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Fulton County Gospel News

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Do You Believe the Bible?

By Farrell Nicholson

The question, “Do you believe the Bible?”, while not uttered explicitly in Scripture, is certainly not without Scriptural precedent. Paul turned the tables on his interrogators by asking Agrippa II, “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe” (Acts 26:27, NKJV). In other words, did the temporal king of the Jewish state believe the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus Christ, the Messiah? Or conversely, we can hear this question in its declarative sense within Paul’s rebuke to the Jews of Pisidian Antioch:

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you (Acts 13:38-41, emphasis FN).

We again hear the question in his and Barnabas’s address a week later:

But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with jealousy, and contradicted the things which were spoken by Paul, and blasphemed. And Paul and Barnabas spake out boldly, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to you. Seeing ye thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles (verses 45-46, ASV, emph. FN). 

The Jews apparently did not believe “their own” Scriptures, the Old Testament (To the Jews, Jesus twice referred to the law of Moses as “your law,” John 8:17, 10:34).

But what about Christians? Those who have purport to “delight [themselves] in the law of God after the inward man” (Romans 7:22), who have “the implanted word” (James 1:21, ASV) instilled within their hearts? (Hebrews 8:10). What of those who “have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9b), and upon whom the name of Christ has been affixed? (Acts 15:17). Do we believe the Bible?

We preach that people are, through Christ, to “put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:5-8, NKJV); but yet too often (Paul affirms that even once is too much—Ephesians 5:3), Christians are engaged in the very crimes against God delineated in Holy Writ. In our hypocritical putting on of masks (1 Thessalonians 2:5: “a cloak,” or a pretense meant to hide ulterior motives), many of us have merited the scathing denunciation of God’s spokesman to Jewish brethren of old: “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?” (Romans 2:21-23, NKJV).

Have we saints ceased believing God requires us to endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”?(Ephesians 4:3). The call for unity within the body of Christ is as clarion in the 21st century as it was in the 1st. Do we no longer believe in hell? Even though the Savior, the omniscient purveyor of glad tidings, gave a more complete portrayal of Gehenna than He revealed the ineffable climes of Heaven, have we stopped reading passages such as Mark 9:43-48? Hell never ceased being real, yet it is as though we have drifted off into moral and religious slumber. To sleep portends spiritual death (1 Corinthians 11:30; Ephesians 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-9). Finally, has the siren song of the world so diluted the parameters of marriage that we find ourselves living out the antithesis of God’s will? (Ephesians 5:22-25, Hebrews 13:4). Would to God we could wake up from this spectral nightmare!!

Yet, amidst the ensuing chaos and pervading noise of the battle, we can hear the simple answer, if we will but listen: “remember thy first love” (Revelation 2:4-5), “abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9), and “take up [your] cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Only those who vigilantly respond in kind to the Scriptures’ entreaties are those who can justly assert they believe the Bible (Romans 2:13; James 1:22). However, our compliance or noncompliance with the dictates of our Law (1 Corinthians 9:21; James 1:25, 2:12, 4:12) in no way negates its authenticity, for Paul affirms, “If we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 12b-13). Do you believe the Bible? Not if, by hiding behind a mask, you despise or willfully neglect its power in your life and its rule over your behavior. In the inimitable words of the late Marshall Keeble, “The Bible is right; it is right if everyone believes it, it is right if no one believes it; every man could die and go to hell, but the Bible would still be right.” To this agree the words of an apostle: “yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4b) and, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).

Mammoth Spring, AR

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