Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Unless They are Agreed (Amos 3:3)

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? This is the question God poses to Amos; it is a rhetorical question that God expected Amos to have a ready answer for. The essence of the question is the spirit of a believer's fellowship with the Lord. Can two walk together--can we be yoke fellows with Christ--unless we are agreed with Him? Now, I am not asking, can you truly be saved? If you heard and believed the gospel of salvation you are saved forever; there are literally hundreds of verses throughout the New Testament that testify of this simple, blessed and God-given truth.

I am asking, are you agreed with Him? Are you walking in fellowship in child-like faith, obedience and dependence on the Lord? I have been sorely grieved over the last some weeks by an especially saddening series of conversations with a fellow believer who did not think it was necessary to believe the whole of the Bible was accurate or correct. Nor did they believe God would be upset if they did not have faith that every portion of the Bible (the Old Testament specifically) was inspired and accurate in relating our history. He is an advocate of Evolution, but does not consider it a detriment to his faith in Christ.

Is believing something contrary to the Bible a detriment to our walk of faith? The better question I think is: if God stated something as a matter of historical fact and not an allegory, why not believe Him? Are we truly conditioned to think that the Lord will not call us to account for the casual and lax treatment of His word that so many Christians have today? Here is Paul's inspired advice about letting an idea or theory outside or contrary to Scripture alter your belief in God's truth:

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ," Ephesians 4:14-15.

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ," Colossians 2:8.

"Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God," Colossians 2:18-19.

We begin to err one of two ways. We either become afraid of the Bible's inability to explain things as well as modern history or science seems to presently (as in Evolution's case) and abandon that portion of Scripture to save face, like jettisoning a chunk of garbage. Instead of leaning in God to allow His truth to lead us into all truth (Proverbs 3:5-6; John 17:17) we lean on the findings of men and judge God's word on what men tell us is truth.

Or we deny outright that certain portions of Scripture can even be true. The logic goes along this line: "I know that this could never happen (aka, I personally am biased toward thinking this could happen; I'll just use the term "know" to sound authoritative). Since this could never happen, and the Bible tells me that it does, I know this part of the Bible is wrong. Human wisdom becomes the measuring stick for determining how honest and accurate God's word is. Problems abound.

God uses the word "walk" in Leviticus 26 nine times when telling Israel the blessings for simply walking with Him in obedience, verses walking contrary to Him and provoking God to an escalating wrath. God never consulted with Israel's elders to inquire about whether or not the elders believed God's revealed word to be true: He merely commanded them to believe in Him, and by believing in Him trust that what He spoke was not wrong, false, deceptive or ignorant. Yes, it was a command to obey His word; but if His word is riddled with errors, then when are we obeying God's inspired word, and when are we obeying man's additional mythology?

The largest problem that results in rejecting Genesis deals with sin and death. Note that Christ is referred to as the second Adam and the last man, inferring that there was a first Adam who was before Him; the only other man alive created in similar manner. Corinthians and Romans detail Adam's fall into sin, and through Adam's sin came death to all who bore the image of Adam; which was why Christ came: so that all who bore the image of the Heavenly might not have to taste death, for Jesus tasted it for us when He died on the cross. But if, as Evolution suggests (demands, in fact) that death existed untold billions of years before Adam arrived (if there was an Adam) then sin is a myth and Christ's sacrifice was meaningless because there is no penalty to save us from. Death in this instance is a natural function of nature as Evolution continues to work even today, slowly taking the inferior and making something better via natural selection and macro-evolution. If death is not the result of sin due to Adam's trespass then not only Genesis, but the New Testament is a fraud.

Death is one of two things. Either it is natural, as we just discussed, or it is an invader. Death is an unnatural aberration in God's perfect creation. Adam, made in the image of God, was divinely made, Luke 3:38. He was not the product of nature; he was the creation of God, as would be Christ when the Holy Spirit formed Him within Mary's womb some thousands of years later. Both men were divinely created by the direct act of God. Both men were sinless (until Adam fell). The whole of the human race is identified with Adam, that we are sinners by birth and choice and have been separated from God, and therefore have incurred the penalty of death which sin begets, Romans 6:23. Those who by faith believe on Christ after hearing the gospel of salvation pass from death (identification with Adam) to life (identification with Christ). Death is not a natural occurrence but a judgment doled out by God for the violation of His command. If death then is penal, as the Bible suggests, then it becomes clear why Christ went to the cross to die on our behalf. He did so to bear the penalty of sin by becoming sin for us, so we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Consider also poor Jonah. Jonah's book is not well received by many Christians today, either. Nonetheless 2nd Kings 14:25 establishes Jonah as a historical person in Israel's history...unless we now wish to throw suspicion on the books of Kings. Apart from Jonah's mention in Kings Christ our Lord speaks of Jonah in comparison to Himself when Jesus mentions His impending death and resurrection. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so too would Jesus be in the heart of the earth. If Jonah is an allegory (which many believe) then what is Jesus saying? "As Jonah was three days and three nights in a pretend fish, so too will I pretend to die, or perhaps metaphorically die." No, Jesus used Jonah as a comparison to teach us that what happened to Jonah was not a fiction or parable; it was history. And what likewise happened to our Lord was history pre-ordained from the foundation of the world.

Irreparable harm occurs when Christians begin to view the Bible as suspect, despite the fact that it has never failed in any test put to it. Recall the Hittites? One hundred years ago there was doubt they even existed. Now their entire empire has been found. David? Same story, until monuments mentioning the house of David and "King David" began to surface. Belshazzar? Another myth of the Bible...until it was learned that he was reigning vice-regent (vice president essentially) when Babylon fell. Belshazzar was second in command, which was why he could only elevate Daniel to third ruler of the kingdom, Daniel 5:29; he couldn't raise the prophet any higher! Almost all of the kings mentioned in the historical books have been verified by secular history from Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, etc. Oh, there was also the complaint the writing didn't exist in Moses' time, so he couldn't have written the Pentateuch...until writing was discovered nearly a thousand years prior to Moses' day!

The disputes go on and on, but the Bible has withstood. Why? Because it is the word of God, and its ability to prove its honest account of all that it records is one more proof of its divine inspiration. Please, brothers and sisters in Christ: do not throw away your confidence, which has much reward. Let God be true, and every man a liar, Romans 3:4. Decide now to stand; put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and not be swept away by the floods of knowledge, falsely so called, 1st Timothy 6:20. My prayer is for the church to recall that within the pages of the Bible we have all that we need for life and godliness, and that nothing profitable has been withheld from us. The Bible is our lamp for our feet and a light for our path; if you muffle that light by your unbelief you are going to wander in darkness and suffer needlessly by mistrusting the only Being in existence who is wholly worthy of all trust: Jesus Christ. God be merciful on how pathetically flaccid the strength of our faith has become.

2 comments:

  1. Great post Ian.

    If only parts of the Bible are true, it is just a work of historical fiction, and we need not concern ourselves with it.

    I am thankful that "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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3;16-17)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I admire your faith Ian. I also enjoy you're insights...though our spiritual path is different. I have a deep respect for you and I'm enjoying your book a lot! I would love to meet up with you when I return home this summer in Aug!

    ReplyDelete

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," 2nd Timothy 3:16.

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All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.