I BELIEVE ALL OF GOD'S TRUTH - DO YOU?
By P.C. Johnson
THE only source of God's truth is the Holy Bible. Of all the many translations, I am convinced that the Authorised Version of the Bible of 1611, sometimes called the King James Bible, is the finest and most accurate source for revealing God's truth and his holy Word.
The Bible cannot be summarised in a few words. But Jesus states the main principles in Matthew 7:12:
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."
Luke 6:31 confirms the same message:
"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
In other words, treat others in the same manner as you would like them to treat you.
(1) EVIDENCE THAT GOD'S WORD IS TRUE
I believe the whole of the Bible to be absolute truth, which is God's truth. Why? Well, because the entire Bible advocates truth, honesty, righteousness, faithfulness, love, charity, peace, justice etc, all the virtues. Obviously then, it would not also include unrighteousness, dishonesty, lies, false doctrine etc. Think about the words of Jesus in Mark 3:24:
"...if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand."
Most people would agree with that. The history of this world over thousands of years reveals that many mighty kingdoms have so fallen through internal division as in the case of the Roman Empire. Again, many of us may have seen commercial companies, small businesses, marriages etc. fail, because the participants did not work together, or followed different ideas or ways. They were divided against themselves. Surely then simple logic cries out that the Bible in its entirety be true. If the Bible contained falsehood as well as truth, it would not have survived this last two thousand years of its existence as it has.
It is alleged that because of translation problems from ancient documents, or because of the possibility of parts missing or parts put in surreptitiously ... there may be errors. REALLY? What sort of God do people think we have? One who is not capable of ensuring his Word is translated and maintained in its integrity and according to His Will? To our omnipotent God it has been a very small thing to ensure his word retains its integrity.
Look about you, the wonder of the celestial sky, the innumerable stars, the wonders of nature, the flowers and creatures - all the work of God's creation. Planet Earth sustaining all life and creation by its unique environment that we are told by some is balanced on a knife-edge. Do not believe them. Our Almighty God can maintain that environment indefinitely. Most important of all, God can ensure that his communication with man by his Word in the Hol yBible is just as reliable, as the rising of the Sun tomorrow morning.
But we have further evidence of the integrity of God's Word. Faithful people of all time and space who believe in the truth of God's Word and in his Son Jesus the Christ, and as a result, with his help, try to follow his precepts. Living their lives, trying to treat others as they would like to be treated themselves. Such people have become aware of God the Holy Spirit helping them, guiding them, speaking to them, and keeping them secure. Without this sort of help none of us can have a stable life or survive it. The Holy Spirit provides the further undeniable evidence of the truth of God's Word, the Holy Bible.
(2) WHAT THE BIBLE TELLS ABOUT GOD
God is a Spirit and he is a triune God. That means that He is three in one. We have (A) God the father dwelling in Heaven. (B) God the Son, who is Jesus the Christ and is at present in Heaven. He visited, the Earth 2000 years ago. Jesus the Son of God is described by various names. The name Christ means the anointed or promised one. The name Messiah means the same. He is also described as the Son of Man, the Redeemer and Shiloh. The third member of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit who is with us now on Earth. We do not have three Gods, this must be understood, WE HAVE ONE GOD only. Perhaps this is better understood as - one God revealed to us in three forms.
We are told in Revelations 19:6 that God is Omnipotent - possessing infinite power. God is also Omnipresent - everywhere and also Omniscient having infinite knowledge.
Many paintings of God the Father, depict an elderly man with a beard and long flowing robes. The Bible tells us in John 1:18 that no man has seen God (The Father). However He did appear according to the Old Testament in angelic form on a few occasions, and of course as Jesus the Christ in the New Testament. We have a very dramatic description of God the Son - Jesus the Christ at his future Second Advent as recorded in Revelation 1:13-16:
"one like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength".
In this description we have the analogy of the 'sharp two edged sword' which refers to God's Word.
(3) THE UNIVERSALITY OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS
Your writer looks upon our presence on this Earth as if we are attending the University of Life, where the syllabus,written by God, is constantly undermined by Satan's activities. God shows us how we can conduct ourselves in order not to harm or hinder others, and ourselves in accordance with God's truth. All of us are aware of the existence of evil in this world thanks to the media as well as our own experiences. The Bible clearly tells us what is right and what is wrong. See Galatians 5:14-26. At any case, man has hereditary knowledge of what is right or wrong. See Genesis chapter 3 especially verse 5.
The sole cause of all evil including illnesses is Satan. He spends his time persuading us to practise wrong, making us ill and tempting us to avoid righteousness. He is universally successful! The whole Earth is infested with his wrong, both man and all creation. Note that the word infest is used. All things that are wrong in man - the Bible calls it sin - are in effect the evidence if you like of the terminal disease (called sin) resulting in mortal death.
Perhaps some may feel that he or she is living a reasonably good life treating others as he or she would wish to be treated - fine - but wait a minute. Let us consider a lesson from Job. In chapter 1 verse 8 and chapter 2 verse 3 (to be read), God describes Job as an upright man. When in chapters 38 to 42 God speaks personally to Job, he does not condemn him, but Job is so overwhelmed by God's presence, perfect purity and righteousness, he (Job) condemns himself. In chapter 40 verse 4 he says:
"Behold I am vile".
Again in chapter 42 verse 6 he says:
"Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes".
We all will have to give an account of ourselves before God in the future and may well feel as Job, and express our remorse and lack of righteousness. Paul tells us in Romans 6:23:
"For the wages of sin is death... "
Note that he says 'wages', not punishment. Here 'the wages of' means 'the result of'. Our own sins destroy us. Paul also tells us in Romans 3:23:
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God".
The glory of God in the quotation means God's perfect righteousness. Elsewhere the Bible confirms that no one is free of sin. This is proven by the fact that all of us suffer mortal death.
So it seems that the hypothetical Universityof Life has no students successfully completing the course with a passing out degree. Has God failed to persuade any of us to follow His truth? As Paul says in a different context, 'God forbid'. It is of course we who have failed.
As happens in any university, it is the student who fails, not the instructors. There may be imperfect instructors in earthly universities but God is omniscient and the perfect instructor in the Universityof Life.
Of course God has not failed, as stated above and it is worthy of a repeat, we have failed, every one of us.
(4) THE FAILURE OF ISRAEL
The situation has been made worse over the years by the failure of Israel to follow God's truth. From about midway in Genesis up to Matthew 12, the Bible primarily has Israel in view. Israel was the 'river' God selected from the great Gentile 'ocean' through which he would purify the great Gentile ocean itself. (All mankind). Through inspiration from God, Israel's prophets recorded God's Word for all future mankind. When reading the Bible we must always be very careful to note to whom God's Word was being addressed. Much error has been made in getting this wrong.
Israel was to be God's servant nation as Isaiah tells us in chapter 41:8:
"But thou Israel art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend".
They let God down, they failed and through disobedience were banished and scattered throughout the world. The tiny remnant of faithful Israel who were in Palestine when Jesus was born, were all that were left, the numerous rest were long gone throughout the world.
(5) THE IDENTITY OF THE JEWS
It is necessary at this point to record that the Jews and the Israelis at present in Palestine are not the Children of Israel, save possibly less than 5%.The great mass of the Jewish people are made up of the various nations and peoples who moved into Samaria and Judea after the ten tribes of the House of Israel and the two tribes of the house ofJ udah were exiled abroad between 586 and 538 B.C. The Bible tells us why and who occupied the Israel homelands from several nations but they were predominately Edomites (descendants of Esau). See Ezekiel 35:10 and 36:5; 2 Kings 17:24; Psalms 83:3-12; Zechariah 7:13, 14. (To be read with contexts)
God often referred to the Children of Israel as 'my sheep' in the Bible and in John 10:26 Jesus says:
"But ye (the Jews) believe not, because ye are not of MY SHEEP, as I said unto you".
These words of Jesus - who is remember, as much God as both the Father and the Holy Spirit- cannot be ignored let alone doubted. Here Jesus is telling the Jews emphatically, that they are not part of the Children of Israel. Again in Matthew 15:24 Jesus says:
"...I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel".
The Jews were there in Palestine then, not lost at all. So Jesus could not have been speaking about them. The epistle of James, written about A.D.60, provides further information
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the TWELVE tribes (ALL the Children of Israel) which are SCATTERED ABROAD, greeting"
The Jewish religion and its followers,do not accept that Jesus was the Christ.A tragic major error of doctrine.
(6) ISRAEL STILL EXISTS
The Bible frequently records God's promises that a remnant of Israel will exist through the many years (2520) of their banishment. Isaiah 1:9 is only one of many such references confirming this:
"Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah".
Jeremiah in chapter 51 verse 5 adds to this:
"For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God of the Lord of hosts".
Among the faithful remnant of Israel existing through the ages, many originally would have been aware of their identity as Israelites. As years passed this knowledge may have been largely forgotten. History does show that some have been aware of their identity, even up to the present day, as is confirmed by Paul in chapter 11 verse 25:
"... that blindness IN PART is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (the Second Advent).
The Book of Common Prayer makes many references in phraseology commonly used in the Bible relating to the Children of Israel. For example in the Magnificat which comes from Luke 1:54, 55 we read:
"He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our (Israel's) forefathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever".
Elsewhere in the Book, many prayers, which are thought to be of ancient origin, contain such phrases as: 'thy chosen people'; 'thine inheritance'; 'thy people'; 'the glory of thy people Israel'. These phrases specifically refer to Israel in Scripture text, and show that the original, probably ancient contributors to the writing of the Prayer Book were aware of their identity with Israel.
Many people today are well aware of their identity with true Israel. But due to fear of being ostracised and/or political correctness, they keep silent about their belief. A few of us admit our belief in our identity.We are then accused of being racist and/or spreading false doctrine. Our critics ignore the ample confirming evidence in Scripture as well as in secular sources, both of which they apparently do not check out. In addition, they appear unable to find any scriptural evidence to the contrary. As the Right Revd J.C. Ryle the late Lord Bishop of Liverpool pointed out in the 19th. century, 'men have gone on in a pernicious habit of spiritualising the words of the prophets until their true meaning has been well nigh buried'. He goes on to say, 'the rejection of Israel was literal, so also will be the restoration'. Jeremiah records a prophecy in chapter 31 which would be impossible to spiritualise. In verses 35 and 36 he proclaims:
"Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar: The Lord of hosts is his name: If these ordinances depart from before me saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a NATION before me for ever. "
This refusal to accept and also to ignore this truth of God's Word is a classic example of Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 11:14:
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light". (see verse 15 as well).
Satan is only too happy that people are unaware of the identity truth concerning Israel, and that the church temporal has been spiritualising the prophets' words. As Bishop Ryle maintained, 'the prophets words are meant to mean what they seem to mean' . The way God reveals his truth to individuals is always easily understood.
Israel very much exists today as several nations and many people, as well as many small enclaves scattered throughout the world of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic origin. If all these true Israelites became aware of their identity, ancient history and foretold future, they might be more likely to turn to belief in God the Father and Jesus the Christ. Unfortunately Israel and the rest of the world today are behaving in a despicably unrighteous manner, even as the ancestors of Israel behaved long ago. They have no belief in God and ignore him, seeking modern Idols, just as the Adamic race behaved before the flood. The Adamic race, Sodom, Gomorrah, Nineveh and others were all given fair warning by God of what would be the result of their misbehaviour. They ignored God and so were removed from the Earth.
God did not, however, remove or abandon his people Israel, no doubt because of his promises to them. He has nurtured them and chastised them through nearly 4000 years. Today they are many nations, still disobedient, still unrecognised as true Israel. It is a lesson to the whole world that God keeps his promises. Malachi 3:6 is adamant on this point:
"For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob (Israelites) are not consumed".
So far we have considered:
(1) Evidence that God's Word is true.
(2) What the Bible tells about God.
(3) The universality of unrighteousness.
(4) The failure of Israel.
(5) The identity of the Jews.
(6) Israel still exists.
We now consider the final and most important phase of God's plans for all mankind - to rescue us all from all unrighteousness.
(7) THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE
As we saw above, Paul told us in Romans 6:23:
"For the wages of sin is death... "
In the same verse he goes on to say:
"...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord".
We saw above how our own unrighteousness causes our death. We further saw from Job how our own righteousness, however good, is not good enough, we need better righteousness. Now, scripture tells us of two types of righteousness (A) Our own selfrighteousness which inevitably is imperfect and (B) the righteousness of God which is perfect. We all know how to control ourselves and practise (A) Scripture tells us how we can obtain (B) God's righteousness in ourselves. It is called salvation and is also God's free gift to man, which if we honestly believe it, will cleanse us of all our unrighteousness. If we believe this,we are exercising our faith in God's word.
How can this be you may say, when the law of God condemns to death all who have sinned and we saw above that the result of sin itself automatically causes our death. God provided the solution to this problem long, long ago. John chapter 3 verses 16 to 18 relates this solution:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him (Jesus) is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God".
These eloquent words of John explain God's salvation for us all. Read them again and commit them to memory, they are so important. Scripture has long promised a Saviour for mankind called in the Greek 'the Christ' and in the Hebrew 'the Messiah' both of which mean 'the promised or anointed one'. This promise is also written in the stars of heaven from millions of years ago. He was to come to earth as a tiny child, attain manhood, preach the gospel of salvation and become King over Israel and then save the whole world from sin. But the Jews (pseudo Israel) rejected him and had him murdered by crucifixion. Jesus the Christ who, let itbe understood, is God in human form, is an infinite being, who took on himself all the sins of all mankind of all time and space, and in obedience to the law, paid the ultimate penalty on behalf of us all in his death upon the cross. He rose from the dead on the third day overcoming death. All that is asked of us is to truly believe from the heart this incredible story of salvation through Jesus the Christ. It is absolutely essential for us to do this, not only to be cleansed but also to pass on to eternal life after we leave this world. It will also ease our present life on this Earth.The words of the hymn by H.Bonar come to mind. The first verse: "I heard the voice of Jesus say; Come unto me and rest; Lay down thou weary one lay down; Thy head upon my breast; I came to Jesus as I was; Weary and worn and sad; I found in him a resting place; And he has made me glad".
Looking back to the types of righteousness (A) and (B) above, Particularly (B), righteousness of God is given to us if we believe in Christ. Romans chapter 4 gives us details of this and should be read. Verses 24 and 25 tell us:
"But for us also, to whom it (righteousness) shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification".
Dr Scofield gives an excellent summary of this. 'Imputation is the act of God whereby he accounts righteousness to the believer in Christ who has bourne the believers sins in vindication of the law'. God in effect says of the believer 'reckon to him my merit' Thus, the law no longer finds fault in us. We are no longer under the law, but under the grace of God. Grace in this context means 'divine regeneration' and 'unmerited favour of God'. Unmerited means not earned by us. Paul in Galatians 5:22, 23, tells us what character will be produced in us, not by self effort, but by the Holy Spirit:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law".
In the same chapter in verses 19-21 Paul lists unrighteous works and should be read.
This of course does not mean we can do anything we like and sin.We must try harder to do right,we now have God's righteousness in us and the example and instruction of Jesus to follow.The Holy Spirit will now help us and gradually mould us into his righteousness.
Under (1) Evidence that God's word is true, above, contact by the Holy Spirit was briefly considered. It is true that the help of the Holy Spirit is given us, often it comes as a thought in one's mind, and is usually not recognised. Elijah's impression of a 'still small voice' in 1 Kings 19:12, I believe refers to this.
Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit is always with us, and is enlightening, strengthening, enduing skills and wisdom, giving divine revelations, empowering, holy, good, helping ignorance and infirmity and especially a comforter. His contact has been described as like a tiny window opening in the mind, or provision in the mind of guidance or of an instant solution to a problem and certainly imposing quick physical action to avoid danger. The hymn by Harriet Auber comes to mind especially verses 3 and 4: "And his that gentle voice we hear, Soft as the breath of even, That checks each fault that calms each fear, And speaks of heaven. And every virtue we possess, and every victory won, And every thought of holiness, Are his alone."
The evidence of the action of the Holy Spirit may indicate the veracity of a believer's faith, or perhaps an action to persuade belief. We must always watch to recognise such communication, which can be very real, but beware of imagination.
Matthew 25:1-13 relates the parable of the ten virgins waiting to meet the bridegroom (Jesus at his Second Advent) Five had oil in their lamps and five had none when the bridegroom came. The five who had oil went into the marriage and the door was shut. The other five went first to buy oil, but as a result were too late, they were refused entry. Oil in scripture is I believe representative of the Holy Spirit. Scripture indicates that we must be genuine in our belief in God and in his Son Jesus the Christ and his salvation. The five virgins without oil obviously knew about the coming bridegroom (Jesus) but did they have the indwelling Holy Spirit? It would seem not.
The marriage relates to the second advent of Jesus the Christ. Scripture gives a lot of detail about this event. Christ will return in great glory as the great King and reign for one thousand years on Earth. Peace, righteousness and the removal of all evil from all creation and man are promised. Many students of scripture are convinced, as is your writer, that this blessed event is imminent.
Scripture warns us of the great loss we may experience at that time if we do not put our trust in our Lord Jesus the Christ even as the five virgins, whose lamps had no oil, found out. Such trust carries with it not only forgiveness of all sin, but the promise of eternal life to follow on our present mortal lives. Scripture describes our present world in John 3:19:
"...light (salvation) is come into the world, and man loved darkness (sin and no knowledge of God's truth) rather than light, because their deeds were evil".
If we resolve in this life to cling to righteousness with honest belief in Jesus the Christ, we can be sure of the full support of the Holy Spirit who we must remember is God. Self-reformation on its own will fail, but with the Holy Spirit supporting us - as Paul says in Romans 8:37:
"we are more than conquerors through him that loved us".
The words of Isaiah 40:31 are appropriate here when we consider God's gift to us of eternal life:
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. "
"And now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." - Jude verses 24 and 25.
With acknowledgements to the late Dr. C.I. Scofield DD and to the late Right Revd J.C.Ryle Lord Bishop of Liverpool.
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