|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Part three of a series. Read part two.
The Bible speaks of the believer's present certainty of salvation, and confident future expectation of glory, in terms of seven incorruptible things. Four of them have to do with God's own nature. Today we consider the second - God's incorruptible Word.
As we saw in the previous article in this series, believers have been freed to know the truth. Christ has liberated us from the idolatry of corruptible things to serve the incorruptible God. We need to be careful not to fall back into the trap of idolatry as we walk with Christ. We need to live according to the truth.
In the post-evangelical church, most pastors and seminary professors have lost any grasp they may have had (if ever) of Scripture as the only supernatural Book.
Because of the emphasis of this ministry, I often address the doctrine of the supernatural character of Scripture as I preach in churches and conferences. Sometimes it is the main theme - if I am preaching, for example, from 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12-13, or 2 Peter 1:16-21.
In other cases the supernatural character of Scripture is part of my preaching for this reason: A firm grasp of this great truth about Scripture is essential to the proper interpretation and exposition of any passage in the Bible. If you do not start every walk in the Word on that foot, you have started on the wrong foot!
I deliberately use the term "supernatural character" rather than speaking only of the inspiration of Scripture, as vital as that is. Indeed, the Word of God is the inspired Word - it is God-breathed, His very words. But its supernatural character does not end there. The Word of God is supernaturally given, but it is also supernatural in its operation. It is "alive and powerful" (Hebrews 4:12).
How is it that we know the truth? How is it that we know we are saved? How is it that we know that God guarantees us future glory? We know the truth because our incorruptible God has given us His incorruptible Word.
That is the second of the "seven incorruptibles" of our salvation. In First Peter, chapter one, beginning at verse 22, the Holy Spirit tells us this:
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever, because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever." Now this is the Word which by the Gospel was preached to you.
We know the truth because we have "been born again not of corruptible seed of but incorruptible" - "the Word of the Lord which endures forever" - "the Word which by the Gospel was preached to you." "The Word of God is alive and powerful," we read in Hebrews 4:12. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall never pass away" (Mark 13:31).
The Enduring Word
Throughout history, men and governments have tried to suppress and destroy the incorruptible Word of God, to eliminate it altogether from society. But they always fail. History is filled with examples.
In the year 1836, Christian missionaries were forced by a pagan tribal government to leave the island of Madagascar, off the eastern coast of Africa. The last two missionaries left in September of that year. The only thing they were able to leave behind was the printed Bible. The pagan authorities decreed death to anyone who should read the Bible. During the following decades there was severe persecution, and some were put to death for reading the Bible.
The believers there read the Scriptures in secret. They worshipped in secret. They preached in secret. When the supply of printed Bibles ran out, they copied Scripture portions by hand and circulated them. This went on for over two decades. When the time of persecution ended and Christian missionaries were allowed to return in the 1860s, they expected to find that Christianity had severely declined or perhaps even died out. But what they found was that the 1,200 Christians they had left behind many years ago had become over 8,000. Despite the worst kind of persecution, the church of Jesus Christ had grown. It was all because of the power of the incorruptible Word of God, and the power of God the Holy Spirit to bring men to Christ through the living and powerful Word alone.
All of our missionary and evangelistic efforts must be rooted and grounded in the incorruptible Word. That is where the truth is found. That is where the power resides. That is where eternal life is found. If we offer anything else to the unbelieving world, we offer idols.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Next: Our Incorruptible Savior
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