Thursday, June 24, 2010

"It Is Written"

"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die... The woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die" (Genesis 2:16-17; 2-3).

We do not know why Eve added the restriction of "neither shall ye touch it" to God's command originally spoken to Adam. However, of this we can be sure: the human race has ever since been plagued by great difficulty in accurately knowing the word and will of God.

This is why our Lord gave to us the Bible. We desperately need an authoritative text to originate, sustain, and protect our understanding of Truth. Our own surmisings lead us astray - "there is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 16:25). The thoughts of other human beings just as susceptible to error are also fraught with danger - "many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). Nor can internal impressions, leadings, voices, and promptings concerning God's will be considered reliable in a world inhabited by "seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (I Timothy 4:1).

In His wilderness temptation, the Lord Jesus Christ countered and overcame Satan by precise wielding of "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17). Our Savior quoted the book of Deuteronomy three times as He confronted three temptations. He stood and fought on the basis of "It is written" (a phrase used 63 times in the New Testament alone). Considering that the Lord Jesus was Himself the living Word, this fact is striking. One might suspect that He could have faced devilish challenge by affirmation of His Father's personal presence, voice, and internal leading. Instead, He wielded the weapon of "It is written."

How much more must we wield the same tangible sword. This is a great challenge in a generation of relativism and subjectivism in both the world and the church. If we can trust current statistical surveys, nearly all unbelievers and most professing believers do not think that absolute truth exists. This excludes the Bible from considerations of truth because it claims for itself absolute perfection concerning its expression of light and reality. "Every word of God is pure... All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (Proverbs 30:5; II Timothy 3:16). Little wonder, therefore, that much of the institutional church is ignored and mocked by a world that sees it attempting to wage a swordless and shieldless fight for Truth.

We must be sure that we are armed and prepared to "fight the good fight of faith" (I Timothy 6:12). The Lord Jesus showed us the way by His devotion to the text of Scripture. We must join the battle, fighting from the victory of Calvary, the empty tomb, and the occupied heavenly Throne as prophesied by the Old Testament, and proclaimed by the New. "It is written." It is, and we are honored and required to join the Captain of our salvation by wielding the same Sword of the Spirit in which He so clearly trusted.

"Thy Word is truth."
(John 17:17)

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