Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Does God Protect His Word (part 10)?

2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness."

Mormonism says, ""After the book (Bible) hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church...there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book." (1 Nephi 13:28) Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims not only claim that the Bible has been corrupted, but that each group (respectively) contains the only trustworth version! Who is right? The man who is convinced that he can preserve himself and his viewpoint calls God untrustworthy and a liar (see previous posts in this series).

All that God is inspired has a purpose: "so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." Those who say that God's Word is compromised have no other purpose than maintain idolatry by telling God that what He has given in word or deed is not good enough. "The Gnostics had their own fanciful and fantastic books; the heretics all produced their own literature to support and to expound their claims; Paul regarded these tings as man-made things. It is not books like that which help a man; the great books for a man's soul are the God-inspired books which time and tradition and the experience of men had consecrated and sanctified." (William Barkclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon. p. 229)

"This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men." (Titus 3:8) God through His Word must be believed.

God's Word is profitable for teaching. There is great gain through its assistance. This means the reader can approach God's word and ask simply, "what does it say?" This day and age is overrun with "what I think it means" without answering the question, "what does it say." This allows God to speak through His Word to those who are ready to observe and listen, not just see and hear.

God's Word is profitable for reproof, or rebuke. This means the reader can ask, "how do I fail to do what it says?" God's Word holds man responsible. God asked Adam a question on the day He found the man hiding in the garden. "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" In other words, God asked the man, "Did you do what I told you?" My good friend, Jim, puts it this way: everything in the Bible is really the same message over and over and over and over again--we just don't get it. This is why we can open the book, read what it says and begin to take the obedience test. It's is not God's Word that fails or changes. It's us.

God's Word is profitable for correction. That means we that now that we've seen what it says, and we've found out how we've failed to do what it says, we can ask, "what should I be doing?" Well, that's not so hard to find out--go back and review the teaching of scripture!

God's Word is profitable for training in righteousness. This is my favorite part because here we get to ask, "how am I going to do what it says?" This is "game plan" time. We get to take the steps in obedience here, being transformed by renewing the mind. The blessing is that God, through His unchanging Word is not only protecting Himself, but those who walk in His light. We get to be trained for not simply heavenly citizenship, but for walking out His goodness in the world. This is what divides the wicked who do good deeds from the righteous who do good deeds. The wicked only do good deeds in and out of themselves, even perhaps with the hopes that God would be bribed to give them what they don't deserve on their own terms.

When God speaks the ignorant are informed, the erroneous are refuted, the wicked are instructed, and the godly are guided, directed and supported.

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