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MAN’S NEED FOR BIBLE AUTHORITY
I realize the world in general does not choose to recognize the sovereignty of God, and His right to govern them in any matter, secular or religious. Articles such as this one, as well as the ones to follow on this subject will have little effect on them. Yet, at the same time it is my hope that these articles will be useful to those who profess to believe in God and are willing to recognize and accept His authority.
We live in a divided, confused, religious world today. This stems from a lack of respect for God, and a disregard of His authority. This attitude is the underlying cause of every departure from the truth through the centuries, whether in the church or out. People are confused and led astray because they do not know what the right standard is, nor how to follow it. And the Lord’s people are certainly not immune from the same malady.
Is there really a need for Bible authority? Yes! Even the people in Jesus’ day recognized this. In Matt.21:12-15 we find Jesus cleansing the temple of God by overturning the merchandisers and money changers. Later He was confronted by the chief priests and elders who asked Him, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Matt.21:23. Their questions showed at least two things. 1. They recognized a need for authority in religion. 2. That such authority must come from someone who has the right to grant it.
Jesus said He would answer their questions, but first they had to answer His question. “The baptism of John – where was it from? From heaven or from men?” Matt.21:24-25.
The question Jesus asked indicated there were only two sources of authority in religion. Either it came from God, or it came from men. The religious leaders recognized the force of His question and refused to press Jesus for His authority. But they knew that it came from God and not men.
There is still a need today for Bible authority for God has not changed. It is no different today than it was then. Men must have authority to act religiously, and this authority to act can only come from one who has the right to give it. It must either come from heaven or from men. Jesus has been given the right to this authority by God. It came from heaven, not men. Read Matt.17:5; Matt.28:18. His authority has been revealed to us on the pages of the New Testament, written by inspired men 1.Thes.2:13; Phil.4:9; 2.Thes.2:15. They are the commands of God 1.Cor.14:37. The Faith (the gospel message in organized form) Jude 3, delivered by the Holy Spirit to these inspired men has not changed since it was given, because Jesus, the one who sent the Holy Spirit to guide them, Jn.14:25-26; 16:7-15, has not changed Heb.13:8. He is the same today as He was then, and so is the faith delivered. Men today are limited to what is written. We are warned not to go beyond what these inspired men wrote 1.Cor.4:6; 2.Jn.9. Even an angel cannot change it Gal.1:6-9. That is why we must continue to ask, “By what authority do you do these things?” “Does it come from heaven or from men?”
As pointed out in the last issue of this paper (7-29-07), most of the religious world has lost respect for God’s authority (His right) to govern men in religious matters. Yet, as sovereign Jehovah God He has every right, both as Creator and Sustainer of life, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, …” (and) “… in Him we live and move and have our being…” Acts 17:24, 28a. As such, God is not only to be honored, respected and worshipped; His will is also to be accepted and obeyed. He will one day bring all men into account. Therefore He “now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30b-31. These things being true it behooves us to listen carefully to what He has said. “See that you refuse not Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him (God’s Son –t.t.) who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn from Him who speaks from heaven...for our God is a consuming fire.” Heb.12:25, 29.
Realizing the truth about these things should cause all sincere religious people to study the subject of authority more often and more carefully, to be more aware of the need for Bible authority for all we say and do Col.3:17. Let me ask you; Do you really want to go to heaven when you die? If so, where does one go to learn how to get there? If you answer, “I go to the Bible,” let me ask some more questions. How certain are you that you are doing the right things, following the proper instructions, in being saved, and doing the things that are approved of by God and pleasing to Him? Are you confident that your faith and practice conforms to what God has said? Can you prove from the scriptures that the things you believe and practice religiously are right and true?
The reason for asking the above questions is to get you to think. When such questions are asked, the Christian should be able to answer with confidence. Peter wrote, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” 1.Pet.3:15. Yet, many people answer the questions with a note of uncertainty. Others may answer with confidence at first, but when pressed to do as Peter wrote, they become uncomfortable. Why? Because they are unable to go to the source, (God’s word), and find the answer. Or, they realize the standard they are using is faulty. It is not the word of God.
Notice some of the standards used by men to determine authority for religious practices? I DO IT BECAUSE I LIKE IT. Some religious people do what pleases them. They see no need for scriptural authority. They are not concerned with what God wants or demands, they just do what they want.
(This will be pursued further in the next issue).
By Thomas Thornhill via THE BUCKHORN TEACHER Vol.6 August 12, 2007 No.6
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