ESTABLISHING AUTHORITY #1
I believe the scriptures presented in the past few articles say: We must have New Testament authority for all we teach and practice. Therefore, the question, how do we establish authority, is not to be taken lightly.
To ask how we establish authority is to ask, how do we determine what God, in his Book, has taught on any given subject. All right, how do we determine this?
Now as I have said before, when it comes to what the scriptures say, the believers in Jesus are not always found standing on the same hill. However, almost all of them agree that God revealed unto us the New Testament in four different ways. Those four ways being: statements of facts, commands, necessary inferences and approved apostolic examples.
My readers, the purpose of this article and the next few to follow will be devoted to considering these four methods of revelation.
Study with me first please, the statement of fact method.
(1) In Gal. 5:19-21 and Rev. 21:7-8. We do not hear God command that we refrain from adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, drunkenness, lying, murder and many other evil things. No, in each of these scriptures, we only hear God make a statement about those who live wicked lives. In Gal. 5:19-21, he said they shall not enter the kingdom of God. But, said he: "They shall be cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 21:7-8). Nevertheless, God by the statement of facts method has revealed unto us that the ungodly will be lost. So even if God had not commanded us to turn away from the works of the flesh, these two statements of fact would have let us know we must.
(2) That which is recorded in Matt. 10:37 is not a command; but just a statement of fact. Yet, it clearly reveals that only those who love the Lord more than their close relatives are worthy of him.
(3) God has commanded that we obey the laws of the land (Rom. 13:1, Tit. 3:l,1 Pet. 2:13), but it is a statement of fact found in Acts 5:29 which reveals we are not to obey any law which is not in harmony with God's law.
(4) In Matt. 7:21, we hear Jesus say, "Not every one that saith unto me. Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." In this scripture there is no command. No, it is just a statement of fact. However, far beyond any doubt, it teaches that only those who do the will of God will be saved.
(5) Again, in John. 8:51, we do not hear the Lord command us to keep his sayings. Yet, by way of a simple statement of fact, he let us know we may avoid death by doing so.
(6) In 1 Cor. 13:3, we are not commanded to love either God or man. Yet, the statement of fact found in this scripture, reveals that without love it is impossible to please God.
(7) If we begin with the Book of Matthew and read through the Book of Revelation., we will not hear God say: I command you to partake of the Lord's Supper. However, in 1Cor. 11:23-26, we find two statements of facts which reveal it is his will that we eat his supper.
(8) In Matt. 6:14-15, it is not the giving of commands, but the stating of facts, which teaches God will not forgive our trespasses unless we forgive those who trespass against us.
My readers, all that has been given unto us by the statement of fact method of revelation could not be recorded in the next twenty-five articles of this publication. But I believe the eight examples given will suffice to prove that God did use the statement of fact method of revelation, in making known unto us his will.
Therefore, I shall use the remainder of this article to show how that many of these stated facts help us to understand what is taught in other scriptures. (1) In John. 8:51, Jesus said: "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." When a man's physical life comes to an end, both God and we say he has died. However, there is another statement, in 1 Cor. 15:22, which proves this was not the death of which Jesus spoke. Yes, it says: All will die this death. Therefore, the promise of Jesus was: Those who keep my saying will not die the second death (Rev. 21:8).
In both Rom. 8:17 and Acts 14:22, it is stated that children of God must suffer in order to receive their inheritance. Now why is this true? These two scriptures do not give us the answer; but others do. Matt. 7:21 says if we are to be saved, we must do the will of God, and Heb. 1:1-2 says God speaks to us through Jesus. Then 2 Tim. 3:12 says all who live as God through Jesus teaches, shall suffer persecution. And finally, there are statements found in 1 Thes. 3:1-5 which teach we must do the will of God, even when it brings tribulation to our door. Yes, these other statements make it easy to understand why. Rom. 8:17 and Acts 14:22 say we must suffer or be lost. Likewise those same statements help us to understand why in Matt. 5:9-12 we hear Jesus state and restate: Blessed are ye when men shall persecute you for righteousness sake.
In 1 Cor. 15:12, we hear Paul ask: "How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" And in 1 Cor. 15:29, again we hear him ask: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" These two questions establish two facts peculiar to the Corinthians. Some of them were teaching: There will be no resurrection, yet they themselves had been baptized for the dead. Yes, it is easy to understand this, but who were the dead for whom they had been baptized? Were they being baptized for others who had died not having been baptized? There are those who think so. All right, are there other statements of facts which can help us to understand this one? Yes, there are others which state that each of us are to be judged according to what we have done. And that as death find us, so shall we be found on the day of judgment (2 Cor. 5:10, Rev. 20:11-13. Heb. 9:27, Luke 16:19-26). So we now know 1 Cor. 15:29 does not say the living were being baptized for the dead who were not baptized. All Paul was saying to those people was: If you do not believe, that you as a dead person, will be raised from the dead, then why were you baptized in behalf of yourself as a dead person. What Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:30-32 proves this beyond a doubt.
So, yes indeed some statements of facts help us to understand others.
By: Tommy Hodge
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