Respect for the Word of God

Many people today claim to love the Word of God. They talk about the beauty of the Bible, especially its poetry and rhythmic flow. Many of these same people, however treat it as irrelevant, in much the same way that we would treat a magazine of the 1970s.  In other words, they treat it with contempt while still claiming to love it. When it comes to such issues as women in office, homosexuality, or premarital sex we often hear something like this: “The Bible might have said that back in Paul’s day but we live in a different era now, so those rules don’t apply anymore.”  Still others cherry-pick which parts of the Bible they will adhere to. Doing that is nothing new. Thomas Jefferson is well known for going through the Bible with knife and cutting out the miracles and other parts of Scripture that he didn’t believe in. There are still Jefferson Bibles yet today. And there are many who, in effect, do exactly the same thing Jefferson did.

Still others want to destroy the Bible altogether. In our family devotions we have been reading through Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 36, God tells Jeremiah to write a scroll containing all the punishments for Judah’s sins, everything from cannibalism to the captivity. This scroll was to be read in the presence of King Jehoiakim. The king and his servants didn’t want to hear the punishments that would be meted out on their land, so they tried to destroy the word of God. That is what Jehoiakim did. “Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with a penknife and cast it into the fire that was in the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was in the hearth” (Jeremiah 36:22,23). The following verses indicate that they had no remorse about this whatsoever. In spite of their actions, God’s word still prevailed and the captivity and everything leading up to it happened just as God said it would.

The Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God to His people. When He says in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” we can know for sure by the faith and the grace He has worked in us that this is so. When we are exhorted to keep ourselves chaste prior to marriage, we can be certain that this is rightly commanded by God Himself. “Marriage is honorable above all and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge”(Hebrews 13:4).

Scripture contains the judgments, exhortations and comforts that we need as we live our lives in this world. Many people have suffered and continue to suffer still today for believing in the divine inspiration of Scripture. Men like John Wyckliffe, John Hus and Martin Luther endured persecution and even death so that we could have full access to what God tells us in His Word. We certainly don’t understand everything in it perfectly. We must wait until we get to heaven. In this life, however, we do have a foretaste of what Heaven will be like. “For now we see in a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known”(I Corinthians 13:12). Let’s not take our Bibles for granted but read them each day and live our lives according to what is written therein. May God grant us the grace we need to do this!

Kevin Rau

Samples from Seminary – God Spoke

As promised in my last post, here is another snippet from a conference that the seminary students attended this semester [1]. While this post cannot capture the captivating Welsh accent of the speaker, Derek Thomas, it can pose the same heart-probing question: God has spoken; what are you doing with his speech?

This is an important question because we are culpable for every word God has spoken. In other words, we are liable for what we do with God’s Word to us.

Indeed, God has spoken. He has done so in various ways. First, God speaks to us in creation. Romans 1:18-20 indicates that God manifests himself to all men in creation. Secondly, God speaks through his Son. For Jesus Christ is both truly God and truly man. Therefore, every time he spoke, God spoke. Finally, God speaks in Scripture. All of Scripture is the product of God “breathing out.” While God used human writers to record his word, nevertheless, God himself speaks in Scripture.

This is remarkable! The great God of heaven and of earth has spoken to us in a language that we can understand. This is an act of supreme grace on his part. Since God has taken the initiative in speaking to us, we have friendship and communion with Him.

What are you doing with this speech from God? And please note the present tense: what are you currently doing with it?

We know from Romans 1:18 that sinful man suppresses the speech of God. When this verse says that sinful men “hold the truth in unrighteousness,” the word “hold” means to hold down or to suppress. Derek Thomas used a helpful analogy for this – It is as though sinful man is holding his thumb over an open Coke bottle. Each of us can hold our thumb tightly over the mouth of a bottle to prevent any liquid from coming out. Are we doing the same thing with God’s speech to us?

Importantly, Derek Thomas posed this question to an audience of professing Christians. This question comes especially to those who have ready access to the Word, who sit under the preaching, who have opportunity to attend Bible studies, etc. More so than others, we are culpable for what we do with God’s Word to us. Thus, the question remains: God has spoken; what are we doing with it?

Matt Kortus

[1] The speech I am drawing from was given by Derek Thomas, who is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC. The speech was entitled “God Spoke” and was given at the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology hosted by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. This conference comes each year to First CRC of Byron Center. The theme for this year’s conference was, “How Firm a Foundation: The Bible’s Authority, Sufficiency, and Clarity.”

The gay bible

We have grown up in homes where God’s word is treated with reverence and respect. The Bible is received as being God’s revelation to us His people, while we are on earth. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect throughly furnished unto all good works”(2 Timothy 3:16, 17). Not everyone, however, holds the Scriptures in such high regard. A pro-gay translation of the Bible called the Queen James version recently came off the presses. This version has removed all negative references to homosexuality in order comfortably to adapt the word of God to people engaged in a homosexual lifestyle without bothering their consciences with the fact that they are sinning. We as young people and young adults should not be deceived by this development. This is not an acceptable translation of Scripture because the Bible has plenty to say in regard to this sin against the 7th commandment. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers , nor effeminate nor abusers of themselves with mankind… shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9). “Effeminate” here means homosexuals. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for this sin as recorded in Genesis 19. King Asa rid the Kingdom of Judah of “sodomites”(1 Kings 15:12a). God therefore condemns this sin and so must we. We must bring a warning to this who have produced this version of the Bible. “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”(Revelation 22:19). Further we should tell those who are trapped in this sin that they must repent of it so that they can be ” washed… sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). May we always hold the word God of in high esteem and regard it as the only rule on which to base our lives as Christians.

 

Kevin Rau