Our Only Hope: A Sufficient Scripture and Supreme Saviour9 min read
We are faced with two options for a wake up call from God: revival or persecution. Both cause God’s people to take their Christianity more seriously. Though they take different forms, the resolve necessary is basically the same when facing either: to hold Scripture as sufficient and Christ as supreme. It is a high view of God and a radical commitment to His Word that will prepare us for the heights of revival and secure us for the depths of persecution. Our only hope is for God to give us a vision of a sort of Christianity that understands its riches in Christ and His Word.
A Sufficient Scripture – The Bible is Life!
The believer is obliged to believe at least five things about Scripture. If he can learn these things and make them part of his very heartbeat, truly he will be well on his way to having the life of God pulsating through his spiritual veins. A proper view of Scripture and a consistent hermeneutic are always the foundations for effective application of God’s Word. If we want to survive persecution or spark revival, five-minute devotionals and surface-level teaching simply will not do. We need depth in understanding and depth in our conviction. Paul conveyed this when he wrote to Timothy:
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ 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, fully equipped unto all good works.”
In this one text there are the five central facts we need to understand about Scripture.
- Scripture is Inspired (“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…”). In other words it is God-breathed. The Lord said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The Bible is not a mere collection of documents. It is not simply a path to understanding God. It is not simply an intriguing thriller. It is the very heart and mind of God expressed to us in language. We never separate the Word of God from God Himself. We never separate our pursuit of God from our passion for Scripture. The notion today that “We need to stop worshiping the Bible and start worshiping Christ” is a false and unnecessary distinction. In fact, it is quite unhelpful, even destructive. Yes, we want to pursue Christ in His Word; but we cannot worship Christ if we are not trembling at His Word. If we want to be near God’s heart – which we need in both revival and persecution – we will not be very far from His mouth.
- Scripture is Infallible (“The things which you have been assured of” and “All Scripture is… profitable for doctrine”). In other words, it cannot fail, either in accuracy or authority. “Scripture cannot be broken.” (Jn. 10:35). If Scripture is indeed God’s heart and mind, it will reflect the nature of His own truthfulness and immutability. We cannot do with a semi-accurate revelation, and thankfully we don’t have to. God has spoken thoroughly and accurately. We can rest our life and eternity on it. In fact, we must.
- Scripture is Authoritative (“Continue in the things which you have learned…” and “All Scripture is… profitable… for instruction in righteousness”). In other words, it demands nothing less than full obedience by nature of what it is. God’s word is not for debate. It is for obedience. God said not to touch the ark; when Uzza touched it, he died. God had a pattern for His house; when Ahaz modified it, God called it a transgression. God said no work was to be done on the Sabbath; in Numbers 15, when a man was found gathering sticks, he was stoned upon the Lord’s command. God’s Word stands! While the administration of it may have changed slightly since Israel’s day, the authority of it has not by any means. If we want reality in our Christianity, we must literally tremble at Scripture – every single word.
- Scripture is Sufficient (“That the man of God may be complete, fully equipped unto all good works.”). In other words, it is our “sole infallible rule of faith and practice.” We do not look to other sources, other than the Bible, for God’s heart and mind expressed to us verbally. We do not look to psychology, philosophy, or even church tradition for edification or spiritual insight, like so many in professing Christianity are doing. God’s Word fully equips us. What more could we demand than Scripture and that which is directly related to it, if it fully equips us? If we need to find other sources for personal help, could it be we are not making Scripture everything it needs to be to us?
- Scripture is Effectual (“Wise unto salvation…” and “that the man of God may be complete…”). In other words, it is active, powerful, and effective in what it is purposed to accomplish. The Lord made this clear when He said in Isaiah, “It shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please; and it shall prosper in the thing I sent it unto.” As well, in Hebrews we read that Scripture is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. Never doubt the value of purposeful time spent in God’s Word; it will never be fruitless. Let us be confident in the power of the Book we proclaim. Let us test its “limits,” as it were, for its capacity to change us. Never doubt this fact: it will change us. The Bible is life!
A Supreme Saviour – Christ is Life!
To fully appreciate Christ, we need to go beyond simple cliches about Him and move into a deeper understanding of Who He is. There are a number of ways to consider Him. One is to notice His three main names: Lord, Jesus, and Christ. Another way is to consider Him in His main roles: Saviour, Head, and Lord. For our purposes, an understanding of His offices will equip us to seek His face more confidently and intelligently when God calls us to the heights of revival or the depths of persecution. These three offices are: Prophet, Priest, and King.
As Prophet, the Lord Jesus holds forth to us words of authority. He is the One we obey. In Deuteronomy 18, Moses said to the people of Israel “The LORD your God will raise up unto you a Prophet from the midst of you… unto him you will hearken.” When God deals with His people in any circumstance, obedience is the unconditional necessity. Even in the Old Testament with all its offerings, God said “To obey is better than sacrifice.” If we are not a people fully committed to every jot of Scripture, the Word of Christ, we have no right to expect that God will use us – at least not to our full potential. Whether rejoicing in revival or enduring in persecution our whole duty remains as this: “Fear God and keep His commandments.” So then, we must obey His Word!
As Great High Priest, the Lord stands in the presence of God on our behalf in sympathy and representation. He is the One we trust. The Hebrew writer points out in chapter 5 how Christ fulfills a priestly role: “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Even though we would like full commitment on our part, the brutal fact is we are weak and unprofitable servants. But our Sustainer fills His role perfectly! Our needs, our weaknesses, our failures – all are met in our Great High Priest. So then, we must rest in His strength!
As King, He rules over us, His spiritual kingdom. He is the One we worship. Paul expresses the perfect attitude of a worshiper in his letter to Timothy:
“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever…I give thee charge in the sight of God… and before Christ Jesus… that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”
Only a worshipper with a high view of his God will trust and obey. These are the kind of worshippers we need – worshippers that cry from their inmost heart “To HIM be honour and power everlasting! To HIM be honour and glory for ever and ever!” The Saviour Who once bled on Calvary’s cross is now seated high over all dominions: He is the glorious one we look to, whether for encouragement to continue on in affliction or for incentive to reach new heights in revival. Christ is the center: if He is not drawing our hearts into deep worship, we will never be effective for Him. So then, we must worship the King!
God has called each one of us to a purpose, perhaps one involving persecution, perhaps one involving revival, or perhaps one involving both. Maybe none of the above: sometimes God simply calls us to discover and live “the average Christian life.” Whatever the case, we can’t afford to chance our way through life with such lofty callings before us; and they are lofty! No man is sufficient for any of them. Yet God has given us the greatest resource, His Word, and the greatest Friend Who sticks closer than a brother, our Lord Jesus Christ – our authoritative Prophet, our sympathizing Priest, and our worthy King. These few thoughts are not overly deep; but they are profound in their impact. We don’t need emotional pep talks so much as we need to know our resources and get using them. Here are our resources. Let’s discover the power of understanding their impact!