believe this sums it up perfectly. We want sin more than we want the Savior.
That being said, God refuses to let His people go, and He is refusing to let the world go completely. He is going to do WHATEVER it takes in your life to get you to realize that He is the sovereign Lord over your life. If he must let you be utterly consumed with anger & bitterness, He will do that. If He must allow you to publicly embarrass yourself over the choices of your sin, He will do that. He will allow the frustration to MOUNT in your life & in my life TIME & TIME again to show us as many times as He needs to that only in a right relationship with Him can we find peace.
The reason you feel so depressed & sick with yourself when you soak in sin in your life is b/c you are TRYING to continue to find LIFE WHERE THERE IS ONLY DEATH. Death is depressing. Sin makes you sick & leaves you FEELING sick with yourself, with others and sometimes causes you to wish you were DEAD. Yet, rather than dying to our sin, we frequently will just leave hard situations, going to green pastures where our own sickness & death is there waiting upon us. Oh, it may take a while for it to show itself, but it will come up time & time again until we DEAL with the sovereign LORD who is reigning. And if we will not listen & relinquish the hold on our hearts, He will allow sickness, humiliation, divorce, prison, etc. to be the consequences of our lives UNTIL we will see that His kingdom is the only place where we can find peace & rest.
In conclusion, I do believe that the power of God is capable of overcoming the most hardened of hearts. God delights in mercy (Micah 7:18). He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). I believe that Jesus is mighty to save, and that He can overcome ANY obstacle that stands between you and Him.
Attached is a link to a sermon that I preached years ago entitled, “From JOB to Jeffery Dahmer” that reveals the power of God to save even the most despicable of sinners.