Willfully and Obstinately Ignorant

Dearest hijas and hijo,

“The person who sins will die. The daughter will not bear the punishment for the mother’s iniquity, nor will the mother bear the punishment for the daughter’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon herself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon herself” (Ezekiel 18:20).

Jesus was in the temple in Jerusalem one day and all the people were coming to Him, and He sits down and begins to teach them. The scribes and Pharisees—always following Jesus around and tracking His whereabouts—were also there listening to Him.

(John 8:12)

Beginning in verse 12 of John chapter 8, Jesus says this: “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

This is one of the several great “I AM” statements in John’s gospel (6:35; 8:58-59; 10:9; 10:11; 11:25-26; 14:6; 15:1). The reference that Jesus is drawing them to is in Exodus 3:14 where God is speaking to Moses and says, “I AM WHO I AM.” This is known as the tetragrammaton. Look it up. In essence, Jesus was equating Himself with the Yahweh of the Old Testament; the God of Israel and the Sovereign LORD of the universe. The Pharisees go apoplectic. “You can’t say that! You’re a liar! You’re falsely inflating yourself! Why, you’re just a man, how can you say that? Who do you think you are?” (v.13).

You see, the Pharisees were walking in darkness, “from below” and “of this world,” Jesus says, and were mockingly sneering at Him. “He was not of this world” (v.23), and tells them “I am going away and they will look for Him, but they shall die in their sin“, because “where He is going they cannot come” (v.21). He further clarifies that for them in verse 24, “Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”

(The deceitful and wicked heart. Who can understand it? Jer. 17:9)

Sin is individualistic, isn’t it? I am not held accountable for your sin and you’re not held accountable for my sin. We are each held accountable for our own sin before God. How does one die in their sin? Be willfully and obstinately ignorant of it. A sure-fire guaranteed way to miss heaven is to be willfully and obstinately ignorant of your own sin—to live and act as if it doesn’t exist. It’s always dark when you love your sin—a willful darkness. When you pretend you’re not a sinner and think your own self-righteousness is good enough, then that’s when you have to worry. Jesus says in John 3:19 that judgement has come upon men and women due to their love of the darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil. In other words, they love their dark evil deeds and want to obstinately and willfully stay there in that place of darkness. This hardening of one’s heart is the judgment and the damnation. As long as you are obstinately loving your sin, and cherishing it like it was your favorite Dove ice cream bar, you will die in your sin. Pride and self-righteousness will damn one to hell just as quick as murder and theft. All are the evil deeds of darkness.

The remedy? Believe that Jesus is “I AM WHO I AM.” Bend the knee of the mind and repent. Stop being obstinately and willfully ignorant. Forsake your sin and call out to Christ for mercy and forgiveness. Walk not in darkness but embrace Him as the light of life.

(Out of darkness and into the light)

Thanks be to God, mis hijas y hijo, that He has regenerated you into ‘born again’ status. Do you thank Him every day for that? Do you give Him praise for this act of mercy on your behalf? It is His work, His grace that you bent the knee of repentance and moved from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Continue then to “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21).

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Is God’s Word the Basis for all Truth? – Part 5

Dearest hijas and hijo,

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

The Word of God claims for itself: divine origin. What does that mean? By now, if you’ve been reading this series of posts, you will remember that we have been talking about what Scripture claims for itself: inerrancy, infallibility, authoritativeness, sufficiency, completeness, effectiveness, and divine origin. The picture here of divine origin is: From God Himself as its source. God’s speaking to us in Scripture comes through what theologians call verbal and plenary inspiration. It means every word, and all the words. Does that make sense? Every word, and all the words of Scripture—verbal and plenary—come out God-breathed (Gr. theopneustos, 2 Tim. 3:16) from God Himself as the source of those words. As the apostle Peter in the quote above affirms, no Scripture was made by an act of any human will, but men—sometimes in chains in jail or exiled on sparsely populated islands—moved by the Holy Spirit, wrote the very words that God wanted spoken or written.

Theologians refer to Scripture as one aspect of special revelation. But we have to remember that when God speaks and inclusive of the totality of special revelation He has done so in several unique ways:

a) direct acts (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:9-11; Deut. 5:4; Deut. 34:10-12; Exodus chps. 3-14; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 12:28)

b) dreams and visions (Is. 6:1-4; Dan. 9:20-21; Rev. 1:10-16)

c) Christ’s incarnation (Jn. 1:1-5, 14; Jn. 14:9-10; Col. 1:15, Heb. 1:1-3)

d) Scripture (the Bible) (Heb. 1:1, Ps. 19:7-11)

(Ex. 19:16-18)

He has not just spoken in Scripture only, but throughout human history in various ways and at various times, in many cases directly to a person or people (Deut. 5:4). All the words of Jesus Himself as God incarnate is God speaking as well. You need to get a grip on that. When Jesus speaks, it is God Himself, the creator of the universe, who is speaking (Jn. 1:3, Col. 1:16). This has enormous implications, doesn’t it? When Jesus speaks, God is speaking, and since He cannot lie and never sinned, it is true truth that you can bank on. You can trust that what He says is what He wants you to know and believe and is absolutely true.

Special revelation is then conjoined with general revelation (God’s witness of Himself through what has been created), as a two-pronged testimony to God’s existence so that no man or woman is without excuse (Rom. 1:20). As I mentioned before in the postscript to a previous post: (the seduction of scientism: a warning), once you understand that there is no one who stands before you that does not know God, it will empower you like nothing else can. No one is able to say, “I don’t know God.” That is a lie and people who claim it are deceiving themselves. Your fundamental approach in conversation then completely changes, doesn’t it? You can start with the knowledge they already have of God to lovingly convict the conscience of sin. There is no need to ‘prove’ God’s existence because at base they already ‘know’ of God’s existence. It is their sin they need to be convinced of.

(Toxic sin must be dealt with)

So, back to the topic question of this series—Is God’s Word the Basis for all Truth? The answer is, unequivocally, yes. Is it exhaustive? No, but for that reason it is not untrue. It is however, the basis for all historical truth, scientific truth, philosophical truth, moral truth, mathematical truth, medical truth, etc. You can lay your Bible open against any truth claim, and find the principle or basis or foundation for truth in any area of human inquiry. No area of knowledge is untouched. Does it describe the workings of the DNA molecule or the equation for determining a right angle? How about the workings of the neurons in the brain or parallax to the nearest star? You can think of myriads of examples the Bible doesn’t cover. It is not exhaustive. But what it does give is the basis or foundation or principle for why any of those other things make sense. It gives the basis for reason and logic, for order and regularity, for the laws of nature that govern this universe and upon which if non-existent this universe including ourselves would be a helter-skelter confusing mess. It is the basis for absolute moral truth because they come from an absolute moral lawgiver. It is the basis for all historical truth because it is God who is the sovereign creator and started the history ball rolling. The basis, thus, for all truth is rooted in Scripture and error comes from not beginning there.

“It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, and ordained all their host. I, the LORD, speak righteousness [true truth], declaring things that are upright [no untruths]. I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me. And who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it. I, even I, am the LORD. Even from eternity I am He; and there is none who can deliver out of My hand. I act and who can reverse it?” (from Isaiah chapters 43-45).

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Is God’s Word the Basis for all Truth? – Part 4

Dearest hijas and hijo,

In Jesus’ High-Priestly prayer of John 17, as He is praying to the Father while gathered with His disciples before His arrest, betrayal, and crucifixion, He says this: “Sanctify them in the truth. Thy word is truth(John 17:17). Think about that for just a minute. Why would Jesus ask the Father to sanctify you in the truth? Sanctify means to make holy or set apart, right? Is Jesus asking the Father to so order your mind to know truth and then equating that truth to God’s Word? Yes, mis hijas y hijo, He is. It is in God’s Word that you find the truth about your existence and the world you live in, the real truth of what is, and not some fantasy story cooked up by man. It is God’s Word that answers the big philosophical questions about being, knowledge, and ethics (morality, values). It gives you true truth about the real world around you: it’s origin, history, life, death, eternity, relationships, heaven and hell, right and wrong—the source of truth for everything needful.

Is it exhaustive? No, for that would require an infinite number of books, wouldn’t it? Since God is infinite, and His knowledge infinite, how can that infinite knowledge be written down? An impossibility. What He has given us however is exactly the same type of communication between you and your friend, you and your husband or wife, you and a co-worker, you and your children, or you and any other person to which you communicate. Even communication between you and someone else is not exhaustive, but for that reason it does mean that it is not true. God’s non-exhaustive communication to you in His Word is no more untrue than your non-exhaustive communication to your friend or spouse or children is untrue—unless you’re a liar. Since God cannot lie, His propositional revelation to you in Scripture is His true communication to you about things He wants you to know. This is exactly what Scripture claims for itself—that God is speaking, and in His speaking He is speaking truly (true truth).

(1 Kings 19:9-18 “God speaks to Elijah”)

So, we’ve been talking about these things that Scripture claims for itself. The Christian church has always affirmed that Scripture claims for itself: infallibility, inerrancy, authoritativeness, sufficiency, completeness, effectiveness, and divine origin. Remember that it is the God behind the text that is speaking. We’ve already looked at the first few of these. Let’s look at a few more:

Complete: “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar” (Prov.30:5-6). Christ’s warning in Revelation 22: 18-19 is applicable to all of Scripture: “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life…” As a reminder, Numbers 23:19 and Titus 1:2 say that God cannot lie. To be complete then means you can’t add to it and you can’t take away from it.

Effective: “…has He said and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19). God Himself speaks, “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). The Word of God declares its own effectiveness, so that whenever you teach it, proclaim it, speak it, sing it, think it, write it, visualize it, or graphically art it, it is powerful and always accomplishes God’s purposes. It does not return void.

You, mis hijas y hijo, are not standing at a crossroads, scratching your head, wondering which road will lead you to truth. God’s Word is the basis for all truth. You have it in your hands, or on the coffee table, or on your phone, and merely need to open it up and read it, teach it to your mind, and regurgitate it back out to yourself and others for wisdom in Godly living. My prayer, always, is that you may be students of God’s Word, and that others when they think of you, will say “Oh how she treasures that Word in her heart.”

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Is God’s Word the Basis for all Truth? – Part 3

Dearest hijas and hijo,

Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path. I have sworn, and I will confirm it. That I will keep Thy righteous ordinances (Ps. 119:105-106).

The law of the LORD is perfect restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether (Ps. 19:7-9).

Notice the adjectives used above in these verses: perfect, sure, wise, right, pure, enlightening, clean, true, righteous. Think on these words for just a minute and define each one in your mind. What does it mean to be perfect and sure, or clean and true? What does it mean to be a “lamp to your feet?” Are you stumbling around in the darkness of sin? The Psalmist (David) is speaking of Scripture here. More desirable than fine gold and sweeter than honey they are able to warn us, he says. To keep them promises great reward. No one is able to see all of one’s own sins—others see our sin more clearly—but we can ask and rest assured that it is God who acquits us of hidden faults.

Is that what the sufficiency of Scripture entails? Remember, we’ve been talking about what Scripture claims for itself. Sufficiency is one of its claims. Just as Psalm 19 is the classic Old Testament example of sufficiency, so 2 Tim. 3:16-17 is the classic New Testament example:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the woman of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Think of the words of Scripture like grabbing hold of a lightening bolt straight to the source of God from which it came. It instructs you in how and what to believe and what God expects from you. It points out where you have erred and departed from what God requires and then shows you the right way to correct it. It shows you how to put its teachings into practice so you can live righteously before God. It accurately communicates God’s message to you in all areas of life and practice. That’s sufficiency—there’s nothing else needed.

Paul says in verse 15 of 2 Timothy chapter 3 that “the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” That’s powerful! Wow! Do you see what Paul is saying here? These Scriptures, these sacred writings are sufficient to lead one to a wisdom that one doesn’t currently have. “What wisdom is that?”, you ask. Answer: It is this book that can bring you to salvation; to a right relationship with God. No other book offers you this kind of wisdom that tells you of the one supreme, sovereign God of the universe that is all truth, knows all truth, is the basis for truth in all matters, and offers you that truth.

Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee one day and he spotted two fishermen (Matt. 4:18-19). They were casting their net into the sea attempting to catch fish—most likely from shore as is common practice even today in many parts of the world. They happened to be brothers. One was Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother was named Andrew. You know the rest of the story, don’t you? Jesus told them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Use the inerrant, infallible, authoritative and sufficient Word of God, mis hijas y hijo to fish for the souls of your friends, co-workers, and loved ones and spell it out for them. Just like Jesus told Peter and Andrew to “Follow Me”, He gives your friends and loved ones the same command. It’s an imperative command. “Follow Me and live; don’t follow Me and face judgment in eternal death.” Never let up in your efforts with the simplicity and directness of this choice that Jesus requires of men and women everywhere. Simple: Option A or Option B? Find different and intriguing ways to use God’s Word to give them the invitation to bend the knee to Jesus and He snatch them from the fires of hell. It’s the only life they have, and once gone then comes judgment.

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Do compromised ideas about origins undermine Scripture’s inerrancy and authority?

Dearest hijas and hijo,

Back in the fall of 1978 a group of Christian leaders and scholars came together in Chicago, Illinois for an important purpose. Much like the councils of old that met to define and defend what was Christian belief and orthodoxy against heresy, (as example see my post The Councils of Carthage: Augustinian/Pelagian Controversy Over Free Will), these leaders and scholars met to defend the doctrine of the inerrancy and authority of Scripture in lieu of the growing liberalism within the Church. There were about 300 of them and their meetings became known as the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. After this initial meeting in 1978 they continued to meet several other times over the next ten years.

As a result of this initial meeting they published a document called the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy” (hereafter CSBI). You can find both this statement on Biblical Inerrancy and their other statement on Biblical Hermeneutics at: https://defendinginerrancy.com/chicago-statements/. You would do well to read through these statements on inerrancy and hermeneutics when you have time and interest.

The preface to the CSBI contains this statement:

The authority of Scripture is a key issue for the Christian church in this and every age. Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by humbly and faithfully obeying God’s written Word. To stray from Scripture in faith or conduct is disloyalty to our Master. Recognition of the total truth and trustworthiness of Holy Scripture is essential to a full grasp and adequate confession of its authority.

In Article XII of the CSBI it says this:

WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit. WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

What is of interest to us, and my reason for the above introduction is that we have been talking about the claims of Scripture for infallibility, inerrancy, and authority in these past few posts. I wish for you to see that others have raised these same issues and addressed them as well, alarmed enough to get together and convene a council. The question I raise in the title of this post is whether the inerrancy and authority of Scripture pertains to origins, and whether any compromise views of origins erodes it.

My conclusion is that all compromise views of origins being promulgated in the Church today (day-age theory (Hugh Ross); gap theory (Thomas Chalmers); framework-hypothesis theory (Meredith Kline); cosmic-temple theory (John Walton); analogical-day theory (John Collins); theistic-evolution theory (BioLogos), etc.) do indeed undermine and erode Scripture’s inerrancy and authority in several egregious ways. No other position upholds Scripture’s claims to inerrancy and authority, except for the historic and orthodox 6-day literal view as held by the Church for 1800 years prior to the early 19th century. Why do I say this?

All old-earth views mentioned above (gap, day-age, framework, cosmic-temple, analogical-day, theistic-evolution) posit a universe and earth billions and millions of years old. They all accept some form of evolution, whether cosmological evolution, geological evolution, or biological evolution. They all deny a global (worldwide) and universal Flood in the days of Noah that destroyed everything by God’s judgment of the then world except Noah and his family and the animals on the Ark. They all significantly downplay or excuse natural evil (earthquakes, tsunami’s, meteorite impacts, mass extinctions, hurricanes, sweeping forest & brush fires, predation, sickness, disease, bloodshed, and death) before the sin of Adam. They downplay or excuse that moral evil (murder, theft, fornication and adultery, etc.) existed before the sin of Adam as seen in people groups that supposedly came long before Adam (e.g. Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal, Aboriginal Australians, etc.)—[it was just animalistic behavior].

The historic and orthodox 6-day literal view posits just the opposite. It posits that the universe and earth are recent (thousands of years, not billions) and created in mature form right from the beginning and very good (Gen.1:31). It posits that both natural and moral evil are a result of Adam’s sin and that because of this sin God cursed the totality of His creation (Gen. 3, Rom. 8). It posits that at the time of Noah God judged the whole earth with a universal and globe-covering year-long Flood that destroyed all humans, all air-breathing land animals, and all birds not on the Ark.

The implications of all old-earth views is that they undermine Scripture’s claims to inerrancy and authority in the following manner: (a) sloppy exegesis of Genesis 1&2 and Ex. 20:8-11 concerning ‘days’ and God’s creating in days of normal 24-hours, (b) misunderstanding and mishandling of the implications of the Curse of Genesis 3 concerning natural and moral evil, (c) outright denial of a global and universal Flood of judgment in Gen. 6-9 as shown by the evidence in the fossil record, the soft-tissue (proteins and original tissues) now being found in many of those fossils, and the geomorphology of earth’s land mass and seas.

I can’t say it any better than has already been said by others:

Follow the link above and read the whole article by Dr. John Byl when you have time, as he lays out the dangerous threats to Biblical inerrancy and authority from all compromise views of origins.

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Is God’s Word the Basis for all Truth? – Part 2

Dearest hijas and hijo,

As a reminder, the Word of God claims for itself:

  1. Infallibility
  2. Inerrancy
  3. Authoritativeness
  4. Sufficiency
  5. Completeness
  6. Effectiveness
  7. Divine origin

We’re investigating the question of whether Scripture has claims on truth. Is it some truth, all truth? What are the categories of truth? We touched on infallibility and inerrancy, as well as God’s Word being determinative last time. so lets look at authoritativeness. Why is it that Scripture claims to be authoritative and what implications does that have for us as individuals and on the nature of truth? Remember, it is obedience to the Word of God that is the validation you are a Christian. Let me say that again, “the validation or proof that you are in the family of faith is your obedience or non-obedience to the Scriptures.” Jesus says in Matt. 7:24-27 that is not those who just hear His words, but the one who ‘acts’ upon them—who implements His words into the warp and woof of their daily life and is obedient to them who will be the wise builder on the foundation of bedrock instead of sand. Those who only ‘hear’ but don’t ‘do’ are destroyed, and great is their fall (hell and lake of fire) (v.27). Standing in front of Christ on that day saying, “but, but, Lord Lord, didn’t we… (empty words and empty hearts), and He will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness” (not all who think they’re in, are in) (Matt. 7:21-23).

Luke 6: 46-49

So what is authority? In its basic definition it means ‘the power or right to do something’. Does God’s Word have this power and right? I mean, that’s the question, right? How am I convinced that God’s Word has authority over me? How am I certain that God’s words conveyed to me in this book are truly His words and therefore has rightful claim to speak truth to me that I need to listen to and obey? And remember, we’re not talking about a written text in the abstract, as if it just stands all alone by itself, but we’re addressing the question of the person (God) behind that text. Psalms 62:11 says, “One thing God has spoken; Twice I have heard this; That power belongs to God.” 2 Chron. 20:6 states, “…Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee.”

This matter of authority rests in God Himself and His attributes as the Scriptures themselves state: omnipresence (Ps. 139: 7-12), omniscience (Ps. 139: 1-6), omnipotence (Ps. 135:6, Jer. 32:17), unsearchable wisdom (Rom. 11: 33-36), sovereignty over His created universe (Ps. 89:11, 90:2), righteousness (Ps. 92:15). How does God’s authority then come through to you and I?—through God’s words to us as recorded in His God-breathed book (2 Tim. 3:16). The words in Scripture have authority because of the authority of the God who spoke them, God-breathed them, and stands behind them. When God speaks everybody better listen.

2 Kings 22:11 The Word of God has authority even over kings (all politicians).
  • The outworking of God’s authority in Scripture can be summarized by a series of negative (what it is not) and positive (what it is) statements, as follows:
  • It is not derived authority bestowed by humans; rather, it is the original authority of God.
  • It does not change with the times, the culture, the nation, or the ethnic background; rather, it is the unalterable authority of God.
  • It is not one authority among many possible spiritual authorities; rather, it is the exclusive spiritual authority of God.
  • It is not an authority that can be successfully challenged or rightfully overthrown; rather, it is the permanent authority of God.
  • It is not a relativistic or subordinate authority; rather, it is the ultimate authority of God.
  • It is not merely a suggestive authority; rather, it is the obligatory authority of God.
  • It is not a benign authority in its outcome; rather, it is the consequential authority of God.

(the above from Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth; Gen.Eds. John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue; Crossway; Wheaton, IL; 2017; p. 107)

Men and women in their sin and depravity will always fundamentally rebel against the Word of God as the truth expressing God’s right to exercise absolute power and authority over them. You, mis hijas y hijo, coming from darkness into the light, can trust it, have confidence in it, use it and speak to it, memorize it and teach it to your mind, share it with others, and be certain of its claims to have the right to exercise authority over your life because of the One who stands behind it. May you seek the LORD and His strength; May you seek His face continually. May you remember His wonders which He has done, and His marvels, and the judgments uttered by His mouth (Ps. 105:4-5).

LISTEN, O HEAVENS, AND HEAR, O EARTH; FOR THE LORD SPEAKS… (Is. 1:2)

I AM THE LORD, THAT IS MY NAME; I WILL NOT GIVE MY GLORY TO ANOTHER, NOR MY PRAISE TO GRAVEN IMAGES (Is. 42:8)

EVEN FROM ETERNITY I AM HE; AND THERE IS NONE WHO CAN DELIVER OUT OF MY HAND; I ACT AND WHO CAN REVERSE IT? (Is. 43:13).

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Is God’s Word the Basis for all Truth?

Dearest hijas and hijo,

We looked last time at three of the battle armor pieces—one of which is the sword of the Spirit in Eph. 6:17. Paul says that this sword is the Word of God. Satan knows that this Word of God is powerfully effective so he tries to stop it. He tries to silence anyone bold enough to proclaim it, use it, point to it, or bring it to bear in any discussion or conversation on matters of life: economics, law, politics, morality, history, science, origins, and especially on any conversation about eternal destiny and the judgment to come (Luke 21:25-27, 34-36). We talked about the fact that you have to so saturate your mind with the Word of God that it dominates your thinking in every area (2 Cor. 10:5).

(Eph. 6:17 She takes up, “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.”)

As part of the full armor of God that we are to take up, the Word of God as a sword is an essential piece. But to take it up you have to have confidence in it—you have to be able to trust it. So the question, “Is God’s Word the basis for all truth?” should be clarified and defined, right? Can you answer ‘yes’ to that question and have full confidence in all of God’s Word, or do you want to add additional modifiers? We’re looking at the word all in our question, and then also at the word truth, and whether there are different categories of truth, i.e., absolute moral truth, historical truth, etc. We’re also looking at the question of what Scripture claims for itself. I wish to address this last question first—“What does Scripture claim for itself?”

(1 Pet. 5:8 “Your enemy, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour.”)

Let me list what the Word of God claims for itself and then we’ll try to unpack each one. It claims for itself:

  1. Infallibility
  2. Inerrancy
  3. Authoritativeness
  4. Sufficiency
  5. Completeness
  6. Effectiveness
  7. Divine origin

There is no other book in existence that can make these claims and substantiate them. A book that is infallible, inerrant, authoritative, sufficient, complete, effective, and of divine origin ought to be cherished. Isn’t that so? The Church since its inception has always claimed the Bible’s self-attesting nature for these claims and every generation since has had to defend them against attacks. This generation is no exception and I’m sad to say that I think those of your generation seem to have lost the handle on this. Many have walked away. They couldn’t get a grip on what Scripture claims for itself, or if understanding them just simply refused to believe them.

There is one other aspect that Scripture claims for itself, in that the Word of God is determinative. In other words, what you do with your Bible reveals your relationship to God. How you treat the Scriptures reveals something about yourself and your character, and is determinative of how you treat God Himself. Show me someone who loves the Word of God, who eats and relishes it like a savory, frosted, nut-encrusted Cinnabon cinnamon roll in her mouth, and I will show you someone who truly knows and loves her God. Show me someone who is cavalier about the Word of God, doesn’t study it, doesn’t really have an interest in reading and knowing it, and I will show you someone who is either bordering on apostasy, heretical in her views, or not even in the family of faith.

(“Her delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law she meditates day and night” Ps.1:2)

So let’s talk about infallibility. Simply put, infallibility means that Scripture is unable to mislead or fail in accomplishing God’s intended purpose. God’s self-revelation to us His created creatures, in it’s entirety, affirms true truth, and this truth will accomplish what God has set out for it to do without fail.

Inerrancy mean’s ‘without error’. When applied to our Bibles it means that Scripture, in the original manuscripts, does not contain any error—it affirms nothing that is untrue or contrary to fact.

Infallibility and inerrancy are inseparably linked, and the Church has always seen them as such and always defended them as such against attacks. Together, infallibility and inerrancy claim that Scripture is true in all that it affirms and true in every single thing it says. To see the self-attesting nature of Scripture in this its veracity, start with Prov. 30:5-6 and follow the reasoning in Ps. 119:43; Ps. 119:160; John 17:17; 2 Cor.6:7; Col. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:15; and James 1:18.

What is at stake, my beloved, is the integrity and character of the divine author: God. Scripture is the product of God’s own work and is attributed to Him. To say that the Scriptures are in error on what they affirm and not true in what they say, is to say that God HImself is in error and not truthful. A dangerous proposition, indeed. Scripture calls this blasphemy, in that you are calling God a liar (see Num. 23:19, Titus 1:2).

We will not have it that God, in his Holy Book, makes mistakes about matters of history, or of science, any more than he does upon the great truths of salvation. If the Lord be God, he must be infallible; and if he can be described as in error in the little respects of human history and science, he cannot be trusted in the greater matters.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Resistance in war: Shields, Swords, and Skullcaps

Dearest hijas and hijo,

“in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the HELMET OF SALVATION and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph.6:16-17).

You’ve put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the boots of the readiness of the gospel of peace—three fixed pieces you are wearing in readiness for the ongoing battle. Now you must take up three other things for which you will be prepared to move out on the battlefield. You’re prepared to fight demonic forces arrayed against you in heavenly places, and now, on top of everything else, you take up the shield, the skullcap, and the sword.

(Wounded but not defeated she takes up the shield of faith and the Word of God.)

The shield of faith. Flaming arrows from the evil one (Satan) are in the air and on their way. How do you protect yourself? Evil is not some abstract, impersonal force, as if it’s just all the negativity in the universe floating around out there. It’s a personal devil. 1 John 5:19 says, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” The flaming arrows are symbols of everything that seduces and tempts you: pride, anger, covetousness, greed, vanity, vengefulness, jealousy, materialism, impatience, impurity, envy, resentment, bitterness—all these things come at us all the time and invade our minds. We’re told by these Satanic untruths never to be content with anything but to always want more—a seductive lie of dissatisfaction with our lives and with what God gives us. It’s a constant battle, and these Satanic darts wound us—some of them slip through—but we are not defeated. Charles Spurgeon says of Satan and his flaming arrows:

He is always watching to see where you are not looking; he is always on the alert when you are slumbering.”

Protection from dissatisfaction requires a shield of faith. And what is that faith? It’s believing that God really does have the best for us. We’re either going to say, “You know, Satan, you’re right, God doesn’t have my best interests in mind, and I’m going to go after what ‘I’ want—I’m going to yield to your temptations” or we say, “Yes, Lord, I’m going to trust You. I’m going to trust that Your commandments are true and that obeying them produces the greatest fulfillment, joy, and satisfaction imaginable because You do have my best interests in mind.” That’s the shield of faith. Will you use it?

The helmet of salvation. Wearing a skullcap to protect a crushing blow to the head while fighting the enemy is in view here. Why is it ‘of salvation?’ You’re already saved, right? You’re already ‘in Christ’, so that’s not what Paul has in mind. The word ‘salvation’ in Scripture can be looked at in three phases. 1) Salvation in justification. 2) Salvation in sanctification. 3) Salvation in glorification. Past, present, and future. You were justified when you believed and were freed from the penalty of sin. You are now being sanctified as you live this life in holiness to Christ to whatever end He has numbered your days, and you are freed from the power of sin. You will be glorified when you leave this earthly temple and are present with the Lord, and are freed from the presence of sin.

(It is Christ who is victorious—now by reason of the Cross, and ultimately and finally by His return in glory—over the dragon, that serpent of old (Rev. 20:1-3, 10). We stand strong and resist his schemes while in our earthly temple with the full armor of God (1 Cor.6:19-20).

It is this third aspect of salvation in glorification that Paul has in mind—freedom from the presence of sin. And O, what a tremendous hope that will be. NO sin present in me. Wow! It changes the way you go into and fight the battle, doesn’t it? You are promised triumph, confident in the end result, confident in the victory, confident that Christ’s securing power will never forsake you, and confident that He will hold you in His divine, omnipotent hands firm to the end. There is nothing that Satan can throw at you that you can’t conquer and you have the utmost confidence against him when you put on this helmet of salvation in glorification. Philippians 1:6 says that the God who has begun a good work in you will finish it, and that is what Paul reaffirms “as a helmet, the hope of salvation” (1 Thess.5:8).

(The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God).

The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Mis hijas y hijo, this piece of battle armor is very, very, self-explanatory. The Holy Spirit’s sword in you is God’s Word. Let me say it again—the power that you have to fight off Satanic attack is the totality of Scripture—the Word of God— that the Holy Spirit in you uses like a sword to cut the flaming arrows of Satan to pieces. That Word of God is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb.4:12).

But to use it you have to know it. You have to meditate on it. You have to memorize it. You have to be able to bring specific passages and verses as countermeasures to your mind when under attack. That’s exactly what Jesus did when He was under attack by Satan (Matt. 4:1-11). And what does it say at the end of that passage in verse 11 after He had used Scripture three times to thwart Satan’s attacks? “Then the devil left Him.”

O what a powerful weapon this is! Why, O why, don’t we use it more often? Is it because we really don’t spend time in it? We’re not committed to memorizing it? We don’t, as the Psalmist says, “treasure His word in our hearts that we might not sin against Thee” (Ps.119:11)? We don’t, as David says, “delight in the law of the LORD and in His law meditate day and night” (Ps.1:2)?

Pray for me, my beloved. Pray that I will love and delight in God’s Word. Pray that I will memorize it. Pray that I will speak it boldly. Pray that I will be committed daily to the presence of God contained in the words of His book and that through this revelation of Him and His history bring glory to Him who lives forevermore. Yes, Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all,

Love, Dad

An Indictment Not to be Proud of

Dearest hijas and hijo,

I am interrupting regularly scheduled programming to bring you this urgent report:

American Worldview Inventory 2020–At a Glance

I came across this report (click above), and it saddens me to no end. I am deeply grieved at the findings. I realize that you, my children. are in that 2% and I am thankful to God that you maintain a Biblical worldview among the majority of your generation that don’t. My generation at 9% is not much better, and it is a devastating indictment on the state of those supposedly called “Evangelical Christians”, today.

Take the time when you can to read through the full report. Look at the categories of questions asked and see if you can’t use those categories and headings to understand your own generation and formulate Biblical responses.

It is my generation at 9% that failed in their duty to you for the findings of your generation at 2%. May God forgive us.

I love you all dearly,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Resistance in war: Puttin’ on the boots

Dearest hijas and hijo,

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:10-11).

having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE” (Eph. 6:15).

We’ve been talking about being at war, haven’t we? A spiritual war. It’s a war that rages in our minds and thoughts, in our emotions and feelings, and comes out in what we say and do on a daily, minute by minute basis. The demonic forces marshaled against us with Satan as commander are doing everything they can to hinder us from realizing and accomplishing the purposes of God in our own lives and how we are used by God in the lives of others.

If you haven’t realized you’re in a battle, you need to start now. The only way to do that is by putting on the battle armor. Mentally. You’re painting a mental picture in your mind of each piece as you put it on and get geared up for the fight. The times are in the wind and are coming—even now here— where this will be the only way you can withstand the onslaught of wickedness building to a crescendo around you, seeking to burn you up and tear you down.

So let’s talk about boots. And I’m talking about big, thick, sin-stompin’ boots—nimble enough to move quickly when the fight requires it and to crush the sin which so easily entangles us (Heb. 12:1). I mentioned last time that no soldier puts his helmet on and walks out the door in bare feet. Feet are vulnerable. Every soldier knows this and seeks the protection that boots provide. It’s the same in the spiritual battle.

And what is that foot protection? The boots of the preparation of the gospel of peace. Let’s break it down.

PREPARATION = Readiness, made ready, equipped

GOSPEL = Good News. Of what? Jesus Christ paid the fine so we don’t have to. He satisfied God’s wrath in dying for us and our sin, and satisfied God’s justice by taking that punishment upon Himself instead of us.

PEACE = Reconciliation, rest, absence of conflict with God

TRANSLATION: Put on the boots of the readiness of the good news about Jesus Christ concerning the rest and absence of conflict with God made possible through Jesus and His death on the Cross for sin.

I know you know that, mis hijas y hijo, but stay with me, because your friends, loved ones, and co-workers don’t. There’s a couple ways to look at this in terms of application. I think both ways can be used in your fight against Satan and fleshly-induced sin, and against the forces of wickedness seeking to destroy you. One defensive, the other offensive. Remember, that is where the battle is raging, in your heart and in your gut—your mind and your emotions.

Application #1Standing and anchored. Holy and blameless. Beyond reproach. You are at peace with God because you have bent the knee in repentance and acknowledged your sin before God. You have cried out, “Be merciful to me, O God, the sinner.” in complete humbleness and contriteness. You have believed and trusted in Christ as LORD and in His resurrection from the dead, and this trust has made peace with God possible. You stand your ground, firmly anchored in this. You don’t slip, you don’t slide, you stand up and stand firm when under attack. You’re standing and resisting with strong defense.

For it was the Father’s good pleasure…through Him (Jesus) to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross…and although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach“— (Col. 1:19-22).

Gen. 3:15 “He shall crush you on the head, You shall bruise Him on the heel”

Application #2Bring the glad tidings of the good news to others. You are never more in touch with God and resistant to sin than when you speak one on one about the Gospel to another person. This is pure and untainted love for others. Why? Because you are horrified for them—horrified enough to be utterly and deeply concerned about their eternal destiny. The stone-cold thought of it just mortifies you. You’re goodnewsing them in love about Christ. You’re goodnewsing them in love about their lost condition in sin and their need to be reconciled to God. You’re goodnewsing them in love about God’s continual warnings that failure to make peace with Him through Christ will otherwise send them on their way to hell when they die in this life, and on their way to the lake of fire when Christ returns for the next. It energizes you, it empowers you, it sharpens your focus, it strengthens your convictions, it thwarts sin and Satan’s demonic forces in your mind, and it brings you closer in emotional well-being than any worldly pleasure could. This strategic offensive plan moving out on the attack obliterates the enemy. He cries like a little baby and soils himself at the thought that you would even dare mention the name ‘Jesus’ to someone else. May the LORD rebuke him.

Pray for me, won’t you, mis hijas y hijo. Pray that I will be horrified enough to put my boots on every morning, and be ready. Ready to bring glad tidings of good news in Christ to others. I can then rejoice with Isaiah the prophet:

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace, and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ (Is. 52:7).

Love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!