By Mike Willis
Much of what the Christian believes runs counter to the culture in which he lives. That is true today and has always been true. First century Christians rejected the values of the world in such things as the following:
- Salvation through Jesus
- One way to be saved
These first century saints were faced with the dilemma of clinging to divine revelation or clinging to the predominating religious beliefs and philosophies of the age. The Lord assured them that final reality is revealed in his revelation. We need the faith to cling to that revelation.
Years ago, the Psalmist wrote:
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul:
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart:
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever:
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether (Psa. 19:7-9).
Consider the implications of the statement that “the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”
The Lord’s Word Is His Testimony
There are several synonyms for the word of God used in Psalm 19:7-9:
- The Law
- The Testimony
- The Statutes
The word of God is God’s testimony. The noun ÔÙdžt is derived from the verb Ôžd which means “bear witness.” The noun ÔÙdžt refers to the testimony that is given by a witness. In the use of the word “testimony” with reference to the word of God, the witness is God and his revelation is his testimony.
The text states that God’s testimony is “sure” (from the Niphil participle of ÕŒman, “confirm, support,” used in the Niphil with reference to the words of God to mean “verified, confirmed,” BDB 53). The point is that God’s word is reliable. It can be trusted to be the truth. Because God’s word is the truth, the “simple” (from pŽt», “simple, poss. as open-minded,” [BDB 834], probably included the inexperienced and easily misled) can become wise through adhering to the testimony.
That the simple can become wise through the study of God’s word is affirmed in other texts, such as the following:
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple (Ps. 119:130).
Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me (Ps. 119:98).
Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? (Deut. 4:6-8).
The proverbs were written to give light to the simple (cf. Prov. 1:4; 2:6). Men should have confidence in the Lord’s testimony.
Areas in Which God’s Testimony Is Being Challenged
Creation (Gen. 1). Modern scientists reject the idea of the Lord’s creating the heaven and earth and his creating it in six days. Men who have been influenced by the thinking of the world are looking for ways to harmonize the creation account with existing philosophies about the origin of the world. Some of their solutions are: (a) Theistic evolution or progressive creation; (b) Gap theories; (c) Day/age theory; (d) Days are used as a pattern for revelation. All of these theories have one thing in common: they do not believe the Bible account that God created the world out of nothing in six literal days.
None of the scientists was present on the morning of creation. They have seen nothing about which to testify. The Lord from heaven was present (Gen. 1:1) and he has given his testimony about what happened.
What is a simple person to do? Does he fall in step with the modern wise men or does he adhere to the words of Scripture? The Scripture reminds us that the Lord’s testimony is “sure,” reliable. There are no errors in it.
Spanking children. The wise men of our day and the popular TV hosts (such as Oprah Winfrey) teach that spanking one’s children is child abuse and destructive to their personality.
The testimony of the Lord teaches that spanking one’s children is an act of love designed to give direction to their lives:
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (Prov. 13:24).
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him (Prov. 22:15).
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die (Prov. 23:13).
Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Prov. 23:14).
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame (Prov. 29:15).
Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul (Prov. 29:17).
A person with a newborn must decide whom he is going to believe. The Lord reminds us that his testimony is sure, making wise the simple. The child of God who has faith to follow God’s word knows more about rearing children than the educated psychologists who preach that spanking is harmful to children.
Homosexuality. The world is teaching that homosexuality is a morally acceptable form of sexual expression. Those who condemn homosexuality as sinful conduct are homophobic and responsible for speech that engenders hate crimes (and therefore should be suppressed).
In contrast to this, the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. It was partially the cause of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19). It is condemned in the Old Testament (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 23:17). It is condemned in the New Testament (Rom. 1:27, 28; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10).
Our religious culture is debating, not whether or not homosexuality is sinful (which is already conceded), but whether or not a practicing homosexual can be a preacher.
The testimony of the Lord is sure. The child of God must have enough confidence in God’s revelation to reject the thoughts and teachings of men, knowing that God’s word is true.
Oneness of the church. The Scriptures clearly affirm the “oneness” of the church (Eph. 2:16; 4:4; cf. Matt. 16:18). Modern thought finds the doctrine that there is one church narrow-minded and bigoted. They preach that one should “join the church of his choice.” “One church is just as good as another.” The concept that one can be saved only through faith in Christ is contrary to modern belief (John 14:6). A person is faced with the decision of whether to listen to the educated theologians or the Bible.
Baptism. The theologians deny that water baptism has anything to do with one’s salvation. The Bible teaches that water baptism is essential to salvation (John 3:3, 5; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). A person is faced with a choice of whether to believe the educated theologians or to believe the divine revelation of God.
Christians need to be reminded that God’s “testimony”
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