Know Your Bible
"Gimme That Feel Good Religion!"
We are bombarded on a daily basis with how the world thinks religion ought to be. Multiplied thousands of people believe that churches ought to have soup kitchens and clothing supplies. The same folks are sure that churches ought to be involved in secular education and day care. They are equally convinced that churches should be politically involved and that the members ought to be mobilized and become a force at City Hall (or some higher level). Why, people feel good when they are so actively involved in a "relevant" religion. Gimme That Feel Good Religion.
It is but a small step from such notions to where the preaching on moral issues is essentially a message of "feel good about yourself even when you are involved in sin" (makes one wonder what happened to 2 Cor. 7:10). Why, preaching ought to make one feel good, that's the principle thing. If there should be some passage which doesn't make you feel good, just ignore it! Gimme That Feel Good Religion.
I have heard it enough to be sure that many people have been told that if you feel saved, then you are saved. If you feel saved without baptism, then you are despite what the Bible says (Mk. 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21). Gimme That Feel Good Religion.
There are also plenty of folks who have decided that what is right or wrong in worship is predicated on whether or not one feels good while doing it. "We want our worship to allow people to feel good" might be heard. Again, this is not wrong in and of itself. One should feel good while worshipping God. It is when "worship in spirit and truth" (Jn. 4:24) is replaced with worship in order to feel good that error has taken place. What happens is that Scriptural worship is declared "dry and lifeless" and is replaced with hand-clapping, humming, soft lights, choruses, chorales, "special music," bands, shouting, ecstatic utterings, plays, puppets, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Gimme That Feel Good Religion.
Now folks, I don't want anyone to misunderstand me. I firmly believe that a person should feel good about religion. However, we should feel good about what the Bible says, not what we are doing in spite of what the Bible says. The things in the previous paragraph cannot be found in the New Testament, they are from the imagination of men. Yet, many are told that because they are so happy with what they are doing that God will just have to be happy too! Perhaps a close look at these verses will shed some light on that-Rom. 16:17-18; Matt. 7:22-23; Lk. 6:46; 2 Cor. 10:12-13. Gimme That Feel Good Religion.
A few years ago there was a somewhat popular song titled "Gimme That Old Time Religion." When I was a child there was a radio station that my parents listened to that played it every morning. The title of this article is a parody of it. Sadly the words of Jeremiah come to mind-"Thus says the LORD: 'Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.' But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'" (Jer. 6:16). It is sad when "That Old Time Religion" is rejected for "That Feel Good Religion." It ought to be the reverse.
Five Ways To Disobey God
The faithful child of God never seeks ways by which he can disobey God. Yet the Bible indicates different manners in which God may be disobeyed. It might help us to avoid some pitfalls of apostasy to reflect on the ways in which God is disobeyed.
1. BY DOING WHAT IS FORBIDDEN: (Gen. 2:16; 3:6). Adam and Eve, in eating the forbidden fruit, transgressed or violated the will of God. We refer to this kind of sin as a sin of commission. The committed an act which God specifically had prohibited. Men today often do exactly what He has forbidden.
2. BY REFUSING TO DO WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED: (Jas. 4:17; Lk. 7:30; Heb. 10:25). The Pharisees and lawyers in Lk. 7:30 rejected the counsel of God on baptism. They therefore committed a sin of omission. James states that when one knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin. One can do nothing and be sent to hell for doing nothing, for God has made demands upon us.
3. BY ADDING TO THE WORD OF GOD: (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18). God states that if one adds unto His word, the plagues written in the word will be added to that person. John declares that "lawlessness" is sin. (1 Jno. 3:4 - ASV). Sin, as defined by John, is that which is lawless. Sin is the doing of anything for which there is no law or for which there is no authority.
Men frequently ask, "Where is the Scripture against it?" But John declares that if there is no law for the act under question it is "lawlessness," and lawlessness is sin. To act or to speak where God has not spoken is a sin of presumption (Num.15:30; Lev. 10:1,2). When one acts without divine authority, he presumes to speak in His behalf. Such is insolent sin, and is intolerable by God.
John declares that when one goes beyond the doctrine of Christ, he gives up both
Christ and God. (2 Jno. 9). Paul therefore insists that we must learn "not to go beyond the things which are written." (1 Cor. 4:6).
4. BY TAKING FROM THE WORD OF GOD: (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:19). To take from God's Word is a sin of the same sort as to add to His Word. Taking from His Word will result in one's part being taken from the tree of life and the holy city written in the Book.
When one begins to talk about God's "non-essential commands", he is prepared in heart to commit the damning sin of taking from God's Word.
5. BY SUBSTITUTING FOR WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED: (Gen. 4:4; Lev. 10:1-3). Cain substituted a vegetable sacrifice for what God had commanded, (Heb. 11:4), and God had not respect for his gift. Nadab and Abihu, though they offered fire, did not offer the fire that God had commanded, and thus were consumed because of the strange fire. In religion men must learn to accept no substitute, for God will not accept a substitute for obedience. (1 Sam. 15:22,23).
Realizing wherein we can fail, we need to use great caution "lest we fall." "If a man speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God." (1 Pet.4:11).
Is The Bible Relevant To Modern Man?
How would you answer these questions: "Is the Bible relevant to the modern man?" "Is the Bible pertinent and applicable to the person's total well-being?" "Is the Bible meaningful to YOU?"
There is a growing contingent in our country that would answer, "No, the Bible is no longer, nor has ever been, relevant to the welfare of any person or society." Liberal thought has widely permeated society with humanistic values. Those values are unconcerned with belief in God. They leave out any interest in Divine revelation for the human good. They accept no relevancy of salvation from sin or eternal hope in Christ. Proponents of this godless values system would say that religion is a dead issue.
Instead of advocating a belief in the God of creation and man's accountability to Him, liberal philosophy has substituted the gods of human wisdom, fleshly desires, pleasure, and materialism. This godless attitude has left its adherents with an ever changing values system, no purpose in life, and no hope beyond the grave. The influence of their godless values is manifested in the downward spiral of human integrity, morality, honesty, justice, and the sanctity of life.
Paul described the similar situation of the Gentile world of his time in these words, "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image of corruptible man . . ." (Rom. 1:21-23).
Modern man is really no different than his ancestors. Clothing styles and hair styles may change, but the needs of the people who wear them never change. All of the radio and television talk shows dealing with the moral and ethical questions of our time are testimony to humanity's quest for answers to our deepest questions concerning family, social values, and life after death. But we have not, and will not find the answer to these questions until we humbly turn from ourselves. The answers to life's most asked and most important questions are found in God's instruction manual -- the Bible.
The apostle Peter wrote; "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:2-3). Common sense tells us to place our confidence in God's revelation, rather than ways that "seem right" to us.
The Bible is relevant to our present-day needs. We need God and His "word of truth and wisdom." God's word, alone, is 'profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work' and will direct us to glory and excellence (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:2-3).
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