Monday, August 26, 2013


    Many years ago, a sitting American president redefined one of the most elemental words in the English language in order to escape impeachment and removal from office.  When asked about a false statement he had made, the man responded, "It depends on what you mean by 'is'." 

      I am reminded of another redefinition of terms by a political leader, a ruler who also sought to avoid the threat of Truth.

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also" (Matthew 2:7-8).

    Herod, of course, had no intention to worship, unless one redefines terminology to include murder as an expression of devotion to God.  This cannot be done in real terms, but every person can decide for himself whether he will accept the norm of language and the meaning of words.  Moreover, people like kings and presidents influence others when they redefine commonly accepted definitions, always to the harm of their community and culture.  In Herod's case, the Lord Jesus Christ was ultimately murdered in the name of worship - "
The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:2).  In the case of the aforementioned president, well, it's harder than ever to know what politicians and governmental leaders mean by their pronouncements since the man redefined "is."

    This causes me to think of born again believers, and our relationship with words, particularly, God's words.  "Every word of God is pure" (Proverbs 30:5).  How careful are we with Scripture?  Few more important questions relate to our relationship with the Lord Jesus.  What does the Bible actually say about the issues of life?  Do we hold opinions, viewpoints, and convictions based upon clearly reasoned and researched content and meaning of words, verses, passages, and chapters?  Or, as I try to keep much in mind, "Have I considered the Biblical teaching of particular matters well enough to legitimately hold an opinion about them?" (boy, I wish I'd never thought of that question!).  The consequences of linguistic distortions by kings and presidents pale in comparison to our errors.  Indeed, their detours from Truth merely affect matters of time.  The detours of believers, however, affect eternity.  "
The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:18).

    "What does the Bible actually say?"  We should write the question on the flyleaf of our copy of Scripture.  We should type it onto an often viewed computer screen.  We should put a business card bearing the inscription in our wallet or purse.  Most of all, we should deeply etch the question into our hearts and minds.  Words matter, particularly God's words.  Meaning exists, real and clearly defined meaning.  "Is" means is.  And our lives and eternity are affected by how well we ask and seek answers to the great spiritual and moral question of our existence.  "What does the Bible actually say?"

"Thy Word is truth."
(John 17:17)
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (II Corinthians 4:1-2)

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