Trifling With The Truth
The Bible is God’s divine revelation to mankind, and every word of it is absolute truth. It amazes me how so many will try with all their might to compromise when it comes to direct statements in the Bible. The religious world has tried for two thousand years to find shades of gray in verses that can only be understood as black and white. Why does this happen? Unfortunately, most of mankind has never been satisfied with the simple truth. When this occurs man falls into the same trap that Eve did when tempted by the devil in Eden (Gen. 3:1-6). Man will twist the scripture (2 Pet. 3:16) to make it more comfortable, to make it more to their liking, or in order to conform to a manmade version of the truth. Only when men are willing to return to accepting the truth of God’s word without compromise, will they be able to be pleasing to the Lord. Let’s look at just a few examples of simple and straightforward verses from the Bible that state truths which men have tried for years to “add to” or “take from” (Deut. 4:2).
1. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). This verse seems simple enough to understand; yet man has striven to add to the meaning of the text in many different ways. The New Testament clearly teaches that our faith is developed from hearing and reading God’s word. Every example of conversion in the book of Acts began by God’s word being taught, preached, or read. Many today would have us believe that faith is infused into us by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit or is given to us by visions, dreams, or miraculous intervention. This did occur in the first century before the written word was completed, but these miraculous gifts of revelation were to cease at the New Testament’s completion (1 Cor. 13). Jude was able to speak of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Any doctrine that tells us our faith comes by any other means than hearing God’s word is a contradiction of this verse and an addition to the sacred Text.
2. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Again, we have another verse that seems clear and to the point, but many would even dare to take issue with this simple statement. Many in the Lord’s church today are labeled as intolerant, hateful, and legalistic for simply wanting to show their love for Christ in faithful obedience. Christians should strive to be as obedient to God’s word as much as humanly possible because of their love and reverence for the Lord, but many would claim obeying all of God’s commands can be unloving and violate the “spirit” of what Jesus taught. Obeying commands related to marriage and divorce, church discipline, or adhering strictly to His pattern for worship are seen as being too narrow-minded. Jesus did say, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Can we have it both ways and still be pleasing to God? Can we truly say we love Jesus while intentionally disregarding some of His commandments?
3. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). I actually asked a denominational preacher once if he was willing to change the words of Jesus and say, “He who believes and is not baptized will be saved?” He answered, “Well, you do not have to be baptized to be saved.” It truly is amazing the lengths some will go to in order to support a man-altered version of the gospel. Brethren, let’s always approach God’s word with a humble and submissive heart, and understand that trifling with the Truth will only compromise our souls. -Ed