What do you believe, and are you sure you it is really true? How do you know it is true? Is it because you have a personal vested interest in believing it–because you feel you have to believe it because of something in your life? Is it because someone you admire or like said so? Or is it because you can walk over to the Bible and point to a chapter and verse that teaches exactly what you insist is true?
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, ACCURATELY HANDLING the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NASB)
There are many churches that are Christian in name, but the basic premise of all is that there is a God behind them, whom they profess to worship. And if they worship Him, then we must assume they believe He exists. If the God whom the Bible describes exists, we must come to the inevitable conclusion that He is powerful. If He was powerful enough to create the universe and beyond, if He was powerful enough to become conceived a human baby, and take up His life again after He voluntarily laid it down as payment for our transgressions–then surely He able to influence the band of faithful who implored Him for guidance when determining which writings to include within the canon of what we now know as The Holy Bible.
Which brings us to the conclusion that this canon of Scripture is of God. Peter says of Scripture, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:20-21 NASB) And Paul exhorts, “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:14-16 NASB)
The Holy Bible, in its entirety, is what God wants is to know in order to know and please Him–to come to a saving knowledge of Him, in fact. We are not at liberty to pick and choose which doctrines we will accept and which are not to our liking. It is not a smorgasbord. If we want a god to fit our liking we must invent a new one, but the God of The Holy Bible and what He has provided for us to come to a saving knowledge of Him is not open to criticism:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4 NASB)
That time has come. Because of the slant of culture, we now have “Christian” churches that are denying basic doctrines of the church, proclaiming that teachings accepted by mainstream Christianity for the past two millennia are erroneous misinterpretations. They are not. The God of Scripture is not unjust so as to hide the truth from generation upon generation of His faithful followers only to reveal it now to us. God has not changed; we have “accumulated for…[ourselves] teachers in accordance with…[our] own desires…[who are] turn[ing] away …[our] ears from the truth…to myths.”
The thing that particularly amazes me is that God knew this would happen. It may be foretold in words now old-sounding because the translations are dated, but it is truth, and we need to open our ears and pay attention:
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.” (2 Peter 2:1-10 NASB)
The three examples given as to what is wicked in God’s eyes which He punished are 1) the “angels…[who] sinned,” 2) the “ungodly” “ancient world,” and 3) Sodom and Gemorrah, who lived “ungodly lives” and practiced “sensual conduct of unprincipaled men” and “lawless deeds.” It concludes by specifically saying that, “The Lord knows how…to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.” The words that stand out glaringly are “ungodly,” “sensual conduct,” “unprincipaled men ,” “lawless deeds, “indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires,” and, “despise authority. ”
The judgment mankind received from God was not because they did not know how to properly receive guests–offering hospitality to guests was an ancient middle eastern cultural tradition and explains why Lot offered his virgin daughters to the lusting crowd rather than allow them to have their way with the visitors they were clamoring for. The judgment they received from God was because of the “sensual conduct of unprincipaled men” and it is “indulging the flesh in its corrupt desires” and “despising authority ” God has placed over us through legitimate preachers of His Word that call down His wrath on mankind!
So, what do you believe? Can you back it up with the holy, inspired word of God? Or are you listening to the false teachers who have secretly introduced destructive heresies because it sounds good and it’s what you want to hear? Pray that you be one of the godly, whom the Lord will rescue from temptation, not one of the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, who indulges the flesh in its corrupt desires and despises God ‘s authority!
Help us “Be diligent to present…[ourselves] approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, ACCURATELY HANDLING the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NASB) Amen!