What The Bible Says
“What The Bible Says - Vol. 3 / No. 6”
What The Bible Says
Vol. III - No. 6 / August 16, 2020
IF THEY WERE DOING IT THEN, WHAT ABOUT NOW?
"For we are not as many, which CORRUPT THE WORD OF GOD: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ." (2 Corinthians 2:17). "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor HANDLING THE WORD OF GOD DECEITFULLY; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." (2 Corinthians 4:2).(Emphasis Mine, ERH)
If God's Word was being corrupted and handled deceitfully nearly 2000 years ago, what about today? Yet you would think not. To hear people talk, everything that is taught in religion is OK. "You believe it your way and I believe it mine" are the replies often heard. One preacher preaches this way about a matter and another preacher preaches entirely different but "that's your interpretation" is the excuse given. "Join the church of your choice." "Attend church somewhere, today." "One church is as good as another." "We're all going to Heaven. We're just traveling different roads."
While people might not ACCEPT EVERYTHING they hear religiously, they are willing to TOLERATE EVERYTHING that is taught religiously. While they do not accept every church and its teaching, they are willing to tolerate every church and its teaching. The question that really needs answering is: WHAT DOES GOD TOLERATE? Can we know what God tolerates?
The God who created us and the universe also gave us His inspired Word to reveal His will. Yet, we have "another revelation of Jesus Christ". Does God tolerate anything but His word or is this "another revelation" one of our modern day corruptions? "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-10). There is but one gospel and it was revealed by Christ and His apostles. Any other gospel is perverted. Would we do well to believe and practice a perverted gospel?
In Matthew 24:35 Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." If "another revelation" of Jesus Christ was discovered by Joseph Smith in the late 1800's, what about all those generations from Paul and the apostles until Joseph Smith? They were without the complete revelation of God's will! We must believe Jesus over the claims of Joseph Smith or any other "latter day" prophet. Jesus revealed ALL TRUTH to the apostles as He promised in John 16:13 and not to someone else 1800 years later. All such claims are only a corruption of God's word.
"Another revelation” is not the only way to corrupt the Word of God. Much of the corrupting and deceitful handling occurs from those who claim to believe in the Bible. God's Word must be "rightly divided" (1 Timothy 2:15). It is possible to think of men above that which is written. "And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another." (1 Corinthians 4:6). When this happens, doctrines and commandments begin to be taught that have originated with man and not God. The result: they corrupt the word of God and are handling the word of God deceitfully.
"Accept Christ as your personal Saviour". "Faith only." "One church is as good as another." "Everyone's entitled to their own interpretation in religion." "There's nothing in a name." "Baptism has nothing to do with saving you." These are examples of doctrines and commandments of men. Why? There is no scripture that teaches these statements. These are statements that can only be found in the written and spoken creeds of man.
Corrupting and deceitfully handling God's Word is not without consequences; grave consequences. "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." (Deuteronomy 4:2). "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 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 22:18,19).
—E.R. Hall, Jr.
"...and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:23,24).
If it's important to hate sin, it's even more important to love righteousness. The love of God involves not only being repulsed by the idea of disobedience: it means being attracted by the opposite idea: the idea of obedience. Living within our Father’s love must come to be, among other things, delightful.
In Eph. 4, Paul discussed the two sides of godliness. Whereas we used to take delight in disobedience, "you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus" (vs. 20,21). So we must "put off, concerning (our) former conduct, the old man" (vs. 22). But that is only half the battle. On the positive and more important side, we must "be renewed in the spirit of (our) mind" (v. 23). We must make the choice to "put on the new man" (vs. 24).
If we've been satisfying our desires in unlawful ways for a long time, it will not be easy to learn a new set of delights. It can be done, though, and making the commitment to do so is the first step. If we want to be people who take deep delight in pleasing God, we must get past our what ifs, our maybes, and our yes buts and make an actual commitment to be renewed in our thinking.
The good that awaits us is so much more joyful than the counterfeit pleasures we've been accustomed to, our main regret will be that we didn't delight in God sooner. We'll scold ourselves for having been so foolish for so long. What were we thinking?
Counterfeits can be quite convincing, it's true. The things we used to enjoy were really enjoyable, or we wouldn't have spent so much time with them. But whatever pleasures may have come from satisfying ourselves unlawfully, the lawful satisfaction of those same desires is so much deeper and more genuine that the comparison defies description. The "new delight" we can have in God is the real thing. It's what we were made for. It's everything we've dreamed of and then some. And the main thing about it is that it centers on God Himself. He, finally, is all we really desire.
—E.R. Hall, Jr.
If not you who? If not now when?
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." - Benjamin Franklin
"In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." (Proverbs 14:23)
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--- E.R. Hall, Jr.
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4777 U.S. Highway 431
Albertville, AL 35950
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