By Randy Harshbarger
Long ago the prophet Hosea said: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I also will forget thy children” (4:6). Ignoring God’s instructions brought ruin to the children of Israel. They refused to consider and heed divine law and were thus cast off. Men today continue to do the same thing. One has only to consider the false religions and the conflicting doctrines and denominationalism to see that ignorance of the Bible is widespread. God does not speak to men today through some religious guru or a self-appointed Messiah. Rather he speaks in these last days through his Son (Heb. 1:1-3). The extensiveness of sin demonstrates lack of knowledge about God and his word. The disgrace of adultery, the shame of homosexuality, and the tragedy of drunkenness, and countless other “acceptable sins” all point to a lack of knowledge of the Bible. Not enough people do like the Bereans of old, and “search the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). It is obvious, due to the prevalence and publicity of sin, that people believe they can defy the laws of God and never suffer the consequences (if they even care at all). Yet, the Bible still says: “For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). We need to know and then declare the true nature of God and his will for men. The Bible is sufficient to guide men safely home to heaven; its finality affords proof of its value as the only word we need.
Many have been the attacks upon the word of God. Some are insidious while others make no pretense about the desired goal of undermining faith in God’s revelation. We are not surprised when the atheist or infidel attacks the Bible, but it is sad when so-called Bible believers embrace doctrines that repudiate God’s word as complete and final. Roman Catholicism tells us that the Bible is true because “the church” says it is. But, how can the infallibility of “the church” be proved that we might accept such a pronouncement? It cannot be according to Matthew 16:18-19. “And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. It will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth be loosed in heaven.” Joseph Smith gave us the book of Mormon, claimed it was the word of God, and said it should occupy a place along side the Bible. But, even the book of Mormon claims that the Roman Catholic church corrupted the Bible and is an instrument of Satan (1 Nephi 13:26-29). Whom do we believe? Many claim to be lead by the Holy Spirit in a direct, miraculous way, separate and apart from the word. One lady claimed that the Lord told her to be a stripper! Did the Lord contradict himself when he said in 1 Timothy 2:8-9 to keep one’s clothes on? The list goes on, as men continue to either in part or all together pervert and twist to their own liking, God’s revealed will from heaven.
Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The gospel will accomplish what God wants accomplished. It is the only message that will make men what they need to be, namely Christians. No other power on earth can equal God’s power. The messages of men always fail and fall short.
Peter said: “Seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3). God’s power is seen in creation (2 Pet. 3:5), in punishment of the wicked world by the flood (2 Pet. 3:6), and will be seen in terminating the world we live in (2 Pet. 3:7-12). These things were and will be accomplished at God’s word. The Bible provides information or “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” Man needs direction and guidance in life (Jer. 10:23). Man who is lost in ignorance needs to be enlightened. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). Knowledge of truth is essential (1Tim. 2:4). The Bible also provides needed motivation. 2 Timothy 2:25 says: “In meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth.” Sometimes a motivation gap exists between knowing and doing. The Lord reveals what sin is and what sin will do; that should be the driving impetus to turn from wrong and serve the Lord.
The Bible also provides preservation. Peter says we are guarded by faith as we wait for our final reward in heaven (1 Pet. 1:5). It is not “once saved always saved” but it is assurance from the Lord that we can obey and be acceptable in his sight. “For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, (even) our faith” (1 Jn. 5:4). Loving God rather than the world (1 Jn. 2:15-17), walking in the light of truth (1 Jn. 1:7-9), and confessing our sins as we repent (1 Jn. 2:1-2), all help to provide needed confidence as we remain safely tied to the anchor of hope (Heb. 6:19). Let us continue to walk with the Lord, studying the Bible, trusting and obeying each and every day.
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 19, p. 589
October 1, 1992