Monday, January 21, 2013

Necessity of Scripture

Today we find ourselves in the midst of a significant period of time. It is an era that has popularly come to be known as the “Information Age.” At the push of a button, click of a computer mouse, or a touch of a device’s screen, we have more information instantly accessible to us than at any other point of history. Hundreds--even thousands--of books are available for any person to gather information, whether true or false, on any given subject. Even for those who deem themselves part of the Christian population, there are multiple publishing companies and retail stores that offer information on any topic or doctrine. As valuable as this wealth of information can be, these instant resources unfortunately have a tendency to lead us into believing that the written Word of God is no longer a vital resource for followers of Christ. In this particular post, I would like to share a few brief points from Scripture itself that I believe prove that not only will Scripture always be necessary, but that excluding it from our personal lives and ministries is eternally dangerous.

God is constantly communicating and revealing His existence to us through the handiwork of His creation (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:19-21). Through these means, we as humans can achieve a knowledge of His existence and attributes apart from His written word; but, we cannot rely on these self-revelations alone to show us the way to salvation, nor to sustain us in our spiritual journey. It is at this point where it is necessary for us to hear directly from the wisdom of God by turning to our ultimate source of truth, the Bible. There we can see that there are three crucial reasons why Scripture is necessary for us:

1- For knowledge of the gospel 

2- For maintaining spiritual life 

3- For certain knowledge of God’s will.*

• One of the most important reasons why this doctrine of the necessity of Scripture is significant is because we must have God’s word to tell us how to be saved. James 1:18 says, “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth.” This tells us that the church itself is being built through the word of the Lord. The flame of saving faith is born and ignited through the gospel that is only revealed in Scripture. This certainly has a huge impact on us personally, but also for those around us to whom we have been called to minister, teach, and serve. We must fight the urge of our culture to feed our flocks with the empty, highly-processed, self-help grain of our present age. We will always need to hold out the living water of Scripture to witness the miracle of souls being brought from death to life. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

• Not only is Scripture necessary for the birth of salvation, we also require it to maintain and persevere in our spiritual lives. From the point of new birth and forward, the body of Christ (His church) is strengthened and maintained by consistently feeding on these holy, living words. In Matthew 4:4, we see Jesus himself teaching us this truth by quoting a passage from Deuteronomy: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Both as the church and as individual believers, it is necessary for us to continue to receive Scripture through hearing, reading, and studying. If the word of truth has been implanted in us by new birth, then our souls depend on the written word as much as the body depends on oxygen to survive. James was quite blunt concerning this when he stated these particular words in the first chapter of his book: “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21, emphasis mine). Scripture isn’t something that we inhale once for regeneration and then go about holding our spiritual “breaths” to endure. As the human body steadily receives and requires oxygen to exist, so is the Bible necessary to our spiritual survival.

• Even though God grants us general revelations of Himself through creation, it is necessary for us to gain knowledge of Him and His moral will through scripture. In His perfect wisdom, He has willed that the clearest knowledge of him this side of heaven come through His written word, our ultimate source of truth and supreme authority for Christian thinking and living. Because we are born into sin and live in a fallen world, our thinking is fatally distorted and requires the light of truth to transform our perception and understanding of God and how best to obey Him. By looking steadily and intently into His perfect law of liberty, we can gain an increasing knowledge of God and be blessed by pleasing Him through obedience. We are reminded of this when Deuteronomy 29:29 states, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

In order to fulfill our destiny for which we were made, we must embrace and live out the doctrine of the necessity of Scripture each day that we are given. It is His holy, written word--amidst all of the millions of books ever written-- that can truly be...

A light to our path (Psalms 119:105), 
Sweet nourishment to our soul (Psalms 19:10), and
Treasure in which our hearts can delight (Psalms 119:72). 

The Information Age may progress us leaps and bounds in finite, futile wisdom; but it is only through the washing of the water of God’s word that our lives are THOROUGHLY and GLORIOUSLY changed!

By grace and grace alone-

*3 points adapted from text in Bible Doctrine by Wayne Grudem