By GF Herrin
Shortly after moving to Charlotte, my wife, daughters and I joined a small Lutheran church (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). We had enjoyed the worship style, knew some folks who belonged there, and liked its close proximity to where we lived. In the new members class, though, after reading several passages from a King James Version of the Old Testament, the pastor lost me. He said, “remember that this is the Hebrew Bible and we can’t necessarily assume accounts like Jonah and the whale and other passages are literally true.” I struggle to recall what I said to the pastor in response, but the gist of the experience is that I instantly responded in a negative way, bringing up the points that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and central to our faith.
The Inerrancy of God’s word is a central point of the Christian faith. The reason it has been questioned in recent years is because there are teachers or so called scholars such as Bart Ehrman, John Shelby Spong, or Rudolf Bultmann whose teachings have been clouded by either anti-supernaturalist beliefs or (in Spong’s case) a pro homosexual agenda . These teachers have long possessed a view that not the Bible is not literally true yet they have claimed to be Christians. But this begs the question that if you throw out part of the Bible as not true which part do you keep? If you doubt the authenticity of the Scriptures and discount the fact that the vast majority of the 12 apostles died for their faith in the Resurrection of Christ, how can you be assured that Christ from the dead? And if you can’t believe that Christ rose from the dead how can you believe that your sins were paid for on the Cross by Him?
One of the Books I am reading early in my 2016 Bible reading plan is the Book of Romans. In Romans, Paul writes of the importance of understanding the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ :
“Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. “ (Romans 1:3-4)
Notice that Paul emphasizes that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by the fact that He was resurrected from the dead. This is an important point to understand. Jesus’ life, ministry, and sacrifice on the cross were declared as worthy by the occurrence of His physical resurrection. Think of this incredible event. Even after the soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear to confirm His death (John 19:34), Even after His lifeless body was laid in a clean linen cloth (Matt. 27:59). Even after Christ’s body was laid in the tomb (Matt. 27:60). Even after a large stone was rolled in front of his tomb which was also sealed (Matt. 27:60 & 66), Christ was resurrected! God the Father accepted God the son’s payment for sins with His life and the Resurrection of Christ is evidence of that.
So how should we born again believers in Jesus live in response to the Death and Resurrection of Christ?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:16-18).
We should not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ but should be encouraged by it. The death and resurrection of Christ reveals God’s righteousness. Jesus’ death on the cross demonstrates that only a sinless sacrifice could buy each of us sinners grace and forgiveness. Nothing else would do! No animal sacrifices, no good works, no tithes or monetary offerings will pay the huge sin debt each of us would has to atone for. Jesus’ horrible death on the cross demonstrates that it was necessary to buy us our freedom. If it wasn’t necessary, why else would He have died for us?
Also, we need to make a concerted effort every day to live in righteousness. Paul mentions that our unrighteousness behavior actually suppresses the truth. So, if we are careless in living and sinning then those acts suppress God’s truth of a changes life. Not only is unrighteousness a demonstration of the unsaved condition of people, it is a bad witness for the forgiven sinner. So, if you are struggling with a besetting sin, remember that another reason to stay away from that addiction or habit is to make sure you demonstrate God’s truth by keeping away from that sin. Glorify the Lord in living righteously!