We’ve just concluded our summer series, “Did God Really Say That?” It was a good opportunity to step back and reconsider some common cliches and misconceptions that often creep into Christian conversation. We looked at seven phrases, but we could have dealt with many more. For me, it was a very helpful practice asking each week “Did God Really Say That?” It’s the kind of question that should lead us to ask many more questions in our continual search for theological clarity and practical, skillful living (aka wisdom). Here are three to consider.
Do I believe in the authority of the Bible?
The question “Did God really say that?” first and foremost demands us to answer the following question: “Who has the rightful authority over my life?” The answer that we should arrive at is God. God is the ruling and reigning King over all the universe because he is the Creator of the universe. And since we are part of his creation, we fall under his jurisdiction of rule. And rather than keep us clouded in mystery, he has given us the Scriptures to reveals himself to us, reveal the truth about our sinful condition, and to reveal his awesome plan of redemption in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Bible is God’s Word, imbued with God’s authority to guide us into knowledge of and relationship with God himself (Psalm 119:105).
What does the Bible teach about this topic, and do I believe it?
Because the Scriptures are from God, they reflects God’s goodness, reliability, and truthfulness. The Bible is the progressive revelation of God written by men as they were guided by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) not simply for good advice or counsel, but to infuse life into dead souls. The Bible announces the gospel (good news) which is the “power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). The trans formative nature of the gospel is what empowers Christians to live in subjection to God’s Word and in obedience to its decrees and commands. So, our posture as Christians is to judge our lives (thoughts, motivations, actions) by what Scripture teaches as a response to God’s grace.
Is what I am about to say in line with what Scripture clearly teaches, and is it helpful to the person I’m speaking with?
By applying the gospel and God’s law to our hearts, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to embark on mission with him. That means delightfully declaring and demonstrating the gospel to all people we encounter. In other words, we communicate with our actions and words that God is worthy of praise and worship. It also means that we should faithfully convey the truths of Scripture when we speak to one another and especially to unbelievers, making sure our words are “gracious, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6). Ultimately, our desire should not be to win an argument but to lovingly lead them to life-giving repentance (John 20:30-31). Delivering truth with the right intention in the right way makes all the difference.