The Word Reveals God

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 4 ‘It Reveals’

During the Reformation, in addition to ‘faith alone,’ another of the mostly forgotten truths that were brought up is in Latin called ‘sola scriptura.’ This means ‘Scripture alone,’ and reinforces the point that Scripture, by itself, is the first and final authority in a believer’s life (Matthew 4:4). Scripture overrides and transcends a priest’s word, or a pastor’s commentary, a rabbinic ruling and even a pope’s bull. One reason this truth (among others) had to be recovered, and now repeated, was that many teachings of men (then and now) obscure the plain meaning of God’s Word for everyday people. Another reason is that church (or Jewish) traditions drift into overriding the Bible after a while.

There are good writings from many good teachers that help us understand more about the Bible. Talmud (the ‘oral law’) for instance, has a great deal of good commentary. The apocrypha has some interesting insights. But they are not the Word, and do not carry the same authority. No extra-biblical writing measures up to the Bible. Even the good ones just repeat what is already in the Word. As Solomon says, there is no new thing under the sun.

Many times the extra writings just lead away from the Bible. Papal bulls, the efforts of so-called ‘prophets’ (Edgar Cayce, Ellen White, Charles Russell etc.) and almost all other extra-biblical writings just obscure the plain meaning of His ancient message. People keep trying to trump God’s Word with other writings. The Nicolaitans use their education to scare us and stifle dissent. They fool some of the people some of the time, but they can’t fool all of us. Whole Bible Christians understand that there are many sources for learning, but only one with Authority.

Repentance

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 2, ‘Repentance’

Repentance and love for God go hand in hand. We can’t have one without the other. If we repent, we stop doing bad things and start doing good (1 Kings 8:47; 2 Chronicles 6:37; Job 42:6; Jeremiah 8:4-13; Ezekiel 14:6; Matthew 11:20, 21). The first recorded word out of the mouths of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus (Matthew 4:17) for their public ministries was ‘repent.’ If we are going the wrong way on a road, we would change directions once we realized our error.

‘Feeling sorry’ for what we have done or are doing, yet continuing to go the wrong way, is not repentance. It is certainly not love. A lot of times, ‘sorry’ feelings are very strong, to the point of weeping or other expressions of anguish. But the feelings are not true repentance if they don’t produce a change in behavior (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). True repentance is when we change what we are doing (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8). We go from ignoring His Law to following it.

Biblically, repentance also means restitution. According to the Word, when a thief repents, not only must he stop stealing, but repay what he stole plus a penalty amount (Exodus 22:2, 7). Zacchaeus (Luke 19) restored four-fold what he might have defrauded, and gave half his goods to the poor. We do not follow through with this in modern times. A lot of times “feeling sorry” is the limit of repentance. But feelings of sorrow, by themselves, are not enough by God’s standards. If we repent, we make things right as much as we can.

10For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10 NASB95)

Mixing

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 2 ‘Mixing’

When Israel was judged by God in the golden calf incident, it was not only because they made an idol, but that they also called the idol ‘God.’

3Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:3-4 NASB95)

All sin makes God angry, but this sin of mixing really seems to set Him off. When God’s things are mixed with anything that is not God’s, it gives the glory rightfully due Him to something else. When we mix God’s things and our things, such as when we dilute His Word with our own knowledge or tradition, we turn lukewarm.

15‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16 NASB95)

Lukewarm water is hot and cold mixed together. Notice in these verses that deeds are equated to the quality of the individual. If deeds are lukewarm, the person is lukewarm. Idolatry is mixing hot things (God’s) with cold things (idols). God does not want to share His glory with another. He doesn’t want something that is not Himself getting credit for His own actions. We rob God of glory when we mix His works with idols, including the idol of self-will.

8“I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42:8 NASB95)

Mixing God’s things with things that are not God’s has always been popular, but especially so in modern times. People are mixing teachings from the Bible with teachings of men all the time. Mixing is a sure fire method of trying to hide or make the Mark bigger, so we can convince ourselves we are hitting it even if we aren’t.

Relative Truth

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 1 ‘Relative Truth’

The first evidence of enabling a part Bible church is that most Christians are falling away from belief in, and practice of, God’s Word as absolute truth. And I’m using the term “falling away” (Matthew 24:10) on purpose, because in part humans want to avoid truth. Studies done by Christian research group’s show only 11% of generic Christians, or 25% of those who are ‘born again,’ think the Bible is absolute truth. Don’t believe studies? Ask around. It’s clear that most people using His name almost believe Him.

Let me restate the study results a little differently. A little more than one out of 10 Christians, or only 1 out of four of those who claim to be born again, believes the Word is absolute truth. Of every 100 people in a church, about eleven believe God’s Word completely. In a church of 2,000 maybe 220 think the Word is completely true. A church of 300 has around 33 who really believe God, and 267 who do not. If everyone in that group says they are born again, only 75 believe God while 225 do not (all assuming a linear distribution). Is it any wonder we have drifted so far?

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17, ESV)

We prefer relative truth, meaning truth that is relative to our own way of thinking. Sort of like ‘the majority rules.’ We want to vote on truth, and veto God’s definition if it’s not comfortable. We’re filled with pride; submitting comes hard, and God’s Law is an objective standard without wiggle room. And we like to wiggle. Ever since Adam and Eve wiggled into fig leaf garments and wiggled into the bushes at the approach of God, we’ve tried to wiggle away from His holiness. Chips off the old Adam and Eve blocks. We want what He has (blessings and eternal life) but not what He is (thrice holy, perfect and just, sovereign and righteous King of Kings). When He approaches, now in the form of the Bible, our instinct is still to hide. Or try to get Him to just go away and leave us alone. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?