By Tommy L. McClure
Numerous have been the efforts of some modern religionists to turn people from the word of God. Often I have heard: “I know I am saved because of the way I feel, and I would not give my feelings for a stack of Bibles a mile high”; “the Bible is just a dead letter”; we live in a modem age, but the Bible was written two thousand years ago”; and “I know the Bible says. . . but I think . . .” Many, earnestly seeking for salvation, have been turned from the plain statements of the Bible to the mourner’s bench to “pray through” for salvation and to pray for a “Pentecostal shower” from above, whatever those expressions mean. The design of all such statements is to darken counsel, foster ignorance, stifle understanding, keep back from wisdom, and keep men in the way that leads to hell! The devil is the designer of them; deceived or deceitful preachers are the propagators. People need to be taught the truth about the necessity of the word of God!
God’s Word Reveals His Character
Nature shows that there is a God of glory whose handiwork is magnificent (Psa. 19:1), but to know of God’s character it is necessary to investigate His revealed word. Revelation (God’s word, the Bible) tells us that He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and when He speaks He will make good His word (Num. 23:19). He cannot lie, according to the Book (Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:17,18). There is no respect of persons with Him (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11). Love is so characteristic of God, we are told He is love (1 Jn. 4:8). Yet, God’s wrath against sin is such that He is referred to as a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). These and other characteristics of God are to be learned, not in nature and physical science, but in His Revelation – the Bible!
As people turn from the word of God, morality and godliness decrease. Immorality and ungodliness are on the rise today for this very reason. People don’t know “beans from split coffee” about the Bible because they have been turned from it by deceived or deceitful men who have caused them to think the Bible is unnecessary! They know not the character of God or the way of godliness, for there is no such thing as being God-like in this world apart from the Book which reveals His character! Numerous Bible statements plainly show the absolute necessity of godliness or God-likeness (1 Tim. 4:7,8; 6:6,11; Tit. 2:11,12; 2 Pet. 1:5-11). Therefore, God’s word is absolutely necessary!
God’s Word Reveals His Will
We would not know a thing about God’s will for man were it not for Divine Revelation. Paul repeatedly said, “For this is the will of God. . . ” (1 Thess. 4:3; 5:18). Peter said, “For so is the will of God. . . ” in setting forth Christians’ obligations toward civil rulers (1 Pet. 2:13-17). God’s will is expressed in God’s word – not in natural sciences, or in the philosophies, creeds and opinions of men! Many who take pride in knowing about God know nothing of His will for man because they have not investigated His word where that will is expressed!
Is it important that man know and do the will of God? Watch! We must do the will of the Father to enter the kingdom (Matt. 7:21); for our prayers to be valid, they must be according to His will (1 Jn. 5:14); the Psalmist delighted to do His will (Psa. 40:8); the Psalmist also called upon God to teach him to do His will (Psa. 143:10); Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy will be done” (Matt. 6: 10); the mission of the Son while on earth was to do His will (Jn. 5:30; 6:38; Heb. 10:7,9); doing the will of God is essential to kinship with Christ (Mk. 3:35); he that doeth the will of God abideth forever (1 Jn. 2:17)! Since it is absolutely necessary that we do His will, but since we cannot know His will apart from His word, the word is absolutely necessary!
The Word of God Is Essential To Knowing The Promises Of God
God’s promises are expressed in His word! There we are told of “the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:1), of “the promise of eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15), and of the promise of “eternal life” (1 Jn. 2:25). God’s promises are conditional and the conditions are set forth in His word – often in the same passage as the promise. Note one “ample: To the Corinthians, Paul said, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my ‘sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 6:17-7: 1). The promises given are: “I will receive you,” “will be a Father unto you,” and “ye shall be my sons and daughters.” The conditions laid down are: “come out from among them,” “be ye separate,” “touch not the unclean thing,” “cleanse ourselves,” and “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Stargazing will not reveal these promises nor the conditions on which they are to be granted, for the promises are not set forth in nature or in natural phenomenon. The scientist may look at his test tube and the astronomer may peer into the heavens by means of his telescope and see many wonderful things, but there they will never see the promises of God, because there they are not revealed. They are revealed in the word of God. Therefore, those who would turn men away from God’s word would turn them from the promises of God and the conditions upon which they are based, leaving the impression that the promises are of little worth and the conditions non-essential!
The Word Of God Is Essential To Knowing The Threats Of God
The careful Bible student knows of the threats God has made against wicked men. Knowing these threats, true believers earnestly try to shape their lives according to God’s pattern so as to avoid the threats God has made. They learned of these threats by the word of God, not be means of natural science, nor by human genius. They read such statements as: “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile” (Rom. 2:8,9). From God’s word they learned that “. . the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). They also read “. . . the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess. 1:7-9). These and other threats God has given against the wicked in His word, nowhere else! Therefore, he who would turn you from the word of God, by minimizing its importance or by speaking disparagingly of it, would keep you ignorant of the destruction which awaits wicked and ungodly men! Such a parson is not your friend, regardless of how pious he may seem!
God’s Word Is Essential To Knowing God’s Standard Of Judgment
How can one be prepared for the judgment if he knows not what the standard of judgment will be? The Bible, God’s revelation to man, makes that standard clear “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jn. 12:48). Paul speaks of “. . . the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Rom. 2:16). I believe this passage teaches that the gospel is to be the standard of judgment with Jesus as the agent of judgment. However, if “according to my gospel” is to be taken in the sense that the gospel reveals the judgment, and not in the sense that the gospel is the standard of judgment, it makes little difference to me. If I am wrong, still man today knows of the judgment by the gospel, and in that gospel, nowhere else, can be learned of the standard by which he will be judged in the last day!
In fact, everything man knows about the judgment comes from the word of God — its certainty (Acts 17:31; Heb. 9:27), the awesome scene (Matt. 25:31, 32), its scope (Acts 17:3 1; Eccl. 12:14; 2 Cor. 5:10), its righteousness, no bribing, plea bargaining, and no covering nor withholding of facts (Acts 17:31; Eccl. 12:14), its basis (Rom. 2:6, 16; Rev. 20:12, 13), its personal nature, each one giving account for himself (Rom. 14:10,12; 2 Cor. 5:10), its fixed nature, the day set or appointed (Acts 17:31), and its finality, no court of appeal nor reversal of decision (Matt. 25:34, 41, 46). This and all else we know of the judgment we get from the word of God! Is one your friend who turns you from that word by making you believe it is unimportant, thus causing you to be ignorant of the judgment? No, a thousand times!
The Word Of God Is Essential To Knowing The Way Of Salvation
What would man know of salvation or damnation were it not for the word of God? Exactly “the little end of nothing whittled off!” The Bible reveals the fact that all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). The Bible is the book which tells of the origin of sin and its results (Rom. 5:12). Note that sin entered the world by Adam and death passed upon all men because all have sinned. The Bible tells us how sin enters the life of each individual -he allows himself to be enticed by his own lust (Jas. 1:13-15). The Bible tells us that those who yield themselves to serve sin become its servants (Rom. 6:16,17; Jn. 8:34). The Bible reveals that the bondage of si n is a hard bondage (2 Pet. 2:14-19). And it is the Bible which tells us that those in sin’s bondage are on the road to hell (Rev. 21:8)!
Likewise, it is the Bible which tells us what to do to be delivered from the power of darkness and be translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13). There we learn of the question asked Peter and the other apostles by those on Pentecost: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) In the next verse we have the inspired answer: “Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). In the Bible we can read the statement of the Son of God Himself in which He tells men of both salvation and damnation: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). The Bible tells us that the angel told Cornelius of Peter: “Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” (Acts 11:13,14). It records for us the words Peter spoke on that occasion (Acts 10:34-48). The preaching of Peter, John, Paul and others as recorded in the Acts Of The Apostles clearly sets forth the way of salvation, and the damsel was right when she said of Paul and those with him, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). If men will but look in the Book, they can see that way!
It is the Bible which tells us how this way was made possible! God’s love for man is the source from which the way of salvation came (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8). Because of that love, God’s Son appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:26). After the sacrifice was made on Calvary, He entered into heaven with His own blood to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:12,24). Thus, man is not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18,19). In the words of Paul, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit” (Rom. 8:1). Now, having learned all this from the word of God, we can joyously tell sinners:
“There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood;
Lose all their guilty stains.”
If it is important to know the character of God, His will, His promises, His threats, His standard of judgment, and the way of salvation He has provided, then the word of God is important! The truth is: Instead of the Bible being a “dead letter” or “out dated” or “unimportant,” it is the most important book in the world! Read it! Study it! Practice it! Never be turned from it! Preach it! Defend it against the onslaughts of Satan and his ministers! And, with it, turn the world upside down and false teachers inside out!
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 23, pp. 708-709, 727
December 5, 1985