Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Rayola Kelley

        One of the greatest challenges in ministering to people is the fact that, to most people, there is no real standard of truth to lift up as a point of coming to a place of reasoning. Obviously, you need a standard of truth for different reasons. Here are some to consider.

1)     Anyone can establish his or her own idea of truth. Unless, there is one means in which to challenge such ideas, these people will always remain in their present state, regardless of what is going on in their lives. They will simply maintain their own personal understanding in spite of the revelation or exhortation of the Word of God

2)     There is no point of agreement if you cannot challenge a person’s evaluation of a matter by agreeing on a particular standard of truth. Areas that lack agreement will become a matter of debate. True agreement can only be obtained when the parties are in agreement about a particular standard or source of truth.

3)     There must be a point of contrast. To challenge any person’s perception, there must be a contrast that can be brought forth as a point of challenge and instruction.

       As you consider the above points, you realize it all comes down to the ability to reason out a matter at a point of agreement. Most people try to logic out a matter. Logic comes from the premise of confirming a matter, while reasoning’s main goal is to bring a person who is in sin to the premise that will allow him or her to understand the matter from a different perspective.

       Reasoning is a constructive way that is meant to resolve an issue in a beneficial way for those involved. Isaiah 1:18 brings this out: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Obviously, the Lord wants to bring a person in sin to the premise of understanding it in light of His character. The purpose for this is to bring about forgiveness, thereby, resolving a situation.

       The other challenge has to do with a person’s perception about a matter. Perception determines attitude and approach. If a person has his or her own standard of truth, he or she is not prepared to give way to any other challenge. There are three virtues that must be present for truth to win over “so-called” personal truth.

1)     There must be a disposition of humility. Humility allows a person to be wrong, limited or incorrect about conclusions. The opposite of humility is pride. When our form of truth is a matter of pride, it will never allow us to humble ourselves before issues that may prove contrary.

2)     One must possess love for the truth (2 Thes. 2:10-12). If a person does not love truth, he or she will never bother to search for it. Such people become content with what they think they know. After all, they have perceived, felt and concluded they are right. Therefore, there is nothing more to consider for it has been confirmed enough that all doubts have been silenced in their way of thinking.

3)     They are sober in their thinking. 1 Peter 1:13 states: “Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Christ. The sober mind is a mind that has landed and is properly discerning what is going on around it. It is not silly, flippant or foolish in its approach, evaluation or conclusions, due to the fact that all thoughts are being brought into captivity to Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

       We know the truth makes us free, but how can people be brought to truth when there is no agreement as to what is truth (John 8:32)? Most Christians would declare that we have such a standard, the Word of God. For one, I would agree with this conclusion. The Apostle Paul summarized it in this way: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

       Let us consider just this Scripture. Note the word “all”. According to this Scripture, every verse has been inspired. Is this realistic? In a case such as this, we must consider whether the author is credible or not. Could God maintain the integrity of His Word? Granted, people may have taken liberty with His Word. We can see this in many of the translations. However, can His pure Word be found in the midst of that which has perverted it? I believe that the answer to this question is a resounding yes. God has maintained the purity of His Word. But, the real key is that only His Spirit can discern what is true, thereby, maintaining its purity.

       According to 2 Peter 1:20-21, the Holy Spirit is the one who moved upon holy men of God to bring forth prophecy. This prophecy is not of any private interpretation. Clearly, the pure Word of God is often perverted by man’s private interpretation. This interpretation often becomes a matter of personal conclusions and doctrine. Therefore, the greatest perversion of God’s Word occurs because the Spirit is missing from revealing revelation, imparting wisdom, instilling righteousness, and establishing sanctification to bring forth complete redemption in a person’s life.

       The written Word of God is profitable for doctrine that will establish the complete life of Christ in us. It has the ability to reprove us in our ways of darkness. In other words, it serves as the searchlight that will reveal our character. In each revelation, it has the ability to correct our way of thinking, walking (living) and being. It can cleanse us of sin, purge us of wickedness, and sanctify us in God’s perfect ways. Ultimately, it will guide us in the ways of righteousness.

       The problem is that the power of the Word rests in one’s ability to properly discern the intent behind its instruction (1 Corinthians 2:13-14). Too many people take the Word of God literally. In some cases this is acceptable, but in other cases it will lack the authority that comes from discerning its real intent. In other words, the intent behind Scripture is to change the heart, mind and conduct of the person by aligning him or her to the mind, example and instructions of Jesus Christ. It takes the authority of the Word and the power of the Spirit to bring about such change. Such change does not take place when one has a literal understanding of something, but when a Scriptural truth becomes revelation to the spirit of a person.

       Obviously, everything in our Christian way of believing, thinking, doing, and being must be subject to the Word of God. If it does not line up to the Word of God in spirit and truth, it must be reproved by the light, corrected according to example, and established by proper instruction in order to ensure uprightness in a matter. Sadly, most people, because of their handling and perception of the Word use the Word to confirm personal doctrine, reprove the Bible in the areas they do not agree with, correct the Word according to personal agendas, and disregard instruction according to their perception.

       In spite of people declaring they believe the Word of God, in reality they do not. They strip it of its authority and validity as they pick and choose what they believe, as well as discard what they choose to ignore or walk in unbelief towards it. In many ways people become an exception to the Word instead of coming into subjection to it as truth. Because of this attitude or mishandling of the Word, even in the Christian realm, the standard of truth is not really being recognized or properly regarded.

       There are reasons why people do not have the attitude that is necessary when it comes to recognizing the authority of the Word of God. Clearly, His Word must serve as the ultimate standard of truth in our lives.

       In the next couple of months we will consider the reasons as to why people negate the final authority that the Word of God must have in their lives to truly be set free and lined up to righteousness. However, it is important to point out that when people reject, discard or choose what they will believe about it, they are rejecting the reality of God, discarding His authority, and redefining who He is.

       When the Bible talks about contending for the faith that was first delivered to the saints, it did not have to do with doctrine, but with maintaining the integrity of the character and work of God. The biggest affront against the validity of the Bible is against its Author. The biggest conflict does not have to do with what is right, but with who God is. If the foundation of our belief is not right, then nothing will be right in our lives.

       Today the biggest attack against God comes down to the identity of His Son and the holiness of His character. If a person has a wrong perception of Jesus, he or she will not only lack salvation, but will have no power in his or her testimony. If a person demeans God in His character in any way, he or she will be devoid of authority. Such individuals may have religion, but there will be no life.

       It is time we challenge ourselves about our attitude towards the Word of God. It is time we examine how we perceive God. Do we possess the real God or have we erected a counterfeit to serve our religious purposes. In this day of great delusion, we must make sure we are standing on the true Rock of the Bible, the true Rock of ages, the immovable Rock of eternity.

       If you are interested in exploring further the authority and power of the Word of God, check out Rayola’s book Establishing Our Life In Christ. MY  WORDS ARE SPIRIT AND LIFE is one of five books in Volume One of Establishing Our Life In Christ.” It deals with the validity of the Word of God, by explaining the continuity of its revelation and theme.