GUIDED BY GOD'S INSTRUCTION
The first century Christians valued the word of God. They followed God instructions in becoming a Christian. They were also guided by the word of God in their work and worship in God's kingdom. The inspired word of God is called incorruptible seed. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:23) The reason that the Bible is incorruptible seed is because Bible writers were guided or inspired by the Holy Spirit. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21) The Bible was given in written form so that as generations come and go no one needs to live in ignorance of the Way of Life. Today Christians may be furnished completely with instructions needed for any work or service which he should render in the name of Jesus. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17) A person is blessed indeed who has a Bible and can read it.
Three great truths about God's word: (1) We are blessed to have both the Old Testament and the New Testament in our Bible. Even though the will of God for us today is revealed in the New Testament the Old Testament provides many examples of God's justice and mercy. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4) (2) God's word is the seed that produces the kingdom of God, or the church. When the word of God is planted in a sincere heart, a child of God will result from obedience to the gospel. "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God." (Luke 8:11) (3) The word of God must be accepted as our guide in all spiritual matters. We must not change it in any way. "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." (Psalms 138:2)
The Bible is the revelation of God's will to man. There are many who deny the Bible in its entirety. They are infidels, humanists or atheist. There are those who deny the verbal inspiration of the Bible. They are called modernists. There are others who may deny a part of the Bible when it contradicts their denominational creeds. The claim the Bible makes for itself is that, "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple." (Psalms 19:7) The Bible is the word of God and no one can know the mind of God apart from revelation. "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." (1 Corinthians 2:11) Over a period of 1600 years, God unfolded His revelation to human writers, with the result being that the Bible is "inspired of God." In the wilderness Moses reminded the Jews that God, "Humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." (Deuteronomy 8:3) The Bible and the Bible alone is the only creed for Christians to follow and it alone provides for the guidance for His church.
Let us lay aside all of our creeds, and prejudices and study the Word of God with an open Bible and an open mind.
Consider these truths:
1. The word of God is powerful. "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." (Psalms 33:6)
2. The word of God provides guidance for our life. "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." (Psalms 119:130)
3. The word of God purifies our soul. Salvation of the soul is impossible if a person does not receive with meekness the word of God. "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21)
4. Without obedience to the word of God we cannot be made clean in God's sight. "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." (John 15:3)
5. No person will be saved without complete obedience to the word of God. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23)
The word of God is His power unto salvation. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16) The words of Jesus teach us that to become a Christian you must hear the gospel (John 6:44-45), believe in Jesus as the Christ (John 8:24), repent of all sins (Luke 13:3), confess Christ as Lord (Matthew 10:32-33) and be baptized to be saved. (Mark 16:16) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Luke 10:22) "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." (Psalm 12:6)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA