I met a man recently who asked what I do for a living. Upon hearing that I am a gospel preacher, he began to talk about the differences in teachings from one religious organization to the next. At the conclusion of our conversation, he startled me by saying, “Well, there are just so many different interpretations of the Bible, I don’t guess we can tell who’s teaching right or wrong.”
That’s a very popular view these days. In a society that increasingly shuns personal accountability for our actions, we’ve become masters at rationalizing our own ungodly behavior. We’re often told that our behavior is a direct result of our genetic code, our home environment, the persecution we feel from others, and myriad other causes that help shift blame away from us. And when confronted with Biblical truth, people will often object, “Well, that’s just your interpretation!”
Truth is, it’s not my interpretation, nor is it your interpretation. All Scripture is profitable because it is God’s inspired word (2 Tim 3:16)! Consider the following:
God always says exactly what He means. As He created the world, God spoke: “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3). Creation did not stop to have a debate on how that was to take place. His word is far too powerful to second-guess — when the command went forth, nature obeyed! A lot of people would love to second-guess what God has said through His word. If, however, one accepts that God is all-powerful, does it not stand to reason that He is capable of communicating to His creatures in a clear and meaningful way? When God says, “Love one another” (John 13:34), does anyone misunderstand? Yet when God says, “he who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16), the mental gymnastics begin as men struggle to find a spiritual “loophole” or reason why God did not mean exactly that! Friends, please understand that God is interested in our salvation (2 Peter 3:9), and that He really means what He says in His word!
God said that we can know the truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). How blessed we are to have that statement from the Savior! In a world that thinks that everybody has a different version of truth, Jesus held God’s word up as an objective standard by which we will be judged (cf. John 12:48-49). When honest, sincere people are willing to search (cf. Acts 17:11) they will find what they seek. The greatest problem most men face is notunderstanding what God says. The real problem is that so many lack the will to obey! Only eternity will tell how many people have been presented with the gospel and responded by saying, “I see what it says, but…” How tragic to face the judgment bar of Christ and try to tell the Lord that we just couldn’t understand what He said.
Friends, while men may invent many theories and ideas about what God has said, in the final analysis, His word is all that counts. Let’s not let our hearts be hardened to His truth (cf. 1 Tim 4:1-3). Let’s not hold on to ungodliness while we wait for a “more favorable interpretation.” God says what He means, and means what He says! — John Baker