What We Believe: The Scriptures (Part 2)
“It [the Bible] reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.”
Having a Bible that is without error and authoritative is good, but simply having such a book in existence isn’t enough. We need to know the purpose for which God gave us His inspired Word. The Bible doesn’t just give us spiritual information; it unveils a story from eternity past to eternity future, with Jesus Christ at the center. All of Scripture points to Jesus, whether in anticipation in the Old Testament, in fulfillment at His coming for our salvation, or in further anticipation of His return. He makes that point on the road to Emmaus when He teaches His two followers about Himself from the Jewish Scriptures (Luke 24:44-46). God gave us an inerrant an authoritative word so we could know the truth about Christ.
The Bible also reveals God’s standards to us. There are many today, even in the church, who want to minimize or even ignore what the Bible teaches us about God, about salvation, about humanity, and about the way we should live before our Creator. They would prefer to find standards that are acceptable to themselves and to the world around them. There is a desire to make some sort of Christianity acceptable to the masses, even if it isn’t exactly what the Bible teaches.
Yet if the Bible is only relevant and applicable where it agrees with what humanity consents to, it instead becomes irrelevant, since it only tells us what we already think or know. To truly understand an infinite God, we need a Word that comes from Him and that tells us the truth, whether it is what we want to hear or not. Thus the Bible is the standard by which each of our lives is judged, and is the standard by which even the creeds and statements of churches are judged.
We are examining our church’s statement of faith, yet this statement is only valid insofar as it reflects the teaching of Scripture. Creeds and statements of faith are helpful to enable us to organize and recall the basic doctrines of our faith, and to put together the teaching of the Bible in one place. They cannot, however, take the place of Scripture. When we put more trust in the human construction of a creed than in the Bible that provides the content of that creed, we can effectively make that statement an idol that obscures our view of Christ as it takes our eyes off of His inspired Word.
The Bible also is the center of Christian unity. No one can deny that the church is presently divided, and that some of those divisions are serious (not to mention ancient!). Many seek to bring all of the churches and denominations together, and to do so they want to downplay anything that separates them. While this effort is laudable on the surface, it often is more interested in creating a unity of structure rather than one of faith. We cannot lay aside the truths of God’s Word just to make it appear that we are one with others who call themselves “Christian” but who do not value the truth of Scripture.
We have God’s inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word in the Bible. God did not give it to us so we could have some divine declaration to enshrine on a shelf. The Word of God is given to us to show us God’s standards, to regulate our lives and our churches, and most importantly to show us Jesus and teach us about Him.