In recent posts I’ve come across harsh when talking about certain “churches, or denominations, or various theologies within the sphere of Christianity. Some may have scoffed and labelled me as being self-righteous or exclusive. Some think that God is love and would never reject people because of the way they think, act, or live. To all of you I can only say; read the Scriptures and show me the error of my thinking.
I have been saying many of these things for a long time because it is very clear that people have redefined the God of the Bible and quite honestly, that has frustrated me. Not only have people redefined who God is, His attributes and character, but they have also rewritten the Bible itself, God’s Word, by editing clearly defined words, rewriting stories and narratives, and even challenging the validity and authenticity of the Word completely.
I find it interesting that for countless centuries and with hundreds of thousands of learned scholars, theologians, teachers, researchers, and preachers that have all had the Book, even the manuscripts in their original languages, and have combed every jot and tittle with every resource available to them, that they come to conclude that the Bible IS complete and true. It doesn’t even contradict itself. Many prophecies of old have come to pass. Historically it is accurate and proven without question.
So, with all that being said…who are we to question God’s Words?
There are many disputes that come up regarding interpretations of the pages of the divine words. I’ve mentioned a couple of theological differences in the past, but I can assure you that there are more groups and ideologies that exist than there are church denominations! People for centuries have split off from one church or society to form their own because of a difference in opinion over major and minor understandings of the interpretations. Even various topics within the Bible, such as eschatology (the study of end times) or soteriology (the study of the means of salvation, including the law and the gospel, grace, justification, and sanctification), have caused great rifts, even to the extent of wars.
First, let’s define theology. Theology is simply the study of the nature of God and religious belief. We get to know God through His creation around us, through His laws imbedded within our souls, and through His Word, the Holy Bible. As I have stated numerous times, I am not a theologian. Nor am I a graduate or student of higher learning when it comes to the Bible. Thus, my thoughts and views are just that…my thoughts and views as I believe God has impressed on me through my studies. I believe that the Holy Spirit of God has opened my eyes to an understanding that I didn’t grasp before, just as I also believe that He does this same work with others…giving people what they need to understand who He is and His Word, the Bible and apply it into their life. Still, conflicts arise!
I will go on record to say though that there is a core truth found within the pages of the Bible that is, without doubt or compromise, essential to every believer. It shouldn’t matter your doctrinal stance or theological views. This truth is clear within the pages of the Bible as the overriding message from Genesis through to Revelation, and it is this:
We were created, man and woman, within the creation of the universe to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Since man is not perfect and holy like God, man (starting with Adam and Eve) was tempted by Satan, the enemy of God, and they sinned against God, thus separating us all from God. We try to reach God through our own efforts such as living a good life or going to church, but inevitably we fail. We cannot atone for our sins (which means to pay the price and punishment to cleanse us from guilt). But God in His love and mercy provided the ultimate sacrifice to pay for our sins…through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth and lived the perfect holy life, which lead Him to the cross where He took all our deserved punishment from God by death. But Jesus defeated death by rising from the dead and ascending to Heaven to take His rightful place at God’s right side as King and Lord!
Where does that leave us? We must individually receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience His love! We are no longer estranged from God, but can have fellowship and worship the God who created all things!
We receive Christ through faith, by turning (repenting) away from our sins and following God’s laws and ways. By our repentance, God forgives us and the blood of Jesus washes us from the blemish of sin, thus we are able to approach God. This renews our hearts and minds, giving us hope for eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven! It is a daily walk, a spiritual battle against our flesh and human desires. The process after being saved is called sanctification. We don’t depend on our feelings, we depend on the promise of God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible, with the help of the Holy Spirit, is the only “how to” manual for the Christian, no matter what anyone else would say.
And this is where the enemy, the devil himself, Satan, gets his power. By causing dissension within the body of Christ believers. Satan trips up mankind by causing doubts and getting humans to question God and His Word. The very first sins committed were in the Garden of Eden where the devil asked “did God say…”, thus creating doubts and unbelief in God and His Word. This is where so many churches and theologians get tripped up as well. They questionthe Word of God.
I’ve found in my many years of studies that everyone has an opinion and everyone feels their way is the only right way. We know just by looking at all the different schools of thought concerning the Bible’s teachings. And with all of these ideologies and structures, it is easy to become overwhelmed and confused. Add to all that the multitude of instant media access we have nowadays and you get an exponential number of opinions and viewpoints immediately! This problem has caused many to fall away from their initial faith and also has created chaos and bitterness within the church body itself.
So, what is the answer? The answer is to personally go to God in prayer daily, talking with Him about everything! This is the first and foremost step! You’ve claimed Christ as your Savior and Lord, which now gives you access to the Throne Room of God, so why not go directly to the Source Himself? Will you instantly hear His voice and get your answers? Not necessarily, but God is faithful and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, will lead you to the answer. And please know that His answer might not meet your expectations. Since He knows best what we need compared to what we think we need, you can be assured it’s for your best to go with God. And because our impatience these days is fueled so much with a demand for instant gratification, we need to take the time, in faith, to wait on God’s answers.
We also need to take steps ourselves to answering the issues by going to His Word provided: The Bible. You don’t need to be a theologian, pastor, or anything else to read the Word for yourself. Prayerfully reading through the Words He has provided to us for our daily instruction gives you everything you need to know about God, Jesus, and our walk with Him! There is no simple way around this. If you are wanting shortcuts and condensed methods, then you are completely missing the point of the Bible. People now days want short, quick answers to their immediate dilemmas, but that is not how God works. You must delve slowly, methodically, and deliberately into His Word and He will enlighten your spirit with His truth. His ways drive these truths and knowledge deep within and help us when we don’t have it front of us.
Obeying God and trusting Him for every detail of our lives is the key. His Word is deep and rich, filled with more than we can comprehend in this lifetime. But it is also everything we need. I truly believe that many times people look too hard at the words within the covers of the Scriptures, trying to find and formulate things that are quite honestly not really there. Sometimes His Word is plain and true and we need to take it at face value, hide it in our hearts, and meditate on His promises to guide us every day closer to Him and His Kingdom.
Much of the Bible is historical, some of it is prophetic, parts of it contain beautiful prose and poetry, many parts give instruction for living our lives as Christians, and there are also warnings throughout the pages for us as we sojourn through this fallen world filled with people that do not know the God of the Bible…nor do they want to know Him. No matter what, God’s word is enough for us as it stands. It is without errors. It is sufficient for us as is.
Many men over the centuries have used the Scriptures in deceitful ways, twisting it’s meanings and causing people a lot of harm. There is no denying that the church period is fraught with charlatans and liars. They have done extensive damage to a countless number of people who relied on the teachers and preachers to share and interpret the Word faithfully and completely. Thus, this is why there have been many diligent scholars and everyday people who have sacrificed everything they have, including their own lives, to get the Word of God into the hands of the people in their own languages, so that every person of every tribe, tongue, and nation can look into the pages of the Word themselves and, like the Bereans, search the Scriptures diligently to see if what they see and hear is true!
We have the Word of God from the mouth of God through men of God inspired by the Holy Spirit of God so that we can know God, know His laws, know his truths, and once again have fellowship with Him. We have this when we hid His Word in our hearts, walk faithfully and fully with Him, and trust His promises until we can see Him high and lifted up on His throne of glory in Heaven. Amen